Panel Discussion: Preserving the Digital Game Canon

A little over a week ago, I attended PAX East in Boston for the second time and was able to attend a few very interesting panels that were related to retro gaming.    My favorite panel of the bunch was entitled “Ten Games You Need to Play: The Digital Game Canon” put on by the IGDA (International Game Developers Association).   The title is a bit misleading as the panel didn’t really talk about the “Ten Games You Need To Play”, but instead served as a follow-up to a 2007 GDC panel.   This PAX East panel actually focused more of the effort of preserving video games and their history – everything from the source code and artwork to documenting the experiences related to the games themselves. (See the IGDA’s wiki for Game Preservation)

I was actually quite thrilled that the panel focused more the preservation aspect as we’ve all participated in numerous discussions about what are the “essential games” (we do that plenty here at Racketboy).  Video game preservation and documentation is a subject that I’ve been interested in and entertained in my head for over a decade.  Unfortunately, I had previously been unaware of the wonderful efforts the members of this panel.   Hopefully, I can reconcile this by sharing the panel’s video I was fortunate enough to record and by keeping better tabs on this effort in the future.

See Video on Youtube / Download MP3 of Discussion

This video clocks in at well over an hour, but if you are remotely interested in preserving this history of classic video games, I invite you to at least sample this video discussion.  I think you’ll find that all of the panel members and their discussions to be quite engaging and thought-provoking.

Prior to the event, the panel’s moderator Christopher Grant (Editor-In-Chief of Joystiq) posted a great introduction to the panel, which included short bios of the panelists in addition to some links to check out that are related to the project.

I’m also very curious to hear what the Racketboy community thinks of this effort.  Once I get caught up on things around here, I hope to develop an outline of this panel and start up some forum threads to further the discussion (unless someone else wants to help me out ;)   )   I think there are many excellent starting points for deep conversation included in this video.  To be honest, one hour wasn’t enough to do it justice – I was chomping at the bit for more as I walked out of the room.

I want to thank all of the panelists again for not only putting in so much work into this project, but also for letting me record this session.

Session Information:

  • Recorded: March 13, 2011
  • Location: PAX East 2011, Boston, Massachusetts
  • Panelists: Dave Gibson [Curator, Library of Congress], Jon Gibson [Founder, I am 8-bit], Christopher Grant [Editor-in-Chief,], Henry Lowood [Curator/Professor, Stanford University], Chris Melissinos [Curator, Smithsonian’s Art of Video Games Exhibition]