Published in American Journal of Play, Volume 2, Issue 2, Fall October 1, 2009, pages 139-166.
NOTE: At the time of publication, the author Zach Vowell was not yet affiliated with Cal Poly.
Over the last four decades, electronic games have profoundly changed the way people play, learn, and connect with each other. Despite the tremendous impact of electronic games, however, until recently, relatively few programs existed to preserve them for future generations of players and researchers. Recognizing the need to save the original content and intellectual property of electronic games from media rot, obsolescence, and loss, the Game Preservation Special Interest Group of the International Game Developers Association has issued a white paper summarizing why electronic games should be preserved, problems that must be solved to do so, some potential solutions, and why all these issues should matter to everyone interested in electronic games and play in general. In the white paper, the editing of which was partially supported by the Preserving Virtual Worlds project and by funds from the Library of Congress, its editor and six authors (Rachel Donahue created a survey for IGDA members not included in this article) issue a call for heightened awareness of the need to preserve electronic games—endangered by relatively rapid electronic decay and intellectual neglect alike—for play scholarship and for the culture of the twenty-first century.
Library and Information Science