Since it was released back in 2009, Minecraft has been updated many, many, many times. Over the years, fans have started working together to find these past versions. Most have been easy to find. But one version, Alpha 1.1.1, was thought to be completely lost until a random tweet from a decade ago led to it being found on an old hard drive.
@Lunasorcery on Twitter shared a fascinating thread detailing how she recently saved a piece of Minecraft history.
The original Java build of Minecraft was released back in 2009 and then went through multiple stages of development and release. In 2010 the game was in its alpha stage and updates were frequent and sometimes released with no warning. These secret updates were usually dropped on Fridays. However, on September 18, 2010, a secret update was released on Saturday. This was the 1.1.1 update and while it introduced some important things, like fishing rods and ducking, it also added a nasty bug that could lead to a grey screen. So Mojang fixed the bug and quickly updated the game. Very quickly in fact. According to Minecraft experts and archivists, alpha 1.1.1 was only available to download for 3 hours and 25 minutes. After that 1.1.2 was released, which fixed the bug.
In recent years, tracking down a legit version of this update has proved impossible due to its surprise nature and the short window of opportunity players had to download it. Plus, it was bugged, so many folks back in the day deleted it and moved on to the better 1.1.2 update. So people at the Omniarchive, a group dedicated to finding and saving old versions of Minecraft games, had nearly given up hope of finding 1.1.1.
Then a few months back, someone looking for this version of the game found an old tweet from @Lunasorcery. The tweet from September 18, 2010 was simply her stating that there was a new version of Minecraft out. But the timing of the tweet caught someone’s eye. Could she have downloaded the rare 1.1.1 version of the game? If so, did she still have it? After ignoring the first message asking about the update, Luna responded on June 25 to a follow-up message and decided to go digging around to see if she had saved that rare update.
After plugging in an external hard drive that contained files from an old laptop on it, Luna found a Minecraft .jar file with the correct timestamp. A bit more digging and she was able to confirm that she indeed had the long sought after 1.1.1 update in her possession.
She posted the news in the Omniarchive Discord server and the community exploded with excitement and disbelief. “Just from the reactions, the reality of how big a find this is starts to set in,” said Luna in a Tweet. “I literally start shaking.”
Even more amazing is the discovery that, based on the file’s timestamps, Luna most likely downloaded this update only 90 seconds before it was removed and replaced with 1.1.2. Luna described this as some “freakin’ astronomical odds.”
“The moral of the story: Never delete anything,” Luna said in the final tweet ending the thread.