Happy Easter Egg!
It’s that time of year again! We’re celebrating all things chocolate and hopping by sharing some of our favorite Easter Eggs from the world of gaming!
They put a game in your game, so you can play a game while you’re playing a game. In Day of the Tentacle, it was possible to play the entirety of its spiritual predecessor, Maniac Mansion, by using an in-game computer. I wonder if we’ll be able to play both games inside of Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick’s upcoming Thimbleweed Park?
John Romero has always been a major personality in gaming. Back when Id was developing Doom 2, hidden behind the final boss was a room with Romero’s head on a pike that reacted to being shot. Kind of dark? Sure, but given the nature of the game industry, probably not the least accurate depiction of the relationship between developers and players ever committed to disk.
This wasn’t a particularly well hidden Easter egg; in fact, it was listed as an option in the manual. However, a surprising number of people never knew that you could play two player Duck Hunt on the original NES. If you plugged a controller into the second port, Player 2 could control the ducks as they flew around the screen.
Waaaay back when Atari released Adventure, not only was it the first RPG video game, it also contained one of the first Easter eggs. Hidden in a room on the map, programmer Warren Robinett hid his own name – a response to the fact that Atari never credited developers in those days.
The Perils of Packaging
Although the museum has a collection, we handle our items differently many private collectors. Collectors usually set a high premium games still sealed in original packaging, and we’ve shocked a few new volunteers by removing packaging as soon as possible. The photo above is a great example of why we do it.
This game was packaged in a clear, plastic pouch and used a piece of cardboard as a stiffener to protect the 5.25″ floppy disk. As you can see, the acidity in the cardboard discolored the manual. It’s damage that is not reversible.
When we receive packaged items, we immediately remove the shrink wrap – it deforms contents if it continues to shrink. Then batteries, if any, come out. If there are signs of corrosion, which there often are, the cavity is cleaned with appropriate neutralizers and rinsed well with distilled water. Styrofoam is removed, because as it breaks down, it releases gases that damage plastics; we often find power cords that have bonded permanently to styrofoam packaging. Things that might degrade – like the balloon in the gray box edition of Ballyhoo – are placed in archivally safe materials. If the balloon turns into gooey sludge some day, it will be contained by an archival polyester bag and not affect the rest of the items it’s stored with.
A museum isn’t about resale value but about preservation of history. We hold the best, most original examples of artifacts as reference copies. But items that have been repaired are often available for play; we have, for example, a dozen Ataris and two Vectrexes. These can be subjected to the wear and tear that comes with use and, as long as possible, keep being repaired.
Unlike some collectors, though, we do not try to make things look new again. We clean things using distilled water and if needed, special cleaners, but we don’t attempt to bleach cases that have discolored. The bleaching process damages the plastic. We value the original surface, just as you would the original finish in a piece of fine antique furniture. Stripping the finish on an antique drastically reduces its value, and the original surface is more important than a shiny new one.
Private collectors are important in preserving game history! We’re very appreciative of all the collectors who have shared things with us; the collections of some DGM board members formed the basis for DGM. But it’s also important to save things as safely as possible. That’s our job – and we love it!
Code Breaker – 2015.002.112 – Anonymous gift
You can learn more about artifact preservation and care at our Saturday and Wednesday events. Sign up at Eventbrite.
Simulation Sickness and Star Trek
This seems to be the year of 3D, judging by the media coverage of one new idea after another. So here’s another not-so-memorable moment from past efforts at 3D. The Star Trek Extreme 3D System came packaged with Bridge Commander. Reviews suggest that while Bridge Commander is a pretty good game, the 3D system would leave you nauseated if you played for more than a few minutes. In fact, the copy we have is missing the game disk, but the 3D system was still packed in original wrappings, never opened by the purchaser.
Recent research at Purdue University showed that putting a nose in the middle of the screen for a 3D game so that the viewer seems to be looking past the nose increases the amount of time a player can last in a 3D environment before “simulation sickness” sets in. Perhaps research will help designers develop 3D that people will actually enjoy!
2014.015.055 – Gift of Loren Cody
We’re changing our newsletter format a bit. We’ll be listing any game related activities in the Bay Area, so if you know of something going on, drop us a line!
If space permits, we’ll also include links to articles and other things of interest.
2015 Atari Party
Davis Public Library
Free! Put on by Bill Kendrick, our good friend who has made the trek to Silicon Valley to support us. Go play!
Big Wow Comicfest
San Jose Convention Center
DGM First Saturday Volunteer Day, 10AM – 4PM
Digital Game Museum
April 4th, May 2nd
DGM Wednesday Accessioning, 7PM – 10PM
Digital Game Museum
April 15th, May 13th
Sign up on Eventbrite for our events.
Check out Donkey Kong Country: Donkey Kong Country Exposed on our newly activated YouTube channel!
This Month’s Trivia Questions
OK, we’re stretching the Easter theme a bit, but –
What game starts at Easter Island and allows you to explore several ancient civilizations?
Bonus Points: Name the civilizations!
Last Month’s Trivia Answers
How many inventory items can you collect in:
- The 11th Hour
- King’s Quest 1
- The Dig
- Monkey Island 3: The Curse of Monkey Island
Unlike most of our trivia questions, we haven’t really verified these numbers ourselves. They come from a delightful post by “Bastich” on a forum on Adventure Gamers:
- The 11th Hour – 0
- King’s Quest 1 – 24
- The Dig – 38
- Monkey Island 3: The Curse of Monkey Island – 147