The Art and Science of Video Game Preservation

Video games have become an important part of modern culture, and as such, preserving them has become increasingly important. Video game preservation is the process of documenting and archiving video games and their associated materials to ensure they can be enjoyed by future generations. In this article, we’ll explore the art and science of video game preservation.

Some points for the arts and science of video game preservation

1. Community and DIY Preservation

The video game preservation community plays a vital role in protecting gaming history. Enthusiasts and collectors contribute to preservation efforts by archiving physical copies of games, creating custom preservation software, and sharing knowledge and resources. Online communities and forums provide platforms for collaboration and knowledge exchange, fostering a collective passion for preserving video game heritage.

2. Emulation and Preservation

Art and Science of Video Game Preservation

Emulation is a key tool in video game preservation. It involves creating software that replicates the behavior of older hardware and software, allowing games to be played on modern systems. Emulators enable access to games that may otherwise be lost due to hardware incompatibility. However, legal and ethical considerations surround the emulation of copyrighted material, making it a complex and often debated aspect of preservation efforts.

3. The Importance of Video Game Preservation

Video games are an important part of our cultural heritage. They represent a unique form of storytelling and interactive media that has been enjoyed by millions of people around the world. However, video games are also vulnerable to the passage of time, technological obsolescence, and other factors that can make them difficult to preserve. Without proper preservation, many games could be lost forever, taking with them important cultural and historical information.

Art and Science of Video Game Preservation

4. The Challenges of Video Game Preservation

Video game preservation is a challenging and complex task. Unlike traditional forms of media, such as books or films, video games are software-based and rely on specific hardware to run. This means that preserving video games involves not only archiving the game itself but also the hardware and software required to run it. In addition, video games often have multiple versions, patches, and updates, which can make it difficult to determine which version of a game is the “original” one.

5. Preservation Techniques

There are several techniques used in video game preservation, including emulation, porting, and remastering. Emulation involves creating software that mimics the behavior of a particular piece of hardware, allowing games to be played on modern machines. Porting involves adapting a game to run on a different platform or operating system. Remastering involves updating a game’s graphics or sound to improve the overall experience while preserving the original gameplay.

6. Preservation Organizations

Art and Science of Video Game Preservation

Several organizations have been created to preserve video games and their associated materials. The International Center for the History of Electronic Games (ICHEG) at The Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York, is one such organization. ICHEG has a collection of over 60,000 video games, hardware, and related materials and is dedicated to the preservation of electronic games and their history. The Video Game History Foundation is another organization that is dedicated to preserving video games and their associated materials.

7. Preservation Initiatives and Organizations

Numerous organizations and individuals are dedicated to video game preservation. The Video Game History Foundation, the National Videogame Museum, and the Internet Archive’s software library are just a few examples. These institutions actively collect, document, and archive video games and related materials, ensuring their availability for research, education, and historical preservation

8. The Future of Video Game Preservation

As video games continue to evolve, so too will the challenges of preserving them. New technologies, such as virtual reality and augmented reality, will require new preservation techniques. In addition, as video games become more intertwined with other forms of media, such as films and books, preserving video games will become even more important. In conclusion, video game preservation is an important and challenging task. It requires a combination of art and science to ensure that games are preserved for future generations. With the help of preservation organizations and dedicated individuals, we can ensure that video games remain an important part of our cultural heritage.


Video game preservation is a multifaceted endeavor that combines art, science, and dedication. By recognizing the cultural value of video games and the challenges they face, we can work together to ensure their preservation for future generations. From emulation and digital archiving to grassroots initiatives and institutional efforts, the art and science of video game preservation are vital in safeguarding the legacy of this evolving medium. Let us celebrate and support these endeavors, allowing the rich tapestry of video game history to endure and inspire for years to come.