SAN FRANCISCO—Trade shows like the Game Developers Conference and the (dearly departed) E3 are a great chance to see what’s coming down the pike for the game industry. But they can also be a great place to celebrate gaming’s history, as we’ve shown you with any number of on-site photo galleries in years past.

The history display tucked away in a corner of this year’s Game Developers Conference—the first one arranged by the Video Game History Foundation—was a little different. Rather than simply laying out a parcel of random collectibles, as past history-focused booths have, VGHF took a more curated approach, with mini-exhibits focused on specific topics like women in gaming, oddities of gaming music, and an entire case devoted to a little-known entry in a famous edutainment series.

Then there was the central case, devoted to the idea that all sorts of ephemera—from design docs to photos to pre-release prototypes to newsletters to promotional items—were all an integral part of video game history. The organization is practically begging developers, journalists, and fan hoarders of all stripes not to throw out even items that seem like they have no value. After all, today’s trash might be tomorrow’s important historic relic.

As we wrap up GDC (and get to work assembling what we’ve seen into future coverage), please enjoy this gallery of some of the more interesting historical specimens that the VGHF had at this year’s show.

Listing image by Kyle Orland / VGHF

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