When I tell people that I work at The National Archives they tend to automatically assume that I work with dusty paper records. It is sometimes quite a struggle to explain that I deal with archiving websites and rarely enter the repositories they have seen featured in TV history programmes. Other posts in this blog have explained that The National Archives preserves a diverse range of records which are not all paper based. We hold such things as a glove, a leather case and of course a wide range of digital records including a perhaps surprising number of video games.
My earlier post noted that UK Government began using the internet to communicate with citizens in the mid 1990s. As web technology developed and more people began to use the internet, government organisations started to develop different types of content aimed at particular sections of the population. This included the development of several video games which were hosted on government websites. In some cases we have been able to capture the games and add them to the web archive.
Many of these games were aimed at children, such as the games on the Hedgehog family website, which we archived in November 2008. The Hedgehog family was a Department of Transport initiative which aimed to educate children about road safety. A variety of different types of media were used. The Hedgehog family was replaced by a new initiative called Tales of the Road in November 2008 and the website was removed from the live web. We are pleased that this example of how government used technology to communicate with children has been captured for long term preservation.