In an ambitious endeavor to pay homage to the rich history and cultural significance of video games, French gaming enthusiasts have set their sights on creating the world’s largest video game museum. Named “The Odyssey Project,” after the first-ever console designed by Magnavox in 1972, this monumental undertaking aims to house one of the most extensive collections of games ever assembled. Spearheaded by collector Ludovic Charles and YouTuber Benoit Theveny, this museum will not only showcase an exhaustive overview of the evolution of video games but also include a “Japanese village” dedicated to the country’s popular culture and cuisine.
Ludovic Charles, a passionate collector, has spent the last two decades amassing an impressive collection of 2,200 consoles, including every imaginable version of Nintendo, Sega, Sony, Microsoft, and other gaming systems. However, Charles’s vision extends far beyond simply accumulating these artifacts. “I do not want them to sit pointlessly on the shelves any longer,” he explains. His ultimate goal was always to establish a museum that would provide a comprehensive account of video game history. Teaming up with Benoit Theveny, who is renowned for his popular videos on Japanese and geek culture, the pair merged their expertise and passion to make this dream a reality.
The philosophy behind The Odyssey Project is to be all-encompassing and inclusive, ensuring that no one is left out. From young children who enjoy games like Minecraft to the seasoned veterans in their 50s or 60s who reminisce about the pioneering days of Pong, a tennis-like computer game, The Odyssey Project aims to capture the essence and impact of video games on our society. Theveny passionately advocates for video games to be recognized as a vital part of our culture, stating, “They deserve to have their own museum, and I think more and more people would agree with me on that.”
The proposed location for The Odyssey Project is an extensive greenfield site in the eastern Paris suburb of Bussy-Saint-Georges, conveniently situated near Disneyland Paris. Previous attempts to establish video game museums in France have had a checkered history, with closures and short-lived ventures. However, Charles and Theveny are confident in their approach, having learned from these past experiences. They are proud to have the full support of the local mayor, who is already involved in an e-sports project that will also find a place in the complex. Construction is expected to commence in 2025, with the museum and accompanying entertainment village opening their doors to the public the following year.
The Odyssey Project stands as a testament to the passion and dedication of French gaming nerds and their unwavering belief in the cultural significance of video games. With plans to house one of the most extensive collections of games ever assembled and an overarching vision to celebrate the evolution of video games, this museum promises to be a mecca for gamers of all ages. As Ludovic Charles and Benoit Theveny forge ahead, supported by the local community and countless video game enthusiasts, the world eagerly awaits the unveiling of The Odyssey Project.