Something everyone who cares about games, regardless of side, NEEDS TO UNDERSTAND
Rom Sites and emulators and sites like Gog.com aren’t enough to preserve games. There are no truly functional and usable Mac emulators, and there’s only one surviving repository of mac games… because no-one cared enough about it. Do you really think in another few decades, people will care enough about, say, the Atari Jaguar or the 3D0 to maintain its games or emulators? And that’s just the actual code and making it run.
We’re also talking about the ASSETS. Do you know what companies often do with assets when they’re done with them? Deliberately delete them. (which is the ACTUAL reason why 50% of movies before 1950 are gone — because they weren’t considered worth keeping, so they’d be destroyed because it was cheaper than storing them.) That’s what happened to Kingdom Hearts, and why Final Mix HD had to be reconstructed from scratch based on the finished game.
Even if they don’t delete them, the tech becomes obsolete and/or the assets become scattered, and unreadable. That’s what happened to Grim Fandango. The ONLY reason Grim Fandango Remastered exists is because archival techniques were used to recover the assets.
And files can just degrade over time or become corrupt in accidents — that’s what happened to the Pinnacle Station DLC for Mass Effect, which is why it’s not in the PS3 Mass Effect trilogy, and will likely never be any future release of the games, ever.
And that’s just a FEW examples of the ways we’re constantly, CONSTANTLY losing video game history. An archiver is not just there to preserve the code, but to preserve the game in its entirety, if at all possible, including historical context. They’re also there to make sure that it remains accessible — that current, functional emulators exist and that it’s on media that can actually be read and is backed up often enough not to deteriorate.
And this attitude is that it doesn’t matter, because it’s too new to take care of, is WHY we’re missing so many films and early TV shows (97 episodes of Doctor Who alone) — people didn’t care enough to actually maintain them. The owners didn’t care enough not to destroy or tape over them for space. Even when people did realize this might be something worth keeping, the proper archival practices to both maintain them and keep track of what you actually had didn’t exist. If we treat video games this way, by the time we wake up to what we’re losing, it will be too late… and an art form without its history has no use.
If all video games stopped being made forever, tomorrow, it would be less of a blow to gaming than failing to maintain video game archival practices.
I doubt anyone, Gamergate or anti-GG, actually wants to destroy gaming… but I see too many who are acting like they do out of ignorance.