VentureBeat is reporting today that MADE, aka the Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment, is closing down its Oakland, California, base. It had already been closed since March in the wake of the pandemic, but now curators say that its management nonprofit decided to pull the plug and put all its artifacts in storage using donation funding following a rent dispute.
If MADE sounds familiar to MOP readers, it’s because it’s been integral to the fight for game preservation, including of MMOs, for the last several years: It famously rescued proto-MMO Habitat and got it running again for folks who wanted a peek into the 1986 world. Perhaps even more notably, it’s the organization that has been pushing the Library of Congress for exceptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that would allow it to preserve MMOs for academic and research purposes, an effort that was successful in 2018, leading MADE to offer a home to sunsetted online games: “If anyone has dead MMO server code out there, and wants us to lock it away for a few years until it’s clear to relaunch the server, or if you’re ready for us to reboot it right now, let us know.”
In fact, you’ll recall that in objecting to MADE’s petitions, local villain the Entertainment Software Association impugned the museum, ludicrously characterizing MADE as a “clubhouse where people gather to play games” whose goal was “enabling public gameplay, rather than preservation for serious scholarly purposes.” Protip, if you love video games so much that you run a nonprofit museum for them and fight for their history in court, and the worst thing the ESA can say about you is that you like games too much, you’re definitely the good guy.
We’re all crossing fingers that MADE is restored in full at some point in the future when the pandemic is over because frankly video gaming needs it more than ever.
Further reading on why MADE matters: