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A.: Evaluating strategies for the preservation of console video games

By Mark Guttenbrunner, Christoph Becker, Andreas Rauber and Carmen Kehrberg


The amount of content from digital origin permanently increases. The short lifespan of digital media makes it necessary to develop strategies to preserve its content for future use. Not only electronic documents, pictures and movies have to be preserved, also interactive content like digital art or video games have to be kept “alive ” for future generations. In this paper we discuss strategies for the digital preservation of console video games. We look into challenges like proprietary hardware and unavailable documentation as well as the big variety of media and non-standard controllers. Then a case study on console video game preservation is shown utilizing the Planets preservation planning approach for evaluating preservation strategies in a documented decision-making process. While previous case studies concentrated on migration, we compared emulation and migration using a requirements tree. Experiments were carried out to compare different emulators as well as other approaches first for a single console video game system, then for different console systems of the same era and finally for systems of all eras. Comparison and discussion of results show that, while emulation works in principle very well for early console video games, various problems exist for the general use as a digital preservation alternative. It also shows that the Planets preservation planning workflow can be used for both emulation and migration in the same planning process and that the selection of suitable sample records is crucial

Year: 2008
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