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Stanford to digitally archive priceless collection of 15,000 old games
Stanford to digitally archive priceless collection of 15,000 old games
March 5, 2013 | By Frank Cifaldi

March 5, 2013 | By Frank Cifaldi
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    11 comments
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing, History



Stanford University and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will soon embark on a two-year effort to digitally preserve one of the most extensive collections of classic video and computer games in the world.

The subject of this archival effort is the legendary Stephen Cabrinety collection. Stephen M. Cabrinety (1966-1995) privately collected software across computer, console and handheld devices from his teenage years all the way through his death. Cabrinety founded one of the first software preservation groups, the Computer History Institute for the Preservation of Software (C.H.I.P.S.) in 1989, his vision being to permanently hold his collection for researchers of the future.

Cabrinety managed to collect over 15,000 pieces of software (games and otherwise) before his death in 1995. Cabrinety's family donated the collection to Stanford in 1998, where it has been held since.

Archiving will consist of capturing exact digital copies of the data present on each game's medium, as well as digital photography of its packaging and included paperwork and ephemera.

More info here.


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Comments


jaime kuroiwa
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Step two: emulate and stream to web (please!)

Frank Cifaldi
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If you read the link, you'll see that part of the plan is for Stanford to try to clear the rights for some of these (good luck there!).

E Zachary Knight
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" (good luck there!)"

Yet another reason why current copyright law is not beneficial to society. It locks up software, games, books, music, movies and other works behind walls that otherwise should not exist.

It is great that they are preserving this software, but if Software had anything like the Authors Guild, Stanford would be sued for this digitization effort.

Sean Monica
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There are multiple box's you can find online. I *cough* I mean people have already box's with 2-3k games inside. If you look hard enough you can actually find most of these. I mean if you fight for the rights of say.... action 52.... well lets just let that one stay on the shelf.

Frank Cifaldi
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Piracy has its problems, and I'm not talking legal. Most rips you get of old computer games have intros or trainers or cracks that make the data not exactly identical to what shipped. And computers aren't the only platforms that have these problems...the version of Bubble Bobble running in MAME (and, I believe, some official compilations!) turned out to be a pirated version that altered the gameplay slightly.

Even if you have legit games, sometimes that's not enough for preservation. If you run a floppy disk just once it's forever tainted, as far as pure 100% preservation goes. What's great about the Cabrinety collection is that a lot (most?) of his games are still in their shrinkwrap, so in theory we should be seeing 100% clean reproduction fo the data.

Not to mention digitally archiving the artwork, manuals, etc., which is what I'm most excited for here.

Jonathan Jennings
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I always wonder why i don't ever hear about kickstarter initiatives or donation initiatives for things like this? especially since I am signed up to the ESA newsletter. I would love to donate to a cause that preserves the history of our industry and I would hope other devs would too!

Frank Cifaldi
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In this particular case they were able to find funding privately, but there were two video game history museums (The MADE and The Videogame History Museum) that got Kickstarter funding...

Jonathan Jennings
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Thanks Frank! I had no idea about those two museums!

Jonathan Murphy
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We should have FULL access to buy every game ever made at anytime(We can do this now). This is billions of dollars thrown away. You can't expect gamers to abandon old games they used to play every 4-7 years. Hollywood mostly doesn't do this. We shouldn't either.

Steven Christian
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Classics preserved without cracks, where DRM consists of entering the 4th word on the 8th line of the 2nd paragraph of the 57th page of the manual;
boy, I can't wait..

Frank Cifaldi
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If you want to play cracked versions they're easily available. Meanwhile, for those of us who actually care about preserving our history, this is one of the most significant events that has ever happened.


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