Alex Phillimore: (alex.phillimore-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2014-08-09 04:45:00
How obscure games will be forgotten over time
Nowadays when games are released information about them is readily available. Are you interested in Dark Souls? Google it and you'll get thousands upon thousands of results linking to blogs, reviews, video walkthroughs and more. We are leaving behind a considerable digital footprint in relation to anything we post online - and in years to come many of these articles will still be easy to locate, whether on their native servers or archived away in the depths of the 'net.
But this hasn't always been the case. When I was growing up me and my brother owned a PC game called Dementia: It's a State of Mind (1997). It was crap, but we played it a lot, because those were the days before reviews mattered and we liked the strange bunny rabbit on the front of the box. Even at the time the game was obscure, and it came on a ludicrous amount of disks (about 5, if I recall) which was odd by any standard. I started thinking about this game again recently for some unexplained reason and took to the internet to find out more information about it. After all, today it's easy to find information about games, so I expected to track down all sorts of blogs and information dumps about it.
This couldn't have been further from the truth. Google produces maybe three relevant search results, two of which are links to online shops to buy the game. The only site that seems remotely connected to the game is Adventure Point, a database of Adventure Games from days gone by. The site provides a brief summary of the game, likely taken from the back of the box, offers a single image (perhaps one of the only images of the game available on the whole internet?) from the game and links to 7 contemporary reviews...the links to which are all broken, suggesting that the pages no longer exist. Googling the name of the developer, Makh-Shevet Ltd., is a slightly more lucrative affair, although not really: you can find information suggesting that the company filed for bankruptcy in 1997, that they were based in Israel and that they had two other games called Master of Dimensions and Armed & Delirious but there is still virtually no information about Dementia.
I don't know why, but I find this really interesting. This was a game that was sold in UK stores and presumably stores worldwide and yet seemingly no information exists about it. I haven't been able to locate any blogs or walkthroughs and Google only seems to be able to display one or two images of the game. It's truly a video game that has been lost to history, which I find incredible during the age of the internet when this kind of information could easily resurface. I wonder if in twenty years time most of the sites and links we visit today will be a muddled collection of broken URLS - and I wonder if it is truly possible for video games to be utterly forgotten. If Adventure Point goes down, no information about Dementia will exist on the internet - unless I'm missing something glaringly obvious - and that scares me a little bit.