Lost to the Sands of Time?
During my ongoing literature review I often discover interesting facts about things I’ve never thought about. Sometimes I can connect these facts with my own observations: The result is mostly a completely new idea why things are as they are. Maybe these ideas are new to you, too. Therefore I’ll share my new science based knowledge with you!
This week: This time, I think about the problems that occur when trying to play older computer games.
It is Eastern and hence a very good opportunity to take a few days off and visit my parents. Staying in my old room, I can see my collection of computer games I bought and played as a teenager. Looking through the titles brings back some great memories and the desire to play some of them again: Commandos, Unreal Tournament, Command and Conquer Red Alert, Tomb Raider, The Settlers 2, Half-Life, etc.
Playing the games of the Commandos series was a fantastic time. The strategy games challenged a player with the goal to complete difficult missions with only a handful soldiers of which each had unique abilities. In this way, players had to combine those abilities to silently move through the maps and complete the objectives, e.g., destroying a dam or taking out a dangerous sniper. Thus far, the tactical real-time strategy gameplay of Commandos is unmatched.
However, since these good old days, new technologies were developed, computers became more powerful and new operating systems got released. As a result, it is not easy or sometimes even impossible to get older games running, again. When aborting to try to get such an old game running again, I often feel sad as it seems that I will never ever play it again despite still having access to the software itself.
Similar to books and movies, computer games have become an integral part of our culture. Some of these games, especially those that represent an important milestone in the history of gaming, need to be preserved and made available to future generations. This, however, also comes with the requirement to either preserve the technology on which the games are running or to develop a framework that can emulate specific systems on modern computers.
In conclusion, computer games are a part of our culture. Older games need to be kept running to preserve important milestones for future generations. Otherwise, they might be never experienced again and thus be lost to the sands of time.