In terms of preserving gaming history, we live in a fortunate era of the internet and cheap, expansive storage. 20, 30 years ago that wasn't the case and if no one had the presence of mind to make loads of backups, it was easy for the original source code and assets of a game to disappear forever. We get lucky sometimes though, as is the case with one recent discovery by YouTube channel SiliconClassics.
A week ago, SiliconClassics managed to get its hands on a bunch of neglected Silicon Graphics "Indy" systems from the Acclaim Entertainment bankruptcy. It has, essentially, a digital treasure trove of gaming's past.
One such unit bears a sticker with the label "Iguana Entertainment". The studio, which later became Acclaim Studio Austin, was responsible for the Turok series of games. Once the device was fired up, well... SiliconClassics kind of hit the jackpot.
The first discovery was the development software for the Nintendo 64 (or Ultra 64). Cool, but not exactly shocking. No, it was what they found after a little digging that's the best part:
... but more interesting than that is what appears to be the entire source code for Turok: Dinosaur Hunter for N64. I guess this is probably the original release of Turok.
The video goes on to show some of the source files, which certainly look like the real deal, before playing a few of the audio clips. A few comments to the video from a "Steve Broumley", who appears to have been a programmer on the game, lend it further legitimacy:
Wow! Hi Stephen Broumley here (my name is at the top of the trex.c source code shown in the video) - I coded all the bosses, cinemas, effects, and a bunch of other systems for Turok back in the day when I was a young lad! I remember that dev hardware - what a blast from the past! Thanks so much for sharing!
It took a team of about 20+ people over 2+ years of effort (working long hours 6 days a week for the last 7 months at least) to create what was (at the time) one of the first mature rated first person shooters on the N64. We were all in our early 20s growing up together and could sense we were making something very special so it wasn't like work at all. Such a great time.
And this is just the tip of the iceberg. SiliconClassics still has quite a few Indy boxes to go through, who knows what else they'll uncover?