National Film and Sound Archive of Australia to start archiving Australian video games


The National Film and Sound Archive of Australia to start archiving Australian video games has announced that in addition to films and music they will now start archiving games made in Australia to be preserved for the future. The games along with storyboards, artwork, soundtracks and more will be preserved. 

The Initial eight games include titles as new as Hollow Knight and Florence, all the way back to The Hobbit from 1982. 

Here’s the initial list; 

  • The Hobbit (Beam Software, 1982)
  • Halloween Harry (Interactive Binary Illusions / Sub Zero Software, 1985/1993)
  • Shadowrun (Beam Software, 1993)
  • L.A. Noire (Team Bondi, 2011)
  • Submerged (Uppercut Games, 2015)
  • Hollow Knight (Team Cherry, 2017)
  • Florence (Mountains, 2018)
  • Espire 1: VR Operative (Digital Lode, 2019)

Today we welcome video games into our collection of more than 3 million items. The collection represents the cultural diversity and breadth of experience of all Australians, and it is constantly evolving just like our creative industries.

“We aim to be the national leader in collecting multimedia and new media content, and it would be impossible to accurately represent modern life without games. It is essential that games be collected alongside other audiovisual media, to ensure their continued preservation and access.”

Jan M√ľller, CEO of the NFSA

More Australian games will be to the collection as time goes on. 

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  • Silly G
    September 26, 2019 at 1:43 pm

    This is fantastic news! And it bloody took them long enough too! I don’t know where that 1985 date for Halloween Harry is coming from as the game was released in 1993 (the game is way, WAY too sophisticated for 1985 tech!) and was released by Apogee/3D Realms back in the day. I remember picking up the full version on CD in the latter part of the 90s, along with Mystic Towers, which was also published by Apogee/3D Realms, and was also developed in Australia. Mystic Towers is the sequel to the little-known Australian-exclusive Baron Baldric, and features the same protagonist. Baron Baldric was quite unremarkable, but Mystic Towers was quite a unique game that holds up today and deserves to be preserved alongside Halloween Harry. The diverse array of monsters made my imagination run wild at the time, which may perhaps explain my love of Pok√©mon, which sprung onto the world stage a short time later.

    Halloween Harry was later renamed as Alien Carnage (I believe this was due to underwhelming sales), and episodes 1 and 3 were swapped (episode 3 had a much more interesting setting and enemies, being the “Sewers”), which made no sense story-wise, and the original first episode (Office Block?), still contained all of the introductory notifications in it when it became the third episode in Alien Carnage, which, again, made no sense as the player should already be familiar with the games’ mechanics by that stage in the game. Plus, each episode was progressively more difficult than the last, so the episodes were really, really out of place (as the game became progressively *less* difficult, at least until episode 4). Alien Carnage (and by extension, Halloween Harry) are now freeware for those who may wish to give it a try, though I would recommend that one play Halloween Harry in its original form which contains the episodes in their original chronological order. The game is comprised of four episodes containing five levels each (the fifth being a boss stage).

    It’s a crying shame that L.A. Noire is not available in full on cartridge for Nintendo Switch though. I did eventually buy the “physical” release for about $28 (which was more than I was willing to pay for it; I would have happily paid full price, and still would, for a proper full cartridge release) as I suspected that the “physical” release had been discontinued.

    • September 26, 2019 at 3:00 pm

      Halloween Harry was initially written for the Aussie-made Microbee and released commercially in 1985. The more you know!

      • Silly G
        September 26, 2019 at 6:46 pm

        I feel stupid now for not giving that a look lol. Wow. I had no idea it existed.

        I have also just found out about a sequel to Halloween Harry (1993) called Zombie Wars, which looked more like a predecessor than a sequel, with really cheap and nasty looking production values and generic graphics and gameplay.

        The 1993 game is quite good though, but it may just be the nostalgia talking. I felt it to be quite atmospheric back in the day, and the music is very memorable.

  • g-lock
    September 27, 2019 at 9:17 am

    Good to see Shadowrun getting it’s rightful place in Australian gaming history.

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