Enhanced Curation and the Brad Fregger Oral History

Last week, we at the UT Videogame Archive had the opportunity to sit down with Brad Fregger to discuss his entry into the videogame industry and the time he spent as a videogame producer at two of the biggest names in the budding videogame industry, Atari and Activision.

Interviewing Brad Fregger and compiling an oral history regarding his life within the videogame industry provided insight into the goings on of the early years of the video and computer game development. The opportunity to interview a donor represents an interesting facet of current archival practices, enhanced curation.

Enhanced curation involves gathering contextual information regarding materials of a collection to create a more complete picture about the elements within the collection and their creator. The contextual information can involve photographing work spaces, video and audio interviews with donors, or other components. These components then become part of the collection materials and can be made available to researchers.

The cover of Brad Fregger's book from 1998 detailing his experiences in the videogame industry.
The cover of Brad Fregger’s book from 1998 detailing his experiences in the videogame industry.

The Brad Fregger Oral History revealed the lasting impact of many of the experiences talked about in his book, Lucky That Way. The interview also provided a fuller picture of the videogame industry in its infancy – when building a company meant recruiting accomplished people from what we might think of today as unrelated domains.The skills Brad developed and the successes he had in retail employee training helped his success videogame industry and as an educator.

For UTVA collections that consist primarily of materials such as games and hardware, enhanced curation places the different elements of a collection in a relevant context which allows for researchers to immerse themselves in the story of the creator and the story they are crafting. The addition of enhanced curation to our practices helps to further the mission of the UT Videogame Archive, which seeks to preserve and make available to researchers records documenting videogame history from developer, critic, artist, publisher, gamer and designer perspectives.

Check back next month for information about our current project involving cataloging and preserving the artifacts(consoles, controllers, peripherals) within the archive.