Australian Video Games to be Collected and Preserved by NFSA
Ahead of the opening of Game Masters: The Exhibition at the The National Film and Sound Archive of Australia in Canberra, the NFSA announced that they would start collecting Australian video games for archival preservation with an initial list of eight games which range from 1982 to 2019 and across all different platforms.
"Today we welcome video games into our collection of more than 3 million items. The collection represents the cultural diversity and breadth of experience of all Australians, and it is constantly evolving just like our creative industries.” said CEO of the NFSA Jan Müller.
"We aim to be the national leader in collecting multimedia and new media content, and it would be impossible to accurately represent modern life without games. It is essential that games be collected alongside other audiovisual media, to ensure their continued preservation and access."
"Our initial selection spans almost 40 years of gaming history. It provides an overview of the evolution of the medium, as well as an opportunity to identify the archival challenges in preserving the different technologies employed - both software and hardware."
"It has also allowed us to build relationships in this sector. Games creators have been excited by the concept and honoured to be among the first included, and the response from gaming professionals and peak bodies, Interactive Games and Entertainment Association (IGEA) and Games Developers' Association of Australia (GDAA), has been incredibly encouraging. We look forward to working with them as we develop solutions for long-term preservation of their work, for the benefit of future generations."
It is exciting to think that video games will soon be kept in archives along with important Australian films, TV shows and audio recordings. It just goes to show that video games are being more widely accepted as an art form.
Here are the eight games set to be archived:
Developer: Beam Software
Platforms: ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC, BBC Micro Model B cassette, BBC Micro Model B disc, Dragon 64, Oric, MSX, Apple II, IBM PC (DOS), Macintosh
The Hobbit was an an illustrated text adventure based on the book by J. R. R. Tolkien. Interestingly a copy of the book was included with each game sold due an arrangement with the book publisher.
Developer: Interactive Binary Illusions / Sub Zero Software
Platforms: Microbee, DOS, Windows
A side-scrolling platformer, Halloween Harry was initially released commercially in 1985 by John Passfield for the Microbee computer system. The game was later released under the name Alien Carnage after the publisher thought it might be viewed as a seasonal Halloween-themed game, limiting sales the rest of the year
Developer: Beam Software
Based on the tabletop game of the same name, Shadowrun was a cyberpunk-fantasy action RPG in which you the role of Jake Armitage, a man with amensia, as he attempts to discover his identity and find out who is trying to kill him.
Developer: Team Bondi
Platform: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Set in in Los Angeles in 1947, you play as a LAPD officer who slowly works his way up the ranks in this neo-noir detective action-adventure game. L.A. Noire was the first video game to be shown at the Tribeca Film Festival
Developer: Uppercut Games
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Windows, IOS, Nintendo Switch
This third-person exploration, post-apocalyptic adventure game sees you play as Miku as she seaches a half sunken city to find supplies to save her little brother.
Platforms: Android, iOS
An Interactive Novel style game, Florence sees players follow the story of 25-year-old Florence Yeoh as she lives her life and her relationship with Krish, told with a number of short mini games and basic puzzles
Developer: Team Cherry
Platforms: Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
A 2D Metroidvania action-adventure game, Hollow Knight sees you playing as a knight on a quest to uncover the secrets of the long-abandoned insect kingdom of Hallownest
Espire 1: VR Operative
Developer: Digital Lode
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Oculus Quest, Microsoft Windows
A stealth based VR game, Espire 1 will see you take control of an Espire, a remotely controlled unit, to complete a number of objectives. Interestingly, Espire 1 has not been released at the time of this announcement.