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Games Entertainment

UK Opens National Video Game Archive 121

Posted by Soulskill
from the grandaddy-pac-man dept.
BBC News reports that the UK is acknowledging video games as a "key component of modern culture" by opening the National Videogame Archive inside the National Media Museum. "'The National Videogame Archive is an important resource for preserving elements of our national cultural heritage,' said Dr Newman. 'It's not just about cartridges and consoles, it's also about video game culture, the ways in which people actually play them. Unlike film and music, it's very difficult to walk into a retail store and walk out with a bunch of games from the 1970's,' said Dr Newman. He feels that games should be archived in the same way that music, books and film are preserved, as we often use them as markers in our culture and history." There's a similar archive at the University of Texas at Austin. What games would you put on display?
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UK Opens National Video Game Archive

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  • What? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Azuma Hazuki (955769) on Thursday October 30, 2008 @03:13AM (#25566001)
    No "Mega Man 2" tag yet? =P
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 30, 2008 @03:17AM (#25566027)

    Well archiving ROMS and disk images for emulation would be all fine and dandy if COPYRIGHT DIDN'T STILL EXIST on most of it.

    We had this discussion in regards to the Digital Dark ages not so long ago. Copyright needs a massive overhaul in order to preserve most of this gaming history, and bring it out of it's current legal grey area. ..otherwise all these obscure Commodore 64 tape games will never see the light of day.

  • DRM? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 30, 2008 @03:21AM (#25566043)

    What about games crippled with DRM? Will they "die" ?

  • by willoughby (1367773) on Thursday October 30, 2008 @03:29AM (#25566071)
    ...is M.U.L.E. [wikipedia.org] This game was a true landmark.
  • by penginkun (585807) on Thursday October 30, 2008 @03:46AM (#25566141)

    Well that's just stupid. Are you saying pandas are more important than cultural ephemera? Seriously now, consider what you're saying here. You're saying that my cherished 25-year-old Mold-a-rama figure of a dolphin from Chicago's Brooklyn Zoo is LESS important than some smelly old animal in China.

    Wow. Grow a set of priorities, man.

    Seriously though, preserving one does not preclude preservation of the other. I think it's safe to say we all care about pandas (awww, they're cuuuute!) but that doesn't mean we should knock down the museums to build panda habitats.

  • Elite (Score:2, Insightful)

    by sister bliss (1234142) on Thursday October 30, 2008 @03:51AM (#25566163)
    Elite on the Commodore 64 .. that was f**ng awesome
  • by radimvice (762083) on Thursday October 30, 2008 @03:54AM (#25566187) Homepage

    He feels that games should be archived in the same way that music, books and film are preserved, as we often use them as markers in our culture and history.

    This only applies to the destructive elements of games (packaging, artwork, instruction manuals, etc), and the actual computer or console hardware the games are run on. However, the whole 'stick videogames in museums' mentality this projects reeks of reflects a much greater ignorance of the preservation of software in general. What we really need in order to 'preserve' video game culture is not some expensive museum space full of trite screenshots of software still under copyright that nobody is legally allowed to play themselves, but we need a relaxation of copyright and a strengthening of fair use so that old cultural artifacts that are no longer profitable and would otherwise be forgotten are defaulted to the public domain. Then the 'preservation' and archiving would happen on their own for free by people who still love the old games and enjoy taking part in the preservation of a culture they were a part of. Just look at projects like MAME and the massive ROM archives collections that are passed around the Internet underground and continue to exist despite all of the legal obstacles.

  • by unlametheweak (1102159) on Thursday October 30, 2008 @04:30AM (#25566321)

    He feels that games should be archived in the same way that music, books and film are preserved

    Let's hope he changes his mind. Today's music, books and film are archived in proprietary formats, often requiring proprietary for-profit DRM services and software to access, legal (copyright) restrictions on making backup copies; and in the case of movies and TV shows the original films are often changed to suit the fad of the current day while the original copies sit literally rotting in storage. Books are often stolen or vandalized in libraries (including more restrictive academic libraries), and many are just banned and even burned because of PTA (think-of-the-children) activism.

    Once knowledge becomes commercialized and given moral value then archivism will deal more with political science rather than library science.

  • by NoisySplatter (847631) <noisysplatter AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday October 30, 2008 @04:38AM (#25566347)

    I prefer "Karma-Whore: The Grind to +2"

  • by stranger_to_himself (1132241) on Thursday October 30, 2008 @04:47AM (#25566381) Journal

    What we really need in order to 'preserve' video game culture is not some expensive museum space full of trite screenshots of software still under copyright that nobody is legally allowed to play themselves, but we need a relaxation of copyright and a strengthening of fair use so that old cultural artifacts that are no longer profitable and would otherwise be forgotten are defaulted to the public domain.

    You're right about copyright etc but there's more to a museum than just displaying old stuff. The curators have an important job of putting everything in context, finding the really interesting stuff and giving it prominence, and providing the historical and cultural background behind each gaming milestone. And make it interesting for old gamers and people who aren't old gamers.

    So I would expect the museum to show me stuff I'd never think of looking for on my own, to talk about who made the games, who was playing them, where they were played etc, and to help my kids to understand more about how I grew up.

  • Raid over Moscow (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Zarhan (415465) on Thursday October 30, 2008 @05:45AM (#25566669)

    A true product of cold war era.

    Especially as a Finn I find it significant, for reasons highlighted in the wiki article [wikipedia.org]. It was pretty funny to follow from sidelines...Talking heads on TV and all that about how computer games might affect our kids, relation to the USSR and so on. Of course we have since heard that same stuff again over GTA and similar games, but at least back then it was related to foreign politics instead of scoring random points for next election.

  • Do both (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pjt33 (739471) on Thursday October 30, 2008 @05:46AM (#25566677)

    Allowing use of abandonware would certainly keep the good games alive, but I think you're missing the point of an archive: to make as complete a collection as possible, so that the non-popular stuff is preserved, and to make it available to researchers. The two complement each other, and shouldn't be treated as alternatives.

  • SCUMM Archives (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Drakkenmensch (1255800) on Thursday October 30, 2008 @08:13AM (#25567373)
    The Lucasarts point and click adventure games have a special place in my heart. Maniac Mansion, Zack McKraken and the Alien Mindbenders, Indiana Johnes and the Fate of Atlantis, Sam and Max Hit the Road... all classics near and dear to my early gamer career!
  • by The Ultimate Fartkno (756456) on Thursday October 30, 2008 @08:38AM (#25567519)

    I want to see one hallway that starts with "Adventure," leads on to an Infocom retrospective, then "Mystery House," the Sierra library, and so forth. Adventure gaming is a very distinct subset of the gaming canon that relies on narrative and immersion rather than action and graphics. Leaving it out would be like going to a museum that didn't bother exhibiting paintings because they were just 2D.

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