EU funds universal, future-proof video game emulator to protect the classics

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An old fashioned video arcade. Ahh the memories

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February 17, 2009 As the average age of gamers increases, so too does the number of older gamers with fond memories of classic games. Unfortunately as PCs evolve and with each new generation of gaming consoles many of these classic games become nothing but memories as the hardware required to play them is rendered obsolete. But it seems the cultural importance of these games is finally being recognized with the European Union funding a €4.02 million (USD$5.2m) project with the overall aim of facilitating “universal access to our cultural heritage by developing flexible tools for accessing and storing a wide range of digital objects.”

The Keeping Emulation Environments Portable (KEEP) will develop an Emulation Access Platform to enable the accurate rendering of these objects, designed for a wide variety of computer systems, so that they can be securely accessed in the long term. This means the project isn’t just limiting its focus to games, but includes a wide range of software. The project will also address the problems of transferring data stored on outdated media such as floppy discs onto current storage devices and will be forced to take into account the often murky area of legal ownership issues. As well as safeguarding the original bits from the carrier, the project aims to offer online services to end-users via a highly portable emulation framework running on any possible device.

Although the project is primarily aimed at those involved in Cultural Heritage, such as memory institutions and games museums, the Emulation Access Platform’s universal approach can also serve the needs of a wide range of organizations and individuals, opening the door for older gamers to relive their glory days and give those young whippersnappers a gaming (history) lesson.

Darren Quick

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