Duke Nukem: Critical Mass, an unreleased PSP game once thought lost to the winds of time, has turned up in fall at the US Library of Congress.
Duke Nukem: Critical Mass released on DS, but a substantially different PSP version never made it to market following the sale of the Duke Nukem property to Gearbox.
The full source code, including all assets, was recently found in the US Library of Congress by processing technician David Gibson.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like the code will make its way to the public in a playable state, despite advice from the PSP homebrew community in helping Gibson gain acesss to the files.
“Providing access to the disc’s content to researchers will, unfortunately, remain a challenge. The legal and logistical hurdles related to providing access to licensed software will continue to present themselves as we move forward but I hope that increased focus on the tremendous research value of such digital assets will allow for these items to be more accessible in the future,” Gibson wrote in a post on digital preservation blog The Signal.
“For now the assets and code will be stored in our digital archive at the Packard Campus in Culpeper and the physical disc will be stored in temperature-controlled vaults.”
The Library of Congress is one of a number of valuable repositories of digital history; even in an industry as young as ours, we’ve already lost huge amounts of data due to unexpected degradation of storage materials, incompatibility with modern systems, and even just thoughtlessness, with companies making little effort to preserve their own materials.