GDC is coming to an end but not without giving us lots of news and topics to discuss. One of the most interesting topics to come out of GDC was regarding preservation of gaming heritage.
Frank Cifaldi, head of restoration at developer Digital Eclipse, took to stage at GDC to discuss his concerns over the condition of classic video games and how they may disappear forever.
According to the Film Foundation, over half the films made before 1950 are gone,” Cifaldi said. “I don’t mean that you can’t buy these on DVD. I mean they’re gone. They don’t exist anymore.
The percentage goes up to 80% when it comes to movies created before 1920. Cifaldi explained how the situation scares him, he believes that the same could happen to video games in the future as well.
That terrified me. I wasn’t particularly a film buff, but the idea of these works just disappearing forever and never being recoverable scared the crap out of me. So I started wondering is anyone doing this for games. Is anyone making sure that video games aren’t doing the same stupid shit that film did to make their heritage disappear?
And yeah, there were people doing this. We didn’t call them archivists. We didn’t call them digital archeologists or anything. We called them software pirates.
He also criticised Nintendo on how it isn’t taking steps to support emulators. Honestly, I think Cifaldi has a point and publishers need to preserve their games, they are our history, they are games that started it all, those games are the reason we are here today.
Nintendo has its own stance on the situation though, they say supporting emulators is like legalizing piracy.
It would be a major loss for the gaming industry if we lose that software. Nintendo should at least consider developing some solution on its own.
Emulators like the one Sony is developing for PS4 will contribute to the cause, Microsoft has its Backward Compatibility and that helps as well.
Gaming Heritage needs to be preserved, let us know what’s your take on emulators and preservation of classic games is.