I don’t know how I feel about sounding like one of those corrupt gaming news sites like Kotaku and Giant Bomb, but I have to share this one.
Two months ago, on the 19th of June, 2015, Accursed Farms (Ross Scott; website), maker of Freeman’s Mind, Civil Protection and Ross’s Game Dungeon, along with a few other videos, released a video on YouTube titled “Ross’s Game Dungeon: Bip Bop II“. In it was reviewed a game called “Bip Bop II”, with the word “reviewed” is used loosely here. In “Ross’s Game Dungeon”, video games are not merely reviewed, but also discussed. The series consists of a sort of half-hour causeries not often seen on the Intertubes these days, at least not from my narrow point of view. While I tend to watch the series for its humorous contents, there lies an aura of gravity and solemnity within: Like living beings, games have a tendency to “die out”. There are many volunteering for the preservation and documentation of old and new games alike, particularly communities such as SPS and the software library of archive.org. It is a daring task, with the hateful bunch at ESA hunting them down, arguing that “it’s hacking”. ESA, has nobody told you numbskulls the process of hacking is NOT a bad practice per se? The only conceivable reason the ESA would do this is to fatten their wallets by blocking older software, thus forcing consumers into buying newer software.
Returning from my deviation, Ross discloses how he ostensibly saved a video game from extinction. Below is a transcript (written by me) of the video, starting at 10:44:
So, now's the time to tell you that Bip Bop II is actually shareware. It was free for everyone to play with the idea that you'd hopefully buy the full thing, which included Bip Bop I and III. Check out the registration page. 20 dollars for the full version. But that was back in 1993. What does it cost now? Is it abandonware? Well, here is where things get interesting. I did a search for "Bip Bop III", and it's NOWHERE. I searched high and low and I only found one site that even acknowledged its existence. And I lost the link to that. No screenshots of it exist anywhere. You can't download it! It's like some sort of urban legend: Oh, there's plenty of documentation of "Bip Bop II", but NOTHING on [Bip Bop] III. I've never heard of something like this happening before, where the full version of a shareware game, in other words, a game with a free demo, completely disappears. We live in an age where obsessive archiving people would never let a video game disappear like this. But this sequel to a FREE game has vanished from existence. What happened? Is Bip Bop III like that puzzlebox from Hellraiser where, if you play it, you get sucked into another dimension, and that's it? No one is left to tell the tale?
So I decided to go straight to the source. I searched the Internet and hunted down the creator himself: Stuart Riffle. He's gone on to have a successful programming career since this was made. [He] worked on many games at Electronic Arts. Huh... Anyway, I found his contact info. He works at an independent company now: One Bit Labs, and, hey, they're hiring!
So, I e-mailed Stuart Riffle and he replied. He was surprised I asked about it but didn't actually have it backed up anywhere. He also said something about "the Harvest being complete". I didn't really understand that part. Anyway, what he did have, were the original floppy disk versions of the games still lying around. He wasn't even sure if they worked. But he agreed to send me a copy. He didn't even charge me the 20 dollars! All he wanted was a vial of my blood and the exact time of my birth. He paid for shipping and everything! Can't argue with that!
At this point, I feel like I'm more interested in seeing this game than anyone else in the world, but this is still such a dicey operation, because I hate floppy disks; I hated them back then, and I hate them now. You know why? Oh, sure, they're slow and don't hold much data, but they're UNRELIABLE; floppy disks went bad ALL THE TIME back then. Now compound that with a twenty-year-old game, and this is bad news. Floppy disks stored data with magnetized particles inside a film, so it's entirely possible that this could have lost some of its charge during this time. And computer data isn't like an audio cassette, where things are just a little bit distorted if there's a problem. No, it's pretty much all or nothing with computer data, so this is a long shot. Finally, I don't even have a floppy drive anymore; I got rid of mine almost fifteen years ago! But my old man does! So I had the disk shipped to him, and he tried to read it.
SO, THE BIG QUESTION: "WAS THE DATA RECOVERABLE?"
*cut to Ross's father at the computer*
Ross's father: Yep.
*cut back to Ross's Game Dungeon*
It sure was! So get ready; I'm going to show you the remaining "Bip Bop" games and you're about to witness a game the Internet has never seen before, and as far as I know, no one has ever seen it in at least 20 years. This is some deep-vault stuff, here. So, let's go back to the beginning with the original "Bip Bop" and find out what's in store!
Here we go!
Watch the entire episode here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R-JAICJ0k4Q