Long time SNES manual preservationist, author and contributor to numerous emulation projects and friend to many game preservationists Near/Byuu has passed away on June 27, 2021.
Earlier that day, they had sent out a series of Tweets to the effect of a suicide letter. Wishing to remain anonymous, the last person to have talked to Near prior to their death would soon contact Hector Martin “marcan”, believing them to have taken their own life while on the phone. Several hours later the event was confirmed by local police.
This tragic turn of events had followed episodes of harassment, which Near detailed in their final words. Their parting request was that they be remembered for their many contributions to the community, and not for they were about to undertake.
Last Wednesday, on June 23, YouTube announced a decision to automatically set all Unlisted Videos uploaded prior to 2017 to private, one month later on July 23. The difference being that; unlisted videos are hidden from search results, but people with the link can access them, whereas private videos are inaccessible to other users unless the uploader gives manual approval.
While channels have the ability to opt-out, to keep their unlisted videos unlisted, and not privated, it has come to the attention of archivists that many inactive channels are unlikely to pick this option given the short timeframe presented.
In the way of archiving projects for unlisted videos, there has already been much discussion and some organization on #down-the-tube on hackint, Hacker News, r/datahoarder and the Distributed YouTube Archive. Alas, there is yet no project in motion, at this time.
The Unlisted Videos website, which was made specifically for the purpose of collecting links to unlisted videos, has been scraped or is being scraped by several groups, worth about half a million videos. There is also Jopik’s searchable collection of 4.5 million unlisted videos, which is a monument in its own right. That being said, these are only links, and the video files themselves have yet not been mirrored. So be sure to stay tuned for upcoming projects.
To spread awareness of the situation, we are doing countdown of unlisted videos on the Data Horde Twitter account.
This upcoming change from YouTube comes with a similar update to Google Drive, which will render many shared files inaccessible to users who have not accessed them prior to a certain date.
In support of the efforts to archive unlisted videos, Sponsorblock has introduced a new feature to detect, and anonymously submit links to unlisted videos, that users might be watching.
The Flash Player emulator Ruffle, is now a bit easier to install. Ruffle has finally been added as an extension to the Chrome Web Store, and you can run it from the comfort of Chromium browsers.
In other news, the mod community/archive Gamebanana suffered a major outage over the weekend. Thankfully, as it turns out, this hiccup was only the result of a billing glitch on their host’s side. The site is now up and running once more.
Can you believe our host accidentally suspended 16 of our servers due to a billing glitch, and nobody was around to fix it because it’s a Sunday. This is the biggest host blooper we’ve ever encountered in 20 years.tom, Gamebanana Admin
Members of Omniarchive, a group dedicated to archiving old lost versions of Minecraft, managed to recover the elusive Alpha 1.1.1. version on June 25, 2021. The first of many Seecret updates, Alpha 1.1.1. was notable for being online for only a few hours before the Alpha 1.1.2 hotfix.
Archivist ProffApple found a tweet someone who had just downloaded the update had made over a decade ago on the day that Alpha 1.1.1. came out, September 18, 2010 to be specific. Turns out, they still had the game files lying around!
You can read more about the story on this Kotaku Article by Zack Zwiezen and this PC Gamer article by Jonathan Bolding.