Game Preservation has gotten a lot of traction over the past few years, thanks in part to the efforts of individual archivists or in some cases, organizations such as the Strong Museum of Play or the Video Game History Foundation. Yet one area that is often ignored when it comes to preservations efforts is perhaps the most prolific platform of all - your cell phone.
Countless phone games and apps are produced and created each year, and many of those games are now at risk of being lost forever due to outdated software, abandonment by their companies, or even simply being buried against the weight of popular titles. Many games on the Apple App Store are particularly affected by this, with Apple requiring games to new OS Requirements, security updates, and even requiring that they be in 64bit format.
Many games from Apple's heyday, when they launched over 500 new applications on their store in 2008, have since been discontinued, including well-received titles like Wooords and Incoboto.
To try and combat all of this is a new developer by the name of GameClub, who launched earlier this year. The entire premise of GameClub is to keep alive the memories of these forgotten phone games, with the aim of keeping them updated to work on the current OS systems. GameClub was founded by Dan Sherman, the former president and co-founder of Tilting Point and Oliver Pedersen, a director of engineering at Yahoo Games. Their team is currently working on over 50 titles for re-release on their GameClub app, which will not require any internet connection to play these games outside of OS updates.
GameClub has invested heavily into this enterprise, raising over $2.5 million in financing to help deliver and preserve classic iOS games. Several of their backers also include big-name venture funds, such as GreyCroft Ventures and BreakAway Growth Fund.
“We’ve reached a dire point where so few developers can make premium work on mobile that the entire category is at risk," stated Dan Sherman in an interview with Gamasutra. "GameClub was created to solve this problem, capitalizing on our resources to bring classic and original premium games back to mobile while developing new ways for gamers to discover and enjoy them.”
The preservation of iOS games is also at the forefront of their goals as well. "The near-total disappearance of premium games in the global mobile games market has left discerning audiences underserved and talented developers missing big opportunities,” said Greycroft board partner and general partner of the GC Tracker fund Jon Goldman. “That’s why GameClub’s concept — hand-picking exceptional premium mobile titles and building an infrastructure to help them grow — is hugely compelling.”
Players can sign up to GameClub today, and participate in their beta program to play-test these games before an official launch by signing up for their mailing list.
What are your thoughts on GameClub, and preserving iOS games? Leave your comments below.