Featured StoryGenesisNews

Retro archivist seeks to digitize and translate all SEGA Genesis manuals

Video game preservation has (rightfully) become an important topic for the gaming industry as more and more stories of lost media surface. As gaming is now a part of modern culture, a growing number of voices are demanding that its history be protected for future generations. Part of that trend is archiving information on video games through online databases such as IDGB.com and MobyGames, which compile information like game credits and documentation for all to see. Unfortunately, while many entries on these sites are comprehensive, many are left incomplete due to obscurity, lack of concrete data, or disinterest from users — among other reasons.

Thankfully, another archivist has entered the scene with hopes of protecting the legacy of classic (and non-classic!) video games. ResetEra user Water has announced VGComplete, a database dedicated to cataloging 100 percent of a game system’s library complete with scans of box art, cartridges, and manuals. Essentially, each entry acts as a “complete-in-box” tour through its respective game, deliberately mimicking the feeling of browsing through your local game store in the 90s and 2000s. The first system on the docket is the SEGA Genesis, with Water planning to include manuals and other docs for every game released for the console (at least, in the United States).

VGComplete compiles info on all your favorite Genesis games — oh, and Action 52, I guess.

The aim of VGComplete, according to its About page, is “to encompass the experience of visually exploring games that harkens back the days of browsing games based off their box art, but modernizes the idea with expanded display and sorting options.”

Admitting that “all retro game databases are kind of boring,” Water designed the VGComplete interface with ease-of-use and visual satisfaction in mind. The result is a sleek, comfortable-to-read website that looks great on both desktop and mobile. The scanned documents are of high quality as well, keeping the look of these manuals intact and (most importantly) readable on modern devices. Sure, there’s the occasional rip or tear in the booklets, but in a way, that just adds to the charm; if nothing else, it helps bring touch of realism to this digital collection.

Part of the VGComplete project involves translating manuals for SEGA Genesis games that were never physically released, including titles that were exclusively available through SEGA Channel. While fan translations of these games are readily available, Water noticed a lack of translations for the manuals that accompanied them. Thus, they’ve taken it upon themselves to provide full English coverage on these documents, including both hiring a translator to convert the text and inserting that text into a digital recreation of the manual. The finished products are impressive indeed, giving us a peek into a reality where these games came out overseas.

Previously unreleased in America, VGComplete has translated the manual for Monster Boy IV.

The most impressive part is that this endeavor is spearheaded by one person in their free time paid for out-of-pocket. “It’s just a little hobby I’ve been working on and there’s no monetization behind it,” Water mentioned in the ResetEra post announcing their work. “It’s taken a lot of time to get it in its current state, but if people think it’s useful I’d love to keep adding games to it and eventually complete it.”

Water is currently working through the SEGA Genesis library (they have expressed interest in digitizing non-American releases but are sticking to uploading NSTC-U games for now) in alphabetical order. Support for the Dreamcast is promised in the future alongside non-SEGA consoles like the NES, SNES, N64, and PlayStation.

You can learn more about the project as well as browse through its current library here.

Via NME.

Daniel Hein

Daniel Hein is either A) a lifelong video game fanatic, writer, and storyteller just sharing his thoughts on things, or B) some kind of werewolf creature. We're not quite sure which yet. He also makes mediocre video game retrospectives (and other content!) on YouTube where you can watch him babble on for hours about nothing.
Back to top button