Years of neglect are eroding gaming history. Cartridges rot in garages, companies horde demos that they will never release, and obscure titles fade into the ether. Some games may even be lost forever.
What is happening?
The biggest threat to game preservation is the degradation of physical media.
Over time, game data and features literally die. Solid state media used in game cartridges naturally lose their electrical charge, and the ability to store any data. You might love Pokemon Gold and Silver but the internal battery on those carts only lasts about around fifteen years, maximum. You might boot it up to find that the in-game clock no longer works or that your save data is gone. Those are minor cases of lost data. Batteries and EPROMs also carry essential data and code. Eventually, many games will be unplayable.
Magnetic media such as floppy discs and hard…
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