Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Transience of Games: An Archival Problem

     I was on Amazon the other day, and on a whim I decided to see how much a SNES cost. As I expected, it was ridiculously expensive, clocking in at somewhere around $800 (as the lowest price for one in "new" condition). If you factor in the amount you'd have to pay to buy a few games for the system (and by that I mean good games in reasonable condition), then you have to spend probably somewhere close to $2000, if not more, just to get a few glimpses of what the SNES was like. That's about as much as you might spend on your first car. The same thing is true of other consoles from the time. For all intents and purposes, they are gone. They aren't coming back, either, these consoles. See, this entire era of video games is effectively dead. Let that just sink in for a second. For a lot of gamers, these machines' heydays were one of the formative elements of their childhood, but now? They're just relics of the past. Those who have them will probably keep them until they break, and those who don't will never own, or possibly never even play, these games.

Say hello to 90's console games.
     That's something relatively unique to games. Old movies can be found on places like Netflix and are printed, reprinted, and reprinted again. Lord knows music from the 60's, 50's, and even well before is still going strong, especially with digital conversions. Art, certainly, is experiencing no lack of preservation. The same could easily be said of books. But when a video game is gone, it stays gone. Up until a few years ago there wasn't even an attempt to preserve them, and today there is almost no infrastructure in terms of how we retain games. They're a transient media, and that's what I'd like to discuss here.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Why Girls Und Panzer Hasn't Tanked Yet

     We're about halfway into the Fall anime season now, and if one show has astonished me so far, it's Girls Und Panzer. That's right, the show about highschool girls that practice the fundamentals of tank warfare as a martial art. We all knew there were people who were going to watch and love it automatically, but let's ignore those people for a second. Let's instead focus on why you, a general audience anime fan, will enjoy this show with its absurd premise (and not in spite of it).