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Game preservation: the importance of archiving games

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Video games have undoubtedly become a crucial part of our culture in the modern era. They are no longer merely a form of entertainment, but rather an art form that is deeply ingrained in the human experience. As such, it is critical to preserve games and their history for future generations to enjoy and learn from. Game preservation is the process of archiving games to ensure their longevity and accessibility for future generations. In this article, we will delve into the importance of archiving games and why it is necessary to preserve our gaming heritage.

Preserve the Game’s Legacy

One of the most significant reasons for archiving games is to preserve their legacy. Just like books and movies, video games represent a vital part of our cultural heritage that can be passed down to future generations. Moreover, games capture a unique snapshot of the time and culture that surrounds their creation and their unique place within the medium of gaming. Archiving games allows us to see the evolution of gaming from its early days to the present, which might have been lost to history otherwise. It’s essential to maintain a record of the artistry, innovation, and technological advancements that could go unnoticed or forgotten with time.

Protecting Games Against Loss

Games are often lost or destroyed, leading to a disappearing history. In the early days of gaming, companies did not keep the source code or the data they used to create the game. As a result, games that were developed in the 1970s and ’80s are no longer available for play. Game preservation provides an answer to this problem by creating a digital archive of games and their associated documentation. Archiving games not only saves them from loss but also provides a comprehensive collection of the history of gaming.

Ensuring These Games Can Be Played Again

Many classic games are no longer playable on modern systems due to changes in hardware and software. To make these games playable once again, they need to be preserved and archived. Game preservation provides a way to keep these games available, playable, and enjoyable to all players, whether it’s a new audience or someone who played the game decades ago. For example, classic games like Dark Castle and SimCity 2000 might have met their demise on the old Macintosh systems they were developed for. But these games, along with many others, now exist as apps on modern iOS devices, enabling everyone to enjoy them again.

Research and Learning Benefits from Archived Games

Archived games can be used as research materials to understand the impact that gaming has had on society, culture, and technology. For academics, game preservation serves as a crucial portfolio of the evolution of video games. It provides budding game designers with the tools to understand what makes classic games so great, and how to apply those mechanics in developing new games that retain the charm of the past while integrating the latest technology. Game preservation helps game research, design, and development efforts, benefiting everyone who enjoys gaming.

In summary, preserving games and their history through archiving is critical for the preservation of gaming history, ensuring that these games are protected against loss, and making it possible to revive classic games. Game preservation has also led to new insights, research, and opportunities in game design and development. As time passes, game preservation will only grow more essential, providing insights into what gaming has taught us, and how we’ve progressed as a society. So, let’s continue to support the preservation efforts of our gaming heritage, ensuring we pass down the love of video games to future generations.

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