from the zombie-game dept
This is one of those interesting times when multiple topics we regularly cover here at Techdirt converge. Readers here will recall all the posts we did on the rollout and eventual demise of Google’s Stadia product. Stadia was primarily to be a game streaming service for existing games. That being said, the service also signed up some exclusive games for release. With Stadia’s eventual demise, one of the open questions was how that art and culture in the form of the game would be preserved, another regular topic of conversation here.
Well, in the case of one game, the developer came up with an interesting solution: hiding the Stadia exclusive game inside the Steam version of its own sequel!
Back in 2020 Necrosoft (finally) released Gunsport, a sci-fi take on 2D volleyball, as a Stadia exclusive. It was pretty cool! It was also, as a Stadia exclusive, a game that most of us never got to enjoy. In June 2022 it was followed by a sequel, Hyper Gunsport, which was much more widely available, since it came out on PC, Switch, Xbox and PlayStation.
While two completely separate games, they’ve now been brought a lot closer, with Necrosoft saying in a tweet earlier today “Since we care about game preservation we’ve made an offline version of Gunsport available in the Steam version of Hyper Gunsport, through the beta channel.”
It’s a pretty cool idea! And also notable is that the developer is essentially giving the game away for free as a value add to buyers of the sequel. Add to that the announcement came with a particular nod towards video game preservation as culture preservation.
Why is that important? For far too long, the video game industry has not done a great job advocating for itself in terms of representing its own output as an artform, akin to music, movies, or literature. There is no world in which we would accept that literature be lost simply because the library decided to close its doors. Yet, this happens in many respects in the video game industry all the time. Servers get shut down, the game goes away. DRM servers get shut down, the game is no longer accessible. Nintendo decides to put old games in the vault and go after every ROM site in existence, some games are no longer to be found.
But this move by the developer, and the reasons given for it, should spark hope that the idea of game preservation is finally beginning to enter the popular lexicon of the industry.
This is a very cool move! Not just because people are getting essentially a free video game, but because this is a super interesting way to implement a form of game preservation, one that thinks way outside the box but which, thanks to the way Steam is structured, also seems to work pretty damn well!
Indeed. We need more than this.