The Korea Herald


Nexon Computer Museum preserves history of computers, games

By Jie Ye-eun

Published : Sept. 3, 2023 - 15:12

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An image of Apple’s first personal computer, the Apple I, launched in 1976. (Nexon) An image of Apple’s first personal computer, the Apple I, launched in 1976. (Nexon)

Nexon Computer Museum run by South Korean game maker Nexon has preserved and disseminated the history of computers and video games to the public over the past decade.

Located on the island of Jeju, it is registered as a member of the International Council of Museums. About 1.35 million visitors came to explore the items on display, including 400 pieces of hardware and 2,000 pieces of software, books and video materials on computers and games.

The key collection items include the Apple I, Apple’s first personal computer launched in 1976; the IBM 5150, which is known as the IBM PC, the first microcomputer introduced by IBM in 1981; and the first commercial home video game console, Magnavox Odyssey, released in 1972.

From early computer devices to classic arcade game machines, the collections preserve and show the history of computers and games, but the museum is also making efforts to preserve their values.

“The Kingdom of the Winds 1996” restores Nexus: The Kingdom of the Winds, a beloved role-playing game developed and published by Nexon, to its original form at the time of its release.

This is the world's first case of online game restoration. Due to the difficulty of restoring the source within the server, developers who participated in the initial production gathered to reverse-engineer it based on the source at the time of development.

NEpository, a special stage at the Nexon Computer Museum (Nexon) NEpository, a special stage at the Nexon Computer Museum (Nexon)

Based on the open-source concept, anyone can participate in exhibitions by observing exhibits up close and making collection suggestions at the Nexon Computer Museum. In July 2019, it held a special exhibition in Seoul, "Game a game/invite you_," to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Korean online games. Visitors were able to experience real-life recreations of the settings of online games Mabinogi and KartRider at the venue.

Nexon Computer Museum has also been a popular field trip destination, with nearly half of the visitors being children.

It also runs the NEpository to preserve the historical value of Korean online games through archives of unreleased or discontinued games.

“We hope that the museum will establish itself as a space where visitors can share their memories through visitor-specific exhibitions that can convey a sense of kinship and solidarity to those in their 30s and 40s who have directly experienced and witnessed the growth of the gaming industry,” said Choi Yun-ah, director of Nexon Computer Museum.

“We’ll continue to fulfill our role of recording and preserving history and create a museum that can communicate and interact through creative attempts.