Moving on from the original experience: games history, preservation and presentation
Swalwell, Melanie Lorraine
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The art historical notion of ‘the original’ continues to inflect games history and game preservation work. This paper notes the persistence of this concept particularly in the game lover’s invocation of ‘the original experience’. The paper first traces the game lover’s notions of history and preservation, recognizing their commitment to games, before noting that the appeal to original experience is problematic for more critical historical and scholarly perspectives. It suggests that there is a need to liberate critical thought from this paradigm and ask different questions, such as how exhibitions of 1980s games and gaming culture might be assembled for future audiences with no memory of this period. The model proposed by net art preservationist, Anne Laforet, of the Archaeological Museum offers a way for thinking about such exhibits of game history and visitors’ encounters with these, whilst moving beyond the notion that games must play exactly as they once did.