Press Release

The Strong Acquires Source Files from LGBTQ Game Archive

Published December 14, 2020

Monday, December 14, 2020
For Immediate Release

Shane Rhinewald, 585-410-6365, srhinewald@museumofplay.org

ROCHESTER, New York—The Strong, home to the International Center for the History of Electronic Games and World Video Game Hall of Fame, has received a compilation of primary sources and files (including articles, websites, blogs, web forums, videos, and images) used in the creation of the LGBTQ Game Archive. The online archive, established by Adrienne Shaw, PhD, from Temple University, documents the history of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer content in video games from the 1980s through present day. It includes many major hit game series, such as The Legend of Zelda, Final Fantasy, Super Mario Brothers, Fallout, and The Sims.

“This collection is a significant resource for anyone studying gender, sexuality, or LGBTQ representation in games throughout history and allows the museum to more fully tell the story of the video game industry. From hidden subtext and problematic storylines, to games which let players make their own decisions about a character’s sexuality, queer representation in video games has made immense strides within the past few decades,” says Julia Novakovic, museum archivist. “The LGBTQ Game Archive collection critically enhances our holdings while supplementing many of our existing collections (including those related to The Sims and various games by Sierra On-Line). We’re pleased to preserve and make accessible this valuable information and are dedicated to expanding our LGBTQ-inclusive archival resources.”

Since 2015, the LGBTQ Game Archive has relied on research assistants from Temple University and volunteers to collect information about games with LGBTQ content. The collection includes information about and digital copies of two of the earliest known LGBTQ games—Caper in the Castro, a murder mystery video game from 1989, which is the earliest known computer game with a specific focus on LGBTQ themes, and GayBlade, a 1992 action role-playing game about fighting various homophobic characters.

Says LGBTQ Archive Founder Adrienne Shaw, “The master list of games compiled via the LGBTQ Game Archive has grown to 1,290 games. Although this is a never-ending project, my collaborators and I have produced six journal articles or book chapters, several blog posts, interviews or commentary pieces, as well as a museum exhibit and catalog. The website, which has been publicly available since 2016, has been visited 1.8 million times as of December 2020. And now, the primary source materials will have a permanent home at The Strong to help further this important research.”

The materials will be available onsite to scholars, researchers, journalists, and others interested in exploring the history of LGBTQ content in video games and will help inform future displays and exhibitions at The Strong museum. (The full list of available materials can be found at https://www.museumofplay.org/uploads/6220-lgbtq-game-archive-collection-finding-aid.)


About The Strong

The Strong is a highly interactive, collections-based museum devoted to the history and exploration of play. It is one of the largest history museums in the United States and one of the leading museums serving families. The Strong houses the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of historical materials related to play and is home to the International Center for the History of Electronic Games, the National Toy Hall of Fame, the World Video Game Hall of Fame, the Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play, the Woodbury School, and the American Journal of Play. Together, these enable a multifaceted array of research, exhibition, and other interpretive and educational activities that serve a diverse audience of adults, families, children, students, teachers, scholars, collectors, and others around the globe.