There's an increasing trend these days when it comes to longrunning series, or longlasting companies. At some point, a game will be made that is basically like an interactive museum of the company's own past.
Sonic Generations, for example, contains levels themed entirely after locations from previous games in the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise. There's also a gallery of concept art, information on characters in the series, and the ability to earn music from the series.
Even standalone games can do this. Kinect: Disneyland Adventures is an interactive game version of Disneyland, and in itself, is also filled with Disney characters and levels themed after different movies or rides.
In order to qualify as this trope, a video game must be pretty much about paying tribute to or heavily referencing a franchise or company's past. A few throwaway jokes or references or a Nostalgia Level do not count. Also, this is not about games which contain Embedded Precursors.
Bonus points if the game has some sort of readable information gallery about the franchise as a whole. To put it another way, picture a tour through a museum. Now picture a tour through a company's franchise. If the analogy fits, then it's this trope. If it's just referencing the past, it isn't.
Not to be confused with Museum Madness.
- Sonic the Hedgehog:
- Sonic Generations, as mentioned above, is basically traveling through the past of Sonic, with a lot of extras on the side.
- Sonic Mega Collection is yet another Sonic example. The game contains both a collection of Sonic games and a museum mode in which one can view old game manuals, character Concept Art, and comic covers and watch a handful of videos, including one featuring a brief history of the Sonic series.
- Before this was Sonic Jam, a Sega Saturn compilation that had an actual museum for Sonic to explore.
- Sonic Origins, the most recent compilation game as of this writing, features a museum containing a Sound Test with music from all of Sonic's Genesis games, an image gallery, and a movie gallery containing both the game's animated cutscenes and Sonic Mania Adventures. There's also a Story Mode, which combines Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog CD, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, and Sonic 3 & Knuckles into one long story, with new animated sequences linking them all together.
- The Super Smash Bros. series is all about referencing the past and present of Nintendo. Outside the gameplay itself, ever since the second entry, the games have had several trophies, spirits, and other elements breaking down characters, items, locations, and more from across the various franchises represented. And starting with Brawls release, third parties have joined in the fun. Even characters themselves can be a part of this, with Pac-Man in particular bring several nods to other Namco productions. In addition, Brawl contained playable demos of classic Nintendo games.
- Kinect: Disneyland Adventures is based on Disneyland itself, so it makes sense that it's filled with Disney characters. The ability to visit locations from movies in the form of minigame challenges is what pushes it into this territory.
- Before that, The Walt Disney World Explorer in The '90s featured Walt Disney World itself in narrated slideshows and had a few minigames including a trivia quiz about the resort itself.
- The Kingdom Hearts series, to varying degrees. For example, the first and second main games in the series not only have you visiting different Disney movies and interacting with the characters, but there's even an information gallery with details about the characters (albeit their role in Kingdom Hearts rather than their own movies specifically), including details of when the character was first created, and occasionally trivia (e.g. "Doorknob was the only character in Alice in Wonderland who wasn't in the original book").
- The Game & Watch Gallery series is made up of ports of old Game & Watch games, along with modern remakes feature Mario characters instead of stick figures. True to its title, they also have Gallery and Museum sections about other Game & Watch titles.
- The Namco Museum series on the PlayStation took place in a literal museum, with exhibits showing facts and memorabilia for each game.
- The Sega Genesis Collection is a museum highlighting some of the most famous games from the Genesis era complete with informational cards. This includes Ecco the Dolphin, Phantasy Star, and Sonic the Hedgehog. Some of the "rarer" games like Ristar must be unlocked by beating other, more commonly found games. The cards are literally museum-style information pages. This is done to give more information about the games as well as give a sense of the era they were made in, when they were made and what went into making them.
- The 2010 Splatterhouse is a softer museum example as beating this Nintendo Hard game earns the right to play the original 3 games, while also viewing extra art and information on them. It's basically a playable tour through the Splatterhouse franchise plus art and information. This is done as both a nostalgic reward for fans of the original series (especially as many wanted to play the uncensored game but never could) and to educate new players about the cool stuff that came before.
- NES Remix. Take a tour of some of Nintendo's earliest NES games by playing their challenges and remixes!
- Final Fantasy Record Keeper is a mobile crossover game as part of the Final Fantasy series. The Excuse Plot even takes place in a museum, where the main character Tyro has to go into paintings representing each Final Fantasy world and go through simplified versions of each of their plots, recruiting from the huge roster of characters as he goes.
- Persona 5's Updated Re-release, Persona 5 Royal, adds the "Thieves Den", an art gallery-esque bonus area where the player can trade Persona Medals for promotional and concept artwork, trailers and cutscenes, music from the game's soundtrack, and models of various Personas, enemies, and other plot-relevant things. Some of these are only viewable in a menu, but many of the purchases will line the walls of the Den or can be placed in certain areas as large art fixtures.
- Evoland, a game about the evolution of Action-Adventure games and RPGs, feels like a guided tour of the history of and the tropes used in those two genres. Its sequel, which touches upon an even wider variety of genres, can be seen as one to video games in general.
- BioShock Infinite's first DLC expansion, a wave-based arena mode titled Clash in the Clouds, had this as its framing device. Between each run, you would be taken to the Columbian Archeological Society. While the gift shop acted as your gameplay hub, a large set of double doors down the hall lead to the main exhibition floor. Here you could use the funds earned in the arenas to unlock concept art, the Retraux-inspired song covers, character models, and two tears. One led to the Luteces' apartment, letting you collect new audio logs made by Rosaline, while the other pulled in a splicer from Rapture, as a sneak peek of the next expansion, Burial at Sea.
- Armored Core: Nexus included a second disc called "REVOLUTION" to celebrate the serie's 15th anniversary. Beside including a grabbag of remade missions from the PlayStation trilogy, players can unlock promotional artwork, concept art, and music from the previous titles.