Saving video gaming’s source code treasures before it’s too late
Over 90 percent of pre-2000 gaming source code may already be gone
When most people think of preserving video game history, they probably imagine a museum full of boxed consoles and cartridges, or maybe a massive, digital database of emulatable ROM files ripped from the original physical media. The Video Game History Foundation’s latest project is looking past those kinds of basic archival projects, though, and toward collecting and preserving the source code behind many classic games.
“For a video game historian, an archaeological dig through source material is the next best thing to time travel,’ VGHF’s Frank Cifaldi said. “A really good source repo is the closest you’re ever going to get to being a fly on the wall during a game’s development.”
“All parts should go together without forcing. You must remember that the parts you are reassembling were disassembled by you. Therefore, if you can’t get them together again, there must be a reason. By all means, do not use a hammer.” —IBM Manual, 1925