A cultural artifact..

Video games have obviously had an impact on society in a similar way to art forms such as movies and music. The idea to preserve the video games in a canon is excellent. One of the most fascinating parts of this class has been to see the evolution of video games over the years. These game designers are taking that and allowing everyone to see that evolution. It is interesting that they picked those games as their top 10. They are games that everyone has heard of and probably played, as well as games from different categories (god games, one person, multiplayer, online, etc.). I definitely agree that Super Mario Bros 3 should be on that list because it is a game that almost every person can relate to their childhood. Video games are a billion dollar industry, just like the movie business. If movies should be preserved as they have with the National Film Preservation Board, then video games should definitely follow suit. The only question I have would be how they are going to decide which games make it on the list and which do not. How should they decide if a game is actually worth preserving in the canon? Would it be based on how many people have bought or played the game or would it be based on how well-known a game is? I think this is a great idea. Once all of the minor details are figured out, it will be fascinating to see which games make the cut and which games aren’t worth preserving.

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2 Responses to A cultural artifact..

  1. Mufasa says:

    The question of which video games are worth preserving is interesting to me, because I am not sure it is a question that we need to answer. Computer storage mediums are growing all the time. There is enough space on my phone to store every Atari, NES, SNES, Gameboy and Gameboy Color game ever released in the United States. (I would need a second phone to include the extra games released in Japan, and language differences.) There is enough space on my computer to house every N64 game. I don’t have the disk space for newer systems, but in a few years I will. At the very least, though emulators and roms we should be preserving every game for future generations.

    Another thought to consider, how do you preserve MMOs, who by their nature require many people playing? They would need a system to organize people wishing to play MMOs. In addition, World of Warcraft is updated constantly. New areas are added, and occasionally the entire world is burned to the ground and then rebuilt. How would one archive this? You could store each version of the game in a revision control system, but then how would the future experience this game? If you preserve each update, then you would need to organize a large amount of people to not only play the game, but to play a certain version of the game.

    Also, as an aside, issues like this are why I am against DRM.

    • Jason Ko says:

      A simplistic method of preserving an MMO would be to take a video of it in action. Of course, it would be better to have an actual interactive experience. In which case, how about a reenactment? As the MMO space is so dependent on the people playing, and thus the cultural climate of the time, I think it would be almost impossible to replicate this experience over an extended period of time.

      That being said, good point about the space requirements. Perhaps this is more an issue about the legality of ROMs, and less about the issue of archival.

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