|The Vanamo Online Game Museum|
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Hi, I'm Evan Amos, a photographer living in Brooklyn, New York. A couple of years ago I started taking high quality, public domain pictures for Wikipedia articles. The catalyst for this project was my passion for video games and my frequenting of Wikipedia to learn more about them. When I noticed the poor quality of console photos in the articles, it spurred me to fix the problem myself. It began as a lark, and then I started to get really into it. Suddenly I wanted every article to have pictures, which meant taking pictures of every console. The project would also be an excuse to teach myself product photography, so it would be great for experience. Over time the project became an obsession, and I kept pushing myself to complete such an ambitious task.
Given the challenges of such a project, I turned to the community for help. It didn't take long for me to go through my own small collection of game consoles, so if I wanted to get more, I'd have to find people who had them. Through places like reddit and craigslist, I asked for help from local collectors to have access to their collections. A few answered the call, allowing me access to some impressive collections. These collections built a majority of the gallery, but after exhausting that avenue, taking pictures for the gallery stopped. I took a break from photographing to focus on other things, but all the while still wanting to finish what I had started.
With the project always in the back of my mind, I imagined what I'd do if I had the consoles on hand. I could retake some of the old photos in a higher quality, but I could also create expanded galleries. Without time constraints and the ability to take console apart, galleries could have a multitude of pictures from various angles, making them a greater resource. The appeal of this was enough that I put together a Kickstarter for the project. With crowdfunding I'd be able to buy these consoles and make those extensive photo collections, making my dream a reality.
To make my Kickstarter successful, I had to promote the project and talk about what I had done. Over the years my photos had proven to be extremely popular, appearing in videos, books, textbooks, newspapers, magazines and even television. The photos showed how powerful a platform Wikipedia's free media was in terms of visibility and ease of access (well, before the terrible Media Viewer). It also showed how sorely needed these consoles needed preserving, as outside of my project the pictures available were just too low quality or non-existent. I just had to make people realize that all of these photos had come from one person, and that I needed help.
The Kickstarter had a rough start, as I had a hard time getting publicity. It wasn't until the final few days that it all came together. A blog post about the project I had written on Gamasutra gained a lot of traction and media attention, leading to reposts on various sites as well as interviews to talk about the project. This attention brought people who cared about video game history and preservation, and they donated to make this all possible. With their help I raised over $15,000 that I used to buy game consoles to photograph. Since the Kickstarter ended, I've been working on bringing my ideas and promises to fruition. I'm currently working on making expanded galleries and transforming this media into the Vanamo Online Game Museum, a high quality and public domain archive of gaming history. It's a lot of work, but I'm happy to do it.
If you have any questions or you'd like to contact me, you can reach me at: evan.amos \AT/ gmail.com
I've been working on taking new photos and re-taking old ones, then putting those into dedicated console galleries. To use this page, click on a console to visit the gallery page. Galleries are rated by completion with color:
I take pictures of things besides game consoles, usually food. Here are links to my other image galleries on Wikimedia:
Follow me on TwitterEdit
In November 2013 I successfully raised money to improve and add content to my video game Wikimedia galleries. The success and exposure of the Kickstarter also lead me to a book deal about video game history, which I'm working on while I work on fulfilling my Kickstarter promises.