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Software Games

Preserving Virtual Worlds 122

Posted by Soulskill
from the how-will-they-play-starcon-2-in-2150 dept.
The Opposable Thumbs blog has an interview with Jerome McDonough of the University of Illinois, who is involved with the Preserving Virtual Worlds project. The goal of the project is to recognize video games as cultural artifacts and to make sure they're accessible by future generations. Here McDonough talks about some of the technical difficulties in doing so: "Take, for example, Star Raiders on the Atari 2600. If you're going to preserve this, you've got a couple of problems. The first is that it is on a cartridge that is designed to work on a particular system that is no longer manufactured. And as long as you've got a hardware dependency there, you're really not going to be able to preserve this material very long. What we have been looking at is how feasible is it for things that fundamentally all have some level of hardware dependency there — even Doom has dependencies on DLLs with an operating system, and on particular chipsets and architectures for playing. How do you take that and turn it into something that isn't as dependent on a particular physical piece of hardware. And to do that, you need information about that platform. You need technical specifications that allow you to basically reproduce a virtualization that may enable you to run the software in its original form in the future. So what we're trying to do is preserve not only the games, but preserve the knowledge that you would need to create a virtualization platform to play the game."
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Preserving Virtual Worlds

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  • So when the real world is TFU, we'll have plenty of virtual worlds to play with.
  • Oh, please.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @03:10AM (#32650412)

    even Doom has dependencies on DLLs with an operating system, and on particular chipsets and architectures for playing. How do you take that and turn it into something that isn't as dependent on a particular physical piece of hardware. And to do that, you need information about that platform. You need technical specifications that allow you to basically reproduce a virtualization that may enable you to run the software in its original form in the future

    If there are two things that any "computer" with enough power and memory has, it's a port of Doom and a port of vi. What you need is this magical thing that iD released on December 23, 1997.

    • Re:Oh, please.. (Score:5, Informative)

      by PatrickThomson (712694) on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @03:28AM (#32650492)

      For the confused: This was when the source code was released, not the original game. That was way back in '93.

    • He's just using Doom as an example. Granted, Doom might not be the best example since they released the source. This magical thing isn't available for all virtual worlds though.
      • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @04:41AM (#32650824) Journal

        Doom is the ultimate example of JUST how to preserve a virtual world. By releasing the source code iD has decoupled it from OS/Hardware and ensured its continued survival.

        So Doom is NOT an example of how hard it is to preserve a game but rather an example of just how to make sure a game survives.

        On the whole, don't use success stories as an example of how not to do something.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by snowgirl (978879)

          The whole article is totally retarded... He's talking about, "hey, if only there was something that we could use to play these games so they can last." Even without source code, It's called FUCKING EMULATION...

          This whole article is like "if only there were some way to put flour and water together to turn it into something edible".

          IT'S FUCKING BREAD! IT HAS BEEN AROUND FOR A REALLY LONG TIME ALREADY, STOP BEING RETARDED!

          • Even without source code, It's called FUCKING EMULATION

            Until the companies that control exclusive rights in these games start attacking emulator maintainers under theories of circumvention and/or contributory infringement. Besides, with Moore's Law shifting focus from speed to number of cores, I see it becoming likely that the Xbox 360 and PLAYSTATION 3 won't be emulated any time soon.

            • by ultranova (717540)

              Besides, with Moore's Law shifting focus from speed to number of cores, I see it becoming likely that the Xbox 360 and PLAYSTATION 3 won't be emulated any time soon.

              Both Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 use multi-core CPUs/GPUs, which can be effectively emulated by another multi-core CPU. Furthermore, even most single-core CPUs have long been parallelized - that's where speed increase have come from since Pentium. In other words, it's possible to parallelize the execution of a single instruction stream, which im

              • by tepples (727027)

                it's possible to parallelize the execution of a single instruction stream, which implies that multicore CPUs could emulate single-core CPUs efficiently. Finally, there's always dynamic recompilation.

                Is this just theoretical, or do you know of an example of where a CPU has emulated a guest CPU that executes 50 percent more instructions per second per core than the host CPU?

                • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                  by Scoth (879800)

                  I don't think the fundamental problem is emulating the base architecture - that's pretty much a programming exercise. The problem is emulating it and having it be fast enough to be playable.

                  There's nothing keeping you from writing an emulation of a 64 bit Core 2 Duo for Atari 800 and booting Windows 7 on it. You'd just be there for months waiting on it to boot and swapping hundreds (thousands?) of disks for virtual memory. You can already run 64 bit guests on 32 bit hosts in some versions of qemu/VirtualBox

                • by ultranova (717540)

                  Is this just theoretical, or do you know of an example of where a CPU has emulated a guest CPU that executes 50 percent more instructions per second per core than the host CPU?

                  Theoretical, otherwise I'd simply mentioned said example. Now why don't you tell us what you're comparing Xenon against to arrive at "50% more instructions per second per core", and why this is a significant, especially since Xenon seems to be a RISC-based processor so it should be possible to recompile into far fewer CISC instructio

                  • by tepples (727027)

                    Xenon seems to be a RISC-based processor so it should be possible to recompile into far fewer CISC instructions

                    Xenon is a 3-core PowerPC CPU, with 2-way multithreading replacing out-of-order execution. This means there are six cores to emulate. The only halfway efficient PowerPC-to-x86 recompiler I can think of is the property of Apple, and Wikipedia's article about this recompiler [wikipedia.org] states that it works far better for I/O-bound apps than for CPU-bound apps.

                    • by ultranova (717540)

                      Xenon is a 3-core PowerPC CPU, with 2-way multithreading replacing out-of-order execution. This means there are six cores to emulate.

                      There are 3 physical cores to emulate. Also, the newest generations of x86 processors already have 6+ physical cores, with more on the way, and they all support out-of-order execution. Some of them also support HyperThreading, which also makes one physical core function as two logical ones.

                      The only halfway efficient PowerPC-to-x86 recompiler I can think of is the property of

            • by Hatta (162192)

              The original Xbox hasn't even been emulated yet. You'd think it would be relatively easy, it being pretty much a P3 computer. Just no one seems to care.

              • Cxbx and derivatives appear to be making progress, but are confounded by needing to re-implement and test around 400 poorly documented kernel APIs and Direct* calls. Many calls are sufficiently different from those found in their desktop Windows analogues to prevent borrowing from Wine or passing through directly to the host Windows OS. Given that the scope of the task is approximately as large as implementing Wine but with more difficult speed and multimedia requirements, I'd expect to see a generally play

              • That's probably because damn near every game on that system that's worth playing has a native PC port (or was ported from the PC to the X-Box to begin with, e.g. Morrowind) and often the PC version is better.

                I doubt we'd have as many man-hours put in to making several advanced SNES emulators if the 100 best games were all available for the PC and played the same or better on it.

                OTOH, PS2 and Gamecube emulation have come pretty far. Wii, too.

            • >>>Until the companies that control exclusive rights in these games start attacking emulator maintainers under theories of circumvention and/or contributory infringement.

              Yeah because it's really worked so far. They've really been successful in stopping me from copying everything under the sun. Oh wait. They haven't. (Holds up copies of X360 games.) ----- BTW this is why copyright was supposed to have a sunset. 14 years or 28 years and then it becomes public domain. That means tons of cop

          • Whoah, chill! :P He does know about emulators, which is why he says:

            And to do that, you need information about that platform. You need technical specifications that allow you to basically reproduce a virtualization that may enable you to run the software in its original form in the future. So what we're trying to do is preserve not only the games, but preserve the knowledge that you would need to create a virtualization platform to play the game.

            You can't create an emulator if you don't know anything about the original hardware! So he's just trying to make an archive of info on how to create emulators for these systems. Though in future if you want to emulate these ancient systems you could just create an x86 PC emulator, then run the other emulators inside Linux or Windows on top of that, rather than create a fresh emulator for each new hardware generation, hehe.

          • by valdis (160799)

            You know, waving "It's called FUCKING EMULATION" around is one thing. Figuring out exactly how to actually *do* it os something else entirely. How do you emulate stuff you don't have full tech details for? What the hell is this totally undocumented code that scribbles 3 integers into a 15 year old NVidia card's control registers? Remember that there's a lot of stuff like device drivers from that era that we don't have source to emulate, and we never will. Make it kind of hard to emulate when you don't

            • by snowgirl (978879)

              I've worked with emulators, and I've reverse engineered drivers.

              How do you think they knew that the Z80-like cpu in the GameBoy stores the 5th and 3rd bit of of the result in the flag register in the 5th and 3rd bit?

              Was there some magical spec that told people about that? No. Someone jiggering around with it found it out. None of the (non-emulation) tech docs talk about it, because it's an undocumented feature of the processor.

              Emulation includes all the same shit that he's complaining about. That's why

          • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Fucking emulation? Clearly you've had too much of Second Life.

        • by grumbel (592662)

          Doom is the ultimate example of JUST how to preserve a virtual world.

          Releasing source code is a very good way to keep the game accessible, but its not the best way to archive it for historical purpose, as for those you want to preserve it in a form that comes as close as possible to the original experience and a port with improved features doesn't accomplish that. Emulation is a much better choice, but still runs into issues when it comes to emulating hardware features. For example transparency in the old days was often accomplished by quickly turning a sprite on and off, th

          • by Hatta (162192)

            Not every port has to be enhanced. Playing Chocolate Doom on Linux is much closer to the original experience than playing the DOS port on Dosbox.

        • by CAIMLAS (41445)

          But they haven't, quite.

          Sure, the source code is open and free. But the game itself? Not so much. You won't be playing Doom to completion in 10 years without an illicit copy of the WADs.

    • Doom used DLLs? Was there even ever a Windows port?
      • by AdamWill (604569)
        Yes. Doom 95. It was actually used in a small way by Microsoft to promote Windows 95. It was never particularly popular, though, so I had the same thought as you...the 'authentic' Doom doesn't have any DLL dependencies. Serious Doom players ran the original DOS .exe in Windows. Some still do, but many now run source ports for convenience (it's quite hard to make the original Doom run properly in current versions of Windows, most people who want to do it run it in an emulator).
    • This issue has been addressed already anyways. Any sort of preservation society (IE, museums) already handles items like this. The local Canadian Military Museum already has exhibits set up for the Afghanistan war, which is currently ongoing. Pretty much as soon as something happens, its making its way to an archive of some sort. I know of at least ONE museum that has a Nintendo Entertainment System and is in the process of buying a bunch of games for it. They've kept it in pristine condition.

      This isn't lim

  • by Anonymous Coward

    While this is an interesting archival problem, there is no indication that a sentencing element of preservation has occurred. Not all data is _worth_ preserving in the sense of accurate indexation, availability, maintaining and medium cycling.

    I'm more interested in the sentencing criteria for preservation of electronic culture. My suspicion is that from an archival stand point most is ephemera which would best be preserved or not preserved by leaving it up to non-archivists.

    • by arth1 (260657)

      What I think is worth preserving for eternity isn't the source code or emulateable binaries of a game, although that's nice too. What's worth keeping is the ambiance of a game.
      Face it, how much do you really "preserve" if you get the source code to Ultima Online? Without all the players and their interaction, it's a barren world.

      I believe it would be worth a lot more to posterity if someone videotaped playing these games. A documentary of a new player's rise from initial confusion to level cap, cyberfrie

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Snowmit (704081)

      The point is that we don't know what's worth preserving. I mean, we probably have a few ideas here and there but we are also almost certainly wrong about what future historians will want us to have preserved.

      Don't believe me?

      Then why are people so bent out of shape by the burning of Sapho's works? Why do we get so excited when we discover an ancient manuscript hidden under a more recent one? Why are we so enthusiastic about the Dead Sea Scrolls? How come we keep digging through the old letters and notebooks

      • by linebackn (131821)

        >The point is that we don't know what's worth preserving.

        And it is worth pointing out that games get all of the publicity. Utilities, operating systems, and boring old applications are also worth preserving because they can shed light on many aspects of computing history.

        I can think of several computing platform that may never see usable emulators because there were no games to speak of for them. (Still wanting a 68k NeXT emulator)

        And there were many ancient old versions of applications that were copy "p

      • by Sloppy (14984)

        "Look at this. It's worthless - ten dollars from a vendor in the street. But I take it, I bury it in the sand for a thousand years, it becomes priceless." -- Belloq [imdb.com]

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Hatta (162192)

      Ephemera is actually highly valued by archivists. The stuff that is so common that people don't think it's worth preserving is what gives historians the greatest insight into daily life.

      It's the same problem you see with collectibles. The stuff that everyone had and threw away is what becomes a highly valuable collectible. Items that are marketed as collectibles end up having no value since everyone keeps them.

  • by assemblerex (1275164) on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @03:22AM (#32650456)
    I can't go out and buy a punchcard computer, but I can go and buy a 300 year old book.
    Commit it to paper, it's the only proven archive method.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by VennData (1217856)
      ...except for the Library of Alexandria problem.
      • by dhasenan (758719)

        Real Men use clay tablets.

      • Or the sacking of Baghdad, destroying the greatest library of the Islamic world (which contributed a fair bit towards why the Middle East fell into technological and social stagnancy).
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      funny. here we have a game, that works on a specific type of hardware, and a guy saying that we should wrap this game into a virtual machine and make everything readable by a generic computer (basically, pack the source of the virtual machine with the source of the game). and your best idea is to print on paper, and keep the paper.
      i can see through your infinite wisdom :)

      I'm sorry, I couldn't resist. But seriously now, you missed the point... they want to preserve the information in a medium independent way

    • by dintech (998802)

      I'm confused. If I want to preserve Star Raiders, can't I just use some digital archive technology and an emulator?

      • I think the article is about troubles with saving the hardware part of the system and other things that are a part of the experience. For example, the fact that you can save the game from the Nintendo cartridge, but you can't save the fact that you have to blow on the connectors in the cartridge every other time you want to play.
    • by Yvanhoe (564877)
      The problem is not the media used, the problem is to get access to all the proprietary informations needed to access and execute the game.
    • by selven (1556643)

      To use Sinister Strike on Crag Boar, go to page 187225, or 314290 if the d100 rolls below your crit rate.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by arth1 (260657)

      I can't go out and buy a punchcard computer, but I can go and buy a 300 year old book.
      Commit it to paper, it's the only proven archive method.

      And here I thought punch cards were paper!?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @03:27AM (#32650488)

    Not a new idea, in fact their is a whole community based on running and preserving old games.See, http://www.oldgames.nu/ [oldgames.nu] or search for abandon-ware. Their are many tools that can be used to make old games playable and even to run at the speed intended (a common problem games running too fast to be playable) The biggest problem I can see to this becoming a active/mainstream idea is the fact the copyright protection agency's will get involved and we know what kind of a mess that creates.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by tp_xyzzy (1575867)

      Obviously anyone preserving those games will need permission from original authors. Good web sites just ask for the permission... Guess it's a small job tracking down people who actually wrote the games, but there are sites like that existing and they do ask for the permissions..

      The only problems will be finding all the persons needed. Many game authors have contracts with publishers that are exclusive, so the number of people that need to be found to do this is quite large. There often is not any single pe

      • Why do we need permission from the original authors of games, but when it comes to movies or songs the ethic here is "copy it and screw the RIAA/MPAA"?
  • by AffidavitDonda (1736752) on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @03:32AM (#32650510)

    By now, a lot of these programs where kept alive by the fan base. Emulators are available for lots of old 8bit machines.
    For example I found several emulators for my old TI 99/4A, complete with cartridges of games and applications. Even single pieces of hardware where available, like the speech box and expansion box, which as a kid I wasn't able to afford at the time.

    So what I guess they should do, is to store source codes (often available, since abandoned by the producers), and all the information of the hardware, chipsets etc, that one would need to built an emulator on some new hardware. Maybe it would even be possible to build a kind of "general emulator", that needs only to be fed with hardware information.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by QuantumLeaper (607189)
      A 'general emulator' is called MESS (Multi Emulator Super System) http://www.mess.org/ [mess.org] you can play computers, consoles, and calculators, some work very well and other don't work right now. MESS supports 479 unique systems with 1,282 total system variations.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Hatta (162192)

        I love emulators, but I've never found much use for MESS. In pretty much every case where there's a dedicated emulator for a system, it's better to use that than MESS. Jack of all trades, master of none syndrome I guess. What systems do you emulate with MESS that are not better emulated elsewhere?

  • There are always bunches of 2600's on eBay. That's how I got mine a few years ago (kinda curious who threw out the one I had as a kid, but, whatever)

  • Preserving the software is one thing, but the experience of running one of these programs on the original hardware is considerably different.

    With Star Raiders, for instance, the joystick is necessary to enjoy the same experience as an original user. Arguably the boot up sequence too and the CRT monitor.

    Another example: "Daredevil Dennis" on the BBC Micro. The internal speaker on the system produces the sounds. Good luck reproducing that efficiently. And just the reality of sitting in front of the mach
    • by Novus (182265)

      - not to mention the fact that an emulation of the hardware is going to be imperfect.

      This may not be much of a problem in many cases. For example, a 90s DOS game such as Warcraft or Doom (to take two of their examples) has to be able to run on a wide array of different PCs; much of the time, you can get away by reproducing only the behaviour that hundreds of VGA cards or CPUs, for example, shared. That said, there is always the potential for trickery involving undocumented features. For example, DOSBox only recently gained support for the palette switching trick used by e.g. Lemmings [dosbox.com].

      The im

    • by wildstoo (835450)

      You're right about the experience being different, but just because you're not sitting in your bedroom in front of your old CRT TV in the 80s (for example) doesn't mean you're not experiencing the game as the creators would have intended.

      At least one emulator I have used (can't remember which) includes "system sounds", like the whirr and buzz of the disk drive, which are played while software loads. VICE, arguably the most popular C64 emulator, has "PAL mode" which makes the display more closely resemble th

      • by grumbel (592662)

        These are nice features that can make the experience more "authentic", but how far do you go?

        A nice intermediate step would be when emulators would include functional 3D models of the original hardware, so that you would at least get a decent impression of how that stuff looked in reality. Clicking around on a 3D model to insert a disk or module would of course still not give the same impression as the real thing, but it would at least be a hell of a lot closer then just loading a disk image.

        There are of course also advertising, game manuals and gimmicks that might have shipped with a game that wou

        • by Scoth (879800)

          For me, *not* having to mess around with disks, cassettes, cables, blowing on carts, etc is one of the things I *like* about emulators. I wouldn't be pleased if I had to return to the days of waiting 5 or 10 minutes for a cassette boot error on my emulated Atari, or spend 5 minutes wiggling the virtual cartridge around in the virtual NES to get it to start up right. Would there be a "blow" button (har) or perhaps a microphone that picks up your actual blowing a la some of the DS games?

          Although I suppose tha

      • Which is the "right" sound? This goes for many old PC games that had MIDI music.

        I would have thought those would be the easy ones. MIDI is device independent.
        • MIDI is probably supposed to be device independent, but for some reason it can be very different depending on the sound card used.

  • MESS and MAME (Score:3, Informative)

    by Juju (1688) on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @04:05AM (#32650646)
    I thought that's what MAME [www.mamedev.org] and MESS [www.mess.org] are for. Preserving old games on all kind of hardware...
  • In the context of archiving games, accurate software emulation the whole HW underlying each game is the only solution.
    Obviously it should be done in a open, portable, multiplatform way to ensure that it is a long term solution.

    Mame and Mess ( mamedev.org [mamedev.org]) has already shown that this approach is viable and practical.
  • From TFA:

    "From there we want to start looking at how effectively we can preserve these things using emulation software. One of the basic tenets of digital preservation is you want to leave the original bitstream intact. For those cases where we've got a binary, executable form of the game like Mystery House, if I'm going to provide access I basically have to run an emulator of some kind."

    MAME is probably the most famous and widely used "game preservation" project in existence. The whole point of MAME is to

    • by Chelloveck (14643)

      Basically, I'm finding it hard to see the difference between the emulation/preservation/source port culture we have now and what these guys are doing, with the exception that they are somehow more "credible" or "legitimate" because they're a university project. Their methodologies might be more formalized, and they're receiving government funding, but their goals are identical to those of the thousands of people already involved in emulation and archiving of obsolete hardware and software.

      The difference is,

  • I know it did come out on the 2600 but sheesh, that was dire. The proper version was the 400/800 and THAT is worth preserving. Oh hang on, they already have via emulators. Next!
  • Oh my. I played WOW for a couple of years and barely got out of MC with my sanity intact. I now face the prospect of waking up in the future as my dwarf. Much as I love her, she's damned ugly and she has a big pet gorilla who smells! She's not even all-epic yet!
  • by roguegramma (982660)

    Digital Rights Management schemes will make it really hard soon to emulate the hardware and media.

    That is why I believe that unless a non-protected copy of the game/media is submitted to the Library of Congress, or a similar insitution in your country, the game/media should lose all protection by copyright law and DMCA.

    Just a thought.

  • Legality (Score:2, Insightful)

    by sodafox (1135849)
    I'm not a laywer, but as long as corporations keep their software patents and copyrights enforced, this will be a difficult task. It may take hundreds of hours of research and hard work to develop a virtualisation or emulation platform, but if Nintendo or Sony don't like the idea, then they can legally stop you, regardless of your motives.
    • by walshy007 (906710)
      patents end in fifteen years, so emulating the hardware is legal, it's the copyright on the individual game roms that you have to worry about. Which most people seem happy to pirate anyway, just like they do music.
  • This is exactly why emulation exists. There exists software that is still fun, or at least nostalgic, but nobody hangs around to the dedicated hardware for more than a couple years. So people write an emulator for that platform for a common instruction set and as long as you've got enough excess performance power, whala! Works like a dream.

    I've actually got a SNES sitting right here, but I'm too lazy to plug the thing in (don't even have a tv anymore actually) so I have an emulator for SNES on my pc, wit
    • by Urza9814 (883915)

      That's why you should stick with PC gaming. Look at World of Warcraft. The official servers are still there, but there are also hundreds of 3rd party servers as well. And AFAIK, Blizz hasn't made any attempt to stop them. And all you have to do is edit one little text file.

      • by walshy007 (906710)
        lookup the bnetd case, they hate private servers even when it isn't costing them any money, let alone when it does.
  • It's not just games like Doom and such. There are/were programs out there that let people build things in other worlds.

    * Active Worlds (Since the 1990's)
    * Neverwinter Nights (All the custom modules and content)
    * Second Life
    * Etc.

    That is just to name a few. Heck in Activeworlds I used some nice sized chunks of virtual land to build things like a full campus university, mountain hideaway, large gardens made from other materials like boulders and roof pieces, giant boulder trees, etc

    Granted a lot of custom con
    • by TheCarp (96830)

      Second life is the interesting one to me.

      If the linden should crash and users exodus the second life servers, what is the world then? Surely there are things, there are names of people who owned things (before they left, for whatever reason) but... its a wasteland, a virtual ruin.

      Without the people, its simply not "second life".

      You can't really say that for most of the things people are talking about. Doom is doom. The maps are what they are, unless you change them. A cyberdemon is still a cyberdemon.

      Whats

  • Isn't this the exact same thing the MAME project is trying to achieve? http://mamedev.org/about.html [mamedev.org]
  • The Internet Archive has a project to do this: http://www.archive.org/details/software [archive.org]

  • Just incrementally back up the entire Matrix. You can roll it back a decade or two to play your Atari game.
    • Just incrementally back up the entire Matrix. You can roll it back a decade or two to play your Atari game.

      I know this is a joke, but I think the general sentiment is good. In addition to just emulating the games, you really need to experience them as they were meant to be played. For example, even the effect available in Stella (a 2600 emulator) to simulate phosphorescence in old T.V. screens is awesome, but it still isn't quite the same as playing it on a real Atari with various older television models. However, emulation is at least a huge step in the right direction!

      • Ah, Fort Apocalypse, the first game I ever cracked. (I only cracked the games I owned and didn't distribute them; I looked down on the posers who thought they were elite because they traded pirated games back and forth)

        I just moved and found my old 2600 and a bunch of games. Unfortunately, I don't have a TV with the proper inputs anymore. I'll have to look into getting an old one...

        • I have a 2600 that plugs into my hdtv using an rf modulator. It seems to be the same modulator that the machine shipped with, and it works perfectly well. Same for my NES. The both just plug into the converter, and the converter plugs into the coax on the television.
        • Thanks for the information, guys.

  • I'm opening up a video game museum and will try to get every video game ever made. I'll charge admission and people can play the video games and learn about video game history.
  • I don't know if anyone has considered the full implications here. If this could be applied to other types of programs, it would end having to upgrade all of your old software any time you upgraded the OS or PC itself beyond a certian point. You'd still need to get functionality upgrades and patches, as no software is absolutely perfect, but this could become an incremental cost to the consumer and a constant revenue stream for companies making the programs in the first place. They would have
  • ...and while IMO the game was craptastic, I always was impressed with the beauty of the environments in Age of Conan.

    What happens when this meticulously-detailed world dies? It would be a damn shame that all the artwork and effort that went into producing it were to end up as some 1's and 0's on a couple of DVDs in Funcom's basement archive.

    It's really too bad that there isn't some sort of ur-format that worlds like this can be exported to, to allow them to be re-used somehow for other settings. I'm sure

  • by VGR (467274)

    As everyone's pointed out, emulators have already covered the preservation of things like Star Raiders.

    What really needs preservation are (relatively) newer games buried by copyright holders. Games like "System Shock 2," "KISS Psycho Circus: The Nightmare Child," and the PC version of "Turok 2: Seeds of Evil," all of which are no longer published and cannot be bought brand new anymore, leaving only eBay and warez as viable sources.

  • I upgraded to a new computer to find that the software that I bought it for won't work in Win95 compatible mode. The net needs a Richter scale for technology progress that has disastrous results.

  • I feel compelled to inform the author of TFA that we overcame this problem years ago with something called EMULATION. Stella (http://stella.sourceforge.net/) has been around since 1996, and that's just one of many excellent Atari 2600 emulators that remove the hardware dependency he spoke of.
  • even Doom has dependencies on DLLs with an operating system

    I know Doom was ahead of its time, but being a DOS game with DLL dependencies is pretty impressive.

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