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Australian Cultural Institutions Unite to Collect Videogames

Image of Untitled Goose GameJuly 8, 2022

Image: still from Untitled Goose Game (2012) by House House.

The Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (NFSA) and the Powerhouse have announced the ground-breaking joint acquisition of the international smash hit multiplatform videogame Untitled Goose Game, created by Victorian developers House House and developed with assistance from VicScreen.

The joint acquisition ensures that Untitled Goose Game, awarded D.I.C.E. Game of the Year and BAFTA Games Award for Best Family and Social Game in 2020, is preserved for decades to come using the specialist skills and approaches of each collecting institution. It joins ACMI, NFSA and the Powerhouse’s growing collection of videogames and commitment to the research and preservation of games as an important artistic and design medium in contemporary culture.

With total interactive games and e-sports revenue in Australia expected to reach $4.9 billion in 2025, gaming remains a booming industry nationwide (Source: PwC’s Australian Entertainment & Media Outlook 2021).

The acquisition includes the game’s creative development materials, documentation and earlier versions to illustrate how ideas for the game formed. Backed by the collective expertise of ACMI, NFSA and the Powerhouse across exhibition, collection, design and innovation, the acquisition ensures that as technologies, curatorial practices, and preservation methods change, Untitled Goose Game will remain a key part of Australia’s creative history.

With curators and digital conservators from ACMI, NFSA and the Powerhouse implementing a collective strategic approach to acquisition, collection, preservation, storage and accessibility of Australian video games, the institutions will avoid duplication and help to build a distributed national collection that tells the evolving story of Australian videogames.

 

Victorian Minister for Creative Industries Steve Dimopoulos said: “Untitled Goose Game is a locally made, globally played sensation that all Victorians can be proud of. This initiative recognises the cultural significance of games as an artform, safeguards Untitled Goose Game for future generations, and celebrates the success of the talented team behind it.”

“We are backing our games sector as part of our $191.5 million VICSCREEN strategy, which will see even more success stories like Untitled Goose Game come out of Victoria.”

 

ACMI Acting Director and CEO, Graham Jephcott said: “As Australia’s national museum of screen culture, ACMI has been collecting and exhibiting videogames since its inception. While a film canister can last at least 70 years, a hard disk is lucky to last seven years without intervention. This joint acquisition with NFSA and the Powerhouse will enable us to preserve, play, research and understand the cultural importance of Untitled Goose Game long into the future.”

 

NFSA CEO Patrick McIntyre said: “This acquisition shines a light on the creativity and success of Australian games developers and is a testament to the importance of the Games industry in Australia’s audio-visual landscape. As Australia’s only national archive for AV culture, it’s our priority to collect, preserve and share gaming content that represents the local industry’s complexity and diversity. The partnership between ACMI, Powerhouse and NFSA plays an important part in our ambition to build and maintain a games and interactive media collection of historical, social and cultural significance that we can conserve for all Australians.”

 

Powerhouse Chief Executive Lisa Havilah said: “Gaming is a thriving industry in NSW and its impact on popular culture is undeniable. Particularly since the COVID-19 pandemic, gaming has gained prominence as an enabler of connection. For the Powerhouse, it has strong potential for integration across all areas of museum programming. The museum looks forward to growing our national videogames collection under this unique partnership with ACMI and NFSA.”

 

House House Co-Director Michael McMaster said: “We at House House are humbled to see our work join the collections of ACMI, NFSA and the Powerhouse. As game developers the question of videogames’ longevity and fragility is important to us, so we were surprised and grateful when these institutions offered to collect Untitled Goose Game. We’re glad to know that it will not only be playable for years to come, but that an understanding of its development process and cultural context can also be preserved. It’s heartening to see our game join the rich histories of Australian media and design contained in these collections – we feel our goose is in very safe hands.”

 

About ACMI

ACMI reopened in February 2021 after a two-year, $40 million redevelopment – an architectural, programmatic and technological transformation. Navigate the universe of film, TV, videogames and art with ACMI. The museum celebrates the wonder and power of the world’s most democratic artform – fostering the next generation of makers, players and watchers. ACMI’s vibrant calendar of exhibitions, screenings, commissions, festivals, and industry and education programs explore the stories, technologies and artists that create our shared screen culture. ACMI’s collection holds 7,000 videogames in a larger collection of 250,000 items.

Since 2012, ACMI has undertaken research with Swinburne University of Technology and RMIT University, funded by the Australian Research Council, into the preservation and emulation of Australian videogames. The museum also commissions videogames as interactive artworks; runs the ACMI + RMIT Audience Lab to help game developers test games in production with audiences; and co-funds an annual student games prize with RMIT. More at acmi.net.au

About NFSA

The NFSA’s mission is to collect, preserve and share Australia’s vibrant and diverse audiovisual culture as embodied by our evolving collection – reflecting who we were, who we are, and who we want to be. Audiovisual technologies enable us to capture moments in time: moving image and sounds in their most vivid forms. At over 3 million items, the NFSA collection transforms these records into ‘living memories’ – the many facets of Australia’s peoples, cultures, ideas and beliefs, both over time and across the land. More at nfsa.gov.au

About the Powerhouse

The Powerhouse is Australia’s contemporary museum for excellence and innovation in applied arts and sciences. The Powerhouse is undertaking a transformative renewal through the redevelopment of Powerhouse Ultimo, the creation of its new flagship museum Powerhouse Parramatta, the expansion of Powerhouse Castle Hill and the digitisation of the Powerhouse collections. It is uniquely placed to demonstrate how technology, engineering, science and design impact Australia and the world. More at maas.museum

About Untitled Goose Game

The Untitled Goose Game is developed by Australian developer House House. Players take on the role of an annoying goose, waddling around an old English Town to create mischief and chaos. By completing a to-do list, players gradually unlock access to more areas of the town. The Untitled Goose Game received widespread acclaim since its launched in late September 2019, with critics praising its gameplay and humour. It was named the D.I.C.E. Game of the Year and a BAFTA Games Award for Best Family and Social game in 2020. It is available for PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, PC and Mac.

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MEDIA CONTACTS

Frances Mariani | Head of Communications, ACMI
frances.mariani@acmi.net.au | 0416 069 778

Louise Alley | Manager, Communications NFSA
louise.alley@nfsa.gov.au | 0422 348 652

Georgia McKay | Head of Communications & Engagement, Powerhouse
georgia.mckay@maas.museum | 0466 223 293

 

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