In September 2010, a woman named Luna downloaded the latest version of a standalone game, an alpha called Minecraft, to her laptop. She was excited, so she tweeted about it: "Oooooohhhhhh MineCraft update!" . Who knows if he played it. Now we only know that he downloaded it and did not purge the download folder later.
A decade later, Luna made a group of archivists very happy about one thing: backing up user profiles and saving them before cleaning the laptop. Members of Omniarchive, a group of Internet archivists, have been following the short life of Minecraft Alpha 1.1.1 for some time. Alpha 1.1.1 didn't last long because it had an innovative graphics error. That’s not what archivists care about, though: they want it all. Finding Alpha 1.1.1 was a long-running joke within this Omniarchal community because it was only available for download three and a half hours. It seemed unlikely that, after years of research, it would ever appear.
Then a member found the September 18, 2010 tweet about the new MineCraft update.
So let's talk about video game preservation, data accumulation and Minecraft. (🧵 thread)June 26, 2021
The rest, as they say, is history. Luna scanned the file folder on a hard drive without success, but checked an old external USB drive. There they were, a stack of archived profiles from their old laptop, and inside of them they searched and found several files that included a minecraft.jar – guys, yes, Minecraft was a game made in Java, no, I can't explain that right now. This .jar file was dated September 18, 2010, 9:53 PM local time. A quick trip to the bowels of the file later and Luna was pretty sure she had found 1.1.1, which the Omniarchal community later verified.
"It will literally be a legend on this server," dit a commenter on the related Discord server.
Oh, and it turns out it's not the only weird Luna construction. It also had a .jar of c0.29_01, which the archivists only had as part of a modified download. Now they also have a clean one, all on archive.org.
Moral of the story: Never delete anything (also help the archivists, they are doing important work)June 26, 2021
Sweet find, Kotaku.