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Pac-Man and Tetris alongside A comparative approach to preservation of Video Games in Museums

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Videogames are the most successful entertainment industry today, but before they entered the “mainstream”, they were targeted at children and addressed by the traditional media as a bad influence. During the early 2000s, we started to see a growing
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    Pac-Man and Tetris alongside Picasso and Van Gogh.    A comparative approach to preservation of  Video Games in Museums    A dissertation submitted to The University of Manchester   for the degree of MA in Art Gallery and Museum Studies  in the Faculty of Humanities   2017   Juan A. Reino Gomez   10079322   School of Arts, Languages and Cultures    2 Index  Abstract   3   Intellectual Property Statement 4 Introduction 5 Chapter 1. The Road to Preservation  8 1.1 Nostalgia and Videogames 8   1.2 The Dignity of Videogames 12 1.3 Videogames are disappearing.  An introduction to videogame preservation 14   Chapter 2. Collecting  17   2.1 Games are born old. The Industry and The Frankenstein Paradox. 18 2.2 Defining the Object 21   Chapter 3. Preservation. Strategies and Challenges  29   3.1 Digital Preservation. The Computerspielemuseum and Emulation 29   3.2 The National Videogame Arcade. Gameplay Recordings 34   3.3 Game History Is Bigger Than Our Games. Supportive documents 37   Conclusion 39 References 44  Appendix 1. Terms 57  Word count 14540    3  Abstract    Videogames are the most successful entertainment industry today, but before they entered the “mainstream” , they were targeted at children and addressed by the traditional media as a bad influence. During the early 2000s, we started to see a growing acceptance of videogames as a cultural product and not merely as a toy. Academic journals started to explore videogames, and preservation efforts, previously restricted to fan initiatives, began to be undertaken in institutions such as the Computerspielemuseum in Germany and The Strong in the USA. Today, game studies are established as a discipline in universities, and new institutions and projects have joined the preservation efforts. Nevertheless, the nature of videogames as a primarily commercial product has presented some issues to museums, particularly if the aim is to preserve the game in playable form. Publishers and developers are afraid to share their work with institutions, and for that reason, alternatives to traditional techniques have been developed, such as emulation and migration. This dissertation will study the videogame as a museum object, the initiatives being taken to preserve it, and the challenges inherent in doing so.  4 Intellectual Property Statement   i. The author of this dissertation (including any appendices and/or schedules to this dissertation) owns certain copyright or related rights in it (the “Copyright”) and s/he has given The University of Manchester certain rights to use such Copyright, including for administrative purposes. ii. Copies of this dissertation, either in full or in extracts and whether in hard or electronic copy, may be made only in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (as amended) and regulations issued under it or, where appropriate, in accordance with licensing agreements which the University has entered into. This page must form part of any such copies made. iii. The ownership of certain Copyright, patents, designs, trademarks and other intellectual pr operty (the “Intellectual Property”) and any reproductions of copyright works in the dissertation, for example graphs and tables (“Reproductions”), which may be described in this dissertation, may not be owned by the author and may be owned by third parties. Such Intellectual Property and Reproductions cannot and must not be made available for use without the prior written permission of the owner(s) of the relevant Intellectual Property and/or Reproductions. iv. Further information on the conditions under which disclosure, publication and commercialisation of this dissertation, the Copyright and any Intellectual Property and/or Reproductions described in it may take place is available in the University IP Policy, in any relevant Dissertation restriction declarations deposited in the University Library, and The University Library’s regulations.    5 Introduction The purpose of this dissertation is to study how video games are being collected and preserved by museums. The research questions proposed are: - What is the value of video games as a cultural object?  - What are the criteria and the process of acquiring videogames?  - What are the key issues that museums face when trying to collect videogames and what are the criteria and the process of acquiring videogames? - What are the preservation and conservation issues arising from collecting videogames and what challenges do these issues present for existing museum practices?  Videogames have been a growing market in the entertainment industry since the early 1970s, when the Magnabox Odyssey was released and the first Pong coin-operated cabinets were made available for the public. The field of Game Studies, however, is relatively young. Numerous publications such as Edge 1 , PC Gamer 2  and Crash have discussed video games regularly, almost since their inception, and others such as Retrogamer have focused on the analysis of old and forgotten videogames. However, it was not until the early 2000s when games became a field of study as such. Academic research in the last twenty years has questioned the future stance of videogames and how they can be preserved for future generations. One of the most prolific authors in the field is James Newman, professor at Bath Spa University, who has published on the topic of gaming, copyright and game preservation (2012). Another important figure is Jon Ippolito. His book Re-collection: Art, New Media, and Social Memory  (2014), in which he examines the issues around digital preservation, is particularly relevant for the topic covered in this dissertation. Furthermore, it is important to highlight initiatives such as the KEEP (Keep Emulation 1  https://www.myfavouritemagazines.co.uk/gaming/edge-magazine-subscription/ (Accessed 01/05/2017) 2  http://www.pcgamer.com/ (Accessed 01/05/2017)
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