It’s surprisingly hard to archive a video game. Cartridges decay, eventually; discs become unreadable as their plastic degrades. Source codes are lost to corporate mergers and acquisitions. But what’s most dangerous to preserving game history isn’t a physical or corporate consideration: it’s the prevailing attitude that games are playful, evanescent, and therefore not worth archiving.
This month, the Video Game History Foundation plans to reveal what it’s learned about The Secret of Monkey Island, to fans, historians, and everyone else who might be interested in the hidden corners of a 30-year-old video game. “We are able to reconstruct deleted scenes from the games that no one’s ever seen before, because that data literally isn’t on the disk that you get, because it’s not compiled into the game,” says Cifaldi. (The Foundation has also gotten Ron Gilbert, the creator of the game, to join them in a livestream happening on October 30th.)
The Making of Prince of Persia (book): https://press.stripe.com/the-making-of-prince-of-persia
Mechner’s candid and revealing journals from the time capture the journey from his parents’ basement to the forefront of the fast-growing 1980s video game industry, as a 20-year-old fresh out of college with a liberal arts degree—and the creative, technical, personal, and professional struggles that brought the Prince into the homes of millions of people worldwide.