Illegal deposit: game preservation and/as software piracy

Newman, J (2013) 'Illegal deposit: game preservation and/as software piracy.' Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, 19 (1). pp. 45-61. ISSN 1354-8565

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While the project of game preservation is still in its infancy, it is already clear that its practitioners find themselves facing a number of serious contradictions and predicaments. This article focuses on the challenges and opportunities presented by videogame emulation software and (illegally) ripped game code (‘ROMs’). The use of ROMs within communities of players gives rise to creative practices and performances that constitute a key part of the culture of gaming, yet which heritage organisations find problematic to hold given the (il)legality of origination. Moreover, while many game preservation practitioners and scholars see emulation as the only viable solution for ensuring the long-term playability of games, few practical concessions or legal defences are presently available to support its use. The article begins by briefly exploring the videogame industry’s attitudes and position in relation to practices of copying, ripping and software piracy. It moves on to consider how this stance impacts on the efficacy of the project of game preservation in terms of collecting policies, preservation and exhibition practice. Finally, the article concludes with a call for greater collaboration between preservationists, games industry partners and communities of players, in order that long-term access to games might be assured – or at least debated.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Emulation, preservation, ROMs, ripping, software piracy, videogames
Divisions: Bath School of Design
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Date Deposited: 24 Jun 2013 13:47
Last Modified: 21 Dec 2023 19:16
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