It's pretty common knowledge at this point that video games as an industry has done a pretty terrible job of recording and archiving its own history. But things are slowly starting to improve.
Much of the reason for this belongs to the hard work of individuals and small groups like Forest of Illusion, who have dedicated themselves to finding and preserving as much as they can from days gone past.
Recently, for instance, Forest of Illusion was behind a successful dump of a Game Boy and Game Boy Advance software development kit from Intelligent Systems, dated May 2nd, 2001. A company perhaps best known as the developer behind popular Nintendo series like Paper Mario, and that was also responsible for creating Game Boy Advance games like WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgames!, Fire Emblem and Advance Wars.
As Togemet2, one of Forest of Illusion's expert preservationists tells us, "Our mission at Forest of Illusion is to essentially back up and preserve as many materials relating to the development of Nintendo games as we possibly can. These materials can range from many things including (but not limited to): prototypes, internal documents, source code and more."
In the case of this software development kit, we were curious what applications this dump may have for fans of the games. For instance, could we see new home-brew developers using the tech for their own non-commercial games? Well, according to Togemet2, we shouldn't really hold our breath.
"Usually when it comes to archiving SDKs it's just mainly for research purposes so anyone can get insight into how these games were originally developed," they tell us. "Sometimes they may be used by homebrew developers, but it's usually quite rare to see as the required development hardware is very rare and expensive these days. There's also not much use for it as newer and better fanmade SDKs exist."
It's comforting to know this work is being done to future-proof this important piece of Intelligent Systems' past, and ensure researchers, historians, and hobbyists have as much access to the tools behind their favourite games, as the games themselves.
If you want to keep up to date with Forest of Illusion's continuing preservation efforts, you should definitely head over to Twitter or its official website, where you'll likely be the first to know about the latest Nintendo discoveries.
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