Who among us does not remember the long hours spent in front of the Game Boy or Commodore 64, exploring pixelated worlds and taking on ever new challenges? If you are part of Generation X (the one who will save the world) or Millennials, know that there is a threat on the horizon: 87% of classic video games could disappear forever.
The Game Boy and its unexpected fate
I've never had, nor wanted to, but I'll admit the Game Boy wasn't just a console. It was a passport to extraordinary adventures, a faithful companion in long waits and a reward for the small daily victories of an entire generation.
Like many other technological marvels of the past, however, today it has become a digital archaeological find, the symbol of a gaming culture that is fading too quickly.
Classic video games: sobering numbers
Un recent study conducted by the Video Game History Foundation and from Preservation Network software revealed a shocking truth: 87% of video games released before 2010 they are "critically endangered". Nearly 9 out of 10 games could become inaccessible to future generations!
Why are we losing these jewels? The answer is complex. Video games, like all commercial products, have a life cycle. They disappear from the shelves and become nowhere to be found. Only the most popular titles, such as Pokemon o Sonic, are re-proposed. Let's add another culprit: copyright laws. These laws prevent libraries and other cultural institutions from preserving and sharing video games as they do books and films.
And so, even masterpieces like Metal Gear o Unreal Tournament they may just become a distant memory. Imagine those released in even earlier years.
An unimaginable cultural loss
The situation is so serious that the author of the study compared the availability of these classic video games to the survival rate of films from the silent film era. And yet, today the video game industry is worth 180 billion euros: it surpasses both the film and music industries! Why are these digital treasures treated with such little respect?
2024 could be a crucial year. In the USA, a discussion on copyright laws for video games is planned. But time flies, and every tick of the clock brings us closer to a world without our beloved classics.
Let's save classic video games and our digital history
Dear readers, sad to see that such a precious part of our culture fades into oblivion. Our gaming history, our adventures, our laughs and our challenges deserve to be preserved for future generations.
Maybe we have to do something to prevent it, or try to accept it: once it would have been enough to read "insert coin" to understand that nothing ever really ends.
Today the most concrete risk is the Game Over.