Now that the digital age has arrived, video game preservation is arguably more important than ever. Fortunately, steps are slowly being taken around the world to ensure this industry's rich history lives on for the benefit of future generations.
Down under, the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia has announced it will begin to archive locally made games – including the storyboards, artwork, and soundtracks associated with each one.
NFSA chief executive Jan Müller explained how locally made games would join a collection already made up of more than three million items and stated how it would be "impossible" to represent modern life without video games:
The collection represents the cultural diversity and breadth of experience of all Australians, and it is constantly evolving just like our creative industries.
We aim to be the national leader in collecting multimedia and new media content, and it would be impossible to accurately represent modern life without games. It is essential that games be collected alongside other audiovisual media, to ensure their continued preservation and access.
The first eight games are a mix of modern and classic releases – including titles from the '80s to more recent hits like Team Cherry's Hollow Knight (thanks, Kotaku):
- The Hobbit (Beam Software, 1982)
- Halloween Harry (Interactive Binary Illusions / Sub Zero Software, 1985/1993)
- Shadowrun (Beam Software, 1993)
- L.A. Noire (Team Bondi, 2011)
- Submerged (Uppercut Games, 2015)
- Hollow Knight (Team Cherry, 2017)
- Florence (Mountains, 2018)
- Espire 1: VR Operative (Digital Lode, 2019)
Once these games have been successfully archived, the NFSA will begin to archive more locally made titles on an on-going basis.
Yeeees! That's a major step forth in preservation if I am not mistaken
Makes sense. Games are an art form in their own way IMO.
Here's to hoping that Untitled Goose Game makes the list in the future.
I already made a lengthy comment on Vooks about the inclusion of Halloween Harry. They should include Mystic Towers as well, which was also published by Apogee/3D Realms and was developed in Australia. It was one of the few full version games that we purchased in my childhood, and I recall grabbing Mystic Towers on the same day (sometime in the latter half of the 90s).
Incidentally, Apogee's Halloween Harry has been renamed as Alien Carnage (due to underwhelming sales at the time, I believe) and they swapped episodes 1 & 3 around, which made no sense as episode 1 contained all of the introductory notifications to ease the player into the mechanics of the game, plus each episode was progressively more difficult than the last, so in Alien Carnage, the game becomes progressively less difficult, and the third episode suddenly includes a bunch of notifications to guide you through the game when you should already be familiarised with the game's mechanics by then.
It was a stupid, stupid move that still makes no sense to this day. Sure, episode 3 (Sewers) had a far more interesting setting and cast of monsters than the original episode 1 (Office Block), but in swapping them compromised the intent of the game's design.
Halloween Harry/Alien Carnage is freeware (legally free to download), so I would wholeheartedly recommend it for those interested in a 90s platformer with unique mechanics, but I would strongly recommend playing the original Halloween Harry over the revised Alien Carnage. However, if you are to play Alien Carnage, I would advise that you play the episodes in the following order: 3, 2, 1, 4, in order to enjoy the game as it was originally designed. The game isn't terribly long as it is comprised of four episodes with five levels each (the fifth level being a brief boss stage), and it will probably take 30 minutes to complete each episode for a returning player, or about 1 hour for a first-time player.
"Untitled Goose Game was developed by four-person indie studio House House, based in Melbourne, Australia."
Hey, isn't that interesting? nudge nudge
Good, it's a start. Now they need to arrange a way for these games to be accessible to the public once they are no longer sold my the devs. It's not preservation if it's being locked away, never to be seen again.
Didn't realise Shadowrun was an Australian game, that game was dripping in atmosphere much like Hollow Knight which I can't say enough good things about.
Good move to preserve them.
Awesome, Golf Story comes to mind as another recent game that got a lot of success.
They should get Hand of Fate now that the dev closed down.
They should preserve this game:
You can get a print of it. Just because it isn't the real thing doesn't mean you can't have a copy for your home. The same principal applies here. As I said, what's the point if it's going to sit in a vault forever?
"It is essential that games be collected alongside other audiovisual media, to ensure their continued preservation and access."
So uh...can we preserve Scott Pilgrim too?
@shaneoh "It is essential that games be collected alongside other audiovisual media, to ensure their continued preservation and access."
To be fair, that's all opinion in the end. There's nothing saying they have to preserve and distribute... or even preserve in the first place.
Not saying they shouldn't, just that there's technically nothing saying they have to do any of this.
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