The archive will recognise the "significant contributions made by videogames to the diversity of popular culture across the globe" – from the humble beginnings of 1972’s Pong, to the blockbusters of the 21st Century.
The new archive will be housed at the National Media Museum and will be managed, steered and researched in collaboration with Nottingham Trent University’s Centre for Contemporary Play.
The Centre draws on academic strengths across a range of disciplines, including psychology, art and design, cultural studies and computer science.
In addition to a treasure trove of consoles and cartridges, the archive will collect and gather a broad range of items from across the industry.
It will encompass the wider cultural phenomenon of videogames by documenting advertising campaigns, magazine reviews, artwork and the communities that sustain them – the overall aim being to collect, celebrate and preserve this vital cultural form for future generations.
“The National Videogame Archive is an important resource for preserving elements of our national cultural heritage," said Dr James Newman, from Nottingham Trent University’s Centre for Contemporary Play.
"We don’t just want to create a virtual museum full of code or screenshots that you could see online. The archive will really get to grips with what is a very creative, social and productive culture.”
Newman said the archive would not only be a vital academic resource to support growing disciplines in videogame studies, but will also be something that the general public can fully engage with.
"With popular new videogame releases already resembling Hollywood blockbusters, videogame buffs are keen to avoid the mistakes of their counterparts in the film industry where countless pieces of historically significant material have been lost forever," Newman said.
The National Videogame Archive will be launched at this year’s GameCity 3 festival in Nottingham.
The three day event is set to attract videogame enthusiasts, developers and publishers to a range of activities taking place across the city and at the main festival venue, Gatecrasher nightclub.