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Scottier681

Video game preservation

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I know this is a well worn topic, but if cartridges, CD ROMs, flash cards and drives, hard drives, etc. Cannot last then what is the alternative to storing, saving and preserving games? Doom has managed to stay alive and active for years longer than most games. What is the next step if physical media is ceased, digital stores are shut down and greedy game corporations are constantly looking for "piracy" and every thing else they can find a loophole for to call illegal? Any ideas/suggestions on how to keep games alive? 

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With current methods and laws your hypothetical worst case nightmare scenario where games sound like they're restricted to a cloud service it would be hopeless then outside of piracy. The only thing that'd make this scenario pretty hardcore is if we got into shootouts with the police every time they shut down some torrent site.

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There's no alternative to copying. This is true regardless of medium; we don't have much text left directly from the ancient/classical era; most of the texts that have been preserved are those that had been copied, and then had these copies copied in turn, and so on. And it's not something any one person can do, it's a job for an entire organization dedicated to preserving documents by copying them again and again and again. In the medieval era, this was one of the main duties of monks. Nowadays, it's national libraries who have that task.

 

It's not so much the number of copies that count (though it helps) but the fact that new copies are made regularly so that when old copies become illegible, the data is not lost since a more recent copy was made before it was too late.

Edited by Gez

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Once the original cartridges fail the easiest alternative is putting all the ROMs on a drive and running an emulator to play them. The retro consoles of yore (NES, SNES, Famicom, Mega Drive, Genesis and earlier) are the easy ones.  

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It's not about living in the past, it's about preservation. If we're so convinced that games are an art form we should preserve them like other art is preserved. 

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11 minutes ago, Li'l devil said:

Or you can just keep consuming new media that keeps coming out instead of living in the past!

This is a forum dedicated to a 30-year-old game.

 

 

Heck I could just say "this is a forum" because it's not Discord or X.

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24 minutes ago, Li'l devil said:

Or you can just keep consuming new media that keeps coming out instead of living in the past!

Yeah, I thought this site would be for talking about the hit new games on the PS7, instead it's just loads of stuff about some pixel game from 1993...

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2 minutes ago, Lila Feuer said:

I think they were being sarcastic.

Probably, I don't see why they'd be here for so long if they ACTUALLY felt like that. :)

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What really grinds my gears is when a Rich cartridge collector snaps up an extremely rare cartridge and doesn't dump it

I'm talking about games that I wouldn't be able to reasonably obtain myself, and when that hoarded cartridge eventually succumbs to decay (it will, trust me) then that's when nobody wins.

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The only time I haven't been able to find legal backups of games I already own is if the original was never dumped in the first place. Outside of that, industry measures haven't really kept things from being preserved and distributed by sufficiently motivated people.

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1 hour ago, Li'l devil said:

Or you can just keep consuming new media that keeps coming out instead of living in the past!

 

new wads 🧐

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8 hours ago, Scottier681 said:

I know this is a well worn topic, but if cartridges, CD ROMs, flash cards and drives, hard drives, etc. Cannot last then what is the alternative to storing, saving and preserving games? Doom has managed to stay alive and active for years longer than most games. What is the next step if physical media is ceased, digital stores are shut down and greedy game corporations are constantly looking for "piracy" and every thing else they can find a loophole for to call illegal? Any ideas/suggestions on how to keep games alive? 

 

Older games from the early days of computer and consoles are the most susceptible, as the media they are on is inherently fallible. Given that most of them have already been ripped and emulated, there is basically nothing the companies can do to stop these being distributed. The genie is out of the bottle, and the anonymous nature of the internet means that if people want them, they will find them somehow. Sure, you might get cases like Nintendo going after bigger ROM websites (probably to protect their classic game subscription service), but there's always going to be a way if you look hard enough. I am pretty sure most companies can't or don't care about super old stuff unless they are doing re-releases. Lawyers cost money, and there's going to be no financial gain taking legal action against some internet rando for distributing ancient ROMs for games that cannot legally be purchased elsewhere.

 

As for newer games, if they are on digital store fronts, there's always a risk of removal, but this is rare. Obviously Unreal was the most recent case, and definitely a big one. Obviously I do not support what Epic did to Unreal, they could have easily helped transition to community servers, but I understand it from a pure raw business perspective. Other multiplayer games that require server infrastructure to support, particularly large ones like MMOs, very much have a functional shelf life. Sooner or later, the plug will get pulled. So from a preservation perspective, I honestly don't think there is an answer here, shy of the companies making some kind of offline mode.

 

The vast majority of games are probably safe on digital store fronts, shy of the shop closing for some reason. If you care about a game you should be using the store front's backup facilities if there is one to create your own local copies. But yeah if all else fails and no legal avenue remains, piracy is pretty much your only option and that is always going to be illegal.

I am very pro historical preservation and we should do our best, but the simple fact of the matter is nothing is forever. For every Bach, Beethoven, Shakespeare or Homer whose work has made it down to us over the course of centuries or even millennia, there are countless other artists and authors whose work has been lost to the tides of time. Games will inevitably be no different. 

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Considering the Unreals have legitimate full-fledged single player modes, especially the first as that was its biggest purpose (we don't talk about the "sequel") it was an absolute dog water move to yank them. This tells me they don't believe in their history and would rather pull a revisionist so they can be seen as The Fortnite Company. So what if the servers are no longer supported, fans will get around it and they have, at least with Unreal Engine 1. I don't know what's happened with UT2004 but I assume there's still community servers? But not supporting them as-is and just giving a warning out on the Steam page that online is at your own discretion and is no longer officially supported? Right, I'll safely assume they're just assholes and move on, it's not like they've made anything I've liked in the better part of a couple decades anyway.

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13 hours ago, Gez said:

There's no alternative to copying. This is true regardless of medium; we don't have much text left directly from the ancient/classical era; most of the texts that have been preserved are those that had been copied, and then had these copies copied in turn, and so on. And it's not something any one person can do, it's a job for an entire organization dedicated to preserving documents by copying them again and again and again. In the medieval era, this was one of the main duties of monks. Nowadays, it's national libraries who have that task.

 

It's not so much the number of copies that count (though it helps) but the fact that new copies are made regularly so that when old copies become illegible, the data is not lost since a more recent copy was made before it was too late.

 

The Bible would be a chief example of this. On an tangential note, I discovered the following while reading one of Dawkins' books (not one of his on religion, but evolution rather). Apparently, the famous miracle of the virgin birth of Jesus from Mary was itself likely an error in translation. Apparently, the original Hebrew word used for virgin did not itself imply virginity, just that she was a young maiden. But the later Greek translations used a similar word with a slightly different connotation that did imply virginity. That meaning then got carried on to the English translations, like a game of chinese whispers.

 

Read more on it here: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/tippling/2016/12/07/debunking-nativity-mistranslation-virgin/

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14 minutes ago, Lila Feuer said:

Considering the Unreals have legitimate full-fledged single player modes, especially the first as that was its biggest purpose (we don't talk about the "sequel") it was an absolute dog water move to yank them. This tells me they don't believe in their history and would rather pull a revisionist so they can be seen as The Fortnite Company. So what if the servers are no longer supported, fans will get around it and they have, at least with Unreal Engine 1. I don't know what's happened with UT2004 but I assume there's still community servers? But not supporting them as-is and just giving a warning out on the Steam page that online is at your own discretion and is no longer officially supported? Right, I'll safely assume they're just assholes and move on, it's not like they've made anything I've liked in the better part of a couple decades anyway.

 

I can understand wanting to ditch support for old games that don't sell, and are dirt cheap when they do anyway, but yeah pulling them from stores was a terrible move. I'm glad I bought them before that happened. I have all the UT's and Unreal 1 and 2 on Steam. 

 

It's quite sad that this is the present culture. Classic FPS games get the shaft, while micro-transaction marketplace: the game, is now the face of the company and industry.

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13 hours ago, Li'l devil said:

Or you can just keep consuming new media that keeps coming out instead of living in the past!

 

Am I living in the past, or are you living in the future? Between the global pandemic, the rise of scarily good a.i. language models, and self-driving cars already being out on our streets--not to mention China's orwellian social credit system, I think it's safe to say the sci-fi future is here, both the impressive, technological marvel one, and the terrifyingly dystopian one.

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5 hours ago, QuaketallicA said:

 

The Bible would be a chief example of this. On an tangential note, I discovered the following while reading one of Dawkins' books (not one of his on religion, but evolution rather). Apparently, the famous miracle of the virgin birth of Jesus from Mary was itself likely an error in translation. Apparently, the original Hebrew word used for virgin did not itself imply virginity, just that she was a young maiden. But the later Greek translations used a similar word with a slightly different connotation that did imply virginity. That meaning then got carried on to the English translations, like a game of chinese whispers.

 

Read more on it here: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/tippling/2016/12/07/debunking-nativity-mistranslation-virgin/

 

A guy I used to do web development work for years ago was doing his own translation of the original Bible texts - as in the original Hebrew and Aramaic. According to him the Bible as most people know it today is a selectively edited, badly translated mess. Though plenty of historians and scholars know about the selective editing, comparatively few realise how bad the original translations were. They did not truly understand the subtleties of the languages they were translating where one missed mark can completely change a word. I have no reason to doubt him, but nowhere near the experience needed to completely confirm the accuracy of what he said either. He used to load his work onto a website as is (neither language necessarily smoothly translates to English), without giving his own interpretations, and let people draw their own conclusions, which I think speaks volumes as to his integrity.

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I've seen people encouraging emulation of console exclusive games on discussions about game preservation, but thing is, it's not always the best choice to play console games.

 

Certain emulators such as Xenia, RPCS3 and Dolphin would require a computer fast enough to run games on them. Some of the games on the original Xbox, PlayStation 2 and 3 make use of pressure sensitive face button functionality that modern controllers lack, such as Metal Gear Solid 2 and 3, making things like aiming weapons and interrogating enemies extremely finicky and uninituitive unless you have the consoles' respective controllers which genuine copies are hard to come by as you'll find fake controllers that lack pressure sensitive buttons and Sixaxis for PlayStation 3. I had to play the HD Collection on Xenia because of this, since the Xbox 360 version has modified controls to compensate for the lack of pressure sensitive face buttons.

 

And on top of those, you've got audiovisual glitches which aren't obviously present on original hardware. For example, Call of Duty 3 on Xenia has a grass stretching bug that they haven't fixed even after a few years. RPCS3 doesn't have this issue.

 

The enhanced version of Battlefield 2: Modern Combat on the Xbox 360 just straight-up refuses to be playable on Xenia, once you get into the game the game crashes after a few seconds and before the game crash, the graphics get super-glitchy.

Edited by Panzermann11

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I don't make saves of my games, majority are from steam so when i want to reinstall one or several i download further. With the fiber optic, that's speed.

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19 minutes ago, Panzermann11 said:

I've seen people encouraging emulation of console exclusive games on discussions about game preservation, but thing is, it's not always the best choice to play console games.

Sure but as time passes, there will no longer be a choice. Old hardware dies out, gets broken or lost.

 

22 minutes ago, Panzermann11 said:

genuine copies are hard to come by as you'll find fake controllers that lack pressure sensitive buttons

Yeah, and the Duck Hunt gun requires a CRT screen to work, for latency issues. (LCD or OLED screens have too much latency, CRT are as instantaneous as physically possible; Duck Hunt assumes zero latency.)

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This is why I support emulation, especially of old games: the best way to secure data is redundancy. As Gez said, back in history, redundancy was achieved by monks & scribes laboriously copying down content, which is the only reason we have stuff like Beowulf. Fortunately, modern tech is labor-saving, and allows for far more efficient copying & transmission of content. It's up to us to employ it to keep creative works alive into the future. As Gez also pointed out, much of the content we have from the ancient world is fragmentary. With the exception of the Bible, many classic texts have only a dozen sources or so, copied centuries after the originals. Who knows how much cool stuff from antiquity is lost to the sands of time? And so, if games have enriched your life (and they probably have if you browse a place called doomworld), then it's your responsibility IMO to chip in to preservation, and pay it forward into the future.

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11 hours ago, Gez said:

Yeah, and the Duck Hunt gun requires a CRT screen to work, for latency issues. (LCD or OLED screens have too much latency, CRT are as instantaneous as physically possible; Duck Hunt assumes zero latency.)

Latency is not the problem (or rather it's a crude way of explaining the actual problem), it's the scanning method, and ironically due to the reverse of what you described in a way as CRTs are not drawn instantaneously but LCDs and OLEDs are.

The original CRT lightguns relied on a particular quirk of the CRT design; the electron gun couldn't scan the entire screen instantaneously but instead physically moved line by line. By flashing the screen black with white hitboxes, the game could then distinguish which hitbox (if any at all) was hit by checking if the lightgun saw anything when it was drawing that particular part of the screen (basically the code raced the beam and then checked the result of the beam). LCDs and OLEDs however draw the entire screen at once when the scan is completed, meaning there is no physical way at all for the hitboxes to be uniquely identified. You can make an LCD and OLED display the image with the same amount of latency as a CRT (there is a semantics argument here because a CRT will start drawing before an LCD, but both an LCD and CRT can stop drawing at the same time), but as the image is no longer racing the beam the old logic no longer functions.

 

There are lightgun designs that can work around this problem (at least on a PS1/PS2) by using a camera instead and feed back the same relative information, and thus can work on any screen. They are expensive and require a way for the lightgun to distinguish where the border of the screen is, needing a hardware mod.

 

I bring this up because LCDs/OLEDs having "too much latency" is a meme, and isn't even an actual issue outside of over designed smart TVs. They can still display the same frame in the same relative time.

Edited by Edward850

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2 hours ago, Edward850 said:

I bring this up because LCDs/OLEDs having "too much latency" is a meme, and isn't even an actual issue outside of over designed smart TVs. They can still display the same frame in the same relative time.

look dogg what else am i going to blame my being bad at old games on, my ever-deteriorating reflexes as i age and my body starts gradually breaking down?

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