Why 2022 Is The Year Of Videogame Preservation

Videogames are increasingly a digitally accessed art, with discs and even purchased downloads slowly becoming eclipsed by subscriptions. This year is a culmination of signs that we are responsible for the preservation of 2 of history's greatest lines of consoles.

To many people, the idea of videogame preservation may seem redundant and counter-intuitive. A new Call Of Duty is released every year, new consoles come out, you can download over 200 games whenever you please from various online storefronts, so why would we need to focus on preservation when the environment is so richly populated?

It's a question that any amount of engagement reveals to be hollow. Videogames are certainly a larger industry than ever, more accessible than ever, but it is exactly the speed of "progress" in the industry that threatens to destroy years of work; years of art.

"My journey into preservation started when I realised I had no other way of ever experiencing these games again unless I took action. It came from a place of play."

Learn all the tips and tricks to do your bit for videogame history, and find out how you can access some of the best games ever made while simultaneously fighting against the perpetuation of artificial shelf-life.

Regarding your own research: I have listed some particularly helpful forums and resources below so you can always come back here and follow the link to whichever area of Playstation or Xbox preservation you need!

This article will focus on Playstation Preservation as the Playstation 3 is fast becoming the most important console to preserve. It has no backwards compatibility in the Ps4 or 5, it is hard to emulate, and it has multiple exclusives. It is positioned to become incredibly sought after over the next decade so getting one now in 2022 will get you ahead of the curve.

Xbox controller and games for the xbox one with playstation in the background
Xbox is, regardless of anything else, at the forefront of preserving old games on their

Your First Steps To Preserving Video Games:

  • 1. Decide what drives you most. Players will mostly focus on finding stores and sites with games they prefer to play themselves, while some will want whatever is oldest or rarest and so should start on Reddit researching (Links below)
  • 2. Find local resources! Supporting local business is important, supporting local Preservation efforts and charities is arguably even more so. You'll find people who share your passion and can supply you with what you need. If you're unsure where to start, there are great interactive community maps of Retro Stores/Museums like this.
  • 3. Get your first items cheap. There's no need in 2022 for Videogame collection to be extortionate. Unless you are looking for the best quality console on the market or the product to always be mint-in-box, you can get started with simply owning disc copies and original consoles. It may seem pretty standard but, just by doing so, you have access to games and systems that are slowly being removed from the world forever this way. You can focus on refining your collection later.
  • 4. Finish this short article to see why Preservation matters in 2022, and how to unlock your own gaming past with the help of some great communities.

What is Videogame Preservation?

Videogame preservation is a simple concept of people maintaining older videogame equipment in the fear that the industry tries to eclipse it one day. With games like Destiny 2 "Sunsetting" content (Removing paid content from a game entirely) it's unsurprising that trust in the videogame industry to take itself seriously is dwindling.

In addition, consoles like the PS5 are so focused on their own 4k 120fps bubble that they don't devote resources to the preservation of what got them where they are. It is falling to collectors, enthusiasts, or simply those who miss that one game from their childhood to look after the history of Playstation's games.

Videogame Preservation is also a matter of playability. If a game can be kept in good condition and paired with its console it deserves to be in the hands of someone who will look after and enjoy the experience. Giving others access to a world of games they may overlook simply because they're "old" is what Preservation is all about.

Imagine never watching the first 3 Harry Potter films because they're older, or because the Special Effects aren't as good. There's more to audio-visual media than technology, and that's why even old games and films can still resonate with us and have heart.

Members of the MAdE Museum in America enjoying and preserving videogames
The MADE (Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment) embraced the interactivity
that is needed to truly preserve a video game

How To See Videogame Preservation in Action

From having one of each home console to having vast quantities of certain games in the hopes of keeping them in useable condition for others; videogame preservation covers a wide range of lifestyles and budgets. Some run their own museums, some keep all their gear from childhood to pass down to their children and share in some quality games.

No matter your engagement with games there is a way you can help with preserving the joy of games that are slowly but surely being pushed aside.

One example of videogame preservation taken seriously is the Video Game Preservation Museum. Projects as large as this make it clear that this matter is important, as well as showing how community-driven the force has been.

However, just as you begin to understand the nature of videogame preservation, you start to see how this year is a turning point...

Why Does Videogame Preservation Matter?

The Video Game Preservation Museum is a testament to the cause. It is also closed. With Covid stopping traffic in 2020, 2021 saw a year of fundraising and donating online for the passion project. The museum is still undergoing this process if you want to help, but things haven't been looking good for the vast majority of collectors.

Not only does the Museum not exist in 2022, but the release of a new console generation in the last 2 years makes the rampant motion of the industry even more apparent. If before there was a fear of older art being erased over time then in 2022 that fear has very much been realized.

For people like myself who appreciate design, style, tone, soundtracks, innovations...even just couch co-op! Any of these things are still present in older games despite their lower resolution textures. We need to fight the perpetuation of this idea that the technological advances of the industry somehow make the older art irrelevant.

On top of that, this year a lot of people will be accessing games for the first time and it will be on a 4k screen with a next-gen console. Without the perspective of the history of games, we risk losing anything that isn't striving for visual fidelity.

Videogame Preservation is doubly important in 2022 for another reason, namely that gaming is old enough to have multiple "eras" by this point. Gone are the days when video games were split into "old" and "new", into "arcade" and "Console". Gaming is vast and demands more nuance in its story than that.

In 2022 we have the potential to access every game in the Metal Gear Solid series, every game in the Elder Scrolls franchise, every Ratchet and Clank, every God of War, every Halo or Fable. But, without people actively preserving these things that potential will never be realised. The fact the PS5 allows you to access only a slither, a tip of the gaming iceberg that came before it, is a crime against the art.

The PlayStation 5 disc-less edition is yet another problem for Videogame Preservation. All ownership and rights to keep playing your games become digital. At least if a company tries to erase game history from an online platform a disc lets you play the games you own. The shift to digital distribution should mean unlimited stock with permanent accessibility, but it doesn't.

A PS5 with a No Entry Sign to a Disc
Ownership and conservation go hand in hand, and the DIscless consoles
of this generation may find themselves under fire if they fail to commit
to videogame preservation

The fact that gaming is so expansive means collectors, or just enjoyers of games in general, can cover all sorts of disciplines and highlight a different one of these eras. As I mentioned, I focus mostly on couch co-op games from PS2/Xbox to PS3/Xbox 360. In the way that a different person held onto a different book in Fahrenheit 451, each individual helping preserve video games can help save a particular genre, mood, style, time period, or now-bankrupt developer.

The PS1, 2 and 3 on a PlayStation home background
The three musketeers of PlayStation console gaming

How to Preserve PlayStation Video Games in 2022

We've seen why videogame preservation is important to a huge community and why this year of all years it is a turning point. You might be wondering how you get involved and why this year is the time to start.

Most enticingly, older consoles are in a good place for accessibility. Especially for newcomers to the preservation scene or those who just want to be able to actually play older games. My journey into preservation started when I realised I had no other way of ever experiencing these games again unless I took action. It came from a place of play.

Accessibility is great this year because of services like Ebay, CeX or other trading sites. Consoles like the PS3, which is the most important device to have with it's lack of backwards compatibility and difficulty to emulate, are still "new" enough that they are easy to buy while being "old" enough that they can cost under £100 easily. You can take action against missing out on gaming history for under £100, which is just an unmissable deal.

Not only that, but this community has been alive a while now. While many are independent amateur collectors there are also many places on Reddit or Facebook to centralize the experience and share the effort. You won't be completely alone getting into this venture in 2022, as the community has already begun to be built and the trading platforms are set up.

Just like with starting Speedrunning, your engagement with the community and ability to ask for help is paramount, and in 2022 those avenues are more accessible than ever to the budding videogame preservation member.

Useful Links

Here you can find a hand-tailored list of all the resources to help you begin your journey to rediscovering old games. Maybe in 5 years, you'll have a museum-worthy collection!

The MADE website, still accepting donations:

The Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment (themade.org)

Popular Emulators:

PSX for the original PS1

PCSX2 for the PS2

RPCS3 for the PS3

Lists of console editions:

PS1 console editions, PS2 console editions, PS3 console editions

Xbox console editions, Xbox 360 console editions

A Subreddit for queries, news, and support in the community. Here you can see if games or game services are being altered or removing products from production/sale. You can also request specific artwork, game leads, etc.

A Subreddit for finding games you remember hazy details about. Simply input what you know in the provided format and people help you identify specific games. This can be helpful in preserving rarer games only a few could identify and is also a great way to discover new games by scrolling through "answered" queries yourself.

An interactive map of Retro Game Stores in the UK. Simply find your nearest and support a local Preservation effort! Spreading these games out among those who will truly care about them is key to the Preservation of the media and art.

High-end cable converters for older inputs and outputs. These will help you make your collection compatible with any device you need; if you don't plan on also acquiring a TV set from the time of your chosen consoles, that is!

Passionate Hobbyist (Gaming of any kind, D&D, all that nerdy stuff). First and foremost always an enjoyer of art and media.

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