Thursday, May 04, 2006

Save Your Game

[News] [Computer Gaming]

I've just been browsing Portico, and as result have had my attention drawn to an article on Gamepolitics. Apparently the US Library of Congress are giving some serious thought to the long-term preservation of digital media. As Troy from Portico points out, it gives rise to an interesting question: What games do you preserve for posterity?

My first point was that there may not be an issue of picking and choosing; even storing all the games ever made would be a fairly negligible amount of data compared to some of the corporate or even not-for-profit archives out there in the world.

Storage capacities aside, though, if you had to in some way be selective, how would you go about selecting which games are worth saving, and which aren't?

I'd propose a system of six categories, (a) through (f), as follows:

(a) games that have had a significant effect on the future development of games,
(b) games that have had a significant effect on technological development as a whole,
(c) games that have become a part of popular culture,
(d) games that have exemplary and recognised artistic merit,
(e) games whose content and existence serves as a commentary on and/or representation of society at the time of their release, and
(f) games that represent the pinnnacle of development in interactive media at the time of their release.

It looks like this adequately protect games such as Wolfenstein 3D and Dune 2 under (a), games such as Battlezone under (b), Sonic the Hedgehog and Zero Wing under (c), Myst and Shadow of the Colossus under (d), September 12 and Grand Theft Auto under (e), and leaving (f) for things that were "just damn good".

I'm a little uncertain whether this scheme would save some of my favourite games (mostly the entire back catalogue of Origin and Lucasarts). We could squeeze Day of the Tentacfle and Wing Commander in under (f) or (d) or (a), right?

In the alternative, does anyone have a better set of criteria that offer more guidance than just saying "keep the good ones and the important ones"?

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