What Do Videogames Want? Preserving, Playing and not Playing Digital Games and Gameplay (Introduction)

James Newman (Bath)
Videogames are, without doubt, disappearing and the continued – and accelerating – loss of this material denies future generations access to their cultural heritage and robs the next generation of developers historical reference material to draw on. As Henry Lowood [2009] pointed out more than a decade ago, we need to take action “before it’s too late”. The video-paper offers an overview and critique of existing approaches and revisits some of the methodological and conceptual presuppositions that underpin game preservation and even the academic discipline of game studies as a whole. Returning to first principles, the paper asks “What Do Videogames Want?”.

A Matter of Sources

Miriam Akkermann (Berlin)
Electroacoustic music and computer music come along with a vast variety of sources ranging from traditional score to complex digital performance set-ups. Approaches of documentation and archiving yet have not only to deal with the challenge of the rapid technological developments that cause the urge of updates in order to provide access to the content, the constant need of transfer also raises basic historical questions such as e.g. what to consider and thus save as historical testimonies of a musical works and its performances and how to include this instability of the sources within the embedded information. In my contribution, I will reflect on the mutual influence of technological challenges, the state of source material, approaches to documenting and archiving, and what this can mean for establishing new performances of these musical works. Hereby, I am especially interested in a structural reflection on the relationships between these processes and the resulting sources, as well as the question what this can mean for the (future and past) appearance of a musical work.

Integrating Change Through Documentation of Experience for Immersive Media

sasha arden (New York)
Immersive media (IM) is a class of technologies that aim to create an immersive environment for viewers, such as virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), mixed reality (MR or XR), and 360° or panoramic projection installations. The preservation of immersive media is a growing field of research and practice, whether for historical reference of these technologies, or for re-exhibition of artistic/creative works. IM benefits from existing strategies developed for preservation of complex digital and physical media such as software-based art and installation artworks, but the unique characteristics of IM lead to unique preservation needs. Exploring how these needs may be met through expanded documentation and cataloging practices prompts reflection on how such changes could set larger institutional shifts into motion.