History of video games/Preservation

Museums, Libraries, and Archives edit

Game specific edit

Europe edit

The Computerspiel Museum in Berlin, Germany.
  • Museum of Soviet Arcade Machines in Moscow, Russia.
  • Computerspielemuseum Berlin in Berlin, Germany.
  • Finnish Museum of Games in Tampere, Finland.
  • National Videogame Museum in Sheffield, United Kingdom.
  • Video Game Museum of Rome in Italy.
  • Muzeum her Cibien's Corner in Prague, Czech Republic.
  • Retro Gaming Museum with branches in Iceland and Norway.[1]

North America edit

  • The Strong Museum of Play in Rochester, New York.
  • National Videogame Museum in Frisco, Texas.
  • The University of Texas Video Game Archive in Austin, Texas.
  • The Computer and Video Game Archive (CVGA) at the University of Michigan Library in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
  • Star Worlds Arcade in De Kalb, Illinois.
  • International Video Game Hall of Fame in Ottumwa, Iowa (Under development)
  • Montreal Video Game Museum in Montreal, Canada.

Other edit

  • The Nostalgia Box in Perth, Australia.
  • The Retro Video Game Museum in Sydney, Australia.[2]

Related Collections edit

Museums or collections of other subjects that include Computer Game or Video Game history.

Popular Culture edit

The Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP) in Seattle, Washington.
  • The MADE (Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment) in Oakland, California.
  • Australian Centre for the Moving Image in Melbourne, Australia.
  • Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle, Washington.
  • Ray & Pat Browne Library for Popular Culture Studies in Bowling Green, Ohio - Has media related to games such as movies based on game IP, rather than games themselves.

Computing edit

General computing museums often include game hardware, or early computer models that were sometimes used for gaming.

  • The National Museum of Computing in Bletchley Park, United Kingdom.
  • The Micro Museum in Ramsgate, United Kingdom.[3]
  • Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California.
  • Living Computers: Museum + Labs in Seattle, Washington.
  • Nexon Computer Museum in Jeju, South Korea.

Other edit

  • The Henry Ford in Dearborn, Michigan.[4]
  • Slovak Design Museum in Bratislava.[5][6]

Threats edit

Minor edit

Battery backed RAM edit

Many early game cartridges use RAM to store save data.[7] This requires a a battery to deliver power to the RAM at all times to avoid save game loss.[7] These batteries will inevitably run out of juice, loosing the save games contained on the cartridge, and potentially causing other problems should they fail in other ways.

Ventilation edit

Ensuring proper ventilation to an air cooled device, and keeping it clean of dust can extend it's operative life.[8][9]

Material degradation edit

Many computers and consoles use white ABS plastic with flame retardants that yellow over time.[10][11]

Forgery edit

As with any work of art, or commodity, the existence of forgeries of historical video game materials makes authenticating certain materials more difficult.[12]

Major edit

Defective Design edit

Some consoles have inherent flaws in their designs that will eventually cause them to fail, such as the power supply used by the Amstrad GX4000[13] or the Red Ring of Death on the original Xbox 360.

As with any modern computer, many consoles and gaming hardware and software are likely to be susceptible to time issues, and may fail or encounter unexpected behavior once certain dates are reached.[14] Notably, many devices have software which will encounter issues on January 19, 2038.[14][15]

Displays edit

Some consoles with early built in displays, such as the Microvision or the Game Boy, have poorly made displays that rely on ample light to work, and either rot over time or become sunburnt and become unusable.[16][17]

Some display technologies, such as early OLED panels, are highly likely to burn in images over time, though this typically does not render the device unusable.[18][19]

CRT displays are no longer manufactured in mass quantities, leading to shortages of replacements for arcade machines that use them.[20] This is complicated by CRT technology having many desirable qualities for gaming not replicated in current display technologies.[21][22] Some early light gun games rely on CRT technology to operate.[23]

Arcade Batteries edit

Some Arcade games, such as some made by Sega or those using the Z80 based Capcom Kabuki chip, would intentionally destroy critical data should an included battery fail.[24][25]

Capacitor Plauge/Failure edit

Older capacitors may degrade out of spec, leak fluid, or otherwise become destructive with time, though this is highly dependent on capacitor chemistry, typically affecting small electrolytic capacitors the worst and on if the device has had proper storage conditions.[26][27]

Server shutdowns edit

Some games rely on server functions or always online DRM to run, resulting in an unplayable game once servers are decommissioned.[28] Obtaining legal access to game server software is much more difficult then it is to acquire legal access to the end user copy of the game.[29]

MMO games are particularly difficult to archive.[30]

As software and games move to exclusively be distributed over the internet, preservation becomes trickier due to a lack of physical media.[31][32]

Sometimes online storefronts may remove older media, despite many old games being "finished".[33][34]

Deliberate removal edit

Sometimes a game developer will decide to pull digital games from a storefront, making downloading new copies impossible, even if the digital storefront still operates and the game date is not technically lost.[35][36]

Other removal is less overt. Bulky obsolete arcade hardware is sometimes stored outside where it is degraded by the elements,[37] though sometimes salvage of previously unpreserved materials from these units is possible.[38]

Data loss edit

Often source code, development materials, and the final game product itself are not properly preserved by developers or publishers.[39] Additionally original audio recordings of in game samples are of interest to preservationists, and are also useful for remastering projects.[40]

Bit rot, or degradation of game media, can also cause information to become lost if no backups exists. [41] Even when studios keep backups, it is still possible for source material to be lost through corruption.[42]

Solutions edit

There are two primary approaches to video game preservation, maintaining the physical objects themselves, and maintaining the digital contents of games.[43] Both of these approaches require different skillsets, and an individualized approach to specific items.[43]

There have been a number of successful attempts to mend copyright law to make preservation of gaming easier without harming the ongoing industry.[44]

Some preservationists seek out dev kits, looking for lost data, though some companies have retaliated against those who do so.[45][46]

Open source projects on GitHub, including a number of games and related technologies, are preserved on digital PiqlFilm in their Arctic Code Vault located under permafrost in a former coal mine in Svalbard.[47][48][49] This film is said to be readable until the year 3020.[48] The film also includes instructions on how to build a reader, should it be needed.[50] Of course this project only protects open source software that was on GitHub on the archive date. This follows the precedent of another Svalbard based archive, the Global Seed Vault, which seeks to preserve agricultural biodiversity in case of destructive events.[51]

Preservation History edit

An early encyclopedia of video game history was known to exist on the French Minitel system.[52]

Gallery edit

Threats edit

Solutions edit

References edit

  1. "Contact". Retro Gaming Museum. Retrieved 11 January 2022.
  2. ""Retro Video Game Museum"". https://www.gamesmen.com.au/retro-video-game-museum. 
  3. "The Micro Museum UK|History|Vintage Computers|Games". the-micro-museum. Retrieved 25 September 2021.
  4. "Digital Collections". www.thehenryford.org. Retrieved 22 December 2020.
  5. Castello, Jay (15 January 2022). "How a design museum unearthed a treasure trove of classic Slovak games" (in en). The Verge. https://www.theverge.com/22882705/slovak-design-museum-classic-game-preservation-1980s. 
  6. "Slovak Design Center | Places". Visit Bratislava. https://www.visitbratislava.com/places/slovak-design-center/. 
  7. a b "Miscellaneous Attributes : Battery Backed RAM". MobyGames. Retrieved 18 November 2020.
  8. Techs, Armor (17 November 2020). "Built for Failure: The Unfortunate Truth about Consoles". Armor. Retrieved 18 November 2020.
  9. "Xbox Support". support.xbox.com. Retrieved 18 November 2020.
  10. "Plastic Cleanup Via Retrobrighting". Hackaday. 13 March 2020. Retrieved 3 November 2020.
  11. "This guy makes badly aged Apple computers sparkle again". Cult of Mac. 22 July 2016. Retrieved 3 November 2020.
  12. Orland, Kyle (7 June 2022). "Inside the $100K+ forgery scandal that’s roiling PC game collecting" (in en-us). Ars Technica. https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2022/06/inside-the-100k-forgery-scandal-thats-roiling-pc-game-collecting/. 
  13. "Feature: Your Beloved Games Console Is Slowly But Surely Dying". Nintendo Life. 25 December 2019. https://www.nintendolife.com/news/2019/12/feature_your_beloved_games_console_is_slowly_but_surely_dying. 
  14. a b "Is the Year 2038 problem the new Y2K bug?" (in en). the Guardian. 17 December 2014. https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/dec/17/is-the-year-2038-problem-the-new-y2k-bug. 
  15. Francisco, Neil McAllister in San. "Linux clockpocalypse in 2038 is looming and there's no 'serious plan'" (in en). www.theregister.com. https://www.theregister.com/2015/02/20/linux_year_2038_problem/. 
  16. "Milton Bradley Microvision". Pop Culture Maven. 19 February 2014. Retrieved 3 November 2020.
  17. "Repairing A Sunburned Game Boy Screen". Hackaday. 27 January 2018. Retrieved 3 November 2020.
  18. Brookes, Tim. "OLED Screen Burn-In: How Worried Should You Be?". How-To Geek. Retrieved 18 November 2020.
  19. Muddle, Ty (17 September 2017). "Five Reasons the PlayStation Vita Might Suck". Medium. Retrieved 18 November 2020.
  20. "History of the CRT TV". BT.com. Retrieved 11 December 2020.
  21. Leadbetter, Richard (17 September 2019). "We played modern games on a CRT monitor - and the results are phenomenal". Eurogamer. Retrieved 11 December 2020.
  22. "CRTs And The "Retro Look"". GameTyrant. Retrieved 11 December 2020.
  23. Robertson, Adi (6 February 2018). "Inside the desperate fight to keep old TVs alive". The Verge. Retrieved 11 December 2020.
  24. "Reverse Engineering Capcom's Crypto CPU". Hackaday. 12 December 2014. Retrieved 3 November 2020.
  25. Life, Nintendo (4 June 2016). "Ninterview: Preserving Gaming History With Arcade Collector ShouTime". Nintendo Life. Retrieved 3 November 2020.
  26. "Ask Hackaday: Experiences With Capacitor Failure". Hackaday. 12 April 2019. Retrieved 18 November 2020.
  27. "Vaccinate yourself against CAPACITOR PLAGUE!". Wirebiters. 8 January 2014. Retrieved 18 November 2020.
  28. Brown, Ryan (9 May 2016). "Why video game preservation matters and games like Battleborn are anti-consumer". mirror. Retrieved 3 November 2020.
  29. Orland, Kyle (29 October 2018). "Researchers can now legally restore "abandoned" online game servers". Ars Technica. Retrieved 3 November 2020.
  30. Robertson, Adi (24 February 2014). "EVE, offline: how do you archive a universe?". The Verge. Retrieved 4 November 2020.
  31. "Current Game Preservation is Not Enough How They Got Game". web.stanford.edu. Retrieved 3 November 2020.
  32. "Nintendo Makes It Clear that Piracy Is the Only Way to Preserve Video Game History". www.vice.com. Retrieved 28 November 2020.
  33. Clark, Mitchell (29 April 2022). "Apple to developers: if we deleted your old app, it deserved it" (in en). The Verge. https://www.theverge.com/2022/4/29/23049576/apple-outdated-apps-removal-extension-90-days. 
  34. "As Apple Threatens Pulling Games, Devs Explain Why Forced Updates Are A Preservation Nightmare" (in en-us). Kotaku. https://kotaku.com/apple-iphone-ipad-games-app-store-removed-delisted-upda-1848837569. 
  35. "Demise of Silent Hills Proves Gaming Has a Preservation Crisis". PCMAG. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  36. "Saving 'P.T.'". www.vice.com. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  37. "Incredibly Rare Sega Arcade Game Found Rotting In A Field" (in en-AU). Kotaku Australia. 23 February 2021. https://www.kotaku.com.au/2021/02/incredibly-rare-sega-arcade-game-found-rotting-in-a-field/. 
  38. "24-Year-Old Neo Geo 64 Prototype Latest Game To Be Found In A Field" (in en-AU). Kotaku Australia. 18 March 2021. https://www.kotaku.com.au/2021/03/24-year-old-neo-geo-64-prototype-latest-game-to-be-found-in-a-field/. 
  39. "The Uncertain Future of Video Game History". EGM. 12 August 2019. Retrieved 3 November 2020.
  40. Orland, Kyle (5 February 2021). "Super High-Fidelity Mario: The quest to find original gaming audio samples" (in en-us). Ars Technica. https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2021/02/super-high-fidelity-mario-the-quest-to-find-original-gaming-audio-samples/. 
  41. Wahba, Michael (9 November 2018). "The Bits and Bytes of Video Game Preservation". Scholarly Gamers. Retrieved 11 December 2020.
  42. Farokhmanesh, Megan (3 February 2021). "Mass Effect’s Pinnacle Station DLC is forever lost due to data corruption" (in en). The Verge. https://www.theverge.com/2021/2/3/22264321/mass-effects-pinnacle-station-dlc-data-corruption-lost. 
  43. a b "A Laboratory for Video Game Preservation" (in en). www.museumofplay.org. 11 October 2019. https://www.museumofplay.org/blog/2019/10/a-laboratory-for-video-game-preservation. 
  44. "Copyright Law Just Got Better for Video Game History" (in en). www.vice.com. https://www.vice.com/en/article/zm9az5/copyright-law-just-got-better-for-video-game-history. 
  45. "The Questionably Legal Hunt For Abandoned AAA Games" (in en). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gtvQiVeaLqw. 
  46. "I dumped a one of a kind Nintendo 64 Turok 3 Development ROM | MVG" (in en). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2Mk-d6QLio. 
  47. "GitHub launches Arctic Code Vault to preserve open source software for 1,000 years". VentureBeat. 13 November 2019. https://venturebeat.com/2019/11/13/github-launches-arctic-code-vault-to-preserve-open-source-software-for-1000-years/. 
  48. a b "GitHub is done depositing its open source codes in the Arctic" (in en). Engadget. https://www.engadget.com/github-arctic-vault-success-020240808.html. 
  49. "GitHub Archive Program". GitHub Archive Program. Retrieved 4 February 2021.
  50. "How we’re stopping global memory loss". Piql. 19 August 2020. https://www.piql.com/blog/how-were-stopping-global-memory-loss/. 
  51. "The ‘Doomsday’ Vault Where the World’s Seeds Are Kept Safe". TIME.com. https://time.com/doomsday-vault/. 
  52. "www.jeuxvideo.com" (in fr). Le Monde.fr. 21 January 1999. https://www.lemonde.fr/archives/article/1999/01/21/www-jeuxvideo-com_3533196_1819218.html. 

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