Progress report – March/April 2018

In order to have a more active blog for the association “Les amis du Musée Bolo” and to compliment the already active social media communication, the association has taken it upon themselves to regularly write articles summarising the important events and updates for the Museum. In this edition we will give you the updates from March and April 2018.

Feedback from the aBCM General Assembly

The aBCM is the association for the friends of Musée Bolo, whose members promote Musée Bolo’s collection of vintage IT material. The collection is the property of the Mémoires Informatiques foundation.

The General Assembly highlighted the promising status of the aBCM, whose members have increased in number and whose newer members are particularly active, such as Rom1 and Robin. Robin was also elected as a committee member to replace Didier, who has said goodbye after a number of years of tireless dedication as part of the aBCM.

The financial status of the aBCM has also been stabilised, despite the challenges facing the Museum and, in particular, the financial cost of our main storeroom, Ruchonnet. As with any museum, all of this makes the search for sponsorship essential.

In the next few months, we will bring you updates on how we are professionalising the Museum.

New arrivals

In the previous instalment, Update report – January/February, we told you about the fundamental steps we have taken to free up some space at our storeroom at Chavannes-près-Renens. Throughout March and April, we have continued this work to make enough space to welcome our biggest donation of the year so far: the DEC collection donated by Mr. André Heitz. We were already able to install the collection’s “smaller” pieces whilst we wait for the larger pieces to be transported professionally to arrive in May.

Tidying up our Chavannes storeroom to welcome André Heitz’s collection

Tidying up our Chavannes storeroom to welcome André Heitz’s collection

Collection DEC/PDP, André Heitz

Collection DEC/PDP, André Heitz

André Heitz, donor of the DEC/PDP collection

André Heitz, donor of the DEC/PDP collection

The extra space created has also allowed us to make room for Bernard’s collection, a friend of the Museum. We intend to pay him a visit over the next few months to pick up his impressive collection with some particularly interesting video game pieces.

Fonds Bruno Bonnell

Work on the Fonds Bruno Bonnell continued with a session on Friday 30th March (Good Friday), where we were able to make progress on the software inventory. We have now logged over 1000 different videogames and software.

Daniel has started to digitalise the Fonds’ VHS content and he will also tackle the task of preserving media in CD format with exclusive content (beta, demo, promo, etc.).

Another team has launched a separate project on the SEGA Fish Life, a virtual aquarium which uses hardware from the SEGA Dreamcast. This “console” is one of the machines in the Fonds Bonnell which we are starting to explore in more detail.

Finally, we were able to show the results of our work to Bruno Bonnell in person, who gave us additional details about certain pieces which we will share with you soon.

Bruno Bonnell, Founder of Infogrames, browsing through the games of the Fonds Bruno Bonnell in our Lausanne storeroom.

Bruno Bonnell, Founder of Infogrames, browsing through the games of the Fonds Bruno Bonnell in our Lausanne storeroom.

Preservation project: SEGA「FISH LIFE」and accompanying software

The Fonds Bruno Bonnell is comprised of a large quantity of software (up until now we have logged over 1000 different pieces), as well as a number of machines and consoles. One of the more curious pieces in the collection is the SEGA Fish Life, a virtual aquarium by SEGA released in 2000-2001.

It is composed of two elements: the main unit and a touch screen. We are not sure yet if we have the touch screen in the collection, but we have already started work on the console.

SEGA Fish Life

SEGA Fish Life

We had to make a few repairs (notably changing a capacitor) to make the unit functional again, but apart from this, the console and accompanying software are in good condition. The game does start on a standard screen, just without the possibility to interact with the fish.

Sega Fish Life

Sega Fish Life

In addition to the hardware, we are lucky enough to have one of the “games” specific to the Fish Life: AMAZON Playful Edition.

AMAZON Playful Edition for SEGA Fish Life

AMAZON Playful Edition for SEGA Fish Life

We intend to share the results of our preservation work with the community, as well as asking the community to help us to continue to preserve this rather forgotten part of SEGA’s history.


Over the last two months, we have participated at two events:
Demi-Finale des Jeux Mathématiques 2018 (Semi-final of the Mathematics Games 2018)
A family-friendly mathematics competition made up of two phases (semi-final, and the final) across several centres including EPFL. EPFL invited us to open the Museum and to offer a number of activities. We installed a puzzle-themed game lounge with:

Pac-Man Vs. proved particularly popular thanks to its simplicity, its well-known characters and asymmetric gameplay (3 ghosts against Pac-Man).

Pac-Man Vs.

Pac-Man Vs. at the semi-final of the Mathematics Games 2018

Vintage Computer Festival Thun (VCFe)

Yves Bolognini, founder of Musée Bolo, was at the VCFe in Thun to present vintage computer pieces from Romandy (the French-speaking part of Switzerland), but also to speak with other Swiss collectors.

VCFe Thun 2018

Musée Bolo stand at VCFe Thun 2018

Upcoming events

In the next few months, we are participating at 3 events:
1. PolyJapan Special Evening Event at EPFL, Wednesday 9th May
We are collaborating with EPFL’s PolyJapan society to offer a gaming zone as part of their annual special event. What we have planned: Pac-Man Vs. for GameCube, Smash Bros 64 for Nintendo64, various Just Dance titles for the WiiU, Bomberman for Super Nintendo, and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for the Switch.

Facebook page for PolyJapan’s Special Evening EventFacebook page for PolyJapan’s Special Evening Event

2. A Bit of (hi)story 2018 in Turin, 12th and 13th May
Yves Bolognini, founder of Musée Bolo, will be in Turin for a round-table discussion on the theme of “Computer museums across the world: ideas, projects and impact”.

a bit of [hi]story3. Pixels event at the Grange de Dorigny, Thursday 17th May
Musée Bolo will be at “Games Night” organised by Pixels, UNIL’s and EPFL’s society for videogame culture. Sixth generation consoles and games from our collection and selected by members of Pixels will be available for participants to play.

For more information, please follow Pixels’ Twitter account.

Museum Week

As every year, we participated in #MuseumWeek, a worldwide cultural event on social networks. See our Tweets from #MuseumWeek

#professionsMW #MuseumWeek

#professionsMW #MuseumWeek

What have our friends been up to?

Yves Bolognini published the results of his survey to learn more about Swiss collectors of vintage computers: Who Rescues Old Computers?

UNIL’s GameLab and Interface sciences-société explored the relationship between video games and history through the public seminar “Rien n’est vrai, tout est permis: l’histoire avec Assassin’s Creed Origins” (Nothing is real, everything is allowed: History through Assassin’s Creed Origins”, available on YouTube (video in French).

What’s been happening in the rest of the world?

Because we are not the only ones doing things, here are a few links to what we’ve read and seen over the last few months: