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Default Does it matter if games die?

May 22nd, 2021, 05:11
Does it matter to me? I mean, I wish all games were kept for all time. I don't see gaming as any more disposable than any other artistic endeavor. And to me, it's closer and more impactful than any other artform. Not only do I think all games that at least have a fan or two out there should be kept, I would hope that many of them are updated to run today and tomorrow. With an active modding community, perhaps, like many obscure RPGs from yesteryear already have. I sit quietly as many games die, though, and I accept it. But if I had a choice? All games would be revered and kept as fine art for the rest of time.
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May 22nd, 2021, 11:58
I admit that I don't really see the problem. If a game can be played offline, you can continue playing it even if the vendor doesn't sell it anymore. So why should you call it "dead"?

If a good book isn't sold anymore, this doesn't mean that the book is "dead". Who already owned it can still read it and who didn't may be able to get a second hand sample.

Again: Why should discontinuing to sell something like a book or a computer game imply that it is "dead"?

(If a game is online only, it is a service and that services are discontinued is a normal thing too. Comparing that to a death is still completely over the top. But I'm not interested in such games anyway.)
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May 22nd, 2021, 12:10
Originally Posted by bkrueger View Post
I admit that I don't really see the problem. If a game can be played offline, you can continue playing it even if the vendor doesn't sell it anymore. So why should you call it "dead"?



If a good book isn't sold anymore, this doesn't mean that the book is "dead". Who already owned it can still read it and who didn't may be able to get a second hand sample.



Again: Why should discontinuing to sell something like a book or a computer game imply that it is "dead"?



(If a game is online only, it is a service and that services are discontinued is a normal thing too. Comparing that to a death is still completely over the top. But I'm not interested in such games anyway.)
You can have a Cd for a game but no Cd player to install it anymore. Game is still dead
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May 22nd, 2021, 12:31
Originally Posted by Pladio View Post
You can have a Cd for a game but no Cd player to install it anymore. Game is still dead
I still do have a CD drive exactly for this reason

But seriously: The OP was about a vendor discontinuing a game not about the question, whether people have the infrastructure to play older games. If a book is written in an old language that you don't speak, you can't say that the book is dead.

And even more seriously: Offline games usually allow to make backup copies even if they came via services like steam. From a CD or DVD you may be able to make an "ISO" as a backup, so you can later install the backup from a virtual CD drive even if physical drives don't exist any more. Another example is a tool like Dosbox, which allows to play games requiring an ancient operating system. So I would say: Where there's a will there's a way, if somebody really loves an old game.

Only copy protection might come in the way with creative ways to keep backups. So this is the only real problem needing a solution. May be a law could be made requiring vendors to remove copy protection when they plan to discontinue support for a game. Some vendors do this. May be you could even win a court case without a law since (at least in Europe) you are considered the legitimate owner of an offline game, if you bought it, and so the vendor must not prevent you from using it as long as you want. But that is a difficult question because it is not the vendor's problem, when you hard- and software doesn't support installation any more. If a game reads "needs Windows 95 and a CD-Rom-Drive" on the box, it is your problem to maintain such a system, if you want to play the game. I heard of people who really keep old PCs with old operating system versions and peripheral hardware for such reasons.
Last edited by bkrueger; May 22nd, 2021 at 12:35. Reason: Typo
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May 23rd, 2021, 23:15
I agree with most of you - games do not exist outside the technology and morals of the time. Eventually most (all?) will die because they no longer answer some need or question that you have. Games I have played on the Amiga, say, Harlequin were brilliant at the time but any time I have used an Amiga emulator on my PC I wonder what the fuss was about.

I also think that TV series are in a similar boat. I can not watch the early Dr Who episodes (or the latest but that's a different problem) any longer. There not bad but other programmes meet the need that early Dr Who provided.

Dying due to censorship is wrong. It's like rewriting history to pretend it didn't happen. You need to know that good people can make very bad decisions (and I don't exclude anyone from this).

The truth is that if I lost my entire game collection then I would replace it with perhaps a dozen games - none earlier than approximately 2000.
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May 24th, 2021, 15:10
I must admit, I've been quite surprised by the general apathy of a lot of responders, in the way so many people have seemingly quickly shrugged their shoulders with a meh.

Yes, technology does change, rendering games both unplayable and uncomfortable to play without current comforts, but that doesn't mean they need to or should be just forgotten to time as the best possible outcome.

The wonderful thing about technology is that it gets more powerful. Most of those really old games would likely fit on your laptop with room to spare. It really wouldn't take too much technology and space-investment to have an online museum of games, as @Pladio alluded to.

This museum could be both a charitable and for-profit operation. It could, basically, be a database storeroom of every game made in the 1980s, for example. You could either enshrine in law or simply appeal to the good nature of developers to suggest that, after a given amount of time, say 40 years, they agree to cede all of their rights to the game to the museum.

The museum then provides an online presence for all these games, for anyone to play anytime, if they so wish, either online or via a download, for the sum of $1 a pop. The museum's job will be simply to ensure that the games are software compatible with whatever is the latest operating systems.

Their job wont include patching the games or improving them or in any way making them 'better' experiences, they'll just provide for a system that allows people to play the last or best loved version of the game.

An element of curation would be involved so that games which were broken upon release or are just too pointless generally can simply be in a section of the museum called Trash, where a punter can pay $1 for unlimited access to all of the Trash and if the game is unplayable they can just have an interesting wiki-like page detailing why it was dreck to look at.

So, for example, at the start of 2020, all games made in 1980 get donated. Then, in 2021, all the games from 1981, etc etc.

For neatness, the museum could be 'complete' at 1989, and then a different and new museum opened in 2030 called the 1990s game museum. A skeleton staff would continue to monitor the 80s games for compatibility issues and general administrative reasons, but the bulk of the activity would move onto the 90s museum. Different websites, but the same charity/business.

Its just one option. I'm not saying the above is perfect, it's just the first thought that occurs to me, rather than the first thought of many others, which seems to be just meh. I feel sure we have more options available to us as a society, to which the above is but just one.
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May 25th, 2021, 00:20
I would love a comprehensive museum, but I am one who thinks games should be kept forever. I still go back and play old games and discover new old games all the time, and that should be available for those who search in the past for dusty gems. It should be a lot easier to access these games and learn about them, though, and an interactive library/museum would be great.
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May 26th, 2021, 02:58
Between DRM-free games (either those sold on storefronts like GOG or cracked) it's unlikely that a game "dying" would prevent me from playing it. So in that sense, it doesn't really matter if one of my favorite games dies…

However, my hope for my favorite games (and the reason I don't simply pirate everything I play) is that they are successful enough to allow the developer to make more games that I will hopefully enjoy… and hopefully someday inspire other developers to make a spiritual successor.

Unfortunately, my favorites are often very niche. I'm not entirely sure whether this is due to their limited appeal or limited marketing budget preventing them from finding a larger audience. Probably both. It is always a shame to see the developer of a game I like struggle or fail because it likely means fewer games for me to look forward to in the future. Not that I have nearly enough free time to play many games, but still…
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May 26th, 2021, 12:43
On BBC Sounds there is a 30 minute podcast (24th May). It covers:-

"Aleks Krotoski explores how we can prevent gems of video game history from being lost, while following the unlikely story of how one of these forgotten games was recovered against the odds."

My wife thought I would be interested - she's right and I thought some of you may care.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000wcct

Just started listening to it.
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