December 4, 2023

For nearly 90 years, the National Film and Sound Archive (NFSA) has been preserving Australia’s unique audiovisual heritage – and it has now broken out into video games.

And not just the retro games many Australians grew up with, but also the vintage consoles required to play them.

From the Atari, to the Vic-20, the Sega and the Commodore 64, the NFSA has begun a project to tell the history of Australia’s computer industry – and the games that have kept generations entertained.

Its collection even includes a 1991 game based on the soapie juggernaut Neighbours, where you can choose to play as Charlene or Henry, skateboarding through the streets of Erinsborough.

A cartoon depiction of TV show Neighbours

Iconic Australian soapie Neighbours featured in a 1991 video game. (Supplied: National Film and Sound Archive)

The NFSA project is about recognising Australia’s crucial role in a multi-billion-dollar worldwide industry – with a history dating back to the 1970s.

Curators are not just collecting Australian-themed games, but those with Australian creative involvement, including design.

Recently, the Australian government announced a landmark new tax offset, in the hope of growing the Australian games industry further.

Video games as ‘cultural artefacts’ 

Four retro video games cases

The National Film and Sound Archive wants to hear from people who may have mint condition technology used for playing retro video games. (ABC News: Craig Allen)

National Film and Sound Archive chief executive Patrick McIntyre said preserving Australian video games was a natural extension of the institution’s work.


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