White Paper on Computer Game Archival

Via Noah Wardrip-Fruin:
What should we preserve, when we aim for game preservation? It’s not just the executables that matter. Some have suggested that we need to preserve play, and I agree that matters. But I think we also want to preserve what we can about how games come to be. We probably can’t imagine a future in which every significant game has a detailed oral history — but how about a future where we don’t just throw away all the records of how games were imagined, prototyped, built, argued about, revised, and so on?

This week we’re announcing the publication of a new white paper, funded by the NEH’s Office of Digital Humanities, that proposes the first archival methodology for computer games, and that uses the specific case study of an attempt to archive Prom Week’s records to ground its analysis (and also to turn up some specific surprises). It also provides particular recommendations for different groups, so that we can stop hemorrhaging our history at such a great rate.

A Unified Approach to Preserving Cultural Software Objects and Their Development Histories

Eric Kaltman*, Noah Wardrip-Fruin*, Christy Caldwell**, Henry Lowood***
* UC Santa Cruz Center for Games and Playable Media
** UC Santa Cruz Library
*** Stanford University Libraries

A blog post (feel free to comment):

An archival link for the white paper:

I’m glad to see the discussion of these sorts of issues getting greater discussion, and I’m looking forward to the work game researchers can help do to guide future archival collection and appraisal!

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