Library of Congress to preserve video games

August 6, 2007 by · Leave a Comment 

Library of CongressI’ve noticed a bit of concern amongst classic game enthusiasts about proper preservation of older games.  Their concerns range from digital downloads replacing physical items (what happens when a download service is no longer available) to online games becoming unplayable (what happens when a company decides it’s not profitable to keep running servers) to hardware deteriorating over time (we’ve all seen what happens to an NES).  Well, fear not.  it looks like the good old Library of Congress is on the case.  On Friday, the Library announced a new program to preserve digital media of many types, including video games.

The game-news circuit seems to have picked up on the story today, and I figured I’d pass it along as well, since I’m sure this is a topic of interest for many visitors of this site.  Here are a few details: 

August 3, 2007 

Digital Preservation Program Makes Awards to Preserve American Creative Works
Preserving Creative America Initiative to Engage Private Sector Creators of Films, Sound Recordings, Photographs, Cartoons and Video Games in Digital Formats

The Library of Congress, through its National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP), today announced eight partnerships as part of its new Preserving Creative America initiative to address the long-term preservation of creative content in digital form. These partners will target preservation issues across a broad range of creative works, including digital photographs, cartoons, motion pictures, sound recordings and even video games. The work will be conducted by a combination of industry trade associations, private sector companies and nonprofits, as well as cultural heritage institutions.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: Interactive media are highly complex and at high risk for loss as technologies rapidly become obsolete. The Preserving Virtual Worlds project will explore methods for preserving digital games and interactive fiction. Major activities will include developing basic standards for metadata and content representation and conducting a series of archiving case studies for early video games, electronic literature and Second Life, an interactive multiplayer game.

Judging by the press release, it seems they might have particular interest in Second Life and other virtual worlds.  Let’s hope they give old video and arcade games their due, too!

EA not totally put-off by 3DO experience

July 13, 2007 by · Leave a Comment 

3DO LogoIt’s not often that the 3DO gets any mention in the modern gaming environment.  While other older platforms like the NES, SNES, Genesis, and TurboGrafx-16 are seeing new life with services like XBLA and the Wii Virtual Console, the 3DO is pretty much dead and forgotten to modern console owners.  But, it’s interesting to see that not everyone at EA was soured by their close association with the platform.

Gamasutra briefly asked Frank Gibeau, EA’s vice president and general manager of North American publishing, about EA’s experience with the 3DO and the possibility of them entering into another such hardware partnership.  Surprisingly, Gibeau wasn’t totally averse to the idea:

“I worked on (the 3DO),” began Gibeau, “and I’d never say never. I was a product manager on some of the titles, like Shockwave, and Road Rash, so I was part of that team, building the games, so I’m really familiar with what happened.”

“I think the challenge that we had with 3DO was platform positioning,” he continued. “It was the Swiss Army knife of hardware, and we weren’t really sure what it was supposed to do. I think when we look at our business, what’s vitally important to us is the entertainment and customer connection.” 

He’s right on the money about the 3DO’s identity crisis back in the day.  But looking at Gamasutra’s original question, is it even relevant?  Is there room for another platform like the 3DO?  One that’s just a spec that can be manufactured by anyone with a license?  Or, perhaps more relevant to EA, one where the hardware designers depend on a partnership with a separate software company to drive software development?

It worked with NEC and Hudson with the PC-Engine, but I have a feeling that today’s first-party centric market came about for good reason.  After all, who better to build hardware and software than the people that designed the system?

New “classic” games for 3DO, C64, Saturn, and more

June 14, 2007 by · Leave a Comment 

Nothing warms my heart quite like seeing old game consoles get new releases.  There’s just something uplifting about knowing there are other people out there that remember and are recapturing the same good times I had with my old games.  Plus, it’s just plain fun to finally see “what almost was” back in the day.

With all that said, I’m happy to say that has blown away the (admittedly small) 3DO community with the announcement that they’re not releasing just one, but four new games!  And not only that, but they’re releasing new Saturn content, a new Commodore 64 game, a new classic PC game, and a DVD of classic game commercials, too!  Here’s the list:

3DO: Icebreaker 2, Decathlon, Onside Soccer, Powerslide
Commodore 64: Silo 64
Saturn: Lost & Found 2
PC: Pathquest
DVD: Video Game Archives

They’re now accepting pre-orders and will officially release the games at the Classic Gaming Expo in Las Vegas on July 28-29.  Check out their announcement for more details.

It looks like Icebreaker 2 will really be the gem of the bunch.  It’s essentially a complete game that has sat, unpublished, for about 13 years!  The game’s creator gives a great demonstration of it in the video below:

Update: OlderGames has now posted trailers for Powerslide, Decathlon, and Onside Soccer.