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City envy: we want a videogame museum like Sheffield

Written by
James FitzGerald

As anyone who’s ever struggled through ‘Grand Theft Auto’ will know, gaming can be a pretty educational experience. And Sheffield has just scored big by opening a whole museum dedicated to computer games.

Previously in Nottingham and more of an arcade, the National Videogame Museum recently reopened in Yorkshire – and its new incarnation is not just a great place to go and play the classics (think ‘Pac-Man’ and ‘Space Invaders’; we’re not sure that old Sega Saturn can handle ‘Fortnite’). The institution is part of an effort to get videogames recognised as proper culture. Imagine the V&A’s recent exhibition ‘Design/Play/Disrupt’ but as a permanent fixture, with more than a hundred games available to play.

Proving its credentials as a place of learning rather than mere mindless button-bashing, the National Videogame Museum also includes a section about Sheffield’s historic role in the gaming industry.

Okay, London isn’t lacking in museums. But gaming shapes the world we live in, and one (final) fantasy we have for our city is a place that takes it seriously. We’d love a videogame museum of our own, with a London-themed room filled with all the titles that have used the capital as a backdrop, such as ‘Tomb Raider III’ and ‘Assassin’s Creed Syndicate’. Perhaps our prayers could be answered by Theo Blackwell, City Hall’s chief digital officer, who once boasted of being the highest-ranked UK politician on ‘World of Warcraft’.

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