Smart Phone Gaming

 

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Smart phone gaming is an example of contemporary digital culture but is often considered less important than other games. Many require community engagement for a game to function, similar to Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) Gaming.

Group: Gaming

New Entry

Consensus Decision

Imminence of Action

Action is recommended within three years, detailed assessment in one year.

Significance and Impact

The loss of tools, data or services within this group would impact on a large group of people and sectors.

Effort to Preserve / Inevitability

It would require a major effort to prevent or reduce losses in this group, including the development of new preservation tools or techniques.

Examples

Pokémon GO, Candy Crush, FG/O, Clash of Clans, Angry Birds

‘Practically Extinct’ in the Presence of Aggravating Conditions

Uncertainty over IPR; short term contracts; lack of skills, commitment or policy from corporate owners; rapid churn of OS and updates; shifting business requirements of app resellers; dependence on exotic or obsolete formats or OS processes; loss of underlying code or gaming engine; limited or no commercial interest; dependency on remote servers that are closed; limited recognition of value of game play; over dependence on goodwill of ad-hoc community;

‘Endangered’ in the Presence of Good Practice

IPR supportive of preservation; strong documentation; version control for code and compiled app; source code; emulation pathway; trusted designated repository or community taking preservation responsibility and capable to deliver; inclusion by agencies that collect games on other platforms;

2021 Review

This is a new entry submitted through the 2021 open nomination process. There are overlaps between this entry and others relating to both Gaming and Smart Phone Apps.  The 2021 Jury recruited additional expertise for a recommendation on which category it better fits, and agreed with the expert recommendation to assign the Gaming category but keep as a separate entry to emphasize that smart phone gaming share preservation issues with video games that are exacerbated by issues unique to smartphones. Smart phone gaming is an example of contemporary digital culture that is often not considered as important as other games and requires community engagement for a game to function similar to MMOs. While it shares the challenges of mobile gaming (larger volume of titles compared to consoles), the entry was limited to smart phone gaming for two reasons: 1. in relation to gaming, mobile gaming does not have the same community of support for DP and therefore is special case, and 2. device dependence and lack of infrastructure to recreate digital environment via smartphone.

Additional Jury Comments

Smart phone games such as Pokémon GO, etc. has large active communities of players and fandoms. The argument is that in relation to gaming, mobile gaming does not have the same community of support for DP and therefore is a special case. No clear agency with the intent to collect smartphone games, though there are agencies that collect games on other platforms.

It is unlikely that there will ever be one agent with a mandate to collect and different smart phone gaming apps available in different countries, so a network of national organizations would be needed. The companies that create these are the key to the licensing challenges, and conversation with them is necessary, though it would need to happen immediately in order to negotiate the right to preserve

Case Studies or Examples:

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Supporting Digital Materials for Museums and Galleries

 

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All manner of digital materials held in museums to support the access, interpretation and management of physical collections, including material supporting collections management, conservation data, interpretative materials, oral history, and generated by interaction with the public and in the course of research. It excludes digital material formally accessioned into museum collections.

Group: Museum Data

Trend in 2021:

Consensus Decision

Added to List: 2019

Trend towards greater risk

Previous classification: Endangered

Imminence of Action

Action is recommended within three years, detailed assessment within one year.

Significance of Loss

The loss of tools, data or services within this group would impact on many people and sectors.

Effort to Preserve

It would require a small effort to address losses in this group, requiring the application of proven preservation tools or techniques.

Examples: Digital photography, video, sound, oral histories, collections management documentation, collections management systems, conservation records or data, records of exhibitions, interpretive materials, records, archives, operational or business records, scientific research outputs, correspondence, social media, 3d digitization.

‘Practically Extinct’ in the Presence of Aggravating Conditions

Lack of repository infrastructure; external dependencies; dependency on cloud provider; poor storage; churn of staff; significant volumes or diversity of data; poorly developed digitization specifications; ill-informed records management policy; conflation of access with preservation; poorly developed migration or normalization; longstanding protocols or procedures that apply unsuitable paper processes to digital materials; inability to assume responsibility; encryption

‘Endangered’ in the Presence of Good Practice

Repository and preservation infrastructure; strategic leadership; well-developed digitization and migration pathways; participation in the global digital preservation community; Business continuity records i.e. accession records, catalogues loss should be avoidable with good practice

2021 Review

This entry was added in 2019 under ‘Digital Materials in Museums and Galleries’ to bring together submissions from the open nomination process. The 2019 Jury took the view that museums make creative use of digital technology but have weak incentives to preserve the outputs when compared to libraries or archives.  Museums take responsibility for the care of physical collections in the long term which brings a derived requirement to preserve digital materials relating to those collections. The museum sector is lacking preservation capability.

The 2020 Jury noted that the entry was very broadly defined, and whilst it is useful to draw attention to the challenges, it might usefully be disaggregated in the future. They 2021 Jury agreed, commenting on potential misunderstanding with the entry based on what examples first come to readers’ mind when reading the description; some interpreted the material as databases and catalogues, others interpreted it more as business continuity records and interpretive outputs through websites, and readers of the BitList may also have other interpretations with the broad ‘Digital Materials in Museums and Galleries’ title. While these all may fit under the purposively broad entry, the Jury voted to rename and rescope the entry with emphasis on supporting material for collections management, conservation data, interpretative materials, and oral history.

The 2020 Jury also noted a trend towards greater risk based on many museums and galleries, which often rely on visitors for income, closed for extended periods. In those circumstances of economic dislocation digital materials in museums and galleries records are likely to be at a greater risk than in 2019. This trend continues for 2021 with the major funding crisis in museums after Covid 19.

Additional Jury Comments

Much of these records already exist in hybrid and unorganized forms. Most museums do not have a grasp on the scale of their problems (especially big ones that have been doing digital forms of collections management for years and have lots of floppy discs, CDs and legacy systems that have not been properly migrated). Not convinced that museums always have a handle on their data management and apply the appropriate conservation methods and practices to this material to ensure its perennity. Moreover, this sector is incredibly diverse and different needs are likely to exist in different kinds of museums or galleries.

It may be useful to disaggregate this entry again in the next review, pulling out born digital material and content that is potentially at greater risk to create new subsets as well as separating those with less risk. For example:

Databases and catalogues may have lower risk as they are more likely to be preserved because they are periodically updated. Museums have significant incentives to maintain collection catalogues for audit purposes and to share these with the public. Such databases are likely to face less severe preservation challenges than data generated about the collection through museum operations, conservation or research. But there can still be a lack of preserving the content in databases and a long way to go in smaller institutions (yes, tech and vendors improving, but the issue is with institutions).

Interpretive outputs through websites may have reduced risk as web outputs if captured as part of national web archiving initiatives. Exhibition catalogues and interpretation of collections are often published online in research papers, etc.

Related data sets present different challenges too. For example, 3D digitization is a particular challenge for museums as preservation standards are deficient and easily overlooked in the enthusiasm for fashionable or eye-catching trends which purport to extend access.

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Non-current Hard Disk Technologies

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Materials saved to storage devices with a variety of underlying magnetic or solid-state technologies that are hardwired into a computer that is no longer under warranty or supported: typically, hard disks more than five years old.

Group: Integrated Storage

Trend in 2021:

Consensus Decision

Added to List: 2019

Trend towards greater risk

Previous classification: Critically Endangered

Imminence of Action

Action is recommended within twelve months, detailed assessment is a priority.

Significance of Loss

The loss of tools, data or services within this group would impact on people and sectors around the world.

Effort to Preserve

It would require a small effort to prevent losses in this group, such as the deployment of proven preservation tools or techniques

Examples

Disks installed into computers or servers that are more than five years old, or out of warranty

‘Practically Extinct’ in the Presence of Aggravating Conditions

Lack of replication; poor storage; non-standard connections or controllers; aggressive compression; encryption

‘Endangered’ in the Presence of Good Practice

Maintenance schedule; renewable extendable warranty; best practice storage and operation; replication

2021 Review

This entry was added in 2019  to ensure that the range of media storage is properly assessed and presented.  The lifecycles of most consumer hard disk technology is stable in comparison to portable devices because they are integrated into systems and therefore inherit the lifecycle and replacement of the entire system.  This is less true at scale however where disks are used in storage arrays and refreshment is more loosely tied to the server architecture.  Storage at scale also means the percentage likelihood of finding a disk failure increases, and this likelihood of failure underpins the 2021 Jury’s noted trend towards greater risk

Additional Jury Comments

The greater density of newer disks, as well as encryption and compression, mean they can be more fragile than older disks with less density, and less sophisticated read/write technologies. The age of a disk is not the best or only indicator of its reliability.

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Politically Sensitive Data

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Digital content where the knowledge to preserve exists and there is no threat to obsolescence, but where political interests may be served by elimination, falsification or concealment.

Group: Political Data

Trend in 2021:

Consensus Decision

Added to List: 2017

Trend towards greater risk

Previously: Critically Endangered

Imminence of Action

Action is recommended within twelve months, detailed assessment is a priority.

Significance of Loss

The loss of tools, data or services within this group would impact on people and sectors around the world.

Effort to Preserve

It would require a major effort to prevent losses in this group, such as the development of new preservation tools or techniques.

Examples Online News; social media and web-based campaigning; social media relating to 2016 UK/EU referendum; Promises made in Scottish independence referendum 2014; US Environmental Data; UK Public Finance Initiative (PFI) documents; Recordings of Leinster House;

‘Practically Extinct’ in the Presence of Aggravating Conditions

Opaque terms and conditions that facilitate deletion or obfuscation; lack of access to web-harvesting; significant lobby interest; change of administration; data resides in single jurisdiction; reputational risk to collecting institution

‘Endangered’ in the Presence of Good Practice

Robust political archives; robust preservation services for investigative journalists

2021 Review: The nature and extent of political campaigning online continues to become more apparent.  This has drawn attention to the manipulation of digital media but not explicitly the issue of deliberate deletion, alteration or concealment. GDPR provides a pretext for the disposal of records. The increased capability of archives to secure the content from outgoing governments and ministers is a source of encouragement, such as in Canada accusations that the incoming Liberal government had wiped the memory of the outgoing Conservative government were shown to be unfounded.  Nonetheless there is a pressing need for a deep and comprehensive assessment of the risks faced by politically sensitive data and the impact which such deletions have on the public good. That another year should have passed without such an assessment is a matter of grave concern, leading to the 2020 trend towards reduced risk, which the 2021 Jury agreed has continued with the continuation of significant political and economic upheaval, in part because of the pandemic though also because of popular protest and the outcomes of elections around the world. Moreover it has been widely reported that senior officials in government have avoided scrutiny and record-keeping laws by using self-deleting messaging applications. In these circumstances politically sensitive records are likely to be at greater risk. 

Additional Jury Comments

This would be a break down in political systems and a break down in trust.

I think time would be needed to advocate for the importance of preserving the records as well as immediate action.

Maybe it is not the duty of archives or libraries to preserve the falsification but to preserve the constituent pieces to allow researchers to infer elimination, falsification or concealment. Web harvesting organizations will pick up web and possibly some social media. Will others pick up the rest?

The risk is high because some of the data will be in difficult to reach platforms. Some inevitable loss.

Is there a technological path to capturing and protecting this information before deletion or manipulation? This could well be the basis for crowdfunding and/ or crowd implementation.

See also:

  • World Wide Web Foundation, The Open Data Barometer, which provides a global measure of how governments are publishing and using open data for accountability, innovation and social impact, which looks at the 30 governments that have adopted the Open Data Charter and those that, as G20 members, have committed to G20 Anti-Corruption Open Data Principles. Online at: https://opendatabarometer.org/

  • Ovenden, R., (2020) Undelete our government. DPC Blog. Available at: https://www.dpconline.org/blog/undelete-our-government

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Records of Local Government

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Records from local government (i.e., below the state level) which are required for transparency and may be in many diverse forms, but in which the local authority may lack the capacity to manage the complex digital preservation requirements that arise.

Group: Public Records

Trend in 2021:

Consensus Decision

Added to List: 2019

Trend towards greater risk

Previously: Critically Endangered

Imminence of Action

Action is recommended within twelve months, detailed assessment is a priority.

Significance of Loss

The loss of tools, data or services within this group would impact on many people and sectors.

Effort to Preserve

It would require a major effort to prevent losses in this group, such as the development of new preservation tools or techniques.

Examples Born digital records of small and medium-sized agencies; fasting-changing internal manuals, advice or policies shared electronically; records of care services; Documentation supporting long-lived contractual relations like Public Finance Initiatives; Organizational Slack channels; network drives; EDRMS; Email.

‘‘Practically Extinct’ in the Presence of Aggravating Conditions

Lack of preservation infrastructure; conflation of backup with preservation; loss of authenticity or integrity; Long-lived business processes; poor storage; churn of staff; significant volumes or diversity of data; poorly developed digitization; ill-informed records management; poorly developed migration or normalization; longstanding protocols or procedures that apply unsuitable paper processes to digital materials; encryption; political instability; lack of sustained funding.

‘Endangered’ in the Presence of Good Practice

Well managed data infrastructure; preservation enabled at the point of creation; carefully managed authenticity; use of persistent identifiers; finding aids; well managed records management processes; recognition of preservation requirements; strategic investment in digital preservation; preservation roadmap; participation in digital preservation community.

2021 Review

This entry was added in 2019 as a subset of a previous entry for ‘Records of long duration from Local Government or Other Government Agencies’.  The split was intended to allow greater concentration on the challenges that these different types of agency face. Local government typically operates across a broad range of digital formats and services but it is unclear, and unlikely that relatively small archival agencies are properly funded locally to support the wide range of digital preservation requirements that arise. The 2020 Jury noted the trend towards greater risk based on 2020 being a year of significant political and economic upheaval, putting additional strain on local government and its agencies. In these circumstances already vulnerable records are likely to be at greater risk. The 2021 Jury similarly agree with the continuation of this trend over the last year. They also noted examples like Grenfell to demonstrate the precarity of local government records, especially when these risks overlap with records of non-governmental agencies, resulting significance and impact of loss, impetus for action and call to governing frameworks where failing in enforcement (and depending on jurisdiction).

Additional Jury Comments

Significant research by the UK National Archives into Local Government Archives in England underlines the digital skills shortages that exist, especially with respect to preservation.

There may be a benefit from splitting into a) legally required public record and b) additional information that may enrich our digital preservation of society. My assumption was that the roles and requirements for records management are clearly defined, but if this is not the case and there are inadequate resources to match the requirement, then the risk goes up.

Case Studies or Examples:

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Web Domains with no Legal Deposit

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Web archiving is a recognized specialism within digital preservation, able to capture large quantities of material with routine and standards-based tools. But there are significant issues of intellectual property rights associated with website capture and republication. In many jurisdictions, but by no means all, those obstacles are overcome by regulations that enable a national library or other ‘legal deposit’ agency to copy and preserve content. Where no such permission exists, there is a significant risk of loss.

Group: Web

Trend in 2021:

Consensus Decision

Added to List: 2019

Towards Greater Risk

Previous classification: Critically Endangered

Imminence of Action

Action is recommended within twelve months, detailed assessment is a priority.

Significance of Loss

The loss of tools, data or services within this group would impact on many people and sectors.

Effort to Preserve

Loss seems likely: by the time tools or techniques have been developed the material will likely have been lost.

Examples

Domains registered without a country code; domains with a country code but weak or unenforceable legal deposit permission to harvest.

‘Practically Extinct’ in the Presence of Aggravating Conditions

Rapid churn of websites; lack of access to Internet Archive harvest; contentious content; encryption; digital rights management; non-standard content management

‘Endangered’ in the Presence of Good Practice

Permissive approach to Legal deposit;

2021 Review

This entry was added in 2019.  It is characterised by regulatory barriers rather than technical ones, though the pace of change in web technologies as well as the growth of web content mean that significant technical challenges still exist.  The 2019 Jury noted that local conditions are also a significant factor.  For example, web sites often also fall under public records legislation or are important elements of corporate records: and so important parts of the web are harvested even when there is no explicit legal deposit legislation. Moreover the Jury particularly recognizes the work of the Internet Archive to capture and preserve content.  Even so there are significant gaps in web archiving and in too many cases it is regulation that is the barrier. The 2021 Jury agreed with this description and classification but added that in in some limited instances, pywb tools (as opposed to automated web crawlers like Heritrix) can effectively capture the look and feel of a platform interface, preserving legacy versions for users to interact with in the future. However, pywb tools are manual and therefore cannot address the scale of this issue. They also do not capture interfaces in a way that makes it possible to recreate them in the future, only interact with a defined set of web pages. For this growing issue of scale, the 2021 trend is towards greater risk.

Additional Jury Comments

Unless the Internet Archive is picking these up, the early web or permission regimes are in place, and these early instances are gone forever and will continue to be lost. 

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Grey Literature

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Semi-published research outputs such as blogs, dissertations, informal conference papers or commissioned reports which are not formally published but which can contain original and insightful contributions within scholarly communications

Group: Research Outputs

Trend in 2021:

Consensus Decision

Added to List: 2019

Trend towards reduced risk

Previous classification: Critically Endangered

Imminence of Action

Action is recommended within three years, detailed assessment within one year.

Significance of Loss

The loss of tools, data or services within this group would impact on people and sectors around the world.

Effort to Preserve

It would require a major effort to prevent losses in this group, such as the development of new preservation tools or techniques.

Examples

Blogs, technical reports, conference papers, dissertations, commercial research

‘Practically Extinct’ in the Presence of Aggravating Conditions

Originating researcher no longer active or changed research focus; staff on temporary contracts; dependence on single student or staff member; weak or fluid institutional commitment to subject matter; weak institutional commitment to data sharing; complicated or contested intellectual property; encryption; Lack of recognition; non-disclosure agreements;

‘Endangered’ in the Presence of Good Practice

Use of persistent identifiers; embedded within repository infrastructure; quality assurance

2021 Review

This entry was introduced in 2017 under ‘Research Data’, though without explicit reference to grey literature. In 2019, the Jury split this entry into a range of contexts for research outputs. This entry represents activities which build towards formal publications and research outputs but which do not typically accumulate in institutional repositories.  The 2021 Jury agreed with that splitting and classification of this entry; however there was a significant difference between the 2020 trend and 2021 trend. The 2020 Jury noted a trend towards greater risk because higher education and research institutions faced budget uncertainties and a number of institutions have introduced early severance schemes or put staff on short term contracts at greater risk of redundancy; While this puts other types of research output at risk, the ad hoc nature of grey literature means that this entry is at greater risk. Members of the 2021 Jury argued the content of grey literature is not entirely unique if it eventually makes its way into published outputs, and noted improvements and initiatives towards preservation of semi-published research data and outputs over the last year, resulting in consensus of a 2021 trend towards reduced risk.

Additional Jury Comments

This is why it is called grey literature - it is the same in the analogue world - publications come and disappear.

Loss of material like this would be common in the analogue world, but in the digital age, we have the capacity and perhaps something of a responsibility to ensure that it is captured: more of an opportunity lost to extend the available research resource. The ADS’s Grey Literature Library demonstrates what could be done if information architectures are deployed to mirror and extend professional practice.

Workflows and policies re tagging, collecting and EDRMS may help protect such data into the future. Past materials are almost certainly partially lost. 

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Consumer Social Media Free at the Point of Use

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Social media services offered free at the point of use with a subscription model based on reselling user behavior and/or advertising.

Group: Social Media

Trend in 2021:

Consensus Decision

Added to List: 2017

Trend towards greater risk

Previous classification: Endangered

Imminence of Action

Action is recommended within three years, detailed assessment within one year.

Significance of Loss

The loss of tools, data or services within this group would impact on people and sectors around the world

Effort to Preserve

It would require a major effort to address losses in this group, possibly requiring the development of new preservation tools or techniques.

Examples

Flickr, Vimeo, YouTube, Instagram, Periscope, DropBox, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Yahoo Groups

‘Practically Extinct’ in the Presence of Aggravating Conditions

Lack of preservation capacity in provider; Lack of preservation commitment or incentive from provider; Lack of storage replication; proprietary products or formats; poor data protection; inaccessibility to web archiving; political or commercial interference; Lack of offline equivalent; super-abundance; poorly managed IPR; Lossy compression in upload scripts.

‘Endangered’ in the Presence of Good Practice

Offline backup and documentation of media assets; Migration plan; Early warning from vendors; Roadmap from vendors; Accessible to web harvest; Suitable export functionality; Licencing enables preservation; Preservation commitment from vendor; Preservation capability in vendor;

Resilient to hacking; Selection criteria;

2021 Review

The 2019 added this entry as a subset of a previous 2017 entry, emphasizing the different threats faced by online services that are ‘paid-for’ versus ‘free-at-the-point-of-use’. Both depend on the business model of the vendor and the terms which they impose. There are overlaps with the 2021 entry Cloud-based Services and Communications Platforms, but this entry remains separate to highlight that for this group of social media services as digital materials, the business model and sustainability can only be guessed and contracts tend to be asymmetrical in favour of the supplier. Moreover, because these services have a low barrier to entry they may be favoured by agencies or individuals least able to respond to closure or loss. Preserving this stuff en mass is still incredibly difficult, but many of these platforms allow the downloading of their own personal content / archives. However, these lose all the context of social media and therefore, whilst they do preserve the data, they do not preserve the essence of the material. Platforms like Twitter have opened their API further in recent years, but thinks like Yahoo are being closed down and Facebook continues to be almost hostile towards archiving and preservation attempts. Over the last year, concerns have arisen with a trend towards harmful and malicious hate speech and misinformation, deliberate deletion. For these reasons, there is a 2021 trend towards greater risk but no change to the critically endangered classification.

Additional Jury Comments

Social media capture via web harvesting has become increasingly difficult. The platforms continue to put up barriers to automated capture that prevent the preservation of even so-called public content. For example, campaign websites or other election-related content that is only published on Facebook or on Twitter because these services are ‘free.’ This content is of particular concern as it appears on no other website. Web archivists are constantly shifting strategies and approaches and trying out new (but limited) tools to best capture this content. If we cannot successfully preserve these platforms, we are missing out on documenting organizations, campaigns and elections around the globe. Much of this data exists as data sets based on aggregated use rather than individual files.

Often these are external proprietary platforms bound by intellectual property law and potentially privacy law which will impede the imminence of action. What recourse do archives or digital repositories have to deal with this and capture the materials?

Case Studies or Examples:

  • An example of a tool available to help libraries and archives with capture is Archive Social, online at https://archivesocial.com/.

  • A range of use cases are presented in Thomson, S. (2016). Preserving Social Media, DPC Technology Watch Report (16-02), online at http://doi.org/10.7207/twr16-02.

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Massively Multiplayer Online Gaming Platforms and Experiences

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Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) Gaming is an evolving, transient but significant cultural. Gameplay is referenced here particularly as means of participation, along with social media and in-game interaction between players. Video streaming of game content, the means of viewing but not participating in game play, has a septate entry.

Group: Gaming

Trend in 2021:

Consensus Decision

Added to List: 2019

Trend towards greater risk

Previously: Endangered

Imminence of Action

Action is recommended within three years, detailed assessment within one year.

Significance of Loss

The loss of tools, data or services within this group would impact on people and sectors around the world.

Effort to Preserve

Loss seems likely: by the time tools or techniques have been developed the material will likely have been lost.

Examples: There are numerous examples for this entry, so the example of Fortnite, a 2017 free to play online game will serve to illustrate. As Fortnite is freely accessible to play, the game is at the forefront of internet culture with over 250 million registered users as of March 2019. In addition, Fortnite's parent company, Epic Games, provides access to Unreal Engine, a software platform consisting of integrated tools for game developers, with instructional guides, game simulations and learning tools. Unreal Engine was first released in 1998 and is currently in its 4th release. At risk also is this software, its associated tools and code which is key digital evidence of MMOG evolution, learning, creativity and expression across multiple platforms (PC, console, mobile).

‘Practically Extinct’ in the Presence of Aggravating Conditions

Controversies around IPR; lack of offline backup; changing business model of providers; limited recognition of value of game play; over dependence on goodwill of ad-hoc community; lack of preservation know-how at service providers; dependency on bespoke hardware or interfaces.

‘Endangered’ in the Presence of Good Practice

Well documented code; IPR supportive of preservation; large and committed user community

2021 Review

This entry was added in 2019 as a subset of a 2017 entry for ‘Gaming’ which was split into four discrete entries. By creating this entry for Game Play, the Jury encouraged greater consideration of the technical complexities which arise from preservation of software environments as well as the cultural and historic value which these games are likely to acquire. The 2020 Jury noted a trend towards greater risk because online gaming has been a mainstay of social interaction during the pandemic.  The risks of loss have not strictly increased, but the significance has expanded, so the consequences of loss are expanded. The 2021 trend also reflects this. The 2021 Jury agreed with elevating classification to Critically Endangered as: 1) many multiplayer online games may already be lost as servers have been taken offline 2) those that remain tend to change rapidly, resulting in loss of access to early iterations of the experience (e.g. the frequent changes made to the virtual worlds of World of Warcraft and Fortnite). I wonder if it would be worth changing this to dropping the "Massively" to ensure a broader range of multi-player gaming experiences are represented (e.g. smaller scale co-op games). These are likely to become increasingly significant as games are more frequently integrating an optional online component (e.g. the Dark Souls series).    that entry.

Additional Jury Comments

The difficulty of saving game play nicely encapsulates why video recordings of (online) gameplay are important: we are never going to be able to recreate the experience of playing something like World of Warcraft or Fortnite at their peak (or at their inception, or at any other point in time). They will never have the same configuration of subscribers, to say nothing of the innumerable changes made to the software over the years, which have significantly altered how the game works and looks. Loss is inevitable, and it has already happened. The social and cultural aspects of play are incredibly important, and on-screen recording is the most robust way to capture that.

There may be the need for current clarification when talking about the connection between all the media and formats and the experience or just the experience?

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Old or Non-current Offline Video Games

 

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Older or non-current video games designed and played on platforms and devices that are no longer supported online. These include video games that have a dependency on communication with servers that no longer exist (loss has already happened) and others where the dependencies are to do with old hardware/software where there is more potential to preserve the interaction.

This entry also refers to offline gaming, understood here as the interactions and experiences of non-current offline video games that are playable on available on old hardware and software (console and PC technology). These remain playable due to a significant investment of skill and time by players but remain at risk with a lack of presence in safeguarded collections.

Group: Gaming

Trend in 2021:

Consensus Decision

Added to List: 2017

Trend towards greater risk

Previously: Critically Endangered

Imminence of Action

Action is recommended within twelve months, detailed assessment is  a priority.

Significance of Loss

The loss of tools, data or services within this group would impact on a large group of people

Effort to Preserve

Loss seems likely: by the time tools or techniques have been developed the material will likely have been lost.

Examples

Older versions of games such as Civilization; EA Sports; Doom; Role-Playing Games (RPGs) such as The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Games that rely on unique peripherals to play, including rhythm action titles such as Guitar Hero.

‘Practically Extinct’ in the Presence of Aggravating Conditions

Complex hardware dependencies or bespoke hardware; dependence on obsolete, low usage operating systems with no emulation pathway; complex intellectual property rights; use of older magnetic media; free distribution on magazines; loss of underlying code or gaming engine; limited or no commercial interest; dependency on remote servers that are closed.

‘Endangered’ in the Presence of Good Practice

Emulation pathway; source code; trusted repository; large user community;

2021 Review

This entry was added in 2017 as a subset of ‘Gaming,’ It was rescoped in 2021 to bring in overlapping technical complexities with the ‘Old or non-current video games’ entry, which arise from preservation of software and hardware environments, and to narrow concerns specific to offline games and gaming. There is an active specialist market for older games which enables preservation but also skews it around commercial interests. The meaning of ‘older’ is open to interpretation, but any version more than ten years from release should be included here, even if and perhaps especially if there are more recent releases

Additional Jury Comments

Work is happening in this space, and there is an avid amateur community working on this - how do we harness their work, so it is preserved rather than reinventing the wheel?

There are a lot of older (online, typically MMPORG) games that are purely/mostly supported by its community fan base. For example, these communities (distinct to each game) create mods, updates, sometimes host servers, refine animations, etc., to keep these games playable and/or looking fresh for the rest of the community when it’s no longer updated/supported by the game developer. What is interesting is that this is mainly for PC versions of the game because accessing the game on a computer just allows for more customization (Skyrim on PC vs. Skyrim on PlayStation).

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