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My son and I have a game that is slightly older than he is, which is in a limited-edition set. The set is Jet Set Radio Future with Sega GT 2002 (full, playable games) that came with the original X-Box back in the day. The volume label when placed in the disc tray is "X-Box Demos".

By sheer luck, the two games and all of their very dated game preview videos for things like Buffy the Vampire Slayer work flawlessly on the XBox 360. Not all original X-Box games work on the 360, and that something so explicitly niche worked in the emulation provided by the 360 without problems was a shock. The disc is without any damage and a good time has been had by all.

Since the only thing we really play on the disc is JSRF. While Jet Set Radio exists on Steam, this is not the same game. With concern for the age of the disc and potential damage from use, I looked up just the cost of the JSRF disc (not the disc I have, I couldn't find that anywhere). It's "one of those" games where another 16-year-old copy costs exponentially more than a retail game now. I'm not sure if the copy I have is worth more or less to collectors, which is why I also asked about value. I doubt I should insure the disc, but if it's crazy rare, maybe?

Is there a way to make a backup copy of the disc which can be used instead, or install the game onto the XBox 360 HDD and run it from there instead of using the disc? I know 360 games can be installed, and usually just check the disc for DRM purposes before reading off of the fixed media, but I don't know if we can do that here. If not, both my son and I use emulators to play games without the use of aging and broken consoles we've had; is there an emulator which could read an .ISO copy of this disc? We already own the game and physically possess both consoles, so licensing shouldn't be an issue.

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    The two-game set was included with new Xboxes at one point, so it's not particularly rare. You can get it for $5-$10 on eBay. I wouldn't really worry too much about the disc getting damaged. I don't think questions about emulation are on-topic here, but someone can correct me if I'm wrong. – Paul O. May 8 '18 at 17:07
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Disc rot is inevitable. Consider it a ticking time bomb.

Original estimates from the 90s of how long CDs would last (100s of years?!) was totally inaccurate. You can get disc rot in just a few years even from factory discs.

Legally you could copy the game and use it for your own purposes but hacking the Xbox 360 is still difficult the last time I checked.

It would be easier to buy a hacked Xbox 360 and use it to rip the game to storage like USB or HDD. Emulation for the Xbox 360 is still in development and not complete last I checked but keep an eye out for it. That is my recommendation for any rare media.

The best thing you could do is put it in climate controlled storage.

Optical discs - Optical discs like CDs, DVDs and video games should be stored in cool, dry environments. Temperatures between 65 - 70 °F with 45 - 50% relative humidity are ideal. Also avoid exposure to direct light, which can cause clouding on disc surfaces. https://www.storedge.com/climate-controlled-storage-facilities

There are some things you could avoid that would help.

Environmental factors include:

Exposure to high temperatures. Heat buildup speeds the degradation process by breaking down the recording layers of discs that employ organic dye compounds.

Excessive humidity. High moisture content that can seep into disc cracks or scratches and foster the growth of bacteria or mold that can affect the readability of the disc by a drive's laser.

Consistent contact with UV (ultraviolet) rays. Sunlight accelerates the aging of the disc by altering the appearance of the recording layers and therefore rendering the disc ineffective.

Dust, dirt and other air pollutants. These foreign particles can accumulate on the media's surface and in between its crack or scratches. They can not only damage the disc, but they can also cloud reading and recording functions. http://www.cd-info.com/archiving/degradation/index.html

From personal experience you can get disc rot on games kept in a case in safe location so following these guidelines is not a guarantee. Nothing is safe. Every form of storage will eventually deteriorate so just make backups of backups if you can.

It's a really big problem for society and The Library of Congress is actively trying to find ways to preserve optical media.

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