Preserving our Games

With each new generation of consoles there's new hardware and a new library of games. However despite some of the new block busters that eventually come with a new generation there's always the block busters ,sleeper hits, and cult favorites of the past that we always hold near and dear to our hearts. For some games of the past no longer matter thinking that all they need is the next best thing and they'll easily forget about all those games of yesteryear that couldn't possibly stand up to the technology of today. But as I've learned "Latest" dosen't always mean "Greatest". And no matter what new thing there is on the horizon, there are some games we all as a community will never forget like the original Super Mario Brothers, Mega Man 3, Chrono Trigger, or Metal Gear Solid. Now I should admit I'm a man in the final year of my 20's so some of the games I mention may be before the time of some folks here. But I will touch on the games of today.
 
Today backwards compatibility has a few solutions either by  having hardware built in like the early PS3's that allow it to play PS1 and PS2 games, or by downloading and software emulation like some PC games and the Wii virtual console. However both of these answers to backwards compatibility are not easy for hardware makers and software makers alike. I could go on as to why emulation and the like is difficult but that's not what I want to focus on. My main concerns are how we as devoted players are going to continue to play some of our favorite titles as the years go by and the technology gets better.
 
One answer to this is to hold on to the hardware that the games were made for. Now for a PC owner who wants to play old school PC games that may not always be easy but the wonder of Virtual Machines has taken away some of the headaches old school PC gamers would normally have if they wanted to play something 10 years old on a current generation PC. For console owners though it can be a lot of upkeep to preserve your old NES, SNES ,or Genesis. Thankfully some of these old consoles are far more reliable than the disc based systems of today which can keel over in a handful of years. Now I realize there are some folks out there wondering why any of us would care about these old machines and to them I have this to ask. Take a look at one of your most favorite current gen games for your PS3, or 360, Wii, DS, or PSP. Now ask yourself if you wanted to play this again 10 years from now what options do you think would be open to you? And do you think it'd be easy to simply forget about something Like LittleBigPlanet? Halo: Reach? Mario Galaxy? God of War: Ghost of Sparta? GTA: Chinatown Wars?
 
Those might be difficult questions to answer now with the uncertainty of the future but one that might be easier to answer is do you think you'll still be able to find a perfectly working Xbox 360 or PS3 10 or 15 years from now so you can play your favorite game like CoD4: Modern Warfare? Me personally depending on what the console market looks like in that time frame it might be simple or really difficult. The big thing that I'm trying to get at with all this is that as we move forward we need ways to keep our beloved games intact. Not only so that us old timers can continue to enjoy them ,but so that New Generations can see for themselves some of the humble beginnings of the franchises we love. I'm very glad we have something like the Wii Virtual Console, XBLA, PSN, and even Steam to allow us to play some of the games from previous generations. Much like how many classic films are carried over into new formats and preserved for future generations to see I believe video and computer games should get the same treatment. And with the magic of digital distribution I hope that can be a more convenient reality.
 
However the only remaining question would be if legal issues between publishers and the like would get in the way of truly preserving our games as we've seen in the past with Golden Eye 007 and many others.

8 Comments
8 Comments
Posted by Atary77

With each new generation of consoles there's new hardware and a new library of games. However despite some of the new block busters that eventually come with a new generation there's always the block busters ,sleeper hits, and cult favorites of the past that we always hold near and dear to our hearts. For some games of the past no longer matter thinking that all they need is the next best thing and they'll easily forget about all those games of yesteryear that couldn't possibly stand up to the technology of today. But as I've learned "Latest" dosen't always mean "Greatest". And no matter what new thing there is on the horizon, there are some games we all as a community will never forget like the original Super Mario Brothers, Mega Man 3, Chrono Trigger, or Metal Gear Solid. Now I should admit I'm a man in the final year of my 20's so some of the games I mention may be before the time of some folks here. But I will touch on the games of today.
 
Today backwards compatibility has a few solutions either by  having hardware built in like the early PS3's that allow it to play PS1 and PS2 games, or by downloading and software emulation like some PC games and the Wii virtual console. However both of these answers to backwards compatibility are not easy for hardware makers and software makers alike. I could go on as to why emulation and the like is difficult but that's not what I want to focus on. My main concerns are how we as devoted players are going to continue to play some of our favorite titles as the years go by and the technology gets better.
 
One answer to this is to hold on to the hardware that the games were made for. Now for a PC owner who wants to play old school PC games that may not always be easy but the wonder of Virtual Machines has taken away some of the headaches old school PC gamers would normally have if they wanted to play something 10 years old on a current generation PC. For console owners though it can be a lot of upkeep to preserve your old NES, SNES ,or Genesis. Thankfully some of these old consoles are far more reliable than the disc based systems of today which can keel over in a handful of years. Now I realize there are some folks out there wondering why any of us would care about these old machines and to them I have this to ask. Take a look at one of your most favorite current gen games for your PS3, or 360, Wii, DS, or PSP. Now ask yourself if you wanted to play this again 10 years from now what options do you think would be open to you? And do you think it'd be easy to simply forget about something Like LittleBigPlanet? Halo: Reach? Mario Galaxy? God of War: Ghost of Sparta? GTA: Chinatown Wars?
 
Those might be difficult questions to answer now with the uncertainty of the future but one that might be easier to answer is do you think you'll still be able to find a perfectly working Xbox 360 or PS3 10 or 15 years from now so you can play your favorite game like CoD4: Modern Warfare? Me personally depending on what the console market looks like in that time frame it might be simple or really difficult. The big thing that I'm trying to get at with all this is that as we move forward we need ways to keep our beloved games intact. Not only so that us old timers can continue to enjoy them ,but so that New Generations can see for themselves some of the humble beginnings of the franchises we love. I'm very glad we have something like the Wii Virtual Console, XBLA, PSN, and even Steam to allow us to play some of the games from previous generations. Much like how many classic films are carried over into new formats and preserved for future generations to see I believe video and computer games should get the same treatment. And with the magic of digital distribution I hope that can be a more convenient reality.
 
However the only remaining question would be if legal issues between publishers and the like would get in the way of truly preserving our games as we've seen in the past with Golden Eye 007 and many others.

Posted by nintendoeats

Amen.

Legitimately, modern consoles aren't going to last like the old ones continue to. We better hope that emulation becomes more viable for those platforms, or game companies will be charging us all over again for our games.

Posted by Atary77
@nintendoeats: You my friend have an epic setup! And I agree whole heartedly with you.
Posted by nintendoeats

@Atary77: Actually that's an old photo, it's way better now. But thanks :)

Posted by iam3green

yeah, consoles are going to have a problem in the future. problems that they have who knows who could fix them. 
 
i've been thinking about starting collecting video games. not trading in video games, and keeping them.

Posted by Murdouken

I'm beginning to regret buying all of my games on Steam, because I doubt I'll be able to have them in a decade like I would if I had bought them retail. I'm considering buying a disc printing/high quality printing setup and printing off covers for all of the games, burning them to disc, printing a proper disc front for them, putting them in boxes and storing them somewhere for the future.

Shame it would be so expensive.

Posted by Branthog

Let's remember that underlying any attempt to preserve and maintain old games has to be the acknowledgement that you don't own them. You're just buying the rights to play them under certain circumstances. When the software or hardware is no longer around or viable, you'll be expected to buy new rights to access those games on new platforms and media, assuming they are re-published (plenty of titles obviously never will be and how many times are you going to buy Psychonauts in the next forty years?).

Of course, realistically, I'm never going to get around to playing all those old games, anyway. I might like to collect them and own them and think I'll get to them, but I won't. So it's mostly theoretical. They're just discs and cartridges sitting somewhere, until they're used.

I really think it would be great to preserve the contents of many games, though, even if not the ability to play them. The graphics, the world, the characters. I was thinking that recent "google maps" version of the world of GTA IV in high resolution would be interesting if applied to every game possible in a sort of historic preservation manner.

@Murdouken said:

I'm beginning to regret buying all of my games on Steam, because I doubt I'll be able to have them in a decade like I would if I had bought them retail. I'm considering buying a disc printing/high quality printing setup and printing off covers for all of the games, burning them to disc, printing a proper disc front for them, putting them in boxes and storing them somewhere for the future.

Shame it would be so expensive.

I don't see how Steam will be a problem, unless the client eventually only installs on XYZ version of an OS while games only work on a prior version of the OSes. There are already games that they sell that won't work on current operating systems on Steam, though (which is kind of a shitty move, if you ask me). I don't see why Steam games couldn't be run in much the same way DOSBox games are (such as those released from GOG).

Anyway, it's all going to be moot the further we go. The "purchasing the right to play, but not the actual content" thing is only going to become more a part of gaming with every passing year and the concept of owning a game will be like the concept of having a landline phone.

Posted by tourgen

I think the plan is to have you re-license the games on the next version of the hardware ("re-buy" your games). Either as an HD Collection or in digital form for an emulator on the new hardware. Of course only the really popular, big sellers will get this treatment. And the bit about paying for a game twice..

The really bad news is that older games with DRM online-checks will just stop working. Or the DLC components that require online checks will have to be unistalled to get the main disk-based portion of the game to work. Which will of course play havoc with save games.