Age of Empires Beta 1 ARCHIVAL NO. 1005:
We´ve had the honour of grading and encapsulating an item from Microsoft Confidential, the first american Beta release of PC Age of empires.
The game came in a standard single jewel case. Documentation was added aswell as means of provenance, along with an AOE poster with apparent developers signatures on it.
The data inside the disc has been checked to the hexadecymal level and compared with the final commercial release, and several differences has been detected, which makes this an early creation non final videogame.
At plain sight, it even shows different dates and hours in comparison:
Beside other differences, in the root directory, it can be seen an extra doc file, (Zone.doc) which contains early instructions for the multiplayer capability, no longer in service.
The disc has been proved authentic to the full the extent of our knowledge.
The additional item containing the encapsulation is a poster with the signatures of some developers. According to the documentation provided by the owner, this comes from one of the original creators of the game in the USA.
After inspecting to the pixel level the poster, we cannot fully assure that the signatures on it are original, but a SCAN of an original poster.
The reason that has taken us into thinking this, are mainly that while examining the poster at the pixel level, we can perceive a shadow on the edges of every signature. This we believe was caused by the scanner light bulb projected onto the black colour as it was crossing the original document, creating a false deepening effect on that colour. This was the way some scanners worked in the 90´s, it can be seen on the following pictures:
If this would have been the work of an ink pen, the effect would have been at the same time on both sides of the signature, which never happens in here.
We do believe though that this is an authentic scan of one of the original posters signed by the team, made in Microsoft, since the type of paper and the size (Legal size 22x36 cm) is specific for law firms and official documents only used in corporations, and since the provenance could not state otherwise either, only its office origins.
In any case, this is a proud historical item, encased with our best effort on an outstanding custom made acrylic case, which will be the joy of any computer collector forever.
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