Barnett calls it “gaming archaeology”.

In addition to WAR and DAoC, Mythic takes care of the Granddaddy of modern MMOs (well, ONE of them, anyway), Ultima Online.  When we took over some time after EA acquired us, we were sent a HUGE shipment of “stuff” that the old Origin Systems stduio had packed up and put into storage many moons ago.

There were obvious gems in the shipment (like original Hildebrandt Brothers paintings and a Kilrathi battle suit), but most of it was seemingly random and hard to appreciate.  So it went back into storage for a while.  

At some point, Barnett got in touch with the fans who run the Origin Museum.  Not wanting to see this wealth of Origin goodies go all “Indiana Jones” on us and disappear into some beureaucratic memory hole forever, we invited them to come to the studio and see what they could make of it all. 

They arrived with a vast array of machinery (both new and old) to help them decipher, document and archive everything.  While they were in, we’d occasionally pop our heads in and check out what they were up to, but they were generally so intensely focused that we felt like we were getting in the way, so we left them alone most of the time.  After a week, they boxed everything up and headed home.

The Stash went back into storage and we got back to the business of building WAR.

Earlier today, I got to wondering what ever came of their efforts.  A bit of googling later unearthed a really cool write-up they did of their trip.  I’ll leave it to them to detail the whole event.

This sort of thing is important to our industry (as I’ve mentioned before).  The folks who built those old games have all moved on to other things (some of them have seemingly left the industry entirely), but their work is important and deserves to be remembered and appreciated.  We got lucky and had a cache of amazing stuff fall into our laps when EA bought us and – luckier still – we were able to get the guys from the Origin Museum to come in and make sense of it all.

It’s sad to think of the number of great old games whose history and background stories have already been lost to the ages, but it’s also heartening to see that we’re starting to take better care of our legacy as an industry. 


One Response to “Barnett calls it “gaming archaeology”.”

  1. Killed in a smiling accident. » Blog Archive » Doctor Who’s on First on November 19th, 2008 10:16 am

    […] reminded me of a couple of other recent posts about “gaming archaeology” for Origin Systems and MUD; like the BBC, some things may have been lost over time, but others are being preserved for […]

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.