If you haven’t had your Sonic the Hedgehog fix since 1992, or you’ve been jonesing for a trip back to the Super Mario Bros. Mushroom Kingdom to battle Bowser, you’re in luck. Because on 16th Street in Oakland, surrounded by a slew of shady-looking law practices, a psych office, and a Tibetan Buddhist society, is your ticket back to the video game arcades of days gone by. It’s called the Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment (MADE), or what we like to think of as Nerd-vana. Get it?
Anyway, hand over your two-dollar donation, and step into the awesomely geektacular brainchild of renowned tech journalist Alex Handy. Handy’s arcade operates entirely on donations of time, money, skills, and, of course, games and systems. There is hands-on access to an extensive library of NES, SNES, N64, Wii, GameCube, Genesis, Dreamcast, ATARI 2600, Intellivision, Jaguar, Jaguar CD, Coleco, Commodore 64 (you get the idea), and many other console and computer games, obscure accessories, systems, and ephemera.
One of the museum’s early supporters was GamePro magazine. But GamePro folded in 2011, and the spoils of the magazine’s gaming swag all went to the MADE, originally located in San Francisco. When the museum could no longer afford rent there, the collection made the transbay trip to Oakland.
The museum’s most recent acquisition is an impressive original NES copy of Metroid. Their goal: to acquire every electronic game system ever. As time marches on, they’ll have more current games and systems, which likely won’t be current by the time they arrive, but nostalgia is what makes this whole thing work, right?
The museum’s Chief Curator, Chris, explained that, in addition to maintaining what we imagine has to be the most thorough video game collection in Oakland, MADE also offers free youth programming classes in BASIC and PYTHON (programming languages). According to their website, the MADE also recently offered a free front-end web programming class.
On Tuesday nights, the MADE hosts Fight Night, where gamers can play fighting and party games. The event is livestreamed via the MADE’s website, here. There are also dance parties, complete with a lightshow, DDR pads, and no shame (a requirement when playing dance video games).
MADE is a 501(c)(3) non-profit. They are currently running a fundraiser to not only keep the museum afloat, but to continue teaching kids tools to become tomorrow’s video game developers. You can donate here.
“The MADE is a center and museum dedicated to activities that engage participants with all forms of digital art and entertainment.” -www.themade.org
Saturday, 5 to 9 pm
610 16th Street, Suite 230
(@Jefferson, between Telegraph and San Pablo)
Dial #0230 at the front door to be buzzed in.