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87 percent of retro games are being lost forever, new preservation study finds

Kate Harrold

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87 percent of retro games are being lost forever, new preservation study finds

Featured Image Credit: Sega, Argonaut Games

I’m sure you’ve noticed that there are an alarming number of games that are difficult to get your hands on, whether that’s through emulation or an original copy. I spent hours on end in my childhood diving into Croc: Legends of the Gobbos. It’s not something I can readily enjoy now.

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Heck, even Red Dead Redemption is unable to run on modern consoles which is why so many fans are hoping the rumours surrounding the possible imminent release of a remake are true. While remakes are great though, we need to preserve the originals. There are plenty of physical copies of classic games floating around out there, likely in the hands of collectors. The issue is though, there’s little in the way of an expansive and official archive. Gaming companies seem to be catching on to the need to protect their heritage but a new study reveals that an alarming 87% of retro games are in the midst of being lost to time.

Take a trip down memory lane and take a look at some of our favourite PlayStation 2 titles.

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As reported by Kotaku, an important study has been carried out by The Video Game History Foundation (VGHF) in partnership with the Software Preservation Network. It found that a whopping 9 in 10 classic US games are ‘critically endangered’. In this instance, ‘classic’ refers to a game released before 2010 which is, according to VGHF, the “year when digital game distribution started to take off.”

According to the study, 87% of classic games are not in release, meaning they’re considered to be critically endangered due to their unavailability. Kotaku lists the example of 2006’s Yakuza which was first released on the PlayStation 2. In 2016, Yakuza Kiwami was released - a remake of the original game but as I pointed out earlier, remakes do nothing to preserve the original game in its release form.

The Video Game History Foundation is arguing that remakes are not enough when it comes to preservation. VGHF co-director Kelsey Lewin said, “For accessing nearly 9 in 10 classic games, there are few options: Seek out and maintain vintage collectible games and hardware, travel across the country to visit a library, or … piracy. None of those options are desirable, which means most video games are inaccessible to all but the most diehard and dedicated fans. That’s pretty grim!” Hopefully, the industry can turn a corner soon.

Topics: Retro Gaming

Kate Harrold
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