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Beau Hindman's MMO Thoughts

My name is Beau Hindman: a freelance writer, developer, artist, drummer and gamer from Austin, Texas. I've been gaming since '99 and writing about them since 2006! This is my blog about ducks. I mean MMORPGs.

Author: beauhindman

How can we preserve MMORPGs forever?

Posted by beauhindman Friday July 29 2016 at 11:27AM
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If you know what a doomsday prepper is, then you might understand what I am talking about in this blog. If you don't, a prepper is someone who is convinced that the world is going to some kind of end sometime soon, and so they prepare for this apocalypse by hoarding food, medical supplies, and weapons all in the hope that, one glorious dark day, we will look at them and say "You were SO right."

There is more involved to a prepper's feelings, however. If you ask me, they are acting in a way that gives them a sense of control. Sure, it can be a false sense of control, but it makes them feel better to think they have everything accounted for.

I feel the same way (in a healthier fashion) about the memories and stories of my life. They're not exciting -- mostly -- but they are mine, and so I get a sense of control over my fate when I work on this blog or my virtual timeline, which helps to send images, words, sounds, and ideas into the greater universe. Basically, I am preparing for my end-times by cataloging my life. It's a false sense of security (will these words be around in even 1,000 years?) but it is fun to do.

I also think about preserving MMORPGs for the same reason. They are works of art, and need to have a place in the history books beyond a few vague mentions about "virtual worlds." I do not think that MMORPGs are going away any time soon, but I do think that a certain era has passed, an era of innocent exploration into worlds that we an play in, and worlds that are largely based around an aging medium: the desktop PC.

How could we preserve virtual worlds, literally?

Without the aid of the developer of these worlds, this is hard to do. Because an MMORPG depends on a server that is hosted outside of the game, once the server goes offline, much of what the game is, is gone

It's important to catalog the images, sounds, videos, and words about these worlds, so that one day someone can admire them like we now admire old paintings from the days of the Greeks or dramas from 1820. 

Some MMORPGs are being accessed long after their last official servers shut down thanks to illegal (or near illegal) fan-hosted servers, but wouldn't it be awesome if someone like myself could load up a cheap gaming system with, say, 50 MMORPGs, and be able to emulate a server so someone could access those games for many years to come?

Of course, even the machines themselves would break down, but ones and zeros can be transferred to a new machine, over and over, without any loss to the basic information. 

In the meanwhile, I am going to continue to work on my goal of eventually printing out all of my images and words about these games so that we could have a hard copy or two that would not need a battery pack to continue to live.

Maybe the answer to the riddle of MMORPG preservation is based in the oldest of media: the page. 

Beau writes:
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