Preserving XBLA games

#1 Posted by planetfunksquad (416 posts) -

So todays Mailbag got me to thinking. I have a lot of physical discs/cartridges/floppies of old games that I never play but I won't get rid of for nostalgic reasons. I've also become quite attached to my XBLA games in a similar way and with the new console cycle approaching I'm thinking about ways to back them up.

If my 360 breaks after Microsoft drops support for it then those games become immediately inaccessible. In that event I cant play them on any other console because I couldn't do a licence transfer. In the case of some of these games (Super Meat Boy, Braid etc) this isn't such a big deal. They exist on PC and I already own them on that platform. I could play them there. But what of games like Fez and Dust? Is there an emulator for XBLA games? I looked and couldnt find one, but admittedly I didn't look that hard.

Do you think if the scenario arises that we couldn't access those games, the creators would port them over to PC? Do you think Microsoft will allow us to play them on whatever their next console will be? Or will I be relying on the hope that someone writes a bomb ass emulator? I'm sure it'll happen seeing how easy it is to play old games these days even without the original console but still, I'd like to know for sure that they wont just be blinked out of existence y'know?

#2 Posted by believer258 (11800 posts) -

I think I heard somewhere that Fez is coming to other platforms.

Beyond that, I do not know the answer to this question for sure.

#3 Posted by OGred (196 posts) -

Won't you be able to download Fez & Dust onto the next xbox?

#4 Posted by Metzo_Paino (318 posts) -

I'm really hoping that XBLA games will transfer over. It would be an easy way for Microsoft to say "And we have the biggest online store on launch day".

But then again, I wouldn't be too surprised if they say "Nope".

#5 Posted by Branthog (7588 posts) -

Physical media has a limited life span. People would be surprised at how many of their Atari and NES cartridges and PS2 and PS1 discs won't work anymore.

XBLA and other digital media will last as long as the copyright owner wants you to have access to them without paying more money.

Welcome to the modern world of copyright, DRM, and financial justifications to do absolutely anything with older properties to keep them playable.

#6 Posted by Aetheldod (3554 posts) -

Fez will come out on PC ... Dust , who knows, probably? The other dlc only good games not available on PC are That game company´s games but they are already sold on disk (well if you have a PS3 anyway).

#7 Posted by Matt_F606 (306 posts) -

@Branthog said:

Physical media has a limited life span. People would be surprised at how many of their Atari and NES cartridges and PS2 and PS1 discs won't work anymore.

XBLA and other digital media will last as long as the copyright owner wants you to have access to them without paying more money.

Welcome to the modern world of copyright, DRM, and financial justifications to do absolutely anything with older properties to keep them playable.

I agree that the cartridge based games will stop working after 10 or so years but if looked after well enough optical media can work for 50+ years.

#8 Posted by Rebel_Scum (685 posts) -

Give it ten years and there will be emulators for xbla titles. I don't see this as a bad thing either as you are allowed to own a rom if you own the original copy and that original copy is unplayable for whatever reason.

#9 Posted by Nikoran (165 posts) -

Microsoft will probably allow you to download the 360 XBLA games on the next console.

#10 Posted by planetfunksquad (416 posts) -

@Branthog said:

Physical media has a limited life span. People would be surprised at how many of their Atari and NES cartridges and PS2 and PS1 discs won't work anymore..

@mattf87 said:

I agree that the cartridge based games will stop working after 10 or so years but if looked after well enough optical media can work for 50+ years.

Weird, I bought a Megadrive and a bunch of cartridges in December and all 30+ of the games work fine. Is cartridge failure really that common? I have a few SNES games and N64 games that I'm gonna have to check up on but last time I played 'em (early last year) they were all fine.

#11 Posted by big_jon (5723 posts) -

I'm going to bet that they'll be avalible on the next Xbox.

#12 Posted by DelroyLindo (387 posts) -

@planetfunksquad said:

@Branthog said:

Physical media has a limited life span. People would be surprised at how many of their Atari and NES cartridges and PS2 and PS1 discs won't work anymore..

@mattf87 said:

I agree that the cartridge based games will stop working after 10 or so years but if looked after well enough optical media can work for 50+ years.

Weird, I bought a Megadrive and a bunch of cartridges in December and all 30+ of the games work fine. Is cartridge failure really that common? I have a few SNES games and N64 games that I'm gonna have to check up on but last time I played 'em (early last year) they were all fine.

All my n64 games work fine, and i treat them like shit

#13 Posted by CptBedlam (4449 posts) -

Preserving videogames in general is a topic that I've been thinking about for years. And I can tell from his comments on the subject that Jeff thinks about that stuff as well. There's quite a few challenges involved and loads of old games are gonna be lost forever, sadly.

#14 Posted by rentfn (1279 posts) -

I hope the games will be playing on the next x-box.

#15 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

Just because there aren't XBLA emulators now doesn't mean they're never coming. We just have to wait for powerful enough computers to come along so that technical limitations aren't as much of an issue.

#16 Posted by squidraid (129 posts) -

It doesn't make business sense for XBLA games not to carry over. They'd lose more money from people who'd stop buying them than they'd gain from the minority who might actually buy them again.

#17 Posted by StarFoxA (5146 posts) -

I've been thinking about this a lot recently, since a new console cycle will likely see previous stores dying out. My thought was that piracy will be the thing to preserve these games. I have no doubt in my mind that you could find any number of XBLA games on Pirate Bay, even if there's no "emulator" to run them (just modded Xbox 360s).

#18 Posted by StarFoxA (5146 posts) -

@planetfunksquad: Cartridges will fail if the internal battery dies. I know this is true of NES, SNES, Game Boy/Color/Advance games, but I'm not sure about N64 or DS cartridges.

#19 Posted by bobafettjm (1458 posts) -

@StarFoxA: The old cartridges should still work if they use a battery, but they can no longer save. It is also pretty easy and cheap to replace those batteries, I have had to do it for a few games.

#20 Posted by StarFoxA (5146 posts) -

@bobafettjm said:

@StarFoxA: The old cartridges should still work if they use a battery, but they can no longer save. It is also pretty easy and cheap to replace those batteries, I have had to do it for a few games.

Yeah, forgot to clarify that point!

#21 Posted by planetfunksquad (416 posts) -

@bobafettjm: @StarFoxA:

I knew that part but how common is it for a cartridge to just straight up die? As in be no longer playable. I've never had this happen to me with old games so I'd assume the answer is not very common, but I guess I could have just been lucky.

Also, @StarFoxA: Yeah I can see the pirate downloads and modded Xboxes thing happening. If Microsoft doesn't let the licences carry over to the new machines that would be the only viable way with no emulators available. I'm assuming that a PC wouldn't have to be very powerful to run an XBLA emulator though right? I mean I can run Meat Boy and Braid on my '08 Macbook and a lot of XBLA games arent exactly rinsing the Xbox's capabilities are they?

Oh, and thanks for the input everyone. :)

#22 Posted by bobafettjm (1458 posts) -

@planetfunksquad: It is not very common to have a cartridge based game completely die. CD based games however will eventually be prone to disk rot, which can make them no longer work.

#23 Posted by Hunter5024 (5617 posts) -

I think if Sony and Microsoft don't make their digital stores backwards compatible that they have royally fucked up, that needs to be a very high priority.

#24 Edited by StarFoxA (5146 posts) -

@planetfunksquad: I'm not sure one the state of XBLA emulation. Most people involved in the emulation scene aren't too interested in figuring out how to emulate modern consoles (Xbox 360, PS3) due to the difficulty, the processing power required, and the fact that litigation is more likely. Plus, in the case of the Xbox, emulation is incredibly hard for a lot of reasons, from what I've read. I'm sure that someone will crack it eventually, but not for a while (there aren't even any stable emulators for the original Xbox yet, while the PlayStation 2 has an emulator that can run almost all commercial games).

As a side note, WiiWare games can be emulated through Dolphin (a GameCube and Wii emulator) already, I've tested this myself.

Here's a list of current emulators.

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