Classic Video Games Getting ‘Critically Endangered’

Only a small fraction of those games are available.

A new study has revealed that a small fraction of classic video games is still available and the rest are now ‘critically endangered’.

Most Classic Video Games are Getting Endangered

The Video Game History Foundation and in partnership with the Software Preservation Network have claimed that 87 percent of classic video games released in the United States are now critically endangered.

The study was conducted by two groups that discovered that a sample of games released before 2010 are still available and in circulation from re-releases. One of the examples revealed that a sample of Commodore 64 games that got tested, only 4. 5 percent of them were still purchasable on a modern digital storefront.

The Gameboy family of systems only has 5.8 percent that are still purchasable. Before shutting down the Wii U and 3DS eShop, the figure was higher. This has now resulted in the only games available for those systems being locked behind Nintendo’s online service.

“Imagine if the only way to watch Titanic was to find a used VHS tape, and maintain your own vintage equipment so that you could still watch it,” the study said.

“And what if no library, not even the Library of Congress, could do any better — they could keep and digitize that VHS of Titanic, but you’d have to go all the way there to watch it.

“It sounds crazy, but that’s the reality we live in with video games, a $180 billion industry, while the games and their history disappear.”

Hope for Change

VGHF said that they are hopeful that the study they are making will begin a change for the gaming industry. Video game preservation should be stronger than it is today before more games will be lost forever.

“I hope this study wakes people up. For years, we’ve known that the availability of classic video games in a legal, safe way has been dire, but no one has ever put a number to that,” said Frank Cifaldi, co-director, Video Game History Foundation “The results are worse than probably any other medium.”