Games with Offline Play Components


 Critically Endangered small

This entry is focused on games that can be played offline, often those designed for single player play while in offline mode. This does not exclude games that can be played online or have online interactive components (e.g., Sims 3 can be played online or offline), but rather the focus is on the preservation of offline single player components over the online components.

Digital Species: Gaming

Trend for 2022:

No change No Change

Consensus Decision

Added to List: 2019

(rescoped 2023)

Trend for 2023:

No change No Change

Previously: Critically Endangered

Imminence of Action

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

Significance of Loss

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.


Sims 3, Planescape: Torment, Hades, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

‘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; loss of underlying code or gaming engine; limited or no commercial interest.

‘Endangered’ in the Presence of Good Practice

Emulation pathway; source code; trusted repository; large user community; IPR supportive of preservation; strong documentation.

2023 Review

This entry, alongside the Games with Online Play Components entry, was created from rescoping the previous Old or Non-current Video Games entry as part of the 2023 Bit List review. It was rescoped to highlight the differences in preserving offline components as opposed to online components in video games, specifically a lack of dependence on servers.

Additional Comments

Whilst this has the same risk classification as the Games with Online Play Components entry, the risk could be considered to be slightly lesser due to the lack of reliance on servers as well as examples of games having their online services shut down but players still being able to access the offline game modes/features, such as the case with Nintendo discontinuing online services for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U software in early April 2024 where they explicitly state that “Players will still be able to use features and game modes that do not require online communication”.

This entry is also interlinked with the entries covering games played on different hardware (Console games, PC games and smartphone games entries) as the risks can change based on this.

Case Studies or Examples:

See also:

  • ACMI (2022), ‘Australian cultural institutions unite to collect videogames’. Available at: [accessed 24 October 2023]

  • The Videogame Heritage Society, led by the National Videogame Museum, founded in 2022 to bring together organizations and collectors working with videogames. It provides advocacy, expertise, and support in collecting, preserving and displaying video games. See National Video Museum (2020) ‘Videogame Heritage Society’. Available at: [accessed 24 October 2023]

  • The Video Game History Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to preserving and teaching the history of video games. See Video Game History Foundation (n.d.), ‘Mission’. Available at: [accessed 24 October 2023]

  • The British Film Institute's “Embracing a wider screen culture” strategy notes the cultural significance of video games and states that they intend to embark on sector research, engagement and knowledge exchange (including on the preservation of video games and digital media). See BFI (n.d.) ‘Embracing a wider screen culture’. Available at: [accessed 24 October 2023].

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