[games_access] Video Game Preservation

Barrie Ellis barrie.ellis at oneswitch.org.uk
Fri Aug 10 05:32:43 EDT 2007

Relating to the Historical Committee post that I've recently taken up - I think the "preservation of digital games" is quite important work seeing how quickly some games are vanishing from a playable state.

I'm working on some Emulation pages for one-switch games, and how to make games generally more accessible for many gamers (i.e. cheats - speed controls - graphical adjustments - using various controllers). I've turned up some fairly accessible old relics so far - "Air Attack" from 1979 on the Commodore Pet being the first home-computer one-switch game to my knowledge (although I still can't find a working file for this) - "Canyon Bomber" from 1978 on the Atari VCS - and even some games with graphics tweaked for sight-impaired gamers dated 1983 for BBC Micros. I've got the permission to upload some of these so will let people know when they're up (at my speed - not any time soon). If anyone has any more info on the history of accessible gaming I'd be very appreciative - and will eventually have it all up on-line. I'm especially after info about Brilliant Computing's 1988 "Arcade Adventures" and 1990 "Arcade Challenge for the BBC Micro in any form.

Here's a couple of links in the meanwhile:

http://www.oneswitch.org.uk/2/pioneers.htm - with update for the most inaccessible game ever.


----- Original Message -----
From: AudioGames.net
To: IGDA Games Accessibility SIG Mailing List
Sent: Tuesday, August 07, 2007 9:38 AM
Subject: Re: [games_access] NSF grant for the development of anaccessibleclient for secondlife

By the way, just got this in:

August 06, 2007

Library of Congress announces grants for preservation of digital games
Posted by Henry Lowood, category preservation

The U.S. Library of Congress has announced the recipients of a group of major grants in the new digital preservation program called Preserving Creative America (PCA). This program reprsents a new phase of the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP).

The best news, for How They Got Game, is that we are part of this project. We will be participating as one of four primary partners in the "Preserving Virtual Worlds" project, led by the University of Illinois. Project teams are at U. Illinois, the University of Maryland, Rochester Inst. of Technology, and our group in the Stanford Humanities Laboratory, in close collaboration with the Stanford University Libraries & Academic Information Resources. "Preserving Virtual Worlds" will address three forms of game-related interactive media: early digital games (see the Digital Game Canon project for a list of likely candidates), electronic literature, and virtual worlds (Second Life).

So, what are we going to do?

A number of partners, from Linden Lab to e-fiction writers, will join the university partners to develop generalizable mechanisms and methods for preserving digital games and interactive fiction, working with several test cases from early game and electronic literature collections and sample projects in Second Life.

Major activities will include:
1.. assessing the different types of preservation problems posed by representative test cases Includes
a.. developing a beginning framework for characterizing game and interactive fiction by preservation problem
b.. assessing methods and potential sources for preserving complex interactive user-behavior
2.. developing basic standards for metadata and content representation, e.g.,
a.. determining what types of information should be preserved to support future use of these content types, including emulation and migration and supporting existing preservation policies
b.. developing recommendations for the use of existing wrapper formats
3.. investigating real-world archiving issues by ingesting several representative test cases into institutional repositories, including
a.. implementation and testing of new metadata schema
b.. further assessment of preservation problems posed by different content types

The main goal of the project is to help develop generalizable mechanisms and methods for preserving digital games and interactive fiction, and to begin to test these mechanism through the archiving of selected test cases. Key deliverables include the development of metadata schema and wrapper recommendations, and the long-term curation of archived cases.

Much of the Second Life work will be conducted at Stanford, and we also expect that the Cabrinety Collection in the Libraries will provide examples of game software that we will use for the preservation tests. Second Life content participants include Life to the Second Power, Democracy Island and the International Spaceflight Museum.

We are eager to enlist more partners interested in working with us to solve the huge preservation problem faced by interactive media such as games and virtual worlds.


Henry Lowood, Ph.D.
Curator for History of Science & Technology Collections
Curator for Germanic Collections; Film & Media Collections
HRG, Green Library, 557 Escondido Mall
Stanford University Libraries
Stanford CA 94305-6004
650-723-4602; lowood at stanford.edu; http://www.stanford.edu/~lowood

----- Original Message -----
From: Eelke Folmer
To: IGDA Games Accessibility SIG Mailing List
Sent: Tuesday, August 07, 2007 4:09 AM
Subject: [games_access] NSF grant for the development of an accessibleclient for secondlife

Hi folks,

I just received a 90k SGER grant from NSF to explore developing a blind-accessible client for Secondlife. A proposal I have been working on for quite some time. This grant will allow me to hire some more grad students and help us get a better insight in what can make virtual communities/3d games more accessible to a variety of disabilities.

I've been secretly working on an accessible client myself the last few months and I developed a prototype which can be controlled using voice (its mac only for now) and provides some minimum voice output. I will release a prototype within the next few weeks, and I'm hoping you some of you can provide me with feedback.

The NSF program director that I contacted prior to submitting my proposal is very very nice and interested in games & accessibility. His feedback & support was very helpful in securing the grant, and I hope this proposal will open up opportunities for us all to submit grants to NSF in the future; helping people with disabilities play games & gain a better understanding of what exactly makes games accessible. I think there is still lots to be discovered.

Cheers Eelke

Eelke Folmer Assistant Professor
Department of CS&E/171
University of Nevada Reno, Nevada 89557
Game interaction design www.helpyouplay.com
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