PC Games

   Critically Endangered small

PC games include all games that were designed to be played on a personal computer (PC).

Digital Species: Gaming

New Entry

Consensus Decision

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.


SimCity 3000, Factorio, World of Warcraft, Starcraft II, Phasmophobia

‘Practically Extinct’ in the Presence of Aggravating Conditions

Controversies around intellectual property rights; lack of offline backup; changing business model of providers; limited recognition of the cultural and historic value of game play; complex intellectual property rights; 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; source code; emulation pathway; trusted designated repository or community taking preservation responsibility and capable to deliver.

2023 Review

The 2023 Council created two new entries, Console Games and PC Games, to complement the already existing entry of Smartphone Gaming. This was done to highlight the unique preservation issues that exist for each of these categories as well as the differences in preservation risk.

Additional Comments

The three most common operating systems for PCs are Windows, macOS and Linux. Not all operating systems can run all PC games, and operating systems as a limitation on games becomes a limitation on video game preservation. Gamers tend to find workarounds to operating system limitations through emulation, but this creates dependencies on emulators being maintained. New versions of operating systems can also be detrimental as older games may not be able to run on newer versions or may need workarounds to allow them to run.

Future changes to the Bit List might need to consider Video Game Mods as a separate category. Whilst mods do exist for consoles, the majority of gaming mods tend to be for PC games and, for many games, especially older ones, mods become a staple in playing games. It is not uncommon to see utility mods being suggested in forums when players pick up older games and there is often functionality built into games to allow players to create mods.

Case Studies or Examples:

 See also:

  • ACMI (2022), ‘Australian cultural institutions unite to collect videogames’. Available at: https://www.acmi.net.au/about/media/media-releases/australian-cultural-institutions-unite-to-collect-videogames/ [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: https://thenvm.org/about/vhs/ [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: https://gamehistory.org/our-mission/ [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: https://blog.bfi.org.uk/long-read/our-ambitions/embracing-a-wider-screen-culture/ [accessed 24 October 2023].

Scroll to top