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Ex-SIERRA Game Developer AL LOWE is selling Original Source Code!

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I hung out with Al Lowe (Leisure Suit Larry, Freddy Pharkas, King's Quest, Police Quest, etc) the other day and it turns out he may have some of the only original copies of game source code for a lot of the those classic games. Now that he's in his 70s, he's selling a lot of his collection on Ebay and gave me a preview of what's to come.

 

 

A starting bid of $100 for the original Leisure Suit Larry source?>! Hell yes!! LOL

 

https://www.ebay.com/usr/al_lowe

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Oh wow...I'll have to watch your vidro later.

 

It's really neat he kept that stuff! It's also good that it might go along to someone who will preserve it and maybe have it available for tinkering.

 

I remember playing LSL back as a teen along with other Sierra adventures my Dad, ahem, "procured" from the person who sold him our first IBM compatibles. This was a huge jump from a CoCo 2 for him and a CoCo 3 for me. After muddling through LSL and Police Quest I did buy more games in the series when a local department store (Prange Way for you Wisconsinites from back in the day) got a ton of them for cheap. Unfortunately I never finished them.

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It's also good that it might go along to someone who will preserve it and maybe have it available for tinkering.

 

....I was the highest bidder on two items...for about 10 minutes! LOL

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....I was the highest bidder on two items...for about 10 minutes! LOL

Well, there's the water buffalo bell he's got....

 

What were those Christmas Cards on disk like, any idea?

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What were those Christmas Cards on disk like, any idea?

 

 

Sierra On-Line used to create stand alone animated Christmas e-cards each year...and I believe that is the very first one created by Al Lowe himself.

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Do the disks include all of the graphics assets, etc.? I can recall once receiving the source code to a game that failed to include some key support files. I could therefore modify the code as I saw fit, but not actually compile it. :(

 

Of course the source for Leisure Suit Larry, etc. is of primarily historic interest. I cannot anyone wanting to release their own version of the game.

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Do the disks include all of the graphics assets, etc.? I can recall once receiving the source code to a game that failed to include some key support files. I could therefore modify the code as I saw fit, but not actually compile it. :(

 

 

 

Yes, in the video he walks through the assets and even talks about naming conventions. Plus on my Patreon site I have a longer 29 min version of the video where he REALLY goes in depth about how the games were programmed, conceived, etc... I'll drop this link here for the uber curious: https://www.patreon.com/posts/al-lowe-behind-23025336

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Al Lowe, one of my childhood heroes. Still, I really wish he had dumped and released the source first. By putting it up for bidding the risk that some asshole hoarder will snatch it up to lock away in his basement is just too big.

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Al Lowe, one of my childhood heroes. Still, I really wish he had dumped and released the source first. By putting it up for bidding the risk that some asshole hoarder will snatch it up to lock away in his basement is just too big.

 

 

I'm getting the feeling that the people bidding on these are archivists... like the National Videogame Museum.

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So the source code becomes an item that people would want to buy, but is not possible to sell or even donate? All that remains is destruction, at least if it contains fragments of Activision IP.

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So the source code becomes an item that people would want to buy, but is not possible to sell or even donate? All that remains is destruction, at least if it contains fragments of Activision IP.

 

I do not see why he could not donate these materials to an institution -- even if they could not make them available straight away.

 

I once worked at an archives that held sensitive records that were access restricted for 100+ years. Someday, all of the people whose privacy interests are affected will be dead, and then the records can be made available.

 

Similarly, Activision's copyright will eventually expire; it is just a matter of waiting long enough. People die, but public institutions can last forever, so that is an argument for transferring material to an archives or museum. YOU may not live long enough to gain access to these materials, but future generations will.

 

 

I am unfamiliar with American tax law, but, in Canada, such a donation to a public institution would be rewarded with an income tax credit for the fair market value of the donation.

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I do not see why he could not donate these materials to an institution -- even if they could not make them available straight away.

This whole things makes me think that making a copy and distributing anonymously would have been much more effective.

Now if this ever surfaces elsewhere it may be blamed on him... which is sad since it's basically a big company bullying the small guy.

 

Not that having the source code makes a huge impact. There was a leak of Art of Fighting source code for Neo Geo a while back,

and there hasn't been much out of it other than some comments on some internal variable names that were interesting. Here I was hoping for some remake or a modified version to pop up...

Edited by Newsdee

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What these dumbasses refuse to realise is the simple fact that all the fan projects actually increase interest in the IPs they hold rights for and profit from selling. My upcoming Leisure Metroid Chronomario Vania project will no doubt gather a nice following and thus add to the value of the offical brands, possibly generating more sales for the big uns. Never even mind the bad press/blood they get from C&D'ing such initiatives.

 

It's pathetic corporate mindless bullying at its worst.

 

(and Al should do the right thing: wait few months, dump the disks and leak'em to the Internet Archive on the hush hush)

Edited by youxia
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Companies have ZERO interest in preservation for preservation's sake. IP, games, products, and the like are no more than utility vehicles driving around to collect your money.

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