How to safely upload & share prototypes of cancelled video games

When preserving prototypes and cancelled video games, we never know for sure if the original owners of the copyright may have some legal issues with uploading these files on the internet, even if they never finished those games nor sold them in any way (physical or digital). For these tricky reasons, those who preserve old unreleased video games usually don’t upload them on their own website and prefer to share the files anonymously, just to be safe.

Lately one of the better places to upload prototypes is the Internet Archive, as they have a good reputation as a safe and no-profit museum of internet files (they also received an exemption from the United States Digital Millennium Copyright Act to permit to bypass copy protection). You can easily create a free account, even using a disposable email, then upload the game files directly on their server. It may be slow, but at least there are good chances the files will stay preserved on the Internet Archive for as long as there are no legal issues from the copyright owners.

To be even more safer when uploading prototypes to the Internet Archive, you can search for a good VPN download. A “Virtual Private Network” is an organization that conceals your personal data such as IP and geo-location, so your online activities become anonymous. A VPN sends you through its own scrambled servers, which conceal your action from your ISP and anybody who may screen it, including hackers, companies and your own government.

It’s best to not use a free VPN as they may not conceal your whole data, be quite slow or even be dangerous in some cases. You can just read more about VPN online, before uploading your prototypes on the Internet Archive or somewhere else. In any case, preserving files from cancelled video games is an important task. If you won’t do it, those games may be lost forever and part of video games history won’t be recovered.

Usually the older the game prototype is, the less the copyright owners still care about it. If more than 20 years passed since the cancellation of that game (and especially if the company who was working on it is already closed), there are good chances the files should remain on the Internet Archive as no one will request to remove them.

One day there may be an official “Internet Video Game Museum” which could preserve every kind of old entertainment software, from the completed, released ones to the early unfinished concepts. As it happened with cinema, unfortunately more than 75% of original silent-era films have been lost forever and we’ll never see them again. In our era we have such a powerful tool as the internet, free online spaces and professional VPN, with many gamers from all around the world working together to upload, share and make copies of games which risk to be lost forever. We really hope our media could be luckier than cinema.

However you decide to upload a cancelled video game, thanks for your help.