Happily, the “Play It Again” project was awarded funding in ARC Linkage round 1, announced in November 2011. A game history/preservation project focused on Australian and New Zealand digital games of the 1980s, the project has dual cultural and technical ‘streams’. We will be both uncovering the history of local production and consumption of local games, and developing techniques for preserving the complex digital artefacts that games are.
Here are the vital details:
Title: Play It Again: Creating a Playable History of Australasian Digital Games, for Industry, Community and Research Purposes (LP120100218)
Swalwell, Dr Melanie L; de Vries, Dr Denise B; Ndalianis, A/Prof Angela; Welch, Dr Ian S; Marshall, Dr Stuart R; Corbett, Mrs Susan; Lange, Mr Andreas; Bergmeyer, Dr Winfred
Primary FoR 1902 FILM, TELEVISION AND DIGITAL MEDIA
Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Berlin Computerspiele Museum, The New Zealand Film Archive, Victoria University of Wellington
Administering Organisation The Flinders University of South Australia
Summary: The digital future has a history and it needs remembering. Vital human and technical data is in danger of being lost. In the 1980s, the Australian and New Zealand software industries were remarkably active in the production of digital games and yet little is known about this chapter in the history of the moving image. In collaboration with the Australian Centre for the Moving Image and other institutional partners, we will: address the need for institutional collecting and preservation solutions; document and preserve the histories of early games and gaming cultures; and create software tools to facilitate both the playing of early games now, and the delivery of benefits to research, industry and community into the future.
Aims: Taking into account ACMI and the NZFA’s desire to make visible the presence and impact of computer games on moving image history and culture, the Aims of this project are:
1. To research the production and reception histories of early digital games in 1980s Australia and New Zealand, in conjunction with fan communities.
2. To develop a collection of 1980s Australian and New Zealand digital games software and other items of historic significance related to the production and reception of these game titles, and inquire into what a collection of Australian digital games software more generally would look like,
3. To document and preserve the game titles produced by the Australian and New Zealand digital games industries during the 1980s, for future industry, community and research uses;
4. To create playable multi-platform versions of these games, rendering these items accessible to the community now, and for as long as possible.
5. To enhance appreciation for the creations of the early digital period, through a conference and other dissemination of project outcomes; and
6. To build capacity in both the academic and cultural sectors in the area of digital cultural heritage and the ‘born digital’.
We will use this blog to post about our progress. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter (@AgainPlay) to stay up to date!