He and Ruggill officially launched their repository of nerdom in 1999 by combining their own personal video game collections into one fledgeling library.
They admit they weren’t always taken seriously at first.
“It was a very strange experience in a way,” Ruggill says. “We had a colleague over in what was then the Department of Media Arts (who) studied pornography, and somehow that was more socially acceptable than games.”
Academic attitudes have evolved significantly since then.
According to Ruggill, the UA now offers three different game-related majors, and research opportunities in the field are nearly endless. Video games can be used to explore questions about psychology, physiology, education, geopolitics, art, business, marketing, engineering, technological advancement and cultural change.
Simply put, “There are lots and lots of reasons to have an archive,” Ruggill says.
But browsing through the collection is more than just an academic exercise. A feeling of nostalgia is almost inescapable, even for the men who assembled it.
It’s one of the most rewarding aspects of what they’ve built, Ruggill says: “seeing people be transported by the things here.”