On the LOC Preserving Virtual Worlds Project

Illustration for article titled On the LOC Preserving Virtual Worlds Project

I've mentioned my love for the delightful How They Got Game, which catalogues some of the neat holdings of the Stanford Stephen M. Cabrinety Collection (among other things); now, they're getting some love from the Stanford alumni magazine, which highlights the Library of Congress 'Preserving Virtual Worlds' project (including, naturally, the Stanford initiative). Curator Henry Lowood discusses what Stanford is doing, and how, while Beth Dulabahn of the Library of Congress talks about why the LOC is behind all of this:

One of Lowood's recent additions to the virtual worlds archive is a short compilation of screenshots and video on the evolution of games from text adventures, in which game action was typed out descriptively, to graphically sophisticated titles. Perhaps the most compelling footage shows an attack from Eve Online, a science fiction game. An array of small spaceships serving the “Goonswarm” alliance assaults a much larger ship from another group, while the audio track follows the frenzied barking of commands to keep up the pressure. When the large ship is destroyed, there is a cacophony of online voices shrieking in triumph. How do events like that fit into the larger culture? “The Library of Congress has always collected across a broad spectrum of content types and subjects, ranging from works of serious scholarship to icons of pop culture,” says Beth Dulabahn, director of integration management for the Library of Congress. “Video games fit right in with that tradition. Besides showing us how society has entertained itself, they also provide a graphic picture of how technology itself has evolved over the decades.”


Nice short piece on a subject near and dear to my heart. Even though the initial grant runs out next year, I hope this is just the beginning for some really fantastic collections of gaming history. Saving Worlds: Preserving the Digital and Virtual [STANFORD Magazine via How They Got Game]

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Interesting, it's probably a good idea to try preserving this stuff for history, but at the same time, there's no way to really capture online game worlds to the extent you can with other parts of history. Video of gameplay, screenshots, and write ups are only part of it.