game preserves
Why Some Video Games Are In Danger of Disappearing Forever
Years of neglect are eroding gaming history. Cartridges rot in garages, companies horde demos that they will never release, and obscure titles fade into the ether. Some games may even be lost forever.
By Heather Alexandra

Heather Alexandra at Kotaku did a great write-up about the basic ins-and-outs of game preservation and the challenges faced, both technical and legal. She includes interviews with some of the leaders in the field, including the Internet Archive’s Jason Scott and the Video Game History Foundation’s Frank Cifaldi.

One of the reasons I wanted to share this post is the curation problem discussed at the bottom. Even preserved, games will effectively disappear if they aren’t discussed and brought into new light.

Additionally, fans can attempt to keep games alive in the public conscience. Streaming games, writing blog posts, having forum discussions, and working on fan creations all help keep the spirit of old games alive.

“Players and fans should capture gameplay videos and record their thoughts on playing games,” Scott suggested when asked what simple things could be done to help preserve games

“There’s only so much that individuals can do,” Cifaldi commented. “I think we need to use our power to publish and share things can help create an oral history around games.”

Callis sums it up more succinctly. “If you care at all, make an effort.”

I’m grateful for everyone who does this, and I’m trying to do it to. Talk about and share your thoughts about odd, forgotten games in the open to keep them alive.

Altea’s innocence

Altea: What is a fur-ry?

Iseul, smirking: Oh well, you see it’s-

MC, threatening him with a fork: If you tell her I will sneak into your room while you’re sleeping and cut your hair off. Mark my words.

Reasons Why Okami is my Favorite Game:
  • You get to play as a wolf (my favorite animal)
  • The soundtrack
  • The Story
  • The game is all about preserving nature
  • Goddess
  • The ending
  • The final battle
  • All of the boss battles
  • The characters
  • Time travel
  • Adventure
  • Snowy atmosphere
  • Great Divine Intervention
  • The aesthetic (the brushwork, the way the characters are drawn)
  • Ammy leaves flower petals (seriously, this game is every Wiccan’s dream)
  • Victory Howl
  • And so much more. Seriously, play this game. It’s for PS2, Wii, PS3, and soon to be PS4, Xbox One, and PC.
Saving Japan's Games
On a Sunday morning in September, Typhoon Talim was flooding the western part of Japan with a torrential downpour, but at Todoroki Station in Tokyo on the other end of the country, its effects were limited to a light rain. A 20-minute ride south of the city’s famous Shibuya crossing, Todoroki is a sleepy residential station served by a single local train line. I got off the train at 9:30 a.m. and opened up my too-small cheap umbrella. Face down in Google Maps, I passed by the small cluster of fast food eateries and convenience stores by the station turnstiles. The shops gave way to the sort of Tokyo you don’t see if you don’t leave its center: Trees. Winding roads. Gas stations. A garden full of massive leafy vegetables. A driving range.
By Chris Kohler

An excellent article about the work being done by Joseph Redon and the Game Preservation Society in Japan, where more families tend to throw out old technology. Redon estimates that 99% of Japanese computer software since the 80s has been destroyed.

This is critical work, and it underscores how important international, cross-cultural collaboration is to understanding gaming history. The PC-88 is almost totally unknown outside Japan, especially the long-buried games that the article talks about. We all know our own terrain – which can be as broad as the Japanese computer market or as tiny as a fan community – and it adds so much to share what we know with others.

To appreciate just how bitter a pill Edward Yang was serving up with Taipei Story, it helps to understand the sarcastic fake-out embedded in the film’s Chinese title. Lifted from a poem by Tang dynasty master Li Bai, Qingmei zhuma translates literally as “Green plum, bamboo horse,” a phrase that, like many classical idioms in the language, distills human experience to a tableau of emblematic objects that can be savored by the mind’s eye. Here the experience being described is one of kismet—an eternal love that evolves out of the carefree games of childhood and preserves its innocence even as the companions age. Seeing these words on a marquee in 1985, the year the film was released, the average Taiwanese viewer would have been primed to expect the kind of escapist melodrama that commercial Chinese-language cinema had excelled at for decades, or at least something in tune with the treacly hit ballads of lead actress (and Yang’s first wife) Tsai Chin. But instead of the pastoral, ever-blooming romance evoked in Li Bai’s lines, what we get is the dry chill of urban malaise.

Taipei Story: Modern Planning


Who was the lantern man?

Could this classic film get a 3d release in the future, since it was shot from 2 different camera angles at once?

The history of the classic film Phantom of the Opera will continue to be as hidden in shadow as the Phantom it features.


Guild Wars ½ Screenshot Comparison

Something I’ve always found interesting, playing Guild Wars 2, is how consistent the art style “feels” with Guild Wars 1 in many respects. Walking around the GW2 Charr areas, I often feel a sense of deja-vu, having played through the same area multiple times as “Pre-Searing Ascalon” from Guild Wars 1.

This made me think, when you put them side-by-side, how much do the locations in GW2 reflect their origins in GW1?

Well… It’s a mixed bag, as you can see above. Left is GW1, right is GW2, and these are the areas:

  • Lion’s Arch (GW1) and the sunken ruins of Old Lion’s Arch (GW2)
  • The view from Camp Rankor (GW1) and the view from Rankor Ruins (GW2)
  • The Ascalon Catacombs (GW1) and the ruined structures in the same location (GW2)
  • Droknar’s Forge (GW1) and Sunken Droknar (GW2)
  • Ascalon City (GW1) and the closest matching area (GW2)

Now, GW2 is meant to take place over 250 years after GW1, and many areas are supposed to be very different (for instance, the previous Lion’s Arch and Droknar’s Forge were destroyed, in-world, by a massive flood) but I’m surprised about how much the architecture differs to big setpieces like The Great Northern Wall in Ascalon City.

That being said, what’s more interesting is that I didn’t really notice this very much until I took the screenshots, which I guess is a testament to how the second game preserves the spirit of these locations, if not their actual appearance.

I have a few more, but I’ll save those for another post.

Though the Museum’s diorama of American bison and pronghorn is set in the mid-1800s, its contents needed a 21st-century update. In 2012, this bison and its fellow animals in the Bernard Family Hall of North American Mammals received touch-ups from a team of artists, taxidermists, and conservators. President Theodore Roosevelt, whose official New York State Memorial is at the Museum, was a major advocate for American bison. As a rancher living in North Dakota, he saw the animals’ decline. To prevent their extinction, he created two big game reserves: Montana’s National Bison Range and Oklahoma’s Wichita Game Preserve. When Roosevelt became vice president in 1900, bison were nearly extinct. Today, thanks in part to the President’s efforts, there are approximately 30,000 wild bison living in conservation on federal, tribal, state, and private lands.

You can find this touched-up bison in the Hall of North American Mammals:

“I love cats because I enjoy my home; and little by little, they become its visible soul.” ― Jean Cocteau

I wasn’t quite ready yet for goodbyes, though, and stepped into the wood to pull myself together. The grass was long beside the trail, soft and feathery against the hem of my weighted skirts. Something heavier than grass brushed them, and I looked down to see Adso. I’d been looking for him most of yesterday; typical of him to show up at the last minute.

 “So there you are,” I said, accusing. He looked at me with his huge calm eyes of celadon green, and licked a paw. On impulse, I scooped him up and held him against me, feeling the rumble of his purr and the soft, thick fur of his silvery belly. He’d be all right; I knew that. The woods were his private game preserve, and Amy Higgins liked him and had promised me to see him right for milk and a warm spot by the fire in bad weather. I knew that.

 “Go on, then,” I said, and set him on the ground. He stood for a moment, tail waving slowly, head raised in search of food or interesting smells, then stepped into the grass and vanished.

 I bent, very slowly, arms crossed, and shook, weeping silently, violently. I cried until my throat hurt and I couldn’t breathe, then sat in the grass, curled into myself like a dried leaf, tears that I couldn’t stop dropping on my knees like the first fat drops of a coming storm. Oh, God. It was only the beginning. 

I rubbed my hands hard over my eyes, smearing the wetness, trying to scrub away grief. A soft cloth touched my face, and I looked up, sniffing, to find Jamie kneeling in front of me, handkerchief in hand.

 “I’m sorry,” he said, very softly. “It’s not—don’t worry, I’m … He’s only a cat,” I said, and a small fresh grief tightened like a band round my chest.

-An Echo In The Bone 

 “Come along, Roddy, you can be first to tell your mam that Himself and his lady have come back!”

Jamie took my hand and squeezed it hard. He was flushed from the walk, and even more from excitement; the color ran right down into the open neck of his shirt, turning his skin a beautiful rosy bronze.

“I’ve brought ye home, Sassenach,” he said, his voice a little husky. “It willna be the same—and I canna say how things will be now—but I’ve kept my word.”

My throat was so choked that I could barely whisper “Thank you.” We stood for a long moment, clasped tight together, summoning up the strength to go around that last corner and look at what had been, and what might be.
Something brushed the hem of my skirt, and I looked down, expecting that a late cone from the big spruce we were standing by had fallen.

A large gray cat looked up at me with big, calm eyes of celadon green and dropped a fat, hairy, very dead wood rat at my feet.

“Oh, God!” I said, and burst into tears.

-Written In My Own Heart’s Blood

A Monster for a Mate - Prologue


A/N: This multi-chapter fic is inspired by the post Thoughts on Deadlights by @hello-helianthus.  There will be many references to The Dark Tower and Stephen King’s multiverse.  Rated M for strong sexual content (yes, there will be smut), violence, language, gore and horror.  


“You can love a monster, it can even love you back, but that doesn’t change its nature” – Eliza Crewe

Something new had happened.
For the first time in forever, something new… and there had been pain, pain, great roaring pain… and for one moment there had also been fear, because…all living things must abide by the laws of the shape they inhabit.  For the first time, It realized that perhaps Its ability to change Its shape might work against It as well as for It.  There had never been pain before, there had never been fear before, and for a moment It had thought It might die - oh Its head had been filled with a great white silver pain, and it had roared and mewled and bellowed… Suppose there was Another?  Suppose… suppose…
Now they were coming again, and while everything had gone much as It had foreseen, something It had not foreseen had returned: that maddening, galling fear… So, another new thing, if you please: for the first time in Its never-ending history, It needed to make a plan; for the first time It found Itself afraid simply to take what It wanted from Derry, Its private game-preserve…

-Stephen King, It



A Walk Among the Ruins



I can feel the butterflies fluttering in my stomach as I look up at the sign marking the city limits.  For a moment I wonder how long the somewhat faded and dusty plaque has stood at the edge of the town, like a faithful watchman who has become frozen at his post with the passing of time, becoming rooted to the ground into which he is placed.  I see it as a symbol of what I became since losing that part of me that was human, for I too stand frozen in time, and today will be the day when I finally enter into my first slumber.

Today, I reunite with him.


The clown lies waiting for me deep underground, two years into his hibernation.  I remained behind, promising to join him on the other side of sleep when my time came to go Todash.  For two years I have waited for the bells to chime, wandering the streets of the place made after his image.  I miss him, terribly, hearing his childish high-pitched laughter in the wind and catching glimpses of him peeking from behind trees and hiding in the underbrush.  At night, as I lay curled in the darkened and decaying rooms of the Neibolt house I can almost feel him, the rustle of white silver silk shattering the stillness as I imagine a large, gloved, ghostly hand reaching out to caress my cheek.  

It finally happened in the wee hours when I came to sit on the grassy patch beneath the town sign as was my daily ritual.  Every morning at exactly 3 a.m. I leave the relative safety of Neibolt and walk the deserted streets to the same spot, watching the black and straight line of Route 7 until the sun rises and the first trucks carrying the fruits of local farms come rolling into town.  I had just settled on the grass, resting my head against the steel beams, when I felt my ears become inflamed and I registered the distant ringing.  It grew and grew, and as I sat in the darkness looking into the trees for the source of the sound, I finally realized that the jingling came from within my chest.  My call had finally come, and as I felt a yawn form in my throat, I shouted with joy.  

Now here I stand, dusting off my jeans and reaching for the handle of my old and torn suitcase, my sole companion and the only link I have left to a past I can no longer remember.  The LV pattern is faded and the once rich brown leather is now a sickly yellow, but inside are the items I carried when I set foot on this town two years ago.  There are also a wrinkled receipt from the Derry Townhouse and a driver’s license from Vermont which reads:

Name: Luseres Dietrich
Born: November 6, 1989
Blood Type: AB

I begin to make my way back into town, and as Route 7 becomes Witcham Street with its rows of quaint houses surrounded by white picket fences, dawn is just breaking.  In the distance I can hear the revving of machinery as early working crews continue the prolonged work of restoring the center of town.  Soon, Derry will not only be rebuilt, but revamped into an urban complex, rivaling the likes of Bangor.  I make my way down West Brodway, turn left on Kansas Street, and finally enter Neibolt Street just as the sun rises in the East.  It is sure to be a beautiful summer day in New England, I realize as I am bathed in golden light, but none of it matters.  My legs are becoming heavier with each step, my shoulders weigh me down, and I find myself blinking just a tad longer.  

I stop in front of the old abandoned house, Pennywise’s home, and remember the few days I spent trapped inside its walls.  My flesh went stiff with fear at the exotic horrors found in its shifting halls and chambers of unimaginable terrors, I screamed until my throat felt raw, but it was also there where I left my humanity behind and rose unafraid, finally embracing that part of myself which until then I refused to accept.  It was deep beneath that old, charred and blackened house where my fate was joined with his.

I let out a sigh of relief and continue on, disappearing into the trees at the end of the lane.  Here the earth slopes downward, and I carefully pull my suitcase behind me as I skillfully climb down into the Barrens below.  As I enter the clearing, the first trains of the day whistle as they chug on the bridge above en route to the sea.  I now carry the suitcase over my head as I maneuver through the wetlands, stepping over stones and splashing in the shallow waters of the Kenduskeag.  As I finally reach the edge of the Barrens, I look back one last time at the cliffs that mark the western edge of town.  It will be twenty-five years before I set eyes, hungry eyes, upon that rock face once more.  

The entrance to the spillway tunnel opens up before me, like the gaping mouth of a creature from the Prim, gasping for breath on the shores of some parallel world.  The water that once spilled from the Canal now trickles into the improved underground tunnels built by Derry Public Works.  These old drainpipes are dry now, dark sepulchral mazes that are abandoned to the elements.  My boots make a clickety-sound that thumps along to the humming of the suitcase wheels dragging across the cement.  I bid farewell to the world as the light streaming from outside fades when I make a turn into a narrower tunnel.  I’m soon enveloped in darkness, every now and then broken by thin streams of sunlight that push their way through the cracks above.  Further and further in I go, and soon the tunnels open into the center of the old sewer system.  Pipes begin to emerge from the thick walls, broken and caved in.  

It is into one of these that I climb, squeezing through an opening large enough in the debris.  I haul my suitcase in and continue hunched over, once again winding left and right, guided by instinct.  Something buried deep in these manmade catacombs is calling to me, and I feel warmth rising in my chest as the deadlight I carry within begins to gleam.  Finally, I reach the collapsed entryway of what I’ve come to call home.  I slide through the cracks of a huge slab of concrete that blocks it off from the rest of the world, and I spill inside.

Pennywise’s Tower.

I fight back tears as I look upon its destruction.  Both the enormous collection of mementos from his past hunts and the circus wagon in which I spent many a moment lost in rapture now lie crushed beneath a small mountain of debris.  The tower collapsed into itself on that horrible day in May when I made the ultimate sacrifice to ensure the survival of the monster to whom I am bound.  Instinctively I look down at my hands and for a moment I can see the small bundle of pale white skin and vibrant eyes look up at me in complete trust as I hand her over to be devoured by her dying father. The tears finally flow for I can no longer contain them.  

There will be more, I promise” I had pleaded with urgency, literally pushing the humanoid infant who was now crying loudly into his deteriorating hands.  He had mewled, bellowed and roared against it, recoiled from the idea, but as my own skin began to crumble he lunged for her, unhinging his jaws and swallowing her whole.  

I didn’t even look away.

I place my suitcase down and make my way to the edge of the only well that has remained intact. I throw my legs over the ladder and begin my descent into total darkness.  I can feel my vision adjusting the lower I go, my green irises morphing into amber.  My chest now glows brighter as my deadlight senses the nearness of its mate:  Pennywise is in the nest.  When I reach the bottom I eagerly climb into the claustrophic tunnel dug by him centuries ago.  Exhaustion threatens to crush my bones as I crawl the last few hundred yards, and then at last, I am home.

The nest becomes dimly light by the glow emanating from my chest, and I rush over to him.

“Penny, I’m here” I call out, but he remains unmoving.  Of course, he can’t hear me, he is no longer in this world.  His deadlight does not glow.  The avatar remains, but It is in the Todash darkness.  Through now heavy eyelids I look upon Its most favored form, and I feel a surge of warmth and love wash over me.  The clown is curled into a ball, almost cat-like, with an arm hiding his face.  I lovingly run my fingers through his fine tufts of hair, reveling in their silky quality.

“January embers” I whisper, and for some reason the words feel as though they carry a significant weight.

Feeling the last threads of consciousness become severed, I lay down next to him and press my body to his.  As my eyes slowly close I hope that I dream of my past.  Please let me remember, just let me remember, are the last words that go through my mind as I slip into slumber and go Todash.


Together Again

My eyes open and I see that I stand at the edge of a dense coniferous forest.  Powdery snow blankets the ground like ash.  It drifts gently in the breeze, and I place my hand out to catch the flakes.  They immediately disintegrate when they come in contact with my skin, but instead of melting, they evaporate back into the air, floating upwards to a starless sky.  A sense of dread grips me as I look up at the black expanse that envelopes me completely.  There is only darkness above me as well as behind me.  What if I’m lost?  What if I drifted into the Prim?  What if Pe

Just then, the faint sounds of calliope music drift towards me in the breeze and I turn back to the forest.  The snow clears and I begin to make out the pointed tops of large tents somewhere behind the trees.  Lights flicker, and after sparks explode right above me, a large sign I hadn’t noticed comes to life and the name PENNYWISE lights up the darkness.  The ground shifts beneath me and a path lined with flickering lights opens up before me. 

“Of course.  What else would it be?” I chuckle and enter the fairground that becomes alive the moment I set foot inside.  Rides gear on, the carousel lights up and begins to go round and round.  Tents open up on either side of me, their shelves lined with antique toys to be won.  The carnival music blasts from all sides, like a hymn of joy that announces my arrival.  Jack-in-the-boxes spin on their own and pop open, with tiny versions of Pennywise bursting up and laughing that deliciously devious cackle of his.  As I finally reach the merry-go-round, my eyes go wide with amazement.

There are shadows inside.  Small black masses with somewhat human shapes ride the carousel horses, some sit in the chariots, and some just stand and take hold of the bars.  As I look around me I notice more of them, walking slowly through the fair, some stopping at the attractions, others standing at the contest stalls.  The more I notice them, the more there seem to be.  They come in all shapes and sizes, some barely reaching my knee while others tower above me, but they all float happily through the carnival.  

Suddenly, the unmistakable voice of Pennywise comes booming out from above.

“Step right up, children, step right up!  Come near, come close!  You’ll laugh, you’ll cry! You’ll cheer, you’ll die!  Introducing Pennywise, the Dancing Clown!  Woo ah ha ha ha ha ha ha!” 

A traveling stage opens and inside is a life size marionette of Pennywise himself.  The wooden puppet breaks into a jig, kicking its legs outward to the tempo of the music.  The shadows roaming the fair begin to slink toward the stage, and as I now stand alone, I take notice of the largest tent in the grounds, pitched away from all the attractions.  As I look, one of its curtains lifts on its own, beckoning me to enter.  A different kind of music drifts from inside, soft, somber notes that are wrung from a wind instrument, and in a trance, I make my way towards it.

My breath catches in my throat when I step over the threshold.  There, with his back turned towards me, is Pennywise.  His head hangs low and his body sways as he plays the concertina.  Though I cannot see it, I know his eyes are closed, reveling in every note, every sigh of sorrow that spills form the bellows of the instrument.  

I watch him in silence and awe as he fills the tent with the most melancholic and serene of songs.  It is a song that speaks of the sorrow of two lovers separated by distance and time.  When it ends, I swallow the lump in my throat, understanding that in his own way, Pennywise is voicing the emptiness he has felt without me near.

“So… this is how they really float” I manage to choke out.

His arms drop by his sides and the concertina falls to the floor.  He turns, and my chest swells when his two sulfurous eyes lock into mine.  I can see relief and worry combined inside their yellow depths, but their sparkle returns the moment his lips part into an ear-splitting smile.  In a breath I close the distance, my arms wrapping around his neck as his hands cup my face.  

“My little songbird, I thought you’d never get here”

End of Prologue



look. on the one hand I understand why the multiple hp bar mechanic was introduced. I get that it’s specifically to prevent people from just immediately killing bosses with their overpowered whale servants. it preserves the game balance to an extent and keeps challenge quests challenging. 

however, I cannot help but ask.

does dw not realize that there is literally nothing more satisfying than this shit

remember when Zennistrad made it widely known that academic funding for video game preservation has stopped because Gamergate more or less soiled their reputation and GGers responded by opposing the concept of video game archival and saying it isn’t needed