Where have all the games gone? An exploratory study of digital game preservation

2012-08-08T12:47:03Z (GMT) by Joanna Barwick
It is 50 years since the development of the first computer game and digital games now have an unprecedented influence on our culture. An increasingly popular leisure activity, digital games are also permeating other aspects of society. They continue to influence computer technology through graphics, animation and social networking; an influence which is also being felt in other media, in particular film and television. They are a new art form and they are seen to be influential on children s learning and development. However, despite their pervasiveness and apparent importance within our society and culture, they are still largely ignored as part of our cultural heritage. Dismissed as disposable, entertainment products, they have not specifically been addressed in most of the academic literature on digital preservation which represents a serious omission in past research. This was justification for an exploratory study into the preservation of digital games and the aim of this study has been to explore the value of digital games, their significance in our culture, and the current status of their preservation. Investigating the relationship of games to culture; reviewing current preservation activities and drawing conclusions about the value of digital games and the significance of their preservation were the study s objectives. These have been achieved through interviews with key stakeholders the academic community, as potential users of collections; memory institutions, as potential keepers of collections; fan-based game preservation experts; and representatives from the games industry. In addition to this, case studies of key game preservation activities were explored. Through this research, a clearer picture of attitudes towards digital games and opinions on the need for preservation of these cultural products has been established. It has become apparent that there is a need for more coherent and collaborative efforts to ensure the longevity of these important aspects of digital heritage.