Welcome!

Blog Feed Post

The new era of video games

This week, video games got some love when the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) announced they are acquiring more than a dozen games and putting them on display in the museum next spring. MoMA follows a major exhibit this past summer at the Smithsonian in DC and other NYC based museums this coming winter to put games and their developers in their galleries.

I will confess: I am not a gamer. I started a gaming website back when I was running the editorial operations for Tom’s Hardware in 2006. At the time I worked with a number of gaming journalists and met and interviewed many gamers, including some that made a very nice living from their gaming activities. But I think it is great that games are going into our top museums, for one very important reason: we need them to be preserved and to be played for years to come.

http://a1992.phobos.apple.com/us/r1000/061/Purple/d4/34/dc/mzl.suvouxce.320x480-75.jpgI can’t believe that it has been nearly 20 years when I spent several weeks of my life playing the game Myst. I tried in vain to figure out all of its clever puzzles and pathways. Myst was a big hit back in the day: it sold millions of copies and it raised the bar from crude graphics and beeping computer generated noises that were found in many of the early games. I got out my software and took it for a spin last week, and it was interesting to see how its graphics were not anything like today’s games, but the included audio was still superb. Indeed, I left the sounds of the ocean lapping up against the rocky island playing while I was working, and it was very soothing.

Playing Myst is a good metaphor for many subsequent games: Myst starts out a total puzzle, and as you gain skills and understand the sequence of play involved, you get drawn into the universe of the game and loose track of real life and elapsed time. There have been many such games since then, all building on top of more capable graphics and processor hardware to create some very life-like universes.

I stopped being interested in Myst once my frustrations mounted. I bought the cheater book and worked my way through to the end of the game. But it left an impression in me and I always thought of games as being basically good, even those first-person-shooters that leave plenty of carnage in their wake.

Are video games worthy of being in a museum? Definitely yes. Here is why. While trying to figure out which computer I was going to reinstall Myst on, I came across all sorts of limitations. Myst doesn’t run on any modern Mac processor, and I eventually went to a machine running Windows XP with a five year-old graphics card that worked just fine. But many games are more archaic and need specialized hardware or emulators to run on modern PCs.

This is where museums can make a difference. Many games are tied up in a complex web of IP rights and legal restrictions that prevent anyone from easily obtaining their source code, or recompiling them to run in the cloud or on another platform than they were originally written for. Or they include likenesses of individuals who either don’t want them used.

Preserving a game isn’t as easy as just buying an old Nintendo and bolting it to a pedestal in some gallery. As MoMA explains, apart from the actual game software, hardware and source code:

“Many companies may already have emulations or other digital assets for both display and archival purposes, which we should also acquire. In addition, we request any corroborating technical documentation, and possibly an annotated report of the code by the original designer or programmer.” MoMA will also put together a video demo or some other interactive demonstration, in which the game can be played for a limited amount of time to give visitors a better idea of the game without having to start from level 1.

For some of the virtual immersive worlds, MoMA will “work with players and designers to create guided tours of these alternate worlds, so the visitor can begin to appreciate the extent and possibilities of the complex gameplay.”

A few years ago, the film critic Roger Ebert stated that games weren’t art and created an online fracas. He as since recanted, or at least moved back somewhat from his original position. But whether you feel that games are art, or design, or just a evil of today’s society, they do deserve to be preserved for future generations. And I am glad that my eventual grandchildren (no, none yet on the horizon) will be able to witness the wonder that is Myst many years from now, even if it means a trip to a museum.


Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By David Strom

David Strom is an international authority on network and Internet technologies. He has written extensively on the topic for 20 years for a wide variety of print publications and websites, such as The New York Times, TechTarget.com, PC Week/eWeek, Internet.com, Network World, Infoworld, Computerworld, Small Business Computing, Communications Week, Windows Sources, c|net and news.com, Web Review, Tom's Hardware, EETimes, and many others.

Latest Stories
New competitors, disruptive technologies, and growing expectations are pushing every business to both adopt and deliver new digital services. This ‘Digital Transformation’ demands rapid delivery and continuous iteration of new competitive services via multiple channels, which in turn demands new service delivery techniques – including DevOps. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit 20th Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Co-Chair Andi Mann, panelists examined how DevOps helps to meet the de...
When growing capacity and power in the data center, the architectural trade-offs between server scale-up vs. scale-out continue to be debated. Both approaches are valid: scale-out adds multiple, smaller servers running in a distributed computing model, while scale-up adds fewer, more powerful servers that are capable of running larger workloads. It’s worth noting that there are additional, unique advantages that scale-up architectures offer. One big advantage is large memory and compute capacity...
The Internet giants are fully embracing AI. All the services they offer to their customers are aimed at drawing a map of the world with the data they get. The AIs from these companies are used to build disruptive approaches that cannot be used by established enterprises, which are threatened by these disruptions. However, most leaders underestimate the effect this will have on their businesses. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Rene Buest, Director Market Research & Technology Evangelism at Ara...
Cloud applications are seeing a deluge of requests to support the exploding advanced analytics market. “Open analytics” is the emerging strategy to deliver that data through an open data access layer, in the cloud, to be directly consumed by external analytics tools and popular programming languages. An increasing number of data engineers and data scientists use a variety of platforms and advanced analytics languages such as SAS, R, Python and Java, as well as frameworks such as Hadoop and Spark...
"We are a monitoring company. We work with Salesforce, BBC, and quite a few other big logos. We basically provide monitoring for them, structure for their cloud services and we fit into the DevOps world" explained David Gildeh, Co-founder and CEO of Outlyer, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Automation is enabling enterprises to design, deploy, and manage more complex, hybrid cloud environments. Yet the people who manage these environments must be trained in and understanding these environments better than ever before. A new era of analytics and cognitive computing is adding intelligence, but also more complexity, to these cloud environments. How smart is your cloud? How smart should it be? In this power panel at 20th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, paneli...
"When we talk about cloud without compromise what we're talking about is that when people think about 'I need the flexibility of the cloud' - it's the ability to create applications and run them in a cloud environment that's far more flexible,” explained Matthew Finnie, CTO of Interoute, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Join us at Cloud Expo June 6-8 to find out how to securely connect your cloud app to any cloud or on-premises data source – without complex firewall changes. More users are demanding access to on-premises data from their cloud applications. It’s no longer a “nice-to-have” but an important differentiator that drives competitive advantages. It’s the new “must have” in the hybrid era. Users want capabilities that give them a unified view of the data to get closer to customers and grow business. The...
Cloud promises the agility required by today’s digital businesses. As organizations adopt cloud based infrastructures and services, their IT resources become increasingly dynamic and hybrid in nature. Managing these require modern IT operations and tools. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Raj Sundaram, Senior Principal Product Manager at CA Technologies, will discuss how to modernize your IT operations in order to proactively manage your hybrid cloud and IT environments. He will be sharing bes...
After more than five years of DevOps, definitions are evolving, boundaries are expanding, ‘unicorns’ are no longer rare, enterprises are on board, and pundits are moving on. Can we now look at an evolution of DevOps? Should we? Is the foundation of DevOps ‘done’, or is there still too much left to do? What is mature, and what is still missing? What does the next 5 years of DevOps look like? In this Power Panel at DevOps Summit, moderated by DevOps Summit Conference Chair Andi Mann, panelists loo...
"Loom is applying artificial intelligence and machine learning into the entire log analysis process, from start to finish and at the end you will get a human touch,” explained Sabo Taylor Diab, Vice President, Marketing at Loom Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
The current age of digital transformation means that IT organizations must adapt their toolset to cover all digital experiences, beyond just the end users’. Today’s businesses can no longer focus solely on the digital interactions they manage with employees or customers; they must now contend with non-traditional factors. Whether it's the power of brand to make or break a company, the need to monitor across all locations 24/7, or the ability to proactively resolve issues, companies must adapt to...
A look across the tech landscape at the disruptive technologies that are increasing in prominence and speculate as to which will be most impactful for communications – namely, AI and Cloud Computing. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Curtis Peterson, VP of Operations at RingCentral, highlighted the current challenges of these transformative technologies and shared strategies for preparing your organization for these changes. This “view from the top” outlined the latest trends and developments i...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend 21st Cloud Expo October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo taking place Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 21st International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is ...