Video games history is in danger of disappearing. There are many reasons for this, from cartridge rot and optical disc degradation through to a lack of consideration of the future on the part of developers or publishers.
Rather than a concerted, industry-wide effort to tackle this, however, preservation efforts are largely piecemeal; taken on by a variety of passionate groups and organisations. Some of my favourite examples have even been spearheaded by the gaming community – by fans.
The Lay of the Land
These efforts have often been at odds with archaic and rigid copyright law, meaning that many of the third parties and fan teams looking to save – or recompile – data before it disappears have essentially been working illegally or at best in legal grey areas.