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Hello from the NZ Film Archive

PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2011 3:57 pm
by GamesArchive
Hi everyone,
My name is Shane ---- and I have joined this forum to let you all know about a preservation project that we're embarking on. The project is called Play It Again and the New Zealand Film Archive is partnering with Australian Centre for Moving Image (ACMI), Victoria Uni / Computer Science dept,Flinders University, Computer Spiele Museum (Berlin computer games museum) and several academics, in order to preserve Australasian computer games (primarily from the 1980's - at least initially).

There is some sense of urgency given the rapid obsolescence of computer /digital technology over time, and we believe there is a strong argument to be made for preserving (and making available) NZ designed computer games as culturally significant digital heritage.

There is a little bit of history here:- NZFA has a broad mandate to collect, preserve and connect NZ moving image material for & to NZers -- we tentatively began collecting examples of retro hardware/software in 2000 and we held a very popular exhibition in ''05 called C:/DOS/RUN - REMEMBERING THE 80s COMPUTER. That same year Andreas Lange (founder of the German Computer Games museum in '97) visited us and collaborated with Vic Uni on a project called NZTronix which developed a database of early NZ software, as well as developing programmes in their computer science dept (PhD program) for transcoding versions of Basic source code to Java-ready language to enable playback in portables (for example).

This project was pitched by our Aussie colleagues and will receive some funding from the Aust. Arts Council for 3 years (starts in 2012), but we at the Film Archive will continue to actively seek out NZ-designed games beyond the length of this project. We are hoping to make connections with collectors who are happy to share their story (some will be filmed as oral histories), and hopefully discover some of the original programmers and software designers. Ultimately our aim is to preserve the original game software, whether it be on a cassette or floppy or cartridge and the programme itself ---making this retrievable for future use (be it research, or streaming an emulation on our website, or simply to inform the public of this interesting pocket of cultural history).

We would be most grateful for any level of support and/or collaboration --- whether that be supplying info and personal recollections; promoting the project through collector circles /forums; or depositing games software (either permanently or a loan arrangement). NOTE that all deposits with NZFA remain the property of the depositor and can be uplifted at anytime. The Archive will never take over any rights or breach intellectual copyright (the NZFA has special copyright exemptions under the NZ copyright act ---- which actually works as a "win", given the current digital copyright debate,in terms of extending a retro game's effective life span).

I look forward to your feedback,

Re: Hello from the NZ Film Archive

PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2011 8:35 pm
by tezza
Welcome Shane,

Hopefully some of the members here can help with the project. If anyone has any leads or anything they can help Shane with please respond in the Vintage gaming forum (where Shane has posted a similar message), or drop him a private message.

Re: Hello from the NZ Film Archive

PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2011 7:58 am
by GamesArchive
Cheers for that Terry,

and thank you for allowing me to post in your forum, :D

Re: Hello from the NZ Film Archive

PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2012 3:44 pm
by Radar

Good to see you made it here!

I saw the c:\dos\run exhibition at the Auckland Film Archive gallery back in '05 and there was a POLY on display. (and it featured on the Postcards for the event)
Can you confirm if this is part of the existing Film Archive hardware collection?? And if it is, what other POLY related material you may have?

The POLY is one of my holy grail machines and it was the first time I'd seen once since the 1980s! (where they were in use at a Scout Jamboree)

Is there any listing available of material the Film Archive already holds in terms of hardware/software?


Re: Hello from the NZ Film Archive

PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 11:24 am
by Radar
I can confirm Shane and the Film Archive Project are legit and its an endeavour that strongly believe people here should fully support.

Shane visited me a few weeks ago and I have donated equipment and software from my collection to the Film Archive and have made a standing offer to provide whatever additional hardware etc. they may need in future for display / archiving purposes.

I urge you all to look through your collections / magazines / pricelists and where you can provide information about any software that you can confirm was developed in New Zealand and provide this information to the Film Archive and update the NZTRONIX List here:
The NZTronix list sadly only has 47 titles listed and I believe there are 1000's of titles missing from this list. Remember you don't have to have been the author of the software to add details!

If own a title also consider donating a copy it can be preserved by the Film Archive or if it has already been dumped and is publically available online point this out as well.

I realise at some point a more systematic approach will be needed and someone will need to go through every issue of Bits&Bytes / Computer User / other NZ publications and compile one master list of every piece of NZ developed software mentioned.

Several years ago I was involved with with others in an exercise to do this in relation to the Sega SC-3000 and we ended up with a list of several hundred New Zealand titles (including magazine type-ins) and also successfully located, dumped and archived much of the software for this system. At this stage tapes were already starting to deteriorate and as every year passes archiving this material will get more difficult.

At times I am frustrated that the effort people put into preserving hardware of which there may be 1000s of working examples worldwide (and was built overseas) seems to completely eclipse our effort to preserve the software for which only a few copies may still exist here in NZ. Much of this software was self published and advertised only in small ads in magazines.
The hardware is dead but the software can still live on!

Terry's amazing Dick Smith System-80 site (and his efforts scanning and making available "Bits & Bytes") are probably the best model of a site preserving the history and knowledge of a system locally and should be a model that we all aspire too.

Re: Hello from the NZ Film Archive

PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 7:42 am
by tezza
Thanks for those kind words. Yes, as soon as things settle down a bit here at home I intend to scan more of those Bits and Bytes issues. I might also rescan some of the earlier issues to a better quality, although that's not a priority at the moment.

Your post has reminded me that I must dig out and register my own "written in the 80s" software!

Re: Hello from the NZ Film Archive

PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2012 7:47 pm
by Harvey
Most people here, would not know that there is a human life story to be told that can be likened to other such notable people in their respective fields - that has to do with the 1980s' home computer revolution.
It the same old kind of story - that here in New Zealand (could well have been Australia?) someone just naturally develops - and through sheer hard work and determination, brings to fruition - a computer game...
And so, the story about Andrew Bradfield - should be told, and shown. When people see his first 3 programs - it will illustrate perhaps, how others could have done that? Put some code routines together, so as to move something on the screen around - something very basic and primitive, except it was written in assembler language. But there is a definite big jump from his 3rd effort, into his first game proper. It took him about a year, to learn 6502 Assembler from a Compute book. He did have access to a book about the Atari Hardware (from a friend). What is most important, is that he was very observant of the videogames he played and enjoyed - and he does pay homage to these, in his first computer videogame. Anyway this first game of his, was originally titled "Hot Copter" which was changed by his publisher, Red Rat to "Laser Hawk" - which required a substantial change to the title screen presentation - that took less than a full year to bring to completion. I don't have a photographic memory - and so I have forgotten a lot about how we worked together, and seeing the gradual build-up of the game - because I supplied the graphics designs to him, when they were needed to insert into the game - and the developing game - got bigger and bigger...
The game design was nothing new at all - and it was his version of his favourite game - "Tail of Beta Lyrae" - his favourite other games were "Choplifter" and "Fort Apocalypse" - and so, he liked the idea of using a helicopter - because it's animation appealed to him.