You've Never Heard Of Gaming's Most Famous Photographer

Ever notice how the photos of gaming systems on Wikipedia are actually pretty good? This is why.

PlayStation 2

Evan Amos

If you're spent more than a few minutes searching for restriction-free photos in the hellmouth that is the Wikimedia Commons, a Creative Commons-based media division of Wikipedia, you know there's pretty slim pickins. Photos from the archive are free to use, but they're not always of the highest quality: they're blurry, or oddly cropped, or just gross. But, strangely, the photos of gaming systems are pretty good. What's more, they're actually consistent.

Well, you can thank Evan Amos for that. Over at PetaPixel, Amos describes how he went about photographing both modern and antique gaming systems, becoming the de facto Wiki documentarian of gaming:

At first I took photos of food items, candy bars and electronics, but I began narrowing my focus on video game systems. I started making lists of every console ever released. Before the video game crash of 1983, there were numerous systems, many now barely remembered, with little information available. Message boards and fansites had few details, with the same poor, low-resolution pictures. I realized that relatively recent history was being lost to time, all because the internet did not have good information and media about these game systems. There was a need to document these systems and show people what they looked like before they’re forgotten to time.

He's not doing it for the credit, either. Anyone--news agencies or otherwise--can grab the photos and use them for whatever they want. He reached out to collectors to find some of the more obscure items, like the Bally Astrocade, explained what he was doing to the owners, and uploaded the photos for free. Now he's running a Kickstarter campaign (fully funded, with a few days to spare) for a free "online game museum": with funding, he plans to track down the rarest gaming systems and document them for future generations:

I wanted to continue and expand my work with new ideas: more pictures from different angles, motherboard shots, videos and detailed descriptions. Yet the same problems remained: access to systems and money, but I now understood that there was a community of gaming fans that appreciated this work and could help close the gaps. I started a Kickstarter to appeal to the gaming community and ask for their help in transforming my current gallery of pictures into an expanded and in-depth site tailored to gaming history’s needs. The funding would allow me to purchase old and obscure system and spend the time to document them in the detail they deserve. There is a huge need for this. There is no one else trying to provide this service at this level, at this quality, at this reach (Wikipedia) and in a format (public domain) that will ensure that these photos will last for decades from now. The work that I’ve already created and its impact thus far is a testament to the importance of the project. These are the reasons why I do this work, and why I do it for free.

So as someone blogging on the video game beat: thanks, Evan. Also: we couldn't help but notice you are a fan of jelly beans, too.