Preserving Games

Archiving the Creation Processes of the Video Game Industry

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BBC Interview – Outcomes

18 September, 2008 (17:55) | News and Commentary | By: Megan

A few weeks ago, the project got some good press from Library Journal and the BBC, with an interview for the Principle Investigator, Megan Winget. This interview garnered a lot of feedback from the player community, particularly four distinct groups of players:

1. First, there were the gamers who had witnessed objectively meaningful events:

2. Then, there were the players who save all of their chat logs to a centralized location, as well as collect chat logs from their friends, generating huge amounts of data;

3. Players who save different kinds historical information (like raid parties, events, stories, narratives) from their guilds or communities – via wikis.

4. Players who are responsible for building different mods of their environments, and want to save those modifications in some way.

These projects suggest some research issues that I think are very interesting: First, while my IMLS funded project focuses on the creation behaviors of industry players, there is a culture of creation within the gaming community itself. Talking to the people in group 4 would be interesting from examining the concept of ‘creator,’ particularly as the creation model is being changed given the opportunities inherent in the gaming process.

I’m also interested in the role of players in the creation of meaning within games. I think it can be argued that gamers, whether they have the ability to explicitly modify their game environment or not, have a greater ability to control their experience than do people who interact with traditional media, like movies or tv. My balywick is preservation, so I’m curious to explore what that difference means specifically in terms of preservation. To meaningfully preserve a game, do we need to preserve that ability to modify and freely interact with the system? Or will it be good enough to use the traditional preservation model and preserve a static, paradigmatic version of the game. How will we need to augment the preservation model to make it more appropriate for interactive systems like games? In order to get at this, I think that the research community is eventually going to have to do a qualitative investigation of user attitudes and conceptions of game spaces, and the importance of the game spaces in their players’ lives. I’d like to fit that in to the IMLS funded project, but am not sure that it’s appropriate to do so.

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