How to best archive gameplay?
August 29, 2007 5:04 PM   Subscribe

What's the best way to record and archive videogame play?

I want to record and archive console videogame play and I need to know the cheapest, most reliable, and easiest method (I know, pick two). I'm talking about a lot of gameplay--hundreds of hours. I am not talking about PC games, so FRAPS won't do. The quality doesn't have to be great. I need to be able to pull stills and clips from the recordings fairly easily, and it must be in a format that I can visually scan through quickly (i.e. must faster than real-time playback).

Should I just go with a stand-alone DVD recorder and change discs every 2 or 4 hours? Should I use a capture card and a hard drive? If so, do I need a hardware encoder, and what format would I want it to record to? If I capture it, do I dump it to DVD or set up a hard drive? In terms of reliability, say that I want a backup of the whole thing. 2 copies of each DVD? RAID hard drives?

Let's say that I want to have 500 hours of footage recorded. What is the lowest price tag for a system that would work for me?
posted by underwater to Computers & Internet (3 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
DVD recorders are dirt cheap these days, probably cheaper than a video capture solution. You can pull stills and clips from the DVD with software on your PC. Check sites like and for cheap recorders and DVD media. Long term, though, if you're recording that many hours, DVD will actually be more expensive because of the media.

However, the extra cost of a video capture card (assuming you already have a PC with hard drive you can use) will be more convenient as you won't have to change discs, and it'll be digital straight from the software that comes with the card. You can buy a cheap, crappy video capture card if you don't care about quality and are that stingy on budget. Hard drives are absurdly cheap and can be found cheaper on the aforementioned deal sites.
posted by twiggy at 6:13 PM on August 29, 2007

This is how the guy at Next Gen Walkthroughs does his.
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 7:44 PM on August 29, 2007

I found this howto useful for the capturing part, though it does not go into the specifics of large amouts of data. I think whether to burn to dvd or use a hard drive is mostly a matter of preference.
If somebody could tell me how to do this with Nintendo DS games (without using an emulator) I would be very happy.
posted by samurai charlotte at 1:30 AM on August 30, 2007

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