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Video Game Collectors -- Are You Concerned?

h8b1llg8tsh8b1llg8ts Registered User regular
edited July 2008 in Games and Technology
There seems to be a lot of conflicting information out there and I'm growing a little concerned.

With the release of the first CD based system, over 15 years ago, it seems the shelf life of our CD based video games seem to be in jeopardy. Now again, there is no scientific data backing up any of this and the majority of the research I can find is based on CD-R, CD-RW, and DVD manufacture companies. Which states the shelf life is more like a hundred years. Well I don't know about you but I really don't trust any research done by the same company that produces the product. We can all thank the cigarette and drug companies for that.

Though the concusses of impartial research I could find on the subject puts shelf life about 30 years. Which puts us at over half way there. Though it all has to do with the condition of the game and the quality of the CD. Now of course, there is the opposite spectrum with Nintendo's Wii Shop or the fully functional emulation done by companies like Game Tap or homemade emulations. But that doesn't help any of the Xbox and Sony owners who are still running on partial software emulation. And what about those of us who collect and enjoy our Sega CD and Panasonic 3DO games? Who, if anyone, is going to support those games?

So it seems that my shelves of games are dying in some sense or another. The question is where can we turn to extend that life?

Coolest Guy I Know
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MAX: Liz I really, really wish that this could be something, you know, more. But it can't. We're just...

LIZ: Different.

VOICE-OVER: It's September 24th, I'm Liz Parker and five days ago I died. But then the really amazing thing happened. I came to life.
h8b1llg8ts on

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    XaquinXaquin Right behind you!Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Well it's not as if the games are in a constant state of play for 30 years.

    I have vinyl that still plays after 50 years of on/off use.

    Xaquin on
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    h8b1llg8tsh8b1llg8ts Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Xaquin wrote: »
    Well it's not as if the games are in a constant state of play for 30 years.

    I have vinyl that still plays after 50 years of on/off use.

    That's my point though. Music has back-ups. Vinyl, tapes, CD's, MP3's.

    What does the gaming industry have?

    h8b1llg8ts on
    Coolest Guy I Know
    h8b1llg8ts.gif
    sig.gif
    MAX: Liz I really, really wish that this could be something, you know, more. But it can't. We're just...

    LIZ: Different.

    VOICE-OVER: It's September 24th, I'm Liz Parker and five days ago I died. But then the really amazing thing happened. I came to life.
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    spacepotatospacepotato Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Xaquin wrote: »
    Well it's not as if the games are in a constant state of play for 30 years.

    I have vinyl that still plays after 50 years of on/off use.

    As far as I'm aware, the issue isn't that optical media will be damaged as a result of constant use. The issue is that the data layer of a CD or DVD can degrade with time, causing damage to the data contained on the layer.

    I've only ever read about this issue with writeable media, but I don't doubt that it could occur with stamped, retail discs as well. I haven't done the research, but it is something I'd be upset about if it happened to my collection. It's kind of annoying having to replace a battery in a Super Nintendo cart, but at least that's reparable. There's no hope, unless you've imaged and archived your games, of doing anything to reinstate your optical media if the data goes south. Even archiving the game isn't a great solution... it's just not the same as having the original in working order.

    spacepotato on
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    urahonkyurahonky Resident FF7R hater Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Don't worry. SE is going back and re-releasing all their games, so at least we wont lose them.

    urahonky on
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    FremFrem Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    I thought commercial optical media didn't have this problem because they're sealed with a thicker layer of plastic than CD-Rs? I'd like to see some sources on this.

    Frem on
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    XagarathXagarath Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Xaquin wrote: »
    Well it's not as if the games are in a constant state of play for 30 years.

    I have vinyl that still plays after 50 years of on/off use.

    As far as I'm aware, the issue isn't that optical media will be damaged as a result of constant use. The issue is that the data layer of a CD or DVD can degrade with time, causing damage to the data contained on the layer.

    I've only ever read about this issue with writeable media, but I don't doubt that it could occur with stamped, retail discs as well.
    Why?
    The process for producing each is substantially different.

    Xagarath on
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    h8b1llg8tsh8b1llg8ts Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Each source of media has it's own source of back up. Books, Music, Films.

    Who is protecting our souces of media? If something needs to be reprinted where do you go for those games who have lost their Licensing?

    h8b1llg8ts on
    Coolest Guy I Know
    h8b1llg8ts.gif
    sig.gif
    MAX: Liz I really, really wish that this could be something, you know, more. But it can't. We're just...

    LIZ: Different.

    VOICE-OVER: It's September 24th, I'm Liz Parker and five days ago I died. But then the really amazing thing happened. I came to life.
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    spacepotatospacepotato Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Xagarath wrote: »
    Xaquin wrote: »
    Well it's not as if the games are in a constant state of play for 30 years.

    I have vinyl that still plays after 50 years of on/off use.

    As far as I'm aware, the issue isn't that optical media will be damaged as a result of constant use. The issue is that the data layer of a CD or DVD can degrade with time, causing damage to the data contained on the layer.

    I've only ever read about this issue with writeable media, but I don't doubt that it could occur with stamped, retail discs as well.
    Why?
    The process for producing each is substantially different.

    That's why I make the distinction. I probably shouldn't have worded that the way I did, though. I have absolutely no idea if there's any correlation between the two, and "I don't doubt . . ." implies I'm at least somewhat knowledgeable. I perhaps should have said, "I wonder if."

    spacepotato on
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    Atlus ParkerAtlus Parker Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Is the sky really falling?

    Atlus Parker on
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    XaquinXaquin Right behind you!Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    I still don't see what the problem really is .... I mean I get it, but our games aren't played that long. If the shelf life is 30 years, but we play a game for maybe 400 hours (as an example) over that period, is it really that bad? Will our games degrade at the same pace even if we don't play them as often?

    Xaquin on
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    DiscoalucardXDiscoalucardX Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Considering all ROMs and CDs can be imaged on a computer and then copied from there, there's no need to be worried. Even if the physical media rots, many collectors just want something to collect. If they want to actually play the game, they can always just boot up an emulator, which is often more convenient.

    DiscoalucardX on
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    ÆthelredÆthelred Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Considering all ROMs and CDs can be imaged on a computer and then copied from there

    Is that true for non-standard CDs? Like the 3D0 etc.

    Æthelred on
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    KKprofitKKprofit Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Concurned:?::?:

    KKprofit on
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    urahonkyurahonky Resident FF7R hater Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Also, it's "concerned" :) Please fix that, it hurts to see that in a thread title.

    urahonky on
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    SimBenSimBen Hodor? Hodor Hodor.Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    As far as common sense goes, it seems that a disc that is not properly cared for (if people manhandle them with no delicacy, smear their fingers all over them and let them just hang out loose all over the place on tables, tables on which they eat), it will become worn and damaged to the point of unreadability in very short order. On the other hand, if you care for it properly, prolonged, frequent and intense play sessions will probably be far less damaging to your disc. I suppose the heat from the hardware could warp and damage the plastic, but well... Starcraft was in my PC disc drive almost non-stop for the first 5 years after its release, and I almost never turned off my PC, and it still works like new. I can't even imagine the laser would possibly have enough of an effect to affect the disc's readability, considering that the diode in there is pretty weak (it only needs enough juice to make it less than a centimeter to the disc surface and then be reflected back, after all). Blu-rays might be a different deal though, considering they work with a considerably stronger laser, but BDs are built considerably tougher to begin with anyway (and they've only been around for two years, so it's not like we have to be worried just yet).

    Of course, I'm no laser scientist (oh man how cool would it be to have "laser scientist" on my resumé), and it's not like I've done any double-blind experiments or anything. It's just that I've been taking very good care of my discs ever since I've had them (basically, I freak out whenever I see one that's not in a case), and I've never had a DRE happen to me. At least not on my own games (rentals, used games and friend loans are a different deal, obviously).

    SimBen on
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    TrevorTrevor Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    I think my stuff will keep long enough for if I have any kids. I figure any kids I know after that will be beaming the games directly into their brains and I'll be too senile to care. I won't lose any sleep over this.

    Trevor on
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    HenroidHenroid Mexican kicked from Immigration Thread Centrism is Racism :3Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    urahonky wrote: »
    Don't worry. SE is going back and re-releasing all their games, so at least we wont lose them.

    hahaha

    Me, I'm not concerned. If the product breaks as it is expected to over time, it's still the product. It's not a matter of negligence or anything.

    Henroid on
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    The_ScarabThe_Scarab Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Considering all ROMs and CDs can be imaged on a computer and then copied from there

    Is that true for non-standard CDs? Like the 3D0 etc.

    All publishers have underground bunkers of server farms with all their games stored that they have ever released.

    Trust me, even the most obscure games from 15 years ago are well safe in hand should all the physical media burn up.

    The_Scarab on
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    HenroidHenroid Mexican kicked from Immigration Thread Centrism is Racism :3Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    The_Scarab wrote: »
    Considering all ROMs and CDs can be imaged on a computer and then copied from there

    Is that true for non-standard CDs? Like the 3D0 etc.

    All publishers have underground bunkers of server farms with all their games stored that they have ever released.

    Trust me, even the most obscure games from 15 years ago are well safe in hand should all the physical media burn up.

    Oh so its like that cave scientists are using to freeze-store seed samples of every plant on the planet?

    Henroid on
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    ÆthelredÆthelred Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Even publishers that have gone through successive takeovers? Publishers that have gone completely bankrupt? It shouldn't be in their hands alone.

    Æthelred on
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    The_ScarabThe_Scarab Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Even publishers that have gone through successive takeovers? Publishers that have gone completely bankrupt? It shouldn't be in their hands alone.

    The redundancy in this area is much more than you think.

    Nothing is ever thrown away. The assets and code for Dungeon Keeper is still somewhere in Lionhead HQ.

    These things take up no space. Any game pre-2001 is less than 700mb. You can get free filehosting larger than that on the internet these days.

    The_Scarab on
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    DaedalusDaedalus Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    The_Scarab wrote: »
    Æthelred wrote: »
    Considering all ROMs and CDs can be imaged on a computer and then copied from there

    Is that true for non-standard CDs? Like the 3D0 etc.

    All publishers have underground bunkers of server farms with all their games stored that they have ever released.

    Trust me, even the most obscure games from 15 years ago are well safe in hand should all the physical media burn up.

    Bullshit. Software companies lose shit all the fucking time. They're run by human beings, and human beings routinely fuck up. It's the way we are. There was an internal memo at fucking Microsoft asking if any employees still had DOS 2.0 disks lying around, because the folks in Archives couldn't find a release copy.

    You're right, though; there's a great deal of redundancy in this area. Just, most of that redundancy is on sites we don't link to from here.

    Daedalus on
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    LoveIsUnityLoveIsUnity Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    I just want to note that this issue isn't exclusive to optical media. I have a few Genesis carts that are essentially fucked because the battery backup is dead. Yes, I can (and will) change the battery, but it's not a simple process and a misstep could cause the game to stop playing altogether.

    The Virtual Console and XBLA seem to offer some hope, but the issue that Aethelred raises is also a concern.

    LoveIsUnity on
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    Santa ClaustrophobiaSanta Claustrophobia Ho Ho Ho Disconnecting from Xbox LIVERegistered User regular
    edited July 2008
    I think it's really a lesser concern about the media the games were imprinted on and more about the longevity of the systems designed to read them. Piracy or not, the games can be copied somehow, somewhere. But once that old console breaks, it's much harder to replace.

    Frankly, I believe the concern to be slightly misplaced since books, movies, music, etc. have all suffered from irrevocable loss due to various reasons. It's pretty much almost the nature of things. In the long, only those considered 'important' receive any type of special attention for preservation or revival.

    Unfortunately for games, even the most important works hardly stand up to much scrutiny. They are based in a technological background and since technology is constantly moving forward, so too does the way in which the games are both created and interacted with. The medium itself is almost designed in a way to encourage planned obsolescence. Very few games will ever likely be considered so important that efforts to maintain them, even for archival purposes, will ever be undertaken.

    It most cases, reviving (or remaking) older titles is less about a nostalgic 'Hey! Remember this?' and more about making money on what is likely a long running franchise.

    Santa Claustrophobia on
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    VulpineVulpine Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Santa Claustrophobia hit the nail on the head for me. I've got games on floppy discs from 1991 which play perfectly, and they were never known as an especially resilient medium. But one of my Sega Saturns simply refuses to read CDs. Since Sega have recently (last year, I believe) ceased repairing Saturns, what else could I do but hunt down another? Your console dies, and you can't find another, and your game is effectively lost unless you're prepared to go through means we may not necessarily be able to mention here.

    Vulpine on
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    h8b1llg8tsh8b1llg8ts Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Vulpine wrote: »
    Santa Claustrophobia hit the nail on the head for me. I've got games on floppy discs from 1991 which play perfectly, and they were never known as an especially resilient medium. But one of my Sega Saturns simply refuses to read CDs. Since Sega have recently (last year, I believe) ceased repairing Saturns, what else could I do but hunt down another? Your console dies, and you can't find another, and your game is effectively lost unless you're prepared to go through means we may not necessarily be able to mention here.

    I first thought of system not lasting longer then the games but I was blinded by my Atari and Intellivision working just fine. But now that you meantioned it there are more intregate working parts in my 360 and look how well those "state of the art" systems have held up.

    After, more research I have found that the Library of Congress does not hold any of these IP and the only true source back up is the US Copyright office. But after any IP is not renewed who knows where it goes?

    h8b1llg8ts on
    Coolest Guy I Know
    h8b1llg8ts.gif
    sig.gif
    MAX: Liz I really, really wish that this could be something, you know, more. But it can't. We're just...

    LIZ: Different.

    VOICE-OVER: It's September 24th, I'm Liz Parker and five days ago I died. But then the really amazing thing happened. I came to life.
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    CouscousCouscous Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    When the patents for a console run out, can't people make a new console that plays another consoles' games. I think people started to do this once the NES patents ran out.

    Couscous on
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    MorninglordMorninglord I'm tired of being Batman, so today I'll be Owl.Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Only game I've ever actually cared enough to worry about this sort of thing is godhand.

    I will want to play this game on and off for years and years and years, but the studio is dead. Will they keep making it, or the ps2 for that matter, in ten years time? My poor demon punching baby, will nobody think of the god children? ;_;

    Morninglord on
    (PSN: Morninglord) (Steam: Morninglord) (WiiU: Morninglord22) I like to record and toss up a lot of random gaming videos here.
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    DaedalusDaedalus Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    titmouse wrote: »
    When the patents for a console run out, can't people make a new console that plays another consoles' games. I think people started to do this once the NES patents ran out.

    In theory. In practice anything more complicated than the SNES will have a vast array of semi-documented custom ASICs. We can't even reliably emulate the Saturn in software, let alone build a hardware replacement, for instance.

    Daedalus on
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    Shoegaze99Shoegaze99 Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    h8b1llg8ts wrote: »
    Xaquin wrote: »
    Well it's not as if the games are in a constant state of play for 30 years.

    I have vinyl that still plays after 50 years of on/off use.

    That's my point though. Music has back-ups. Vinyl, tapes, CD's, MP3's.

    What does the gaming industry have?

    It also has backups. We can't discuss them here in detail, but game preservation is a pretty serious topic for some corners of the gaming community. The companies themselves have done a decent job of keeping the classics alive, and the community ensures almost all else is playable.

    It's not an ideal situation, but at the very least we know the code isn't going anywhere.

    Shoegaze99 on
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    SageinaRageSageinaRage Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    The actual data of the game itself isn't really a big concern - they WILL get copied and saved on someone's hard drive, and passed along.

    A bigger issue to me is the source code and files. Having the actual code saved means you can actually update the game to run on newer platforms without requiring emulators. I'm hoping that most companies are hanging onto all that.

    SageinaRage on
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    Desert_Eagle25Desert_Eagle25 Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    h8b1llg8ts wrote: »
    There seems to be a lot of conflicting information out there and I'm growing a little concerned.

    With the release of the first CD based system, over 15 years ago, it seems the shelf life of our CD based video games seem to be in jeopardy. Now again, there is no scientific data backing up any of this and the majority of the research I can find is based on CD-R, CD-RW, and DVD manufacture companies. Which states the shelf life is more like a hundred years. Well I don't know about you but I really don't trust any research done by the same company that produces the product. We can all thank the cigarette and drug companies for that.

    Though the concusses of impartial research I could find on the subject puts shelf life about 30 years. Which puts us at over half way there. Though it all has to do with the condition of the game and the quality of the CD. Now of course, there is the opposite spectrum with Nintendo's Wii Shop or the fully functional emulation done by companies like Game Tap or homemade emulations. But that doesn't help any of the Xbox and Sony owners who are still running on partial software emulation. And what about those of us who collect and enjoy our Sega CD and Panasonic 3DO games? Who, if anyone, is going to support those games?

    So it seems that my shelves of games are dying in some sense or another. The question is where can we turn to extend that life?


    Take your current collection and digitize it as an iso. Then burn said iso, or keep it on your system in a File Library. I keep copies of all my DVD's and Games on an external hard drive library (its currently at 2000gb).

    Desert_Eagle25 on
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    EtchEtch Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    h8b1llg8ts wrote: »
    There seems to be a lot of conflicting information out there and I'm growing a little concerned.

    With the release of the first CD based system, over 15 years ago, it seems the shelf life of our CD based video games seem to be in jeopardy. Now again, there is no scientific data backing up any of this and the majority of the research I can find is based on CD-R, CD-RW, and DVD manufacture companies. Which states the shelf life is more like a hundred years. Well I don't know about you but I really don't trust any research done by the same company that produces the product. We can all thank the cigarette and drug companies for that.

    Though the concusses of impartial research I could find on the subject puts shelf life about 30 years. Which puts us at over half way there. Though it all has to do with the condition of the game and the quality of the CD. Now of course, there is the opposite spectrum with Nintendo's Wii Shop or the fully functional emulation done by companies like Game Tap or homemade emulations. But that doesn't help any of the Xbox and Sony owners who are still running on partial software emulation. And what about those of us who collect and enjoy our Sega CD and Panasonic 3DO games? Who, if anyone, is going to support those games?

    So it seems that my shelves of games are dying in some sense or another. The question is where can we turn to extend that life?


    Take your current collection and digitize it as an iso. Then burn said iso, or keep it on your system in a File Library. I keep copies of all my DVD's and Games on an external hard drive library (its currently at 2000gb).

    God damn that sounds like it took forever.

    Etch on
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    acidlacedpenguinacidlacedpenguin Institutionalized Safe in jail.Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    okay, so I make a copy of my game so I can make sure I have it forever. . . then what?


    its not like my PS2 will play my burned backup copy of the game that I'm concerned about, will it?

    acidlacedpenguin on
    GT: Acidboogie PSNid: AcidLacedPenguiN
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    Phoenix-DPhoenix-D Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Depends on the console. The DC WILL play those discs. The PS2, probably not without a mod chip.

    On the plus side, by the time your console and discs explode there will likely be a word-we-can't-discuss for that console, or some other way of using the ISOs.

    Phoenix-D on
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    Desert_Eagle25Desert_Eagle25 Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Phoenix-D wrote: »
    Depends on the console. The DC WILL play those discs. The PS2, probably not without a mod chip.

    On the plus side, by the time your console and discs explode there will likely be a word-we-can't-discuss for that console, or some other way of using the ISOs.

    Does the said word start with "Emu" and end with "lator"? If you bought the game and wish to play it, then the use of the "word-that-shall-not-be-said" is perfectly legal (atleast in my eyes.)

    Desert_Eagle25 on
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    DaedalusDaedalus Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Phoenix-D wrote: »
    Depends on the console. The DC WILL play those discs. The PS2, probably not without a mod chip.

    On the plus side, by the time your console and discs explode there will likely be a word-we-can't-discuss for that console, or some other way of using the ISOs.

    Does the said word start with "Emu" and end with "lator"? If you bought the game and wish to play it, then the use of the "word-that-shall-not-be-said" is perfectly legal (atleast in my eyes.)

    It sure is, but you still can't talk about them on this forum. Gabe's personal request, and he's kinda paying the bills.

    Daedalus on
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    Shoegaze99Shoegaze99 Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Kind of relevantr to this discussion:

    Sega Can't Find The Source Code For Your Favorite Old School Arcade Games (link to video)

    Shoegaze99 on
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