I think the point is that it’s an archive, not a discovery tool. The IFDB is designed as a discovery tool, and can link direct to the archive which is happy to host IF (up to a certain size). The two work in tandem, with the archive a way to make sure games doesn’t disappear forever.
Hosting on Itch is fine, but we have seen other hosting sites collapse. Anything from a commercial company has an inherent uncertainty to it. The company has raised millions in venture capital, and could at any time in the future enter the freefall that other venture platforms have if new owners become more extractive with it.
Take Vine for example: after it was bought out by Twitter, it was discontinued as a service and the existing videos were archived, but the archive was only maintained for two years before it too was discontinued, losing all videos that had not been saved.
As did the Single Choice Jam, thank you very much Manon
The only place I found that suggest it has is this website, though it does not let you see any information unless you sign up. The Venture Capital listed does not even list itch on their website, nor is it mentioned on Wikipedia. In 2018 there was a thread on Twitter that indicated itch had been running for 6 years without VCs.
AFIAK itch is funded through the sales commissions.
My mistake! I misread this:
Overall, Itch and its competitors have raised over $20.4M in funding across 17 funding rounds involving 35 investors.
So it’s a little less precarious than some other platforms (which is great!) but still subject to the normal vulnerabilities of operating in a marketplace. At any point it might be sold off to whomever who might do whatever to the existing setup.
Given that Leaf’s whole reason for founding Itch was to have a place for indies to distribute and sell their games that wouldn’t go away, that wouldn’t be sold off to some big corporation, that would be sustainable in both financial and labor terms… that seems unlikely to me. Personally I’d back Leaf Corcoran as being just as competent and reliable as the IFTF, but hey, if you want to make up and promote reasons out of thin air why he’s not, just because Itch isn’t a non-profit, you do you, I guess.
Lot of things about corporations get less unlikely over a span of years. The founder leaves or retires or takes a back seat while working on something else. On average, the next person in charge is more concerned with money than the founder, because that’s how for-profit corporations are structured.
I should add:
I remember when Sourceforge was the best place to host open-source software projects. It was free, good, and reliable. Then they drifted into being ad-encrusted garbage, and everybody shifted over to using Github, which was free (up to a point), good, and reliable.
Now Github is Microsoft. I think they’re still good and reliable, but Microsoft’s priorities aren’t the same as what Github was founded on. (E.g. Microsoft has been pushing heavily on AI tools, starting with adding Copilot to Github in 2021.) I see some people muttering and shifting over to other hosting platforms. Dunno whether that will be a long-term trend; the point is, watch the horizon.
(This all goes for nonprofits too. The difference is that the non-profit is not based on assumptions about money. This minimizes many of the long-term pressures to become garbage.)
Let’s just say there’s a deficit of trust in for-profit concerns. Not that negligence, incompetence, and even intentional wrongdoing aren’t possible with non-profits, but they are at least, in theory, structured in a way that makes intentional exploitation difficult at best.
ETA: Ope, stepped on Zarf. My bad.
Just popping into say that I’m not applying this retroactively, so I’m going to review some one-choice games.
How do you think you’d approach this for Itch-based comps/jams that don’t declare in advance which games allow archival?
For example, for ParserComp, it turns out that the winners opted out of the IF Archive, but you’d have had no way of knowing that until the competition was over, right?
I don’t know! I might just wait till the competition is over and play the games then, I’ve done that in the past. I can’t make any commitments that depend on other people doing exactly what I want, because the world doesn’t work that way and I’ll just end up frustrated for no reason. So maybe I’ll play after, and maybe I’ll just play the games anywhere. I’m more looking for a heuristic than a hard and fast rule. If comps started offering a zipped-up file of the whole comp (for people that opted in) I’d play all the games that were in there.
Some games wouldn’t make sense to archive, though; one of the parsercomp games was pretty short but had a big memory size because it had a bunch of jumping jack roblox characters in 3d, which would have taken up a lot of online memory. So in situations like that I’d lean towards maybe playing anyway.
I totally see the logic of tending to review games for people that deposit games in the IFArchive (or opt-in by participating in a comp that uploads the games). Those authors are taking part in a particular culture that wants to see its games survive, and to in part keep those games alive through ongoing play and ongoing discourse about them.
To play devil’s advocate, I could imagine taking the opposite tact, of consciously reviewing precarious games as a means of documentation – like the example that Joey gives of a game that basically lives on only through a walkthrough and a review. This is a story that isn’t unique to digital games, of course, as evidence of many things lives on only through oblique mentions in some bit of documentation or other.
As others have mentioned, there seems to be another culture, or at least attitude, that’s more protective and private about games, not really wanting them shared beyond perhaps a small circle. But many authors may just be releasing games in the way they best know how and not have the awareness or resources to keep things going. That’s also an argument to spread greater awareness of the IFArchive, I suppose!
I was thinking of this today, that it would be cool to have someone do the opposite, like ‘The Ephemeral Reviewer’. I’d definitely support anyone who wanted to focus on that!
Count me out. I want to decrease my ephemerality, not increase it!
There’s a lot to chew in this great thread.
Even I think it deserves its own thread about archiving games.
Is there a distinction to be made between archiving games and linking to said archive from IFDB? I’ve considered redirecting people to itch.io because I like knowing when people visit my page or download my content. This would be in addition to keeping an updated zip at IF Archive.
Here on the Forum I have already seen some feats of persistent archaeological digging for games or documentation that seemed lost to the ages. Perhaps in a decade or three, some unwitting IF-enthusiast will read one of those reviews of a long gone game and unearth all kinds of cool finds on the search for more information.
I made a new thread if people would like to discuss the nature of IF archive et al there! I think Mathbrush has the right to make the decision he wants to make re: game reviews ^^