Reunited and it feels so good
I’m sure we could all use some good news today.
Last week we told you about a missing package containing somewhere around $10,000 worth of PAL format Super Nintendo (SNES) games. The package was on its way to archivist and game historian Byuu, who was working with the games’ owner to create and upload perfect ROMs of their data. Unfortunately, the parcel went missing somewhere between its origin in Frankfurt, Germany, and Byuu’s home in New Jersey. Byuu was convinced that the package had been stolen when he received the mailing labels and an apology letter from the United States Postal Service (USPS).
It wasn’t looking good, and Byuu began setting things in motion to replace the cartridges for the collector, assuming he’d never see the package again. However, the media attention the story received on this site and elsewhere helped Byuu to get in touch with a manager at the USPS Consumer Affairs department, who began looking into the case personally. “It wasn’t until the story really started to take off that on February 16th, finally a manager… took note of the case.” Byuu wrote in a statement on his website. “And I mean that literally: he told me straight up the reason he was contacting me was because of the news articles he had encountered on this case.”
Earlier today, Byuu contacted me to let me know that this story had a happy ending after all. The missing package was located in the Atlanta, Georgia mail recovery center on February 21 and successfully delivered to Byuu today. Understandably, Byuu wanted to make sure the ordeal was well and truly over before going public with the news. In Byuu’s words, “[G]iven all the constant ups and downs, I wanted to wait until the package was in hand before giving anyone any false hope.”
Byuu had set up a Patreon and PayPal to collect donations from people willing to help replace the missing games for the lender. Since the contents are no longer missing, Byuu has begun refunding those donations. Byuu says he’ll keep the Patreon open, and intends to use its proceeds to purchase the remaining PAL titles so that he won’t have to borrow them from anyone else, then resell them once the transfers are complete. No money has been collected yet, and Byuu says all Patreon donors will be updated on the shift in the Patreon’s goals before they’re asked to donate, so they can adjust or cancel their funding if they’d like. Perhaps the best news to come out of this is that digital archiving of the PAL library can resume. To quote Byuu, “[W]ith these games recovered, I’ll declare the preservation project undead!”
Byuu offered an apology to the USPS for assuming that the games had been stolen, though he isn’t letting the postal service off the hook entirely.
“There is a very real issue in that their machines are ripping the labels right off of packages. There’s a very real concern in that it’s damn near impossible to get help when something goes wrong unless you manage to attract a lot of media attention… My package was sitting in Atlanta, GA for well over a month with my address clearly visible right on the box. Had this case not been escalated to the media, it likely would have gone up for auction in a bin with other electronics sometime in March.
As absolutely thrilled as I am to have these games finally delivered, I do still believe the entire experience reflects poorly on the capabilities of the USPS. All I can do is caution people to minimize the amount of valuables sent through them, and to make sure that 100% of the value of their items are covered by insurance.”
Preservation — Found Package [byuu.org]