At the Quo Vadis conference during the German Game Days, a group of leading game preservation projects in Europe will be announcing the establishment of a European federation of organizations dedicated to the preservation of digital interactive entertainment and information media. After the announcement of the plan last year it has been decided that the association is to be a non-profit organization according to German law, which is to be based in Berlin. Its name is EFGAMP, the European Federation of Game Archives, Museums and Preservation Projects.
We live in an age of information, and it is becoming obvious that the field of digital preservation presents a significant challenge and a great responsibility for all of us.
On a daily basis, a huge amount of significant computer data is generated, which is subject to the risk of being lost forever because of the fleeting nature of data, hardware and software. An important part of our common digital cultural heritage is video and computer games, truly one of the most significant cultural products of the past decades. Digital decay is already setting in; we cannot afford to wait any longer. This is an danger that must be averted.
To counter the loss of our video gaming heritage, we must deploy a whole array of strategies and solutions, both from the scientific and cultural sectors.
EFGAMP comprises the main institutions active in the field of digital preservation, with a particular regard to the video and computer games sector. Among its members, EFGAMP counts Game Archives, created in order to catalog and physically preserve the works and data, Museums, with the aim of disseminating to the public what is, in all respects, evidence of human ingenuity, and Preservation Projects, committed to research and development of new hardware and software solutions.
This is a huge challenge, so creating an enabling and sound network among peers throughout Europe – thereby creating a synergy of skills is crucial to obtain a permanent and convincing solution – is of paramount importance. What is at stake is the salvation of an important heritage, which should be kept accessible for the purpose of celebration, education and innovation.
“Since several institutions and projects have been founded in the last years with the purpose of collecting and preserving our digital game heritage, the formation of an international federation is the next logical step,” says Andreas Lange, director of the Computerspielemuseum and first president of EFGAMP. “On that base the demands of digital preservation could be communicated more effectually. One of the strengths of EFGAMP lies in its mixture of members. It combines projects having their roots in the community and thus sharing very detailed knowledge on games, together with institutions, which have vast experience in systematical approaches to human culture.”
EFGAMP will focus on ensuring that the overall European legal framework is compatible with the needs of digital preservation and advancing the accessibility to the game heritage by establishing and implementing description standards and connecting existing collections.