The Computer and Video Game Archive relocates

By | October 17, 2023
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(Photo by Lisa Nuñez)

The walk through aisles of bound books to the Computer and Video Game Archive (CVGA) feels like exploring a dungeon in a roleplaying game. Tucked away on the fourth floor of the Shapiro Undergraduate Library, clues leading to the CVGA entrance line the wall. Near the door, glass cases display treasures like a Stardew Valley map and Nintendo Game cartridges. Originally located in the Duderstadt building on North Campus, the Archive relocated to its new waypoint last year.

A maze of desks with monitors snakes around the room past the rows of video and tabletop games. In an open area in the back, two employees test a game using a dance pad with directional arrows while troubleshooting a Bluetooth headset.

David Carter, the video game archivist for the CVGA, explains they chose the Shapiro based on survey results. “We discovered that most of our patrons came from the LSA building, and we moved here to be more centralized for everyone.”

“Then the pandemic happened,” he continues. Their frequent users moved away when graduating. “The newcomers didn’t know we existed. We were hidden in the basement of the Duderstadt.” Now that they’ve moved? “It’s like we’re starting from scratch in rebuilding our patronage.”

Though in a smaller space, they kept all their inventory. The CVGA now archives over 10,000 items–older gaming systems like the Atari 2600, current consoles like the PlayStation 5, and even the Famicom (Japanese NES from 1983). The Frankenstein, a retro build PC, runs several emulated DOS games. All systems and games are available to reserve and use in-house.

Leading the way behind the front desk, David points out a newly donated ultra-rare item: a Fairchild Channel F in its original box. “It’s the first console to use cartridges,” David explains. He mentions that the Fairchild does need some work and he might “open it up” to try and discover a fix. Some consoles, like the Sega Genesis, are plentiful and, “…get swapped out as needed.”

Staff and students can explore the CVGA online and reserve items ( to enjoy onsite. New for the archive is a change in policy. Those not affiliated with the university are welcome to email ahead of time for approval to reserve space.

Monday–Thursday: noon–8 p.m.
Friday: noon–5:30 p.m.
Closed Saturday and Sunday.

Accessible entrance and accessible seating are available.