It is interesting that Mr. Lowood and his teams’ canon list for preserving video games is modeled similar to the work of the National Film Preservation Board. During the course of the semester we have looked at how films and games are intertwined or draw off each other (especially games drawing from film). It makes sense than that to preserve these games they would use a method similar to what is done for film.
I had to read the article twice to figure out why video games needed to be preserved officially. I understood how these were revolutionary games, but it was during the second read through that I took in how the difference of hardware can render a game unusable. I naively assumed that new hardware was old hardware with additional features and that everything was backwards compatible. This is not the case. New hardware works differently from the old and unless old hardware is preserved, old games won’t be able to be preserved. The work around is a method we are familiar with – using an emulator to play ROMs (digital copies of old games). This brings me to the most surprising new information I got out of the article – that emulators break copyright laws. Mr. Lowood plainly states that emulators “technically violate copyright laws.” Looking this up, I found that emulators appear to be legal, but ROMs are not. It’s legal to have the ability to play the game but if you download a ROM it is illegal. Nintendo’s website on Legal Information (Copyright, Emulators, ROMs, etc) has more information on this which is relatively clear. I speculate that some companies legitimize emulators and allow ROMs of their old games to be played. It would be interesting to look into this further and clarify the legality of emulators and ROMs.