- Ludic Cartography. Mapping Gamespaces
- Past Projects
- Preserving Virtual Worlds
- Research and Publication
These days gamers have to deal with issues like DRM, lack of support for backwards-compatibility, always-on connection requirements, and next generation consoles like the Xbox One debuting with a name to make catalogers weep. (Seriously, what are we supposed to call the first Xbox now?) Oh, and I suppose there is also a controversy about how it seems like it won’t support used games. But let’s not talk about today’s woes, when we can dig into the past of the Cabrinety collection, a time when manufacturers cared so much about the consumer, that they included toys and treats in the packaging, for free.
In no particular order, here are eight images of titles from the Cabrinety collection that came with a surprise inside.
1. The Lurking Horror: Rubber insect
A rubber insect was loose in the package, ready to horrify unsuspecting gamers with its rubbery creepiness. Instead, it horrified me with its seeping grossness. It leaked its fluids enough to stain the label on the disc. Lurking horror indeed.
Is It Archive Safe?: Sort of – the insect and the media are now inside inert bags so they don’t damage each other or the other items in the game package.
2. Digging For Dinosaurs: Fossil, Certificate of Authenticity
This fossil is encased in a plastic tube that was attached to the exterior (note the big arrow pointing at it), but it’s come loose now. I have no idea if the certificate of authenticity is legit or not.
Is It Archive Safe?: Yes, as long as no one tries to Jurassic Park it.
3. Greatest Heavyweights: Fruit roll-up
I’ll be honest with you. I seriously considered eating this. Sure, it’s a 25-30 year old fruit roll-up. On the other hand, I don’t think it contained any perishable material*, and it’s the snack food of heavyweight champions.
Is It Archive Safe?: No. Went straight in the garbage.
4. Murders In Space: Space Gravy-Soup: Asparagus
I’ve never played this game, so I don’t know if the space gravy-soup had a role in the space murdering. Now that space food catering is entering the 3D printed food era, it might be nice to hold onto this packet as a reminder of the old timey days of space travel.
Is It Archive Safe?: Yes – if it’s rated for rocket travel it can probably handle a basement.
5. The Witness: Matchbook
The matchbook found in The Witness is an example of how detailed the packaging is for the Infocom games. This image just shows the front of the matchbook, but there is printing on every side, and on the interior, all of which are clues that help solve the central mystery of the game. Since it’s such an important component of the overall packaging, it needed to be salvaged.
Is It Archive Safe?: No. The workaround for this was to cut the heads off the matches.
6. Dandy Dinosaurs: Plush dinosaur
The Toy Story movies have created a generation of people who feel guilty when finding a neglected toy that has never, ever been played with. This dinosaur was still inside a shrinkwrapped box, and has probably turned evil over the years from neglect.
Is It Archive Safe?: Maybe. I don’t think it represents an immediate danger.
7. Dinopack: Plush Dinosaur
There should be a word for the type of guilt experienced when finding sad toys that never fulfilled their destiny as playthings. At least these two dinos have found each other now.
Is It Archive Safe?: See above.
8. Earring Magic Barbie: Barbie doll and clip-on earrings
Despite this Barbie being in the same situation as the poor dinosaurs above, she doesn’t invite any sympathy. Maybe it’s the Stepford grin or the unrelenting cheeriness, but one good thing about Barbie is that nothing seems to get her down. Not even gravity.
Is It Archive Safe?: Maybe. Dolls and plush toys do attract dust, but then again, so does paper and basically any other material held in an archive.
*The opinions reflected here are my own and do not in any way reflect that of any organizations to which I belong.