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Default Does it matter if games die?

May 21st, 2021, 01:02
I'm gradually working through the Nancy Drew games series by HerInteractive, there's currently 33 in the main series before you get to spin-off and mobile games and the like. Each game is its own unique work of art, in the gaming sense of art. The series is quite unique in the way it replicates itself so uniquely between games, maintaining strong familiarity while providing completely different adventures to the extent where no two games feel at all similar or like they're treading the same ground.

I went to buy another couple today (I've played just under half of them so far), I tend to buy a couple every 6 months to a year depending on when the mood hits.

This time while browsing wikipedia's list of the games, as I can never remember which I've played and which I haven't as I'm not playing them in date order, I noticed something a bit odd.

One of the titles had the phrase "game discontinued" in brackets. And it wasn't because there was now a remaster available, which is the usual reason for that phrase being used in this series.

I went to HerInteractive's website to look for a reason. No reasons were given and no mention of it was apparent on their forums. You just couldn't buy that game any more on their own website.

The game is also no longer available on Steam. It is available elsewhere, just not on these two venues.

After a bit more investigating I discovered that it was because during one small scene in the game some people could construe a one 1 minute cut-scene as racially offensive. The majority of the fan-base, including an awful lot of the ethnicity relevant fan-base think it's absurd, but HerInteractive obviously felt they wanted to do their moment of solidaity/pandering, whatever you want to call it, to the peak of the BLM movement.

However, regardless of the nature of this particular case, it is symptomatic of the nature of our hobby. At any moment and for any reason, our games can suddenly vanish - and there's not really a lot anyone can do about it.

They don't completely vanish of course, someone somewhere will usually have a salvageable copy of something they can attempt to redistribute as abandonware and the like, but it's never the same like that. In the above example, for example, would it then become an offence to do a let's play of it, an offence to try and distribute it via abandonware sites should it ever get included in a race-related videogames Bill, and all that etc.

HerInteractive, now that they've done this, would find it hard to undo this, even with BLM writing to them and telling them its OK, because they've tainted it already themselves. They could remake that part of the game, but it's kind-of a nearly forgotten game anyway, in terms of noticeable immediate profitability.

I've already played this game and I don't have any plans to replay it anyway, and many are claiming it was one of the crappiest in the series anyway, so wont be missed. But others are indeed complaining that they haven't played that one yet and will want to just to complete the series.

Although this problem is born of politics, either though morality baiting or legal copywrite suppression, this isn't really a political thread.

The thread just asks the basic question:

Does it matter if a game you like dies? Does it matter if no-one could ever play Baldur's Gate 2 ever again (without having to do it shadily)? Or Ultima 7? Or Skyrim? Or Doom? Or anything really?
Last edited by lackblogger; May 21st, 2021 at 10:40.
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May 21st, 2021, 01:48
To me, no it doesn’t matter. Tastes change, technology changes, life moves on. Lots of technology (which is intrinsic to games) is superseded over time, for example, Edison cylinders. I can’t see what makes games exempt or ‘special’.

Let the noise begin!
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May 21st, 2021, 02:01
Games aren't technology. Technology is used to make games, but games aren't technology. Games are art. Shitty, repetitive art a lot of the time, sure, but an artform nonetheless. So of course it matters. And of course the premise of the question, "will games die", is silly to begin with because the human race is never going to stop making games. They haven't so far in thousands of years.
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May 21st, 2021, 02:17
To me it doesn't. Anymore than any other art form or culture. Everything passes eventually. You enjoy things while they are around and then they fade and something takes their place. That's pretty much life.
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May 21st, 2021, 02:32
I think, in the future, games will become one of the creative arts that are taken seriously and preserved. But I think it will be selective. As with cinema, there's nothing to prevent films passing into oblivion, with no prints remaining. But some are selected by bodies like the US National Film Registry to be preserved.

I think there probably is a natural cultural process of some works being preserved by various libraries, curating a collection, and others being lost.
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May 21st, 2021, 03:21
Doesn't matter to me at all. However, if a game survives in the heart or mind of just one person, it's never truly gone. Ever. Exactly like many other forms of art, it can and will endure.
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May 21st, 2021, 06:09
I'm pretty sure it matters to the people who loved said game. As with anything, it's going to depend entirely on how much it meant to whoever you're asking the question to.
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May 21st, 2021, 07:31
Life is already way too short to enjoy the games that are recent, so I can't say fretting about the death of games is my thing.

Also, I'm not really precious about gaming in general. I greatly enjoy my hobby, sure, but I'd easily find an alternative if games went away.

Again, we live for so short a time that staying entertained is the least of my worries.

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May 21st, 2021, 08:08
Doesn't matter to me much, but I'd like to see game museums. In the future with a bunch of games depicted like you'd go to any other art museum showing centuries old art today.
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May 21st, 2021, 10:39
Originally Posted by JFarrell71 View Post
And of course the premise of the question, "will games die", is silly to begin with
That wasn't the question. Sorry if I worded it with a potential to be misunderstood.

The question is: does it matter if 'a game you like' dies?

I shall edit the OP forthwith.
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May 21st, 2021, 10:43
Originally Posted by Pladio View Post
Doesn't matter to me much, but I'd like to see game museums. In the future with a bunch of games depicted like you'd go to any other art museum showing centuries old art today.
Museums often have to remove artefacts because they are no longer 'allowed' to show them, for whatever the reason-of-the-day is. In most cases they go into cold storage until the nutty element subsides, if ever, but in some extreme cases they do get destroyed. ISIS, for example, a most recent example, went on a history wiping rampage with the deliberate intention of eradicating all non-their-belief historical art and infrastructure.
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May 21st, 2021, 10:45
Well, in that case, it definitely matters if I like a game and I can't get to play it when I want to.

Anthem is a very recent example - which I consider a travesty. Well, it's not dead exactly - but it might as well be.

So much potential in that game - and they just utterly failed to deliver and the suits just gave up on it. 7 years and endless millions of dollars down the drain. Talk about a waste.

I'm pissed about that one, but it's still not a big deal. I mean, I can always find another game to enjoy.

Too bad no other looter shooter comes even remotely close in terms of pure visceral combat.

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May 21st, 2021, 10:46
It's awful when anything worthwhile created by people gets lost to time. With games in particular it's awful when they die and get lost because the owners of the IP either go belly up, or they just sit on the IP and don't do anything with it. And usually the people that have the most emotional attachment to an IP, the developers/creators of it, are not the owners of the IP. But a faceless corporation which could be selling potatoes instead for all they care.

In the last few years I've been reading up on another case of games getting killed, those that have a part of it tied to a server component (either a DRM server, or an actual part of the game that runs remotely, as in online-games like mmos). For those interested, I recommend Ross's video on the subject. He seems like a lot more passionate than most, on the topic.

I agree with Ross's position that companies should be forced to have a decommissioning plan, when they turn off the servers. Either make the server component public/open-source, in case of mmos, or be forced to take out any DRM from it in case of single player games. And since this is not likely gonna happen, this is one area where we have to be thankful for software piracy. It's the last refuge to keep something alive.
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May 21st, 2021, 11:57
I don’t mind if games I like(d) die. I see it as an art form, but as a temporary one because it is so closely linked to technology, in contrast to other art forms. You can still enjoy a painting made hundreds of years ago, enjoy a book written 80 years ago, or a board game made 100 years ago (not sure if that is an art form though).
For me it is difficult to enjoy a game now, which I liked some 30 or 40 years ago, not only because of it not looking so great as modern games do, but also because there is apparently a lot of nostalgia involved making me think those could still be good games now.
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May 21st, 2021, 12:03
It is already impossible for someone to have the same feeling playing Baldur’s Gate (more so a Gold Box game) for the first time today as it was in 1998. And not in the same way that it is impossible for a listener to place themself culturally in the same place as someone hearing Tommy or Sgt Pepper or Hendrix in the late 60s.

Because my music of choice - jazz - tends to exist on the fringe and regularly go out of print, it is something I have had to deal with forever. But playing a CD and having a game disk that may or may not install and play are different things.

Ultimately I don’t care about games I miss because they go out of print - agree with TheDart on that one. But since I have been lamenting the difficulties getting Divine Divinity running properly lately, there is also an impact on games disappearing in various ways …
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May 21st, 2021, 14:05
Originally Posted by lackblogger View Post
Museums often have to remove artefacts because they are no longer 'allowed' to show them, for whatever the reason-of-the-day is. In most cases they go into cold storage until the nutty element subsides, if ever, but in some extreme cases they do get destroyed. ISIS, for example, a most recent example, went on a history wiping rampage with the deliberate intention of eradicating all non-their-belief historical art and infrastructure.
Yeah, that's not ideal

I think the way we show historical artefacts in most Western countries today is quite good though. If you've been to the National Gallery in London, you'll see lots of pictures we would now deem to not be very nice portrayals of human society, but they are still important cultural artefacts.
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May 21st, 2021, 14:07
Everything dies.
It does not matter.
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May 21st, 2021, 16:05
Nothing dies, it just exists during a set quantity of time. To those who shared their time with videogames, it may seem consequential.

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May 21st, 2021, 16:18
Those who shared will also die if not already.
Nothing exists, it's an illusion to distract your thoughts from the dying rule.
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May 21st, 2021, 17:15
In 50 years or so, people will want to show games from today to others to show them how game designers of todday thought and what they thought about the world - implicitely, through design decisions.

This is very much like showingmovies from the 50s (last century) and through them showing people of today, how the racism in the 50s was shown in movies - and through the movies' design decisions, what the movie makers thought about the world, then.

Same with movies fom the 20s or 30s of the last century.

Currently, here seems a movement to grow to indeed show older media and comment on them with "that's the way racism was shown in the media, then".
Kind of cultural learning, kind of a learning lesson, how racism was within the media of past times.
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