Rob Zacny has a thought provoking piece up at the Escapist: on the whole, we're the worst genre when it comes to preserving our history, even the great classics acknowledged as 'great.' In a society - never mind technical area - where progress and marching forward is the name of the game, it's not exactly surprising, but a problem nonetheless. And not just for the history buffs among us:
Gamers are used to this problem by now, but that doesn't make it any more tolerable. Imagine if nobody could listen to a Duke Ellington record, or watch a Hitchcock movie, or read a Yeats poem. Not only would that rob us of our cultural inheritance, it would eliminate the influence that these artists have on contemporary culture. The same principles should apply to games. As gamers, we need to recognize that some games are more than disposable diversions, and that their relevance endures even as the technology that created and supported them falls into obsolescence.
Preserving and promoting classic games is vital to the health of the entire industry. In gaming, as much as any art form, "merit" is not always self-evident. Anyone with a passionate interest in game development should have a sense of what has already been achieved, and that cannot be developed if gamers are only playing "the latest and greatest" titles.
Zacny suggests a concerted effort at rereleases, a 'classics revival' of sorts. I'm personally quite excited by the fact that several institutions are making a concerted effort at planning for and undertaking archiving of games and consoles - I hope, much like my beloved books that were out of print by the middle of the 19th century but were lovingly reprinted in the 20th, we see a trickle down effect from that. A more concerted effort on the part of publishers would be fabulous, but that will require an audience hungry to purchase this stuff.
Excellence Never Goes out of Date [The Escapist]