Preserving the culture of games

raise your swords upCurmudgeon Gamer reflects on the likely outcome of GameStop's buyout of the Rhino Games retail franchise: "cultural loss." Rhino will no doubt undergo some significant changes, which will probably include the divestment of its aging inventory. Presumably, the "new" Rhino will not stock console titles that pre-date PlayStation 2. Similarly, GameStop's conquest of the used games market has driven the 'mom & pop' shops that carry retro hardware and software out of business.

Curmudgeon Gamer concludes: "[GameStop Corp's] focus on only the most profitable games, the newest ones, will necessarily limit the consumer's focus on those same games ... To me that's a loss, not just personally but for the whole culture that's grown up around videogames." So who is working to preserve our history?

Although purists may argue that digital distribution services like Xbox Live Arcade and Wii Virtual Console lack authenticity, these platforms are working to preserve our classic games using viable retail means. Much like old records made the jump to CD (now iTunes and the like), or movies to DVD (now Xbox 360 Video Marketplace), games of yesteryear are finding new platforms for survival. The cynic in us says re-releasing classic (and not-so classic) games is fast money for publishers, but let's not ignore the cultural preservation at work. The hook for these services might be nostalgia, but we can crack a collective smile imagining some youngster discovering The Legend of Zelda for the first time on Virtual Console.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.