I spoke to Mike Hanson, the man behind the reincarnation of The Studio school’s Gaming Museum, about why he’s chosen to push for this unique space:
“Last academic year, a few needs became apparent in our students, and a few valuable finds coincided…
I was new to the studio, but in my first few weeks, it was dawning on me that the students in our inner-city school had precious little space in which to spend their break times. Also, considering that many of our students intend to take up careers in the creative industries and primarily with an interest in video games, I was shocked by the lack of knowledge they had on the subject of the games industry’s heritage, not to mention the key role of the north-west in it. The mind-set of a great deal of our games aspiring students was one of non-entitlement! – Big games companies simply happened elsewhere so it probably wasn’t worth taking the notion of getting a job in games too seriously… As a games artist of some 15 years, with a couple of self-developed one-man games behind me on Xbox Live, Steam and mobile, I believed that this was so far from the truth that it just had to be addressed! It was time to empower these kids!
I was regularly opening store cupboards in the school to find old games consoles and peripherals lying about the place, presumably stored for various gaming events to be held at the school. I set about gathering these resources together and after a word with our estates staff, was able to procure a space in which to create The Mezzanine: The world’s first interactive, educational retro gaming museum! It quickly became much loved to our students, who used the space to learn, relax and even organise tournaments! It became a valuable beacon to underprivileged kids of the area and their parents, a fantastic teaching resource for our creative media students in the evolution of graphics, sound and game mechanics, and an essential means of connecting us with valuable industry partners like SpecialEffect and Multiplay.
At the beginning of this academic year, the space was reclaimed for offices and the museum’s kit was relegated to storage. I tried a number of funding methods to get the museum facilitated and brought back to life, from the Lottery Heritage Fund to the Awesome Liverpool Fund, but to no avail… Representatives of the latter suggested that I might take the bid to our local game developers in the hope of finding the funds there, and so my JustGiving page was born: A 30 day campaign to find enough funding to provide plug sockets and access control, which will allow us to open the doors on our beloved museum once more.”
Want to help support us in raising the funds to reopen the Games Museum? Follow this link to donate – https://crowdfunding.justgiving.com/the-dungeon