Extra Punctuation: Keeping Old Games Intact

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For very old systems like the NES it's actually possible to recreate the original hardware with modern technology so you can buy a modern NES clone that works with modern TVs but accepts the old carts. For old computers it's possible to hook their drives up to a PC to feed the diskette data into a PC-based emulator, with C64 games that has the added benefit of letting you savestate the game after it's loaded so you never have to sit through those 30+ seconds again.

Dorkmaster Flek:
Fuck legality, this is why emulation needs to be legalized. Anything other than the current generation of consoles is going to swiftly disappear to the mists of time, and we've gotten pretty damn good at emulation the really old stuff. Anything from the SNES/Genesis era and earlier is nearly perfect.

Are you kidding? Wii, Gamecube and PS2 emulation are nearly perfect as well if you have a beefy enough PC. And seeing the rates with which hardware is evolving it won't be long before PS3/360 games will be perfectly emulatable.

I know what you mean Yahtzee, both regarding Silent Hill 2 and this generation's backward compatibility. I bought an original PS3 because I wanted to be able to play my older games on it, but it broke recently. More than a little depressed on that fact because my new model can't play my PS2 games. Keep in mind though, I can still create an internal PS2 memory card on my new PS3. Because that makes PERFECT sense, Sony...

Figure out a way for someone to make money off of it and it will be done. But if it's something free like the library, it aint going to happen until us gamers become old, rich, and retired... or dead.
It's not like the industry is still new, being pushed along by passion. It's a money making industry now so we can expect the usual rape we see with movies; worse actually - It's not like Sony DVD players only play Sony Pictures DVDs.
The Publishers, Platform Developers, and Retailers are still looking for the best ways to rip us off. After they've perfected it, then they might throw us a bone.

After all why would Nintendo, Sony, or MS want these titles available someplace else when they can make you buy it from their own online network at a premium price. Too many people buy 80s NES games (or 90s PS1 games) off the virtual console (or PSN) for them to shoot that foot.

Currently, the only way something like this could work is as something illegal or as a mere database like IMDB. Still, the latter would be pretty cool if it was complete.

This is actually the reason I don't like DRM that requires online activation. You might need emulators or obsolete hardware to play older games, but at least the original Super Mario Bros. doesn't require you to hook up your NES to a fax and dial a number that hasn't been in use since 1993.

This might sound ridiculous bit I highly doubt the servers that are currently being used for digital activation will still be online after 50 years. This is one of the few reasons why piracy is a good thing, really.

Hmmm...

A few things. First of all, video games are extremely new, at least when compared to the other media you mentioned. Worrying about preservation is ridiculous as many people have been alive throughout the entire media's lifetime, unlike books or the unbelievably old practice of creating music. Plus, books have changed due to re-translations and still do. In any case, I think you're just being annoying if you can't stand games being remade due to them losing their cultural significance. I can see you being mad because it's basically a cash in, but if you seriously won't buy an HD version of Silent Hill 2 because the voice acting might not suck this time around, you're just full of yourself. If you wanted the original material, you wouldn't be playing an HD version of the game, you'd be playing the original. Plain and simple. Frankly mentioning that example sort of shows how confused you actually are on the subject. Either that or it's okay to remake some games as long as you really like them.

Finally, I wouldn't necessarily call the clicks of former languages a devolution of speech. In fact, they still exist. As a result, I almost want to call what you said somewhat racist. As long as it still makes sense, no language is better than another. It just doesn't make sense to you because, obviously enough, you don't know the language. Who'da thunk.

Goodoldgames and dotemu are already this for PC gaming. But they have to get the rights and there is still a lot of classic games not on those type of sites such as System Shock 2, Ultima games, or the older D and D games (I mean like Darksun and Pools of Radience).

But yeah there needs to be something similar for consoles.

Bit off topic- Also, I can't see how anyone can find PS2's library that amazing unless they really like JRPGs. Yahtzee is obviously a secretly a JRPG fanboy. ::hides::

I just bought unreal on gog.com and there is a unofficial patch which upgrades the renderer to dx 9 or dx 10

And you can download updated textures.

It makes the game great.

Illegal emulation and cracks - the savior of video game archiving.

Great article, agreed wholeheartedly.

Except...I'm never against remasters, AS LONG AS the option to play the older game is still available. I have no qualms with MGS Twin Snakes (in fact, I like it better than the original) because it doesn't step on the original's toes at all; it's a GameCube remake of a game currently available on PSN.

Similarly with Ocarina of Time 3D. It's there if you want a portable, remastered experience. BUT! If you want the original, it's on GameCube disc and the Virtual Console with just about equal levels of ease. Everyone wins.

I'm never against remasters as long as they respect that the originals existed. Nothing wrong at all with everyone being able to have it their way instead of pleasing some and angering others. But then again, I'm of the opinion of "Fuck 'art'" and the idea of "respecting the art of the original, which makes the remakes blasphemous blah blah blah" means nothing to me. I think everyone should be able to have it their way. That's part of the beauty of games, and I don't see at all why anyone would try and impose the same limitations that other forms of media has just so it can be "art" on the same level as them.

At least I still have a 60GB PS3 stashed away. Go ahead Sony, rerelease all the stuff you want as "HD classics". If I don't already have the games on PS2, chances are I didn't want them anyway. And I'm not buying a collection of games I can already play.

Irridium:
Only ones that really seem to care about their games and their customers.

Oh yes, I could tell, what with all the "we're shutting down our site just kidding lololololol" trolling they did. Awesome respect for customers right there. I can't wait to see what would happen if I actually tried buying a game there. An e-mail with a link to a rickroll is most likely, or maybe goatse if they're feeling meaner that dar. Thankfully, I will never give such a shoddy company any of my money.

gtuil:
Did anyone else come to sad realization that Sony removed BC of PS2 games so they could re-sell them to us in these HD packs? I for one now have to buy the Metal Gear solid HD pack because my PS2 just crapped out(I bought it from a friend for 20 bucks and it was already dying) and I really want to play some MGS 2 and 3

Of course we did.

while its true many games are being remastered (mainly ps2 best sellers) some classic games can still be fonud pretty much untouched on the xbla and psn although paying for them again is a piss take

I never did play Silent Hill 2, so I'm kindof excited to be able to play this HD version.

Excellent writings once again, and brilliant ideas. I've often thought the same when remembering games that I've wanted to play again, but probably will never. Unless you spend a small fortune online, even more annoying is my ps2 has broken down, so now there's the possibility of no more shadow of the colossus, ICO or battlefront 2 anymore. Which is a real shame.

I agree that tweaking the audio or narrative qualities of a game change the tone and is probably a bad idea with many games but I don't see the problem with upgrading graphical quality (I guess you could have a selectable option to view classic or HD). Old games were ugly and the uncanny valley and migraine inducing textures of primitive 3D, along with walls that would flicker in and out of existence as paper thin cutouts did not really add to that experience.

We mumble on and on about how graphics don't matter, but with each new attempt and platform we discover anew that they do. Would portal have been as immersive if played as text adventure? Would it even have been playable? These classics revolutionized the stage when they were cutting edge, so why should they now have to be handicapped and placed in the shadows of modern contemporary titles. If an HD Doom or Tie Fighter beat out the modern blockbusters wouldn't that send a fantastic message? It's not happening without an HD makeover.

Besides when you actually look at other classical works they have been upgraded. How many editions has hamlet gone through? How many different versions or adaptations which still manage to capture the heart of the original (not that many don't)? How many films have been remastered for modern DVD and blueray? I don't think a crisper image has tragically destroyed Casablanca, the Seven Samurai or Citizen Kane so why should it be the death of Dungeon Keeper. Basically I want an HD MechWarrior II because I think it would be awesome and I probably would pay close to normal retail for that level of fun.

You're right Yatzhee, the PS2 did have arguably the greatest library of games in the history of gaming, which is why I still have mine and have been adding to my collection for years, despite paying over the odds for certain classics. PS1 games too, many of which can be considered the progenitors of modern gaming tradition. Some of those ideas have been redefined into modern games, and some were never picked up, but I'm growing a healthy collection of the lot.

Also, fair play PC gamers, you do indeed have true, universal backwards compatibility, and you should be proud of it.

But if I was paying what you guys do for a machine I'd expect it to suck my dick too to be honest... Or at least do the bloody dishes.

I totally agree with Yahtzee on this stuff. So many of the games that I started out with on the Amiga are now lost to history and that sucks.

I think that while we are never again going to be quite so entranced by Lemmings and such like, there is a real need for games of all past eras to be freely available somewhere so that every once in a while both we and the developers can go back, take a long look and see where it all came from. Particularly now when a lot of mainstream games have become so very generic and uninteresting it would really really help the industry to look back in time and figure out what got them (and us) invested into the medium as a whole.

I similarly agree whole heartedly that publishing companies who sue people into the ground for distributing abbandoned games and then don't even sell the original version let alone an updated version can absolutely go and die in a fire. While we can appreciate that game-piracy is a big deal these days, its just pointlessly excessive to attack stuff like this. If there isn't enough money in it to make it worth even selling the backlog of disks or even putting up a digital download, then why the hell do you care enough to ruin people's lives for playing a game from the mid 90's. It just pisses me off really. Any company who owns a property but doesn't want to re-release it should be happy that people still care enough to want to play the old games. Hell, if enough people are downloading it, maybe then you could really make some cash from a re-release. Bastards. It's exactly the same as Sony suing people for (absolutely legally) selling japanese PSPs and japan-exclusive games to people outside of Japan. If they won't even let us BUY the damn thing from them, then why are they getting so pissy about going around them ? Isn't more people playing your game good ?

Well said, Yahtzee. I think I had a similar discussion with someone else about the lack of backwards compatibility (although nowhere near as eloquently as you put the point) and, well, I've just started to realise how far out of reach a lot of games of the past really are.

I set up my old PS2 a few days ago because I was feeling all nostalgic as I often do, but as I went looking through my stockpile of old games and looking through stores (which still sell PS2 games), do you think I could find even half of the games I was so eager to play? That's basically it for them then. Lost forever. Going back another generation to PSOne games is even more grim. Sure, you have the PSOne classics being put up on PSN, but only a few of the world endingly popular titles have received that honour. I'm still waiting for Tombi to get put to that list, but what are the chances.

It's just sad. As you say, any other medium can and has been easily translated to different formats and updated as the technology does. I can read reprints of two thousand year old books. I can digitally download copies of songs recorded in the early 1900s, and hear music composed on sheet music from far earlier than that. I have a copy of the original silent film version of Nosferatu on DVD just sitting across from me. But do you think I can play a computer game from the early '90s with such ease? Nope. I've tried.

It's quite depressing, really, that even games from the last console generation, not even ten years old, are already more or less lost to history.

mjc0961:

Irridium:
Only ones that really seem to care about their games and their customers.

Oh yes, I could tell, what with all the "we're shutting down our site just kidding lololololol" trolling they did. Awesome respect for customers right there. I can't wait to see what would happen if I actually tried buying a game there. An e-mail with a link to a rickroll is most likely, or maybe goatse if they're feeling meaner that dar. Thankfully, I will never give such a shoddy company any of my money.

Yeah, that was a bit of a dick move. But I think that re-releasing old games at very cheap prices packed with lots of goodies that are re-tooled to run on current operating systems with no DRM, not tracking user's IP addresses because they trust the customers to not lie(and they did this right after Australian retailers forced them to jack up the pre-order price of the DD copy, otherwise they wouldn't stock the game), updating an old game with a re-vamped graphics engine, re-recorded and re-written dialog, craploads of bugfixes, and releasing it all for free to owners of the original game, and removing DRM from a game after a week after it's release because it negatively impacted customers, even if it means getting sued.

But I guess none of those matter just because of one weak attempt to get publicity. Yep, that one attempt makes them complete, irredeemable jackasses forever.

Imagine a world where there were multiple video consoles, and dvd was just one player among several. Wouldn't that suck?

Now imagine that there was only one format for gaming, and every current gen game was playable this way. And old games were often re released in this format.

I know that isn't how capitalism works, but it would be sooooooooooooooooooo good.

PCs are the only eternal platform

Just wow, great article, this is the first EP I've read that's not just "zero punctuation, but written out". Insight! It is here!

I just hope windows 8 doesn't bugger up the gaming scene.

Basically, this is the reason I keep and will keep using some PC for games. One Unit Whole Blood, Quake, VtM: Bloodlines... Some games are like good old books - you keep re-reading them.
And those above mentioned are easy to get - you can buy them from digital services. It's worse with titles like Chasm: The Rift. And Chasm is a peculiar example of FPS game that was way ahead of it's time. Much later we saw a lot of it's ideas re-used and presented as something new.

It used to be that nearly all music sharing online was illegal, but eventually the music industry realized that they couldn't fight this process and they could actually make a profit setting up legitimate mp3 services.

I am astonished that console manufacturer's haven't done the same. Perhaps they don't like the idea of supporting a PC application? More likely they just don't want the hassle of supporting the applications, but in the case I think they'd find many benefits to giving emulators a stamp of approval. Many major games are part of franchises, and in some cases these stretch back multiple platforms - I'd think people would be more likely to get a new game in franchise X if they had the opportunity to play the originals for free first. Or someone who plays the new game may go back to play the old ones, become a fan of the franchise as a whole, and be more likely o purchase merchandise and future games.

Seems win-win to me.

Time to donate for the Videogame History Museum kickstarter project, you cheap sons of bitches!

Also, hooray! Old captcha is back! Again!

I agree with Yahtzee.

We need someone to document old games, so that they, and whatever flaws they may have, shall be remembered.

And I think there needs to be a seperate wing devoted to reminding 'modern' game developers that FPS don't need to be limited to curses, military cliches, and the color brown.

I agree with the points regarding augmentation of an old title. Going back and re releasing a 16 bit title with modern cgi cutscenes is a waste of everyone's time not to mention it runs the very real risk of ruining a fan of the original's own feel for the game that they grew up with. It's like re-releasing Moby Dick but now the shark sinks the ship with a torpedo and Ishmael kils it with a lightsaber.

I do not, however, have any problem with an all encompassing remake as long as it is both true to the original and doesn't contain any of the original technology. The remade Final Fantasy 1 comes to mind.

Re-releases of old games in their original form is perfectly fine. Final Fantasy 1, 5, and 6, River City Ransom, and Mega Man X are the only reason I have touched my Wii in the last 2 years.

Thankfully there is now somewhere that will forever keep these classics safe and preserved.

The United States Library of Congress has long had an organisation designed to preserve certain pieces of human culture that have been deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". Video Games have been added to the list of mediums this year that can have certain pieces preserved (which is fantastic imo!). So classics like Silent Hill 2 can be preserved on their original platforms for the world to come back to in later years.

It's really nice to know this has happened. Just the very thought of a young child visiting the Library of Video Games and seeing in printed letters 'GOLDENEYE 007 (RELEASED IN 1997 FOR THE NINTENDO 64)' and looking at this big, bulky old console with its spider people controller and enjoying part of the history of this medium. Then the child will move onto a game from 2015, a revolutionising gaming experience that totally changed the industry forever, and we can be assured that games will now forever be remembered, and it will always be preserved for future generations and historians to look back upon.

Kind of nice to see how this medium is truly evolving, do not fear Ben, your games will always be remembered and played EXACTLY the way they were meant to...warts and all!

I COMPLETELY AGREE.

I get really concerned about games just ceasing to exist (several MMOs pop to mind, Tabula Rasa, Spell-something...) and how people will never play them again and the original value and purpose will be totally lost in time and no one will care because everyone's so damn concerned about 'the next big thing' or how dare I not pre-order everything and that game is so 3 months ago, you retro-gamer.

I find myself very rarely playing new games, I've been captivated by a few of them this year, but I consider them exceptions overall.

I remember when the xbox (not nearly as old the C64, I know) was out and popular and I was thinking "this is the pinnacle of gaming", no other console can compare for quality of games. Now it's like no one remembers it ever existed.

Dorkmaster Flek:
Fuck legality, this is why emulation needs to be legalized. Anything other than the current generation of consoles is going to swiftly disappear to the mists of time, and we've gotten pretty damn good at emulation the really old stuff. Anything from the SNES/Genesis era and earlier is nearly perfect.

I didn't think emulation was illegal? The distribution of roms and bios yes, but not emulation itself.

With the right tools, games can be backed up to a suitable digital format; and the needed bios obtained from the purchased console. How is it illegal then to use something you own?

Irridium:
not tracking user's IP addresses because they trust the customers to not lie(and they did this right after Australian retailers forced them to jack up the pre-order price of the DD copy, otherwise they wouldn't stock the game)

It wasn't Australian retailers, it was the local distributor... who, according to my The Witcher 2 box, is Namco Bandai. They're the ones who forced CDP/GOG to put up the price to keep it more in line with the pricing of the retail version.

Letting publishers/distributors set the pricing of digital distro games and them using that to keep those prices artificially inflated so as to keep retail pricing competitive is one of the reasons I don't use Steam for game purchases. Here in Oz Steam prices are usually above what I can pay in a store let alone the prices I pay on importing games (which is the cheapest method when I can be arsed dealing with it).

bombadilillo:
Heres a question. In 70 years do all the copyrights expire and all these games become free game?

70 years + life of author...

Here's the problem... what happens when the 'author' is a corporation? They can have theoretically infinite lifetimes.

The library of Congress is starting an archive

http://kotaku.com/313328/the-library-of-congress-loves-video-games

As Yahtzee alluded to with his remarks on emulation, the whole thing hinges on developers/publishers playing ball. And some are more inclined to be complete and utter fucksticks about it - ESA members are especially annoying at cracking down on abandonware sites. If anything, the combined antics of the film, music and video game industries (and by extension, the computer software industry as a whole) demonstrate just how out-of-date and just plain broken copyright and intellectual property laws are.

DeadlyYellow:

Dorkmaster Flek:
Fuck legality, this is why emulation needs to be legalized. Anything other than the current generation of consoles is going to swiftly disappear to the mists of time, and we've gotten pretty damn good at emulation the really old stuff. Anything from the SNES/Genesis era and earlier is nearly perfect.

I didn't think emulation was illegal? The distribution of roms and bios yes, but not emulation itself.

With the right tools, games can be backed up to a suitable digital format; and the needed bios obtained from the purchased console. How is it illegal then to use something you own?

I have to confess a reasonable degree of ignorance on the subject, but from my POV emulation could be regarded as bit of a grey area - it can be argued that emulation is a form of reverse engineering, which does have rules & restrictions.

KDR_11k:
For very old systems like the NES it's actually possible to recreate the original hardware with modern technology so you can buy a modern NES clone that works with modern TVs but accepts the old carts. For old computers it's possible to hook their drives up to a PC to feed the diskette data into a PC-based emulator, with C64 games that has the added benefit of letting you savestate the game after it's loaded so you never have to sit through those 30+ seconds again.

I keep meaning to look into a good C64 emulator, but my original Commodore is still going strong, mind you my TAC-2 is getting a little worse for wear, I may have to start looking for a replacement on the bay. My concern is how emulators emulate the SID chip. Does an emulator sound like a C64?

I have a Commodore 64, an XP box, and a Win7 box for my gaming needs. XP is pretty good at emulating all the OS that came before it. Plus the XP box doesn't have to be a powerhouse to run legacy games.

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