The WSJ has a blog entry on Denmark’s Spilmuseet, a huge museum with “approximately 10,000 console and computer games, 4,000 arcade games and 1,400 arcade machines”. Unfortunately, it’s closing and the owners are looking for someone to snatch it all up for public display. Here’s the link that the author, Clemens Bomsdorf, has also included that goes straight to the museum’s site.
One of the cool things they did was to provide a big gallery showing off many of their pieces and players enjoying them. This wasn’t a museum that put these things behind glass — the owners spent time restoring much of their collection to working order. They also had great looking, interactive display stands like this one for Super Mario Bros.:
The reason for the museum’s closure, unfortunately, is that the owners weren’t apparently able to secure additional government funding to stay open. So now they’re looking for others to adopt the collection with an eye to sharing it out as they had. It’s really too bad, but on the other hand, it’s still inspiring to see efforts in preserving the past like this in other parts of the world rather than let a lot of these classics end up in a landfill. They even have a short writeup on Danish game development history.
The collection also includes a number of rare pieces ranging from a Hello Kitty themed, limited edition Dreamcast (and a ton of other themed Dreamcast consoles) to a Nintendo 64 DD Dev unit. They even have an Atari VSX (which would go on to become the Atari 5200) which is incredibly rare. It’s considered the prototype to the 5200 and say that only four or five exist today making it the “holy-grail for the hard-core Atari enthusiast”.
So if you have a museum that you want to add several thousand machines to, you might want to talk to the Spilmuseet and see if you can snag a few of these classics before they disappear.