Longterm preservation of itch.io games

A ton of IF games are currently stored on itch.io. I was wondering, is there any kind of long term maintenance or storage plans for itch.io in case of failure?

For instance, when flash stopped working, a lot of older games stopped working; iOS games have frequently been lost to the universe; storynexus games no longer work.

Archive.org does archive some itch pages, but when I click ‘play game’ on them (including my own), nothing comes up.

Is there any long-term archival of itch.io going on, or is it just ephemeral?

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Good question. FWIW, I heard that MS purchased itch.io not long ago. ?

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Dunno what plans they have, but it’s possible to download a copy of your own uploaded content for redundancy via the dashboard - it’s under the “More…” link in the Uploads section.

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I mean, those of us here can make sure we have mirrors on the IF Archive, but getting those who aren’t on the forums or active in other IF spaces to do so would be a major outreach effort

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MS + itch? is this true?

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I heard that rumor a number of months ago. I cannot substantiate it so it must be just a rumor.

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This was actually a point of discussion in SeedComp! We went back and forth on the merits of archiving the comp versions of the games onto the IF archive / IFDB. We settled on leaving that up to the players’ discretion, the example of Dorian Passer on our minds.

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Is there any sort of itch game with proprietary itch.io-specific tech? I thought all the playable-in-browser things were all plain html/css/js. And while they don’t go out of the way to make it trivial, last I looked they don’t go out of their way to prevent making a local copy.

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The problem with saving HTML games from itch is that the games are loaded in iframes, and have some built-in methods to stop direct downloads. In firefox, you can use the “Save frame as…” feature to download directly from the iframe. Maybe this could be automated in some way?

I have seen no evidence of this (Epic Games purchased Bandcamp; maybe you’re thinking of that?).

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The creators have to choose to make specific files downloadable. For my web-playable games to have a download, I have to upload a separate copy of what I want to make available. If you just upload the web version, it doesn’t offer a download.

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Itch offers a “download” of a web version game on their app so you can play offline (even if downloads are not enabled). It’s kind of a download but not really?
EDIT: never mind. It’s pretty much a download. I tested with a game of mine and could find the whole folder with all the files in the Itch App Data folder.

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The absence of a download link was what I meant by not making it trivial.

Well, then, that’s even easier. But even without that, there’s no attempt at DRM here: it still comes down to that your browser is conventionally making requests and receiving responses and it’s not a huge trick (for a certain kind of web geek) to reproduce those requests in a way that lets you save the results.

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The main issue with archiving itch.io is that there is now an estimated half-million games on there. Even if one assumes the paid downloadable ones have backups somewhere (not always the case), that’s going to take a lot of work to sift through everything and make sure everything is downloaded (even if it’s going to be limited to “things that are conceivably IF”).

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Itch does have an Interactive Fiction Tag. That’s still a lot of them, but that helps narrow it a bit down when looking for IF there.

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Good question. As far as I know, there is no mirror or archive, so if itch.io folded, everything would be lost. For this reason, I always keep a local copy. There are several ways to do this.

  1. If the author provides a download, then just use that.
  2. If the game is in a single html page, then save that. (Keep in mind that itch.io tries to prevent this and the pages are not stored on itch.io, but on an another server. There is a trick to downloading from this server, but the next solution is even better.)
  3. Download the free itch.io app and download the games using that. This should save all the game’s assets, as well.

The only time I’ve had an issue is when some of the assets are stored on another domain. It can be a real pain trying to work out what those assets are, where they’re stored and changing links to point to your local location rather than another web site.

For IF games, it’s ultimately up to the author whether they want to store them on the IF Archive. Putting them there without the author’s permission is an infringement of copyright, unless the licence permits it or they’re clearly in the public domain. (Just because they’re free to download does not make them public domain!)

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This excerpt from the SpringThing rules is probably relevant to this discussion:

Hypothetically, future IF Comps or IF Jams hosted on itch.io could make similar stipulations for submissions. By submitting, you grant the IF archive the right to store the festival version of your game forever. Like I said earlier, we ultimately chose not to take this path with SeedComp!, but this was the model we were considering; entering and agreeing to the terms would be informed prior consent.

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I’m pretty sure that IF Comp has a similar rule.

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It does… …for the authors who tag properly :wink:

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Yeah, when I saw that, I thought it was a joke or a reference that I wasn’t understanding. I mean, I guess nothing’s impossible but we’re talking about a guy who deliberately set it up to be sustainable as a small business, and who built the whole thing in a custom web framework in his personal scripting language that compiles to Lua… Leaf Corcoran strikes me as about the last person who’d sell out to Microsoft.

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I think OP may have been talking specifically about games that run in the browser on itch pages. Presumably games you have to download to play are less susceptible to a catastrophic site failure.

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