Living in the Shade of the Video Arcade: Preserving Video Games Bit by Bit

Alexander Jensen Butler University
Faculty Sponsor(s): Andrew Levy Butler University
The legacy of modern Media is becoming increasingly digital. Films are shot, edited, and released on hard drives vs. the celluloid of almost 30 years ago; music has shifted to bits from spools of magnetic tape and discs of vinyl etched with grooves; small laptops and tablets let people compose the next great novel on the go more easily than a typewriter. All forms of analogue art have now embraced the digital age and have converted, allowing for greater production and preservation. But the art from born on silicone, the Video Game, is not only looked down upon after being a cultural mainstay for almost 50 years, but is terribly preserved despite its being a native to the computer landscape. Current systems are vastly inadequate. It is left to enthusiasts and pirates to keep circulating the ROMs and Emulators necessary for people to have access to the important artefacts of Game history when companies won’t make them accessible themselves. Games of historic and artistic importance from decades past are allowed to rot on hard drives and floppy discs. Companies must be more transparent about their archives and making available their older products, and an international body needs to be formed to help preserve digital and analogue Game material. In this way we can make sure that Games don’t need to learn the lesson that Film did, and avoid the digital equivalent of a Nitrate fire, destroying swaiths of history in an instant.
English Literature & Creative Writing
Oral Presentation

When & Where

01:30 PM
Jordan Hall 303