New preservation study uncovers shocking truth: 87% of retro games are lost for good, according to new findings from an exhaustive preservation effort.
Have you noticed how difficult it can be to obtain certain games these days, be they through emulation or original copies? My childhood was spent immersed in Croc: Legends of the Gobbos but sadly is no longer something I can readily enjoy nowadays.
Red Dead Redemption cannot run on modern consoles, prompting many fans to hope rumours regarding an imminent remake are true. While remakes are great, we should preserve originals too – there are physical copies lingering out there in collector’s hands but no extensive and official archive to protect these classic titles; gaming companies seem aware of this need; yet 87% of retro titles may soon vanish into history without an attempt at preservation being undertaken by gaming companies themselves.
According to Kotaku, The Video Game History Foundation (VGHF), in conjunction with Software Preservation Network, conducted an impressive research effort which revealed that 9 out of every 10 classic US videogames released prior to 2010 — when digital game distribution became widespread — are “critically endangered”. VGHF states:
According to this study, 87% of classic games are currently unavailable – making them critically endangered as their availability becomes limited. As Kotaku points out in its coverage of Yakuza Kiwami released as a remake version in 2016 however this does nothing to preserve its release form or ensure future gaming opportunities exist in its place.
The Video Game History Foundation believes remakes alone cannot suffice when it comes to preservation efforts, according to co-director Kelsey Lewin of VGHF. She pointed out: “To access nearly 9 in 10 classic video games there are few options: Collectible games must be hunted down for restoration or maintained, travel across country to visit libraries or pirate them – none of these options being desirable – meaning most video games remain unavailable except to diehard and dedicated fans; quite unfortunate!” Hopefully soon enough the industry can turn a corner and move towards revitalized preservation efforts!