WHEN ARE WE GO­ING TO TAKE THE LONG-TERM PRESER­VA­TION OF OUR MEDIUM SE­RI­OUSLY?

There’s got to be a bet­ter way beyond buy­ing the same games over and over again

PlayStation Official Magazine (UK) - - OPINION - Jess Kinghorn

This De­cem­ber, Sony will throw its hat into the ring of retro, quar­ter-sized con­sole re­pro­duc­tions with the PlayS­ta­tion Clas­sic. As ex­cited as I am to get my sim­i­larly tiny mitts on it, I can’t help but look far beyond this Christ­mas and think about the long-term con­ser­va­tion of games.

By their ex­pe­ri­en­tial na­ture, and due to the on­ward march of tech, games are dif­fi­cult to pre­serve, though that doesn’t stop not-for-prof­its such as The Video Game His­tory Foun­da­tion at­tempt­ing the task. Founder Frank Ci­faldi cites the ex­am­ple of early film preser­va­tion (or rather lack thereof, as so much re­leased be­fore the 1950s is now lost) as the im­pe­tus be­hind the foun­da­tion’s mis­sion state­ment. While much of this group’s cur­rent work cov­ers ear­lier videogame his­tory, more needs to be done by a num­ber of par­ties in or­der to fa­cil­i­tate the preser­va­tion of ti­tles re­leased here and now.

It’s not a dystopian fu­ture for games: be­tween re­makes, re­mas­ters, PS2 clas­sics on PS4 and also those avail­able for down­load via PS Now there’s a num­ber of ways to en­joy old favourites re­gard­less of the tech you have to hand. Un­for­tu­nately, the cur­rent ap­proach leaves mas­sive blind spots in PlayS­ta­tion’s li­brary… and no, I’m not go­ing to use this op­por­tu­nity to bang on about my Shadow Hearts full re­make pipe dream – that’s what the pod­cast is for.

AC­TION STA­TION

I’m not one to turn my nose up at any fu­ture con­soles-ofgam­ing-past-re­pro­duc­tions, but it would be wrong­headed to leave the re­spon­si­bil­ity of pre­serv­ing PlayS­ta­tion me­dia solely at Sony’s door. In the face of old tech’s fragility (and the pulling of re­pair sup­port for el­derly con­soles), a re­pro­duc­tion model ben­e­fit­ting from to­day’s parts seems log­i­cal, but the lack of in­te­gra­tion with mod­ern con­ve­niences such as PSN is a missed trick.

Much as I ap­pre­ci­ate hav­ing the op­tion to re-ex­pe­ri­ence games, buy­ing the same ones over and over makes me feel the hu­man equiv­a­lent of a disc read er­ror. The as­ser­tion that back­wards com­pat­i­bil­ity isn’t wanted hits the ear as pleas­antly as the dreaded grind­ing of hard­ware fail­ure.

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