National Videogame Archive Debate

Discussion about the challenges of preserving video games announced         

Iain Simons, GameCity Director and co-founder of the National Videogame Archive, will appear alongside fellow NVA co-founder James Newman as the pair discuss the current effort to support, preserve and champion the digital heritage of the interactive entertainment industry. The talk will take place at The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 4DU on April 14th, from 2-3pm and is free to attend.

Two leading experts from The National Videogame Archive, Iain Simons and James Newman, will talk about the challenges of preserving video games. The technical issues faced are substantial: some games are extinct; some are missing; the ones you can find have to be migrated to new systems and emulated, whereupon they sometimes become almost unrecognisable from the originals; and then there’s the army of Intellectual Property lawyers to stop you doing any of it anyway. 

Simons and Newman suggest that perhaps we’re trying to preserve the wrong things. In the wrong way. Perhaps documenting games being played by the people that live with them and understand them is more important than preserving games, so that they might be played in some form and at some point in the future.  Maybe, we might want to dare to consider that games might not last forever.  And maybe the certain knowledge of their inevitable extinction will be the thing that focuses us on preserving and documenting what they are, what they mean, and how they are played.

Iain Simons  is the Director of the GameCity festival at Nottingham Trent University. It has received widespread international acclaim for its innovative strategies for engaging audiences with technology and culture. He writes and talks widely about videogames and cultural technologies and co-founded the National Videogame Archive.

James Newman  is Professor of Digital Media and Programme Leader in Creative Media Practice at Bath Spa University. He writes widely on videogames and the cultures of play. His recent books include ‘Playing with Videogames’ (2008), ‘100 Videogames’ (2007), ‘Teaching Videogames’ (2006), and ‘Videogames’ (2004). James is a co-founder of The National Videogame Archive and is currently finishing a book on the preservation of digital games.

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