Alleviating abandonware

Ever have the urge to play one of those old old video games from the days of your youth? You’re not alone. But often, finding those titles can be more challenging than it should be. That’s why one company in Vancouver, Washington, is working to keep those dreams alive. But rescuing old titles that have been abandoned by the original publishers.

According to Willamette Week, Nightdive Studios is on a mission to preserve video game history — and keeping it playable.

As he’d come to learn, System Shock 2 was one of many pieces of “abandonware”—games not supported or distributed by the copyright holder. Sometimes that means a game has been largely ignored or forgotten by its creators. In other cases, those creators are defunct. Abandonware games are at high risk of disappearing forever since, unlike other media, video games require proprietary hardware to play. That means the ability to play them is contingent on the availability of often-aging, out-of-print equipment and peripherals. Even on PC, where a multitude of online distributors exist, bringing classic games into the modern day can require a lot of reworking and restoration that copyright holders have little incentive to do.

For more, read Willamette Week.