Image: Sega

Almost 35 years after it was originally made, the first-ever version of the popular match-three puzzle game Columns has finally been found and documented online.

Most people will probably know of Columns from Sega's versions of the game — which have since been reissued across various compilations and mini consoles — but the title actually has an interesting history that predates those releases.

It was originally designed by Jay Geersten for the HP-UX operating system while working at Hewlett Packard in 1989, who later gave his source code to various other developers to produce additional versions for MS-DOS, Atari ST, Macintosh, and Windows 3.x.

In the past, Geersten's original HP-UX version of the game was considered to be lost media, but yesterday, the video game collector @TrevgauntletNeu announced that they had found the original title and had managed to get it working in MAME. They've since shared some screenshots online as well as a 6-minute video of it in action, giving us our first-ever glimpse at the game's true origins.

As expected, given the change in platform, it looks remarkably different from the versions that were eventually released by Sega, using uniform blocks similar to Tetris rather than the colourful gems seen in later games. There are also no references to ancient mythology — something that would later become associated with the series through various marketing materials and in-game artwork.