Critically Endangered small

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

Trend for 2022:

Consensus Decision


No change No Change


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.


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 Jury Review

This was 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 shares 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 can require community engagement for a game to function similarly 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 a special case, and 2. device dependence and lack of infrastructure to recreate digital environment via smartphone.

Additional 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:

See also:

  • The Videogame Heritage Society, led by the National Videogame Museum, founded in 2022 to bring together organisations and collectors working with videogames. It provides advocacy, expertise, and support in collecting, preserving and displaying videogame. online at

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