Image: Rare

Here at Time Extension, we're passionate about preserving and documenting video game history for future generations to enjoy. We sincerely believe that video gaming is an art form, and, as is the case with other media, such as books, movies, music and television, its history deserves to be appropriately preserved and celebrated.

One of the companies we've been especially fixated on over the years is Rare; this isn't just because the output of this esteemed British developer is of a consistently high standard (although that would be reason enough); another key factor is that our own office in the UK is based just a stone's throw from Rare's Twycross HQ. Rare, therefore, has a hint of 'civic pride' from our perspective; we're lucky enough to be on very friendly terms with many current and former Rare staffers, and take every available opportunity to properly document their memories and recollections to ensure that the history of this remarkable firm is recorded for posterity.

Our coverage has included in-depth features on Rare's Ashby-de-la-Zouch and Manor Farm offices, the latter of which was the base from which it produced some of its most notable work, including Donkey Kong Country, Killer Instinct, Banjo-Kazooie and GoldenEye 007. For these pieces, we spoke to a great many Rare staff members, ensuring that their stories can be read and enjoyed for years – and hopefully decades – to come.

Two people we've yet to speak to are Tim and Chris Stamper, the siblings who founded Ultimate Play the Game in Ashby-de-la-Zouch in the '80s and would later establish Rare before selling the firm to Microsoft in 2002. Now, to those who know their Rare history, this lack of contact shouldn't come as much of a shock. The Stampers are notoriously secretive and have given only a handful of interviews over the years. This silence was arguably part of Rare's mystique during their tenure with the company; not knowing what the company was up to made it all the more surprising when it did eventually decide to announce something.

Rare Games
Image: Damien McFerran / Time Extension

However, the reason we're making this very open appeal to the Stampers is because we hope this stance can change, if only for one interview. The history of Rare is utterly remarkable and should be documented in as much detail as possible. We've already pieced together much of the puzzle thanks to people like Paul Machacek (who is still with Rare and is one of its longest-serving employees), Grant Kirkhope, Kev Bayliss, David Doak, Chris Seavor, Chris Sutherland, Steve Mayles, Martin Hollis, Robin Beanland and many, many others. We're massively indebted to these individuals for giving up their valuable time to speak with us and share their memories, but the Stamper brothers – as the brains of the entire operation – offer a unique perspective on the company's early history, and we'd love to be able to share those recollections with the world.

Tim and Chris, if you ever read this, please get in touch. We'd love to speak to you about your time at Rare and shine a light on your incredible achievements in the world of video games – in terms of software, hardware and the enviable legacy you've created. We know there's at least a small desire to share this information; Tim, you've been posting some wonderful photos and memories on your Twitter and Instagram accounts. We're just asking for the chance to bring these amazing memories and stories to as wide an audience as possible.

Not to end this message on a downbeat note, but recently we've said goodbye to industry legends such as Archer MacLean, Rieko Kodama, John Gibson, Michael Berlyn and even former Rare executive Joel Hochberg – the latter being someone that the Stampers will have known very well on a personal level. The fact is, none of us are here forever, and once we're gone, the opportunity to recount our stories goes with us. As the industry matures, it becomes ever more important to properly record the stories of its key players, which makes our plea all the more pressing.

Tim and Chris – we know you value your privacy, and have done since the early days of Rare. We fully expect this message, if you indeed see it, to be ignored like the thousands of other approaches you've no doubt had over the years. That is, of course, your choice to make; you don't owe us, or any other media outlet or Rare fan, anything; you've already given the world of gaming so much, and making further demands on your time is perhaps a little cheeky of us. Even so, we hope that you can realise that we're coming from a place of reverence and adoration for the body of work you and your teams have crafted over the decades, and the legacy that continues to endure at Rare today, even though it is under new ownership.