Changing formats of video games

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Recently I did some cleaning for the new year. Most of it involved throwing away old stuff I no longer needed. Among the stuff were boxes from old video games. I'm not sure why I kept them for so long, I guess it's because there was the extra space and they didn't get in the way. Going through them, I realized how much the boxes for video games have changed throughout the years, getting smaller and smaller. Now they mostly just come in the same plastic cases as DVDs. And now, with downloading games digitally, there may not be a need for any packaging! In fact, most of the games I've played this past year I downloaded online.

An example of a game I have grown up with and ended up buying in multiple versions is Riven. Here's how its packaging and format changed throughout the years. First, the original large box which came with the game on 5 CD-Rom discs (yes, each had to be switched out during different points in the game). Then, Riven along with its predecessor, Myst came together in one larger special edition box along with some unique items. Later, another pretty large box with a trilogy of Myst games as part of its 10th anniversary which included Riven on a single DVD (no more switching discs!). Eventually the game was released as a download via Steam and Good Old Games. A while back it was also released for iPhone and iPod Touch devices. And just this week, a higher quality graphics version has been released for the iPad.

I ended up throwing away the boxes I had. Well, most of them, I kept a couple as mementos. I still have the various CDs and DVDs and their cases which came in the boxes. I wonder how long I'll go before letting them go too.