video game | A YouTuber and a collector raise more than a million to open a museum – La Presse

They want to open a video game museum near Paris in 2026: a collector and a YouTuber have already raised more than one million euros thanks to an online crowdfunding campaign to support their “Odyssey Project”.

Posted at 2:58 p.m.

Quentin TYBERGHIEN, with Mathias CENA in Tokyo Agence France-Presse

From floor to ceiling in a warehouse in Bouches-du-Rhône, shelves full to bursting hide the precious collection of Ludovic Charles, 49: every imaginable version of consoles from Nintendo, Sega, Sony and Microsoft or even the Odyssey from the American manufacturer Magnavox, Released in 1972 and considered the first in the world, giving the project its name.

These more than 2,200 consoles, accumulated over twenty years, represent “one of the largest collections in the world,” estimates Mr. Charles, who attracted attention in the summer of 2022 by auctioning them off on an online auction site for almost a million euros.

“I didn’t want to store it on shelves unnecessarily,” he says. “It was the research that interested me, but the spirit of the collection, the ultimate goal, was actually the museum to present it all in an exhaustive way.”

The announcement was noted by the community of Benoît Theveny aka Tev, a YouTuber who has lived in Tokyo for more than ten years, where he produces videos about Japan and geek culture for more than a million viewers. Subscribers to his channel “Ici Japon” and The two men begin to discuss a joint project.

“Leave no one behind”

“The philosophy is not to leave anyone behind,” says 43-year-old Tev during an interview in his recording studio in Tokyo. He says he wants to reach “three-year-old children who play Minecraft as well as old-timers who are 50 or 60 years old and have started playing Pong for the first time.”

Video games “are worthy of going to a museum and being recognized as a culture in their own right, and I think more and more of us agree on that,” he adds.

It remained to find a venue in France, where several similar attempts failed, such as the Pixel Museum in Schiltigheim, which closed in 2020 after three years of activity, or the video game museum in the Arche de la Defense near Paris, which opened in 2010 closed its doors after… ten days.

“We have learned from these experiments,” assures Benoît Theveny. “For the project to work, we must already have the support of the community that hosts it, which is our biggest advantage compared to the others.”

The idea was immediately liked by the town of Bussy-Saint-Georges (Seine-et-Marne), which in turn planned to attract visitors to an 80,000 m² “fun hub” dedicated to e-sports, joining the “Odyssey Project”. should “.

“Unfortunately, Bussy has a bit of a reputation as a dormitory town halfway between Disneyland and Paris,” explains Fabien Goupilleau, a 34-year-old local councilor from the municipality and Tev channel subscriber. “It’s an opportunity for the city,” he said.

A “Japanese village” around the museum

The fathers of the project also believe that their pragmatic approach will guarantee its sustainability: “I am not the biggest collector, the biggest influencer, the biggest business leader, but I am a little of all of that,” slips Benoît. Theveny, whose company, which in addition to creating YouTube content is particularly active in e-commerce, employs around fifteen people.

Tev has “a reputation that opens all doors for us,” emphasizes Ludovic Charles. Their crowdfunding campaign, launched on September 20 on the KissKissBankBank platform, had already raised almost 1.3 million euros as of Wednesday, more than 25 times its original goal.

Aware that this sum will not be enough to keep the museum open, they came up with the idea of ​​a “Japanese village”, as Tev put it, which will share the 3500 m2 allocated to the museum and bring together businesses with pop culture and restaurants to finance the museum, construction of which is expected to begin in 2025 and open in 2026.

Despite the success of the fundraiser, Benoît Theveny admits that “it can be scary when a YouTuber comes along with a big project.” That’s why, he says, “it’s our job to talk to everyone and explain that we want to surround ourselves with everyone, even those who don’t agree with our vision.”