GDC Panel Identifies Key Games for Preservation

In a hundred years, will anyone remember Mario?

Hopefully so, if the Library of Congress (pictured at left) succeeds with its plan to preserve digital media. Devised in 2000, the idea is part of a national strategy to “Preserve Creative America” under the umbrella of the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP).

Last year the LoC solicited industry input on what types of digital cultural heritage to preserve, and a wide variety of content producers expressed interest, including members of the video game industry.

At this year’s Game Developer’s Conference, Henry Lowood, curator of the History of Science and Technology Collections at Stanford University, along with Warren Spector (Deus Ex), Steve Meretzky (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy), Stanford humanities researcher Matteo Bittanti, and Joystiq editor Christopher Grant, formed a committee to nominate a list of games they would like to see preserved in the NDIIPP:

  1. Spacewar! (1962)
  2. Star Raiders (1979)
  3. Zork (1980)
  4. Tetris (1985)
  5. SimCity (1989)
  6. Super Mario Bros. 3 (1990)
  7. Civilization I (1991) & Civilization II (1996)
  8. Doom (1993)
  9. The Warcraft series: Warcraft: Orcs and Humans (1994), Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness (1995), Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos (2002)
  10. Sensible World of Soccer (1994)

Lowood spoke of the need to preserve the games:

Creating this list is an assertion… that digital games have a cultural significance and a historical significance.

One of the challenges in preserving games is that the hardware to play many of the games on the list are obsolete and potentially unavailable. But emulators capable of allowing those games to be played are commonly seen as violating the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) and a tool for piracy.

– Reporting from Canada, GP Correspondent Colin “Jabrwock” McInnes

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