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Software Games

Preserving Virtual Worlds 122

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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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @04:27AM (#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:Oh, please.. (Score:5, Informative)

    by PatrickThomson ( 712694 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @04:28AM (#32650492)

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

  • by chichilalescu ( 1647065 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @04:34AM (#32650518) Homepage Journal

    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, not the medium.

  • MESS and MAME (Score:3, Informative)

    by Juju ( 1688 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @05:05AM (#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...
  • by QuantumLeaper ( 607189 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @05:11AM (#32650672) Journal
    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:WoW? (Score:3, Informative)

    by QuantumLeaper ( 607189 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @05:45AM (#32650846) Journal
    WoW could be around in 50 years, you never know, they have been around 5 years already.
    Losing DOS years? I doubt it, Dosbox does a good job at running old game DOS games, it may not play them all but it play a lot of them already. You also have project like MESS where you could install DOS on a virtual machine and play the game or program. I'm more interested in games like Star Wars Galaxies and others where they won't be around in the future, and will most like never get emulated.
  • by snowgirl ( 978879 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @05:46AM (#32650854) Journal

    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".


  • by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @10:15AM (#32652766) Journal

    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?

Top Ten Things Overheard At The ANSI C Draft Committee Meetings: (9) Dammit, little-endian systems *are* more consistent!