Preserving Virtual Worlds II: Methods for Evaluating and Preserving Significant Properties of Educational Games and Complex Interactive Environments (PVW2) will be conducted in partnership with the University of Illinois (lead institution), the Rochester Institute of Technology, and Stanford University. PVW2 plans to help improve the capacity of libraries, museums, and archives to preserve computer games, virtual worlds, and interactive fiction. The work is funded by a $785,000 National Leadership Grant awarded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
The research team at Maryland will have a major role in all aspects of the new project, including content analysis work, interviews with game players and producers, and conducting double-blind studies to help evaluate the “significant properties” of games and other interactive media. This work promises to deliver a novel methodology for studying the significant properties of video games and other complex interactive environments. By focusing on the temporal transitions between developer versions and player mods, we hope to identify patterns of stability and change in game attributes–such as graphics, text, sound, items, and sprites–that can help us infer how different communities of practice interpret their relative significance.