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Is Dan Howdle Against Game Preservation?
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on June 26, 2012   |   Episode 186 (Show Archive)  

   

Who says Twitter isn't good for anything?
Twitter is good for so many things. From discovering what your friends are having for dinner to knowing what the daily outrage is, Twitter has become an invaluable source for millions of people around the world. At the same time, the social networking site is also a way to accidentally show the world that you don't know what you're talking about. Unfortunately Twitter's newest victim is Dan Howdle, editor of UK-based X360 Magazine.

If his early morning tweets are to be believed, Dan has taken up a brand new cause. "So I see Sony is now releasing PS1 games on Vita," Dan asserts. "You hear that? No, you can't because it's only one hand slow-clapping. Sony: Rather than charge people for ancient crap, convert all PS2 games, give them away, sell a squillion Vitas, profit from AAA exclusives."


Don't be confused, fellow American gamers, X360 Magazine is from the UK!
Snarky comments about the PS Vita aside, the X360 Magazine editor's charge is that Sony is doing the wrong thing by making 32-bit PlayStation games compatible with their newest game system. With nearly 200 PlayStation games already on the PlayStation Network store, this move by Sony seems like a no-brainer. PlayStation support is one of the most requested PS Vita features, making Dan's comments sound even more out of touch.

At first it sounded like Dan was simply confused, asking a fellow tweeter if they "applaud charging people for things they've already paid for?"

Of course, as anybody who paid attention to the E3 coverage already knows, that's not what Sony is doing. Nobody will have

Final Fantasy VII = "ancient crap".
to buy Final Fantasy VII again; if you bought the game for your PlayStation 3 or PSP, then it will work on the PS Vita later this summer. You can lay down your guns and call off the dogs, because all Sony is doing is allowing their newest portable to play the two hundred games currently for sale in the PSN store.

"But not if you bought them on PS1," Dan bites back. "I wouldn't have bought them on PSP or PS3 for exactly the same reason."

Before I explain why Dan is wrong, let me start by agreeing with him. I completely understand where he's coming from, I too don't like buying the same game twice. Nobody does. These are tough economic times and there are a lot of games competing for your money. PlayStation games still work on Sony's PlayStation 3, so it's easy to see why somebody with a lot of 32-bit games might not be as eager to pick up digital versions.


Believe it or not, there are people who didn't have a chance to buy Tomba when it was first released!
It's really cool that Dan was in a position to buy all of the PlayStation-era games he could ever want. Sadly, not everybody is in the same boat. There are millions of gamers who were simply too young to buy these games the first time around. And even for those who did, many people sell games when moving on to a new system. Also, don't forget about the people who lost games over the years. There are plenty of good reasons why somebody might not have a full library of PlayStation games at their

This 101 year old movie is just one of many films that has been lost to time!
fingertips. These people are the target audience for the PSone Classics store.

This isn't about somebody's opinion about re-buying games; nobody is going to fault Dan for sticking with his CD-ROM originals. This is actually a fight for game preservation. Even if you don't subscribe to the theory that games are art, I feel we can all agree that it's sad when good games are lost to time. Think of all the books you'll never read, movies you'll never see and songs you'll never hear, all because the format and media couldn't withstand the test of time. If we aren't careful, the same thing could happen to video games.

While not perfect, online storefronts like PSN and Nintendo's Virtual Console help preserve these games. These services cater to gamers who missed these titles the first time around, as well as people who long for something from their youth. Best of all, they offer a number of rare import titles

Sadly, there are a lot of games that will be lost entirely due to the hardware!
gamers would never have been able to play otherwise. These stores keep old games alive, generally at a fair price.

Before you accuse me of taking Dan's words out of context and misunderstanding his argument, let it be known that he is against the practice of re-selling old games. "[I] don't like the practice of repackaging and reselling. That's all." No Dan, that's not all.

And just in case he hadn't made his point clear enough, Dan adds: "Sony has no right to charge money for old rope. End of."

Just so we're clear, I'm talking about games that are fifteen years old. I'm talking about games like Tekken 3, Metal Gear Solid, Tomba, Parasite Eve and Final Fantasy IX. These are large games, genuine hits that still hold up by today's standards. Oh sure, they may not look as good as Battlefield 3,

From an art design perspective, Vib Ribbon actually looks better than Battlefield 3!
but most of these games are still worth playing. According to Dan, the editor of a game publication, these titles should be free. Gamers are owed these products!

I wonder if Dan is outraged that Apple recently added The Beatles to their iTunes library. After all, their music is 40 years old and, by some people's account, "ancient crap." Is he against Amazon charging money for the Kindle version of Jurassic Park? Are we also owed free movies and music? Or does this just apply to Sony's video game library?

Of course, his words might be more effective if he was also criticizing the Virtual Console. Here's a company that actually is charging people twice and is allowed to get away with it. When was the last time you heard Dan complain about buying "ancient crap" like Super Mario Bros. on both the Wii and the 3DS? Sony, on the other hand, allows you to buy one download that can be used on three different devices. Obviously this can only mean one thing: Sony is the Devil.

Dan owns the games he wants, so therefore game preservation doesn't matter to him. But what about the people who never had the chance to buy these games? "I don't speak

Regardless of what Dan says, PSone support is going to add hundreds of must-buy games to the PS Vita this summer!
for them, just for myself." He has his, so to hell with the rest of you unlucky fools.

Whether you own a lot of games or not, game preservation is for everybody. I too own a lot of PlayStation games, but at the very same time I want all of my friends and readers to have the chance to buy these games. This shouldn't be an industry where you only have one chance to own an incredible game; we shouldn't be so willing to forget the amazing games that made us who we are. Games are fun, no matter when they came out or what system they were for. Arguing against game preservation is short sighted at best, selfish at worst.

I'm sure that there are a lot of things Dan and I agree on, but in this case he is dead wrong. There is no reasonable argument to be made against the PSone Classics or Virtual Console stores. Nobody is forcing you to buy games at these shops; it is simply a legal way to keep the memory of classic games (aka "ancient crap") alive. Thankfully Dan isn't the one in charge of Sony and Nintendo.
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