Image: The Knight from Hollow Knight (2017). Courtesy: Team Cherry
In September 2019, we launched a pilot project to explore the feasibility of collecting and preserving Australian video games.
Like film, recorded sound, radio and television before them, video games have had a significant impact on society. Video games are an immersive audiovisual medium that play a major role in contemporary popular culture. They represent an artistic, storytelling and technological achievement, as well as an industry that contributes significantly to the Australian economy.
Our initial selection of eight games for archiving spans all eras and technical formats, from cassette tape to mobile devices and virtual reality headsets.
We are collecting physical cartridges and discs, as well as storyboards, artwork, soundtracks and publicity materials. The games selected for the pilot project are:
— The Hobbit (Beam Software, 1982)
— Halloween Harry (SubZero Software, Interactive Binary Illusions, 1985/1993)
— Shadowrun (Beam Software, 1993)
— LA Noire (Team Bondi, 2011)
— Submerged (Uppercut Games, 2015)
— Hollow Knight (Team Cherry, 2017)
— Florence (Mountains, 2018)
— Espire 1: VR Operative (Digital Lode, 2019).
Working on this initial selection allows us to explore what components and documentation we need to collect to archive a game’s creative process from concept to finished product.
It will also identify challenges around software and hardware obsolescence, long-term storage and access, rights and proprietorial platforms to inform our ongoing preservation strategy.
Following a strong positive response and level of engagement from game developers and the broader games industry, we plan to collect a targeted selection of games, on an ongoing basis.
Email: collection [at] nfsa.gov.au