Archivists looking to preserve every Minecraft version that ever existed have found the long-lost Alpha 1.1.1. It was online for less than 3.5 hours before being taken offline by Mojang due to a serious graphics bug.
The September 2010 Alpha 1.1.1 update brought some new features, such as a new fishing rod, the ability to sneak, and included five paintings. However, these improvements are not the reason why this version has proved so popular among a select few fans. That popularity has to do with another ‘feature’, which, thanks to a bug in the gamma slider debug code, caused the gamma and contrast values to be shifted to zero, resulting in a gray screen.
This is of course not what developer Mojang had in mind with this update, so after just under 3.5 hours the update was taken offline again. Later a 1.1.2 update appeared, which no longer had this ‘feature’. For most people, that 1.1.1 version no longer matters, but there is a club of archivists who want to find all versions. This club, Omniarchive, therefore scoured the internet in search of that long-lost Alpha 1.1.1 version. A search that turned up nothing for a long time, until last Friday.
One Omniarchive member saw that Twitter user LunaSorcery wrote about the then-new Minecraft update on September 2010. Judging by the time of the tweet, there was a good chance it was the Alpha 1.1.1 version. At random, Omniarchive member ProffApple sent a message urging Luna to look for backups. She couldn’t find anything on her laptop, but on an external hard drive she was luckier.
Luna sent the files to Omniarchive, which confirmed the correct Alpha version. It can now also be downloaded via the Internet Archive, including a fix for the bug. Something that brought great joy to the Omniarchive members, as can be seen in the screenshot below. Luna says she has learned a wise lesson: that you should never delete files irrevocably. You never know who can make you happy with it more than a decade later.