Video Games

New Study Compares Classic Games to Silent Movies, Says Just 13 Percent Are Commercially Available

The spy shooter No One Lives Forever was critically acclaimed when it was released in 2000, won multiple awards, and spawned a sequel. We called him one of the best shooters of the year in our first review. However, if you want to play in 2023, you’ll have to take advantage of one of the few digital archives available on the internet. Because neither No One Lives Forever nor its sequel is commercially available through Steam or anyone else.

No One Lives Forever is an example of a market that: 13% of games created before 2010 are commercially available, according to a new study conducted by the Video Game History Foundation. With each remastered update of Metroid Prime, thousands of games are hard to obtain or available legally, including games for popular platforms such as the Game Boy.

Imagine if the only way to watch Titanic was to find used VHS tapes and maintain your vintage gear so you could still watch it.

Kelsey Lewin of the Video Game History Foundation said, “Imagine if the only way to see the Titanic was to find a used VHS tape and maintain the vintage equipment yourself so you can still see it. Take a look,” he wrote in a blog describing the study. “And what if no library, not even the Library of Congress, could do more? I have to go.”

like a silent movie

That’s pretty much what the video game industry finds itself in, says a new study. It compares the commercial availability of classic video games to the viability of silent films (14 percent) and pre-World War II audio recordings (10 percent or less). ).

The new study, which the Video Game History Foundation claims is the first of its kind, examines more than 4,000 video games released in the United States before 2010, with a particular focus on the Commodore 64, Game Boy and PlayStation 2. guessing. The Commodore 64, first released in 1982, has been described as an “abandoned ecosystem with the least commercial interest,” while the Game Boy has been described as “ignored” and the PlayStation 2 as “active.” there is

The overall availability of historical games was found to be “disastrous”, with many games being blocked by technical challenges, rights issues and other issues. GoldenEye 007, which was finally re-released on Xbox and Switch earlier this year, has his six separate rights holders, including the director’s competitors Nintendo and Xbox. He has three rights holders on No One Lives Forever, but research shows he’s not entirely sure who owns what. And porting a game to a new console can be prohibitively expensive, with Limited Run Games CEO Josh Fairhurst estimating that a single port alone could cost up to $350,000. .

As a result of all these challenges, only the most popular retro games have been re-released on modern platforms, with the rest available in vintage game shops, emulations or digital archives. With streamers like Max and Disney Plus culling hundreds of shows in exchange for tax breaks, the struggle to legally acquire classic video games is echoed in other media outlets.

Modern services such as Xbox Game Pass, PlayStation Plus, and Nintendo Switch Online offer access to vintage games in exchange for regular fees. As well as retro collections such as Digital Eclipse’s popular his Cowabunga Collection. But even more games remain tied to older hardware, and demand from collectors drives prices up.

“We hope this study will spur change.”

The Video Game History Foundation was founded by Frank Siffardi in 2017 and is one of the leading organizations in preserving gaming as a culturally significant art form. The organization commissioned the study as part of its objective of advocating for games to be made available in libraries and other official archives, but the Entertainment Software Association opposed it through the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which specifically describes attempts to infringe on as “hacking.”

The Video Game History Foundation says the next DMCA rulemaking process will be in 2014.

“We hope that this research will spur change and further strengthen the preservation of video games, before any more is lost,” Lewin wrote.

Kat Bailey is IGN’s Director of News and co-host of Nintendo Voice Chat. Any tips? Send her a DM at @the_katbot.

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