I have always been a big proponent of the preservation of the past.Paintings, movies, video games, pretty much everything that can possibly be preserved in one form or another for future generations I would love to see continue to exist to this day. There are a lot of problems though that keep that from being an option.
The easiest one to point to is that unless the owner of the IP decides to release it to the public, there is no way to officially get a hold of it. Take my favorite Saturday Morning cartoon of all time, Fillmore!. Owned by Disney, it ran for two seasons. Ending it's run in 2004, it was briefly shown on Toon Disney at two different times for a brief period, including it's most recent short run in 2018. The show has, in essence, existed for about seventeen years now, and only a few of those years has it even been available to watch. To watch it off of the Disney networks, your only current option is to learn German as it's been available for digital purchasein Germany. So until they finally release outside Germany, Fillmore can only be enjoyed through piracy.
And, despite being a terrible game, there is almost no chance of there ever being a legal release of Tool Time on the SNES again. Even bad art deserves to be preserved, but there is no way I can think of that you will ever see anyone pay for the price of using Tim Allen's likeness to push out a game that isn't likely to make up that fee.It's not a matter of quality to me, all art deserves to be preserved so it can be experienced by future generations. We are once again at a point that piracy remains the only way this can happen.
The list of games that are likely never to see a re-release goes on, so I won't bore you with all of them. The point is though, with Data it is possible to copy and replicate it essentially an infinite number of times. So long as the data of, say, Breath of Fire 2 has been backed up, even if every cartridge of it were to die out, that data would still exist. And with some of the great emulators out there, paired with some well-made PC controllers, you can do a lot to recreate that original experience as much as possible. With emulation, it no longer matters if the IP owners refuse to allow the game to be released if licensing issues prevent its re-release, or any number of other problems arise, Breath of Fire 2 can potentially exist for as long as people are keeping the data backed up.
I support the idea that we should do what we can to financially support the release of all forms of art, be it video games, anime,old cartoons, drawings, and anything else that could qualify. But when we aren't given that option to get a hold of these things in some kind of legal capacity, I don't think it's right to just let them die off or fade into obscurity, it's not right that future generations may never get the chance to experience these things.
Piracy and Emulation are not the most ideal routes I'd like to go,but at the same time you end up in situations these days where these options are the only choice to preserve these things for the future.