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And at an alarming rate. If we fail to address the problems of game preservation, the games you are making will disappear, perhaps within a few decades. You will lose access to your own intellectual property, you will be unable to show new developers the games you designed or that inspired you, and you may even find it necessary to re-invent a bunch of wheels. Lowood et al. However, although the research and writing processes proved to be an immensely pleasurable and rewarding experience that we hope culminated in an accessible, informative volume offering insight into some well-known and some less-well known games, the project was ultimately tinged with a more than a little disappointment and frustration.

Assuming our book had successfully piqued the interest of our readers into rediscovering games previously played or perhaps investigating games for the first time, what could they then do? Where could they go to find these games in order to experience their delights or their flaws and problems at first hand?


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  • Had our volume been concerned with television or film, as most of the Screen Guides are, then online and offline retailers, libraries, and even archives for less widely-available materials, would have been obvious ports of call. For the student of videogames, however, the choices are not so much limited as practically non-existant. Surely, then, this represents the commercial viability of classic games and is a recognition on the part of retail that the new release is not the only game in town.

    First, there is cold economic sense to the pre-owned business model. Second, and most important, the premise of the pre-owned business as it is communicated to consumers still offers nothing but primacy to the new release. The wire mesh buckets of old, pre-owned games are not displayed or coded as treasure troves for the discerning or completist collector but rather are nothing more than bargain bins. These are not classic games. These are cheap games.

    1. Introduction

    Cheap because they are old. Cheap because they have had their day.

    This is a curious situation that affects videogames most unfairly. Of course, my caricature of the videogame retailer is still incomplete as a good deal of the instantly visible shopfloor space is dedicated neither to pre-owned nor new releases but rather to displays of empty boxes often sporting unfinalised, sometimes mocked-up, boxart flaunting titles available for pre-order. Titles you cannot even buy yet.

    In the videogames marketplace, even the present is not exciting enough. The best game is always the next game. Importantly, retail is not alone in manufacturing this sense of dissatisfaction with the past and even the present. Though a small number of publications specifically address retro titles e. Manufacturing a sense of excitement might seem wholly natural and perhaps even desirable in helping to maintain a keen interest in gaming culture but the effect of the imbalance of popular coverage has a potentially deleterious effect on the status of superseded titles.

    As Ashton has noted, the continual promotion of the impressiveness of the next generation requires a delicate balancing act and a selective, institutionalised system of recall and forgetting that recovers the past as a suite of often technical benchmarks twice as many polygons, higher resolution etc. In the absence of formalised and systematic collecting, these obsoleted titles run the risk of being forgotten forever once they no longer serve the purpose of demonstrating the comparative advancement of the successors.

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    How the Videogame Aesthetic Flows Into All of Culture

    After all, as Jones has observed, the videogame player is almost primed to undertake this kind of activity as gaming can, at least partly, be understood as the act and art of collecting. Perhaps we should be as unsurprised that their focus on collecting makes videogames similar to eBay as we are to the realisation that eBay with its competitiveness, its winning and losing states, and its inexorable countdown timer, is nothing if not a game? We should be mindful, however, of overstating the positive effects of fandom on the fate of old games. Quite apart from the il legality of emulation and videogame ripping and sharing see Conley et al.

    St ripped down to the barest of code, ROMs deny the gamer the paratextuality of the instruction manual or boxart.

    15 Craziest Secret Rooms In Video Games

    In fact, divorced from its context and robbed of its materiality, ROMs perhaps serve to make the original game even more distant. More tellingly, ROMs are typically distributed by the thousand in zipped files. And so, in just a few minutes, entire console back-catalogues — every game released in every territory — are available for browsing and playing on a PC or Mac.

    The completism of the collections allows detailed scrutiny of differences in Japanese versus European releases, for instance, and can be seen as a vital investigative resource. In a similar vein, the budget-priced retro re-release collection helps to diminish the value of each constituent game and serves to simultaneously manufacture and highlight the manifestly unfair comparison between these intriguingly retro curios and the legitimately full-priced games of now and next.

    Customer comments at Amazon. Interestingly, this charge seems based less around the quality, variety or range of the collection but rather centres on jarring technological schisms and a clear sense of these titles being of necessarily and inevitably diminished monetary value.

    Indeed, it is this tendency, this dominant discourse of inevitable, natural and unimpeachable obsolescence and supersession, that provided one of the prime motivators for establishing the NVA. As Lowood et al. Ashton, D. Buffa, C. Duguid, Paul. The Future of the Book. French, Michael. Giddings, Seth, and Helen Kennedy. Rutter and J. Bryce, eds. Understanding Digital Games. London: Sage. Gillen, Kieron. Jones, S. New Media: A Critical Introduction.

    London and New York: Routledge, IGDA, Monnens, Devin. Newman, J. Nutt, C. Radd, D.

    Aesthetics of video games | The Trinitonian

    Ruggill, Judd, and Ken McAllister. Therefore, the most important learning here is that graphics, while nice, exist purely to serve aesthetics. Regardless of the level of rendering, if there is no unified, clearly thought-out aesthetic, all is for nought. Important Takeaways: Graphics are simply not the be-all and end-all of making your game look good. If developers do not design their games with a certain aesthetic in mind, we will continue to see the trend towards excellent graphics and utterly forgettable games.

    Players, developers, and game reviewers alike should make a conscious effort to focus more on the aesthetics of video games rather than sheer graphical finesse. About The Author. Sign in.

    The Difference Between Good Graphics And Good Aesthetics In Video Games

    Get started. Daniel Doan Follow. Email Raghav raghav blackshellmedia. Hosted by Black Shell Media, indie game publisher and consulting agency. Growth Marketing Consultant danieldoan. The best indie game marketing and game development resources, all in one feed. Write the first response. Discover Medium.