French gaming enthusiasts are embarking on an ambitious undertaking to establish the world’s largest video game museum near Disneyland Paris. The Odyssey Project, aptly named after the inaugural gaming console created by Magnavox in 1972, aims to house an extraordinary assemblage of gaming artifacts. Spearheaded by Ludovic Charles, a passionate collector with a staggering collection of 2,200 consoles, and Benoit Theveny, a prominent YouTuber known as Tev with a million followers, this project represents a seminal milestone in the gaming industry.
Charles, now 49 years old, has dedicated the past two decades of his life to accumulating an impressive array of gaming consoles. Within his vast collection lie a multitude of Nintendo, Sega, Sony, Microsoft, and various other gaming systems. However, Charles ardently believes that these consoles should no longer remain idle on his shelves. Instead, he aspires to create a museum that provides an exhaustive overview of the evolution of video games. “Gathering them all was what interested me,” Charles explains, “but the goal was always a museum.”
The vision for The Odyssey Project extends beyond a mere video game museum. Charles and Theveny plan to include a “Japanese village” dedicated to Japan’s iconic popular culture and cuisine. By incorporating this cultural aspect, they hope to ensure inclusivity, catering to gaming enthusiasts of all ages and backgrounds. The duo seeks to celebrate the magic of video games, from children discovering the enchantment of Minecraft to older generations who experienced the earliest forms of gaming, such as the legendary tennis-like computer game, Pong.
Undeterred by the considerable scale of their undertaking, Charles and Theveny turned to crowdfunding to finance their audacious project. Their efforts have proven fruitful, with over one million euros already raised. Last year, Charles listed his extensive collection online for approximately the same amount, igniting the spark that would soon give birth to The Odyssey Project. Theveny, residing in Tokyo and renowned for his enjoyable videos on Japanese and geek culture, believes that video games deserve recognition and validation as an integral part of our cultural heritage.
While previous attempts to establish video game museums in France have faced numerous challenges, Theveny asserts that valuable lessons have been learned. The Pixel Museum, located in a suburb of Strasbourg near the German border, unfortunately closed its doors in 2020 after a three-year run. Additionally, a video game museum in La Defense, the financial district of Paris, lasted a mere ten days. Nonetheless, Theveny assures that the team behind The Odyssey Project is fully aware of these setbacks and is determined to surpass them. They have garnered the support and collaboration of the local mayor, who is already working on an e-sports initiative that will find a home in the sprawling complex.
Anticipation for The Odyssey Project is mounting, as enthusiasts eagerly await construction to commence in 2025, with the grand opening of the museum and entertainment village in the following year. This visionary project sets a new benchmark in gaming history, cementing the position of video games as a revered and influential aspect of our culture. The world’s largest video game museum is poised to become an immersive and awe-inspiring tribute to the digital pastime that has captivated millions worldwide.