CESA handbook on Project EGG

by snout on 15-09-2005, 16:13
Topic: MSX Revival

The CESA (Computer Entertainment Software Association), publisher of the annual Games White Paper has released a free PDF in which MSX and Project EGG get quite some attention.

Roughly summarized, the article on Project EGG describes the history of this retro gaming webshop ever since it was launched as part of Bothtec's Soft City in November 2001. It explained that Project EGG was launched in order to preserve the many games that were created in the pre-Windows '95 era, as the people behind Project EGG consider these games to be cultural heritage. As these games were often no longer commercially available, and as the platforms on which the games the games were released most often were no longer available either, the idea arose to release games bundled with emulators with a 'click and go' feel. Without a need for changing many systems, the games had to work instantly after downloading. But before the first titles could be released, a new security system had to be designed to fit the needs of the modern era.

Although there was a lot of scepticism towards the launch of Project EGG, assuming people would not be willing to pay for software they could obtain freely (albeit via illegal means) as well, the project managed to attract more than 10,000 members within a very short timespan and grew futher ever since. Interestingly, most members decided to support the legal preservation of games by not discontinuing their membership after they had bought the games they wanted to obtain.

The article also deals with the difficulties of Project EGG caused by the decay of media on which the software was originally released (specifically cassette tapes and floppy disks), the availability of manuals and source code and often unclear legal status due to changes, bankrupcies, merges and other changes the original publishers and authors of software at the time have undergone since. The people behind Project EGG, mostly volunteers, spend a lot of time at glueing the pieces together to find out the legal status of a game, obtaining a working master copy of the game and its documentation and often focus on titles that were requested by members of Project EGG.

All in all, the article gives a nice insight in how Project EGG started, what difficulties it faced (and still faces) and what progress was made since its launch.

Relevant link: CESA Handbook PDF website