The Urgent Need For Video Game Preservation

In the words of Benjamin Franklin, ‘An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.’ This adage holds true when it comes to the urgent need for video game preservation.

A recent study has shed light on the alarming state of video game preservation in the United States, revealing that a staggering 87% of classic video games are currently missing. This scarcity extends across all platforms and time periods, leaving only a mere 13% of video game history accessible to the public.

The Video Game History Foundation (VGHF) has taken up the mantle of advocating for better preservation efforts, as classic games continue to be lost or remain hidden in private collections. Unfortunately, libraries and archives face significant constraints imposed by outdated copyright laws, preventing them from digitally sharing video games for preservation purposes.

In opposition to expanding video game preservation in these institutions, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) argues against the VGHF’s proposal. Nevertheless, the VGHF asserts that libraries should be granted the ability to preserve and digitally release games, as game companies have proven inadequate in preserving their own titles.

With the hope that this study will inspire change, it is imperative that improved video game preservation efforts be pursued.

Key Takeaways

  • 87% of classic video games in the United States are critically endangered and missing, with only around 13% of video game history available to the public.
  • The Video Game History Foundation is campaigning for better game preservation and argues that libraries should be allowed to digitally preserve and release games.
  • Libraries and archives are constrained by outdated copyright laws, which prevent them from digitally sharing video games.
  • The Entertainment Software Association opposes expanding video game preservation in libraries and archives, hindering efforts to preserve video game history.

Importance of Preservation

Preserving classic video games is of great importance due to the critical endangerment and lack of availability of 87% of these games in the United States, resulting in only a mere 13% of video game history being accessible to the public.

The study reveals that classic video games across all platforms and time periods are either lost or hidden in private collections, highlighting the urgency of preserving these cultural artifacts.

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Libraries and archives, constrained by outdated copyright laws, face challenges in digitally sharing video games, further limiting public access. Additionally, the video game industry itself has been ineffective in preserving its own games.

Recognizing the significance of video games as an art form and cultural heritage, the Video Game History Foundation advocates for policy changes to allow libraries and archives to preserve and digitally release these games.

Through increased preservation efforts, the hope is to incite positive change and ensure the long-term availability of classic video games for future generations.

Challenges and Obstacles

Overcoming the barriers that impede the safeguarding of classic video games is akin to navigating a treacherous labyrinth, with outdated copyright laws and the reluctance of game companies acting as formidable adversaries on the path towards comprehensive preservation.

Libraries and archives, constrained by these laws, face significant challenges in digitally preserving video games and making them publicly accessible. While they possess the capability to digitally preserve these games, they are unable to share them due to copyright restrictions.

Additionally, game companies themselves have been negligent in preserving their own games, further exacerbating the issue. The Entertainment Software Association’s opposition to expanding video game preservation in libraries and archives also poses a significant obstacle.

To address these challenges, there is an urgent need for policy changes that allow libraries to preserve and digitally release video games, ensuring the preservation and accessibility of this important cultural heritage.

Call for Change

Addressing the challenges surrounding the safeguarding of classic video games requires a shift in institutional policies and a collective effort to ensure the preservation and accessibility of this valuable cultural heritage.

The current state of video game preservation is alarming, with a staggering 87% of classic video games in the United States being critically endangered or missing. The limited availability of these games across all platforms and time periods means that only approximately 13% of video game history is accessible to the public.

Libraries and archives, constrained by outdated copyright laws, are unable to digitally share these games, further exacerbating the problem. Additionally, the opposition from the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) to expanding video game preservation in libraries and archives hinders progress.

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To address this urgent need, game companies must prioritize preservation efforts, and institutions should advocate for policy changes that enable the preservation and digital release of classic video games.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the study underscores the pressing necessity for video game preservation. The critical scarcity of classic games, with only a meager 13% accessible, highlights the imperative to address this issue. However, outdated copyright laws and opposition from the ESA hinder libraries and archives from sharing these treasures digitally.

The Video Game History Foundation’s call for change resonates, as game companies have failed to adequately preserve their own titles. Let us hope that this study serves as a catalyst for improved preservation efforts, ensuring the endurance of gaming’s glorious past.

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Wayne Steward
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