Old books are collected in libraries. Old art in art galleries. Old music on commercial FM radio. But what are we doing to hang onto our old games?
According to IGN AU, the depressing answer is… not much.
While there may be a bare handful of institutions around the world doing their bit to preserve the games of the past, there’s little in the way of a concerted, industry-wide effort.
Worse, writes IGN reporter and friend of Kotaku Tracey Lien, there’s absolutely nothing being done in Australia to preserve the almost-forgotten gems of our own development history.
This lack of action is due to confusion over who should take responsibility, as Dr. Melanie Swalwell, digital media lecturer from Flinders University, explains:
“Games have fallen through the cracks because no one is sure who should be doing the preservation work. Games get published, so some say they’re publications and that libraries should collect them; to others, games are material artifacts, so they think that museums should collect them. People aren’t sure what games are – if they are material artifacts or if they are something else.”
With disc and cartridge-based games deteriorating with age, and the hardware needed to play them fading into obsolescence, a difficult issue becomes increasingly harder and more vital with each passing year.
Emulation is only part of the solution, particularly as there is far more to learn from gaming history than just being able to play some old games.
So what is the answer? How would you like to see our gaming history preserved for future generations?