A group of archivists that have been working to preserve every version of Minecraft ever released have finally found an early alpha version of the game that was thought to be completely lost.
The elusive version of Minecraft – Alpha 1.1.1, which was available for just over three hours on September 18, 2010 – was discovered by Twitter user @Lunasorcery on a hard drive that contained backups from an old laptop.
As reported by Kotaku, Luna detailed the find in a Twitter thread, in which she explained that a member of the Minecraft preservation community recently contacted her after they discovered she had posted a tweet about a new Minecraft update back on September 18, 2010. Due to the date of the tweet, the person wondered if she had downloaded the update within the three hour window Alpha 1.1.1 was available.
Luckily, Luna had a USB hard drive back-up of the laptop she had been playing Minecraft on 11 years ago. And, even more luckily, it had the files for Minecraft Alpha 1.1.1. Luna posted the files to the Omniarchive Discord server, the place where the Minecraft preservation community gathers. They were able to verify that the files were legitimately Alpha 1.1.1, and that – remarkably – Luna had downloaded it just under 90 seconds before the version was replaced by Alpha 1.1.2.
So I posted in the Omniarchive server, and it would be an understatement to say that a few people noticed.
Just from the reactions, the reality of how big a find this is starts to set in. I literally start shaking. pic.twitter.com/cAg8vgu2ox
— Luna 🏳️🌈 (@lunasorcery) June 26, 2021
Alpha 1.1.1 has been considered a Holy Grail by the Minecraft community for years due to the way it was released. Minecraft updates in the game’s early years were dropped with no warning, usually on Fridays. However, Alpha 1.1.1 was dropped on a Saturday, which earned it its nickname “Seecret Saturday 1”. This update added fishing rods and sneaking, but had a bug that would make the screen go completely grey. As such, it was quickly replaced by Alpha 1.1.2 just over three hours later. Because this version was launched on an unexpected Saturday and only existed for three hours, the community had believed the chances of finding someone who had downloaded it and still had it was incredibly slim, and so assumed it was lost forever. Luna’s find has therefore been a massive breakthrough for Minecraft preservation.
Matt Purslow is IGN’s UK News and Entertainment Writer.