Preservation study find 87% of classic U.S. video game releases are 'critically endangered'

A new study from the Video Game History Foundation revealed some rough details about game preservation.

Video Game History Foundation

The Video Game History Foundation is dedicated to game preservation, bringing awareness to the need to archive games and keep them accessible long after their time in the sun is over. In a recent study, the group endeavored to determine just how many old games are in danger of disappearing forever. The study concluded that a whopping 87 percent of classic video games released in the United States are “critically endangered.”

The report was published on the Video Game History Foundation’s website yesterday. The study looked at games released between 1960 to 2009, revealing that 87 percent of them are no longer available to the public. VGHF is hoping that the results of the report will lead to “expanded exemptions for libraries and organizations preserving video games,” with hopes to get games more in line with the preservation of books, movies, and audio.

The Game Boy and an NES controller.

Source: Video Game History Foundation

Video game historians have been warning us about the preservation issue for years, with theconversation reigniting earlier this year after Nintendo shut down the WiiU and 3DS eShops. Content creator Jirard “The Completionist” Khalil made a video about his mission to buy and download every single game from those eShops, which he donated to the Video Game History Foundation.

The organization has also been urging gamers to understand that this is an issue that impacts them directly. Founder Frank Cifaldi tweeted about the study this week, stating that “It's practically guaranteed that something you grew up with is gone, forever.”

It’s a damning report that puts a spotlight on one of our industry’s biggest issues. VGHF compares it to the film industry, which has made much better strides to preserve films from decades past. With the constant evolution of hardware and generational transitions, a lot of games are getting lost in the shuffle. Please visit the Video Game History Foundation website for more on how you can aid their efforts for better game preservation.

News Editor

Donovan is a young journalist from Maryland, who likes to game. His oldest gaming memory is playing Pajama Sam on his mom's desktop during weekends. Pokémon Emerald, Halo 2, and the original Star Wars Battlefront 2 were some of the most influential titles in awakening his love for video games. After interning for Shacknews throughout college, Donovan graduated from Bowie State University in 2020 with a major in broadcast journalism and joined the team full-time. He is a huge Scream nerd and film fanatic that will talk with you about movies and games all day. You can follow him on twitter @Donimals_

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