The Game Preservation Society is a nonprofit organization run by volunteers who possess professional skills and knowledge related to game preservation.
In Japan, although there are those who love games and work to protect them in their own way, there wasn’t an organization that connected those people. The Game Preservation Society was founded to accomplish that.
Currently, our members gather to for various activities, all related to the preservation of 80s games (PC, console, and arcade). Our members possess a variety of skills, such as game mastering, hardware expertise, setting up databases, collecting and conserving software resources, image processing techniques etc. Our members make full use of their skill-set, cooperating selflessly to make sure the culture of games is preserved.
There is a large amount of resources and problems specific to game preservation, and it is all too much for any individual to handle. By disclosing more information, we hope to generate more cooperation efforts in order to make our task more workable. Regardless of the results, we will continue to work towards our goal, so please support us anyway you can.
I am Joseph Redon, the President of the Game Preservation Society.
I had been deeply charmed by the history of Japanese games of the 80s since a young age, and founded the Game Preservation Society as an effort to protect and pass it on, as a valuable cultural asset.
Like paintings and films, games are also proper culture that should be preserved for future generations.
Sadly, those who treat it that way and try to protect it are among the minority in Japan.
Since the 70s, the creativity displayed in Japanese games had been influential overseas, but that magnificent history is not widely recognized within the country, and the efforts to preserve it as a cultural resource cannot be said to be sufficient. It is essential that we be the first to act, to protect what belongs to us.
Some might know this, but there is a unique problem for game preservation that is unseen in other preservation efforts, known as “data degradation”. If nothing is done to preserve it now, the data will be lost forever.
There are already similar efforts going on around the world, and the Game Preservation Society too, with its volunteers, will do everything it can to preserve and pass on games as a culture.
Our immediate and most urgent tasks are raising awareness, acquiring manpower for the actual preservation work, and securing the vulnerable game data and resources that are scattered.
I wish, very strongly, to protect and pass on the history of Japan, here in Japan. So those who have already been participating in similar endeavours, or those who have yet done so but are interested, as well as those who feel they can do something for games, please contact us, because as a group we can make what is impossible for the individual possible.
Let us work together to let the children of tomorrow know the charm of the games of the past.
I am a director of the Game Preservation Society, Fukuda.
Since you are at our website, I suppose you like games, right?
Gathering over at your friend’s place and having fun playing video games. Keying in the programs they had in those magazines. Scrimping and saving what pocket-money you had to finally get a game that ended up a disappointment.
Those games in your memories, if there weren’t a suitable way to preserve it, it would just fade away with time.
So, if we just managed to preserve disks in digital form, would it be OK?
The thing is we don’t just lose the media with time.
What I want to do, mainly, is the maintenance of old machines and the digitization of data (on floppy disks, tapes, etc.), and the research and development of the reuse of the related machines.
Related information is being lost bit by bit, I feel that we really do need the cooperation of as many of you as we can get.
Those who were not involved in development then, or even now, as long as you have ever felt that you loved games, that is enough. Let’s work together to preserve games.
My name is Masakuni Kobayashi. My responsibilities in the organization are, mainly, establishing contact with collectors and archivists along with the organizations they are involved in, and the support of their activities.
We talk about game preservation as a single issue, but there is a variety of problems waiting to be solved. I think one of the more important problems is raising the awareness of collectors and end-users towards game preservation, and increasing the number of cooperative relationships we have with people who can provide us information and technology.
Even if we had the support from many more people, there is a limit to what we can do, because the games that we collect and try to preserve are disappearing every day. For magnetic media that are about 30 years old, the actual work of preserving them is very difficult and requires not only familiarity with game culture but also advanced techniques like those used when handling paintings and antiques.
We at the Game Preservation Society are constantly searching for technicians and collectors who can cooperate with us.
When people who are safeguarding games, or have the know-how for difficult preservation work, or similar skills come together, we will be able to do the work we need to do. I for one, think that the human resource is the single most important thing for what we do.
Games culture has its roots in computer gaming, as we entered the 1980s, there was a huge market for games, and computer games, especially, continued to captivate everyone who played them. But 30 years has passed since then, and the actual materials that were used during the propagation of the culture itself are in grave danger. Even so, the organizations that preserve games in Japan are few, they do it out of goodwill, but the efforts are scattered and mostly individualistic.
We want to preserve games (and its culture) as completely as possible to pass it on to the next generation and beyond.
We are still a young organization but we have already gathered a lot of support, whether it is technical or informational, from many sources. That said, it is also true that there are still many problems left to solve and we are still short of the skills and information needed to do so.
If you have just come to know of us, and have something to provide, please do feel free to contact us.