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First Ever MMO Found By Gaming Preservationist

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Habitat was one of the first graphical virtual worlds and it has a major place in gaming history. Developed by Lucasfilm Games, it came out in 1986, and was the first attempt at a large-scale virtual community, and it is the world's first ever massively multiplayer online game or MMO. A couple years down the line, Lucasfilm Games would release a down-sized version named Club Caribe and it is this edition that has been discovered out in the wild.

And the person who found a physical copy of the game is none other than Frank Cifaldi, the founder and co-director of the Video Game History Foundation, a nonprofit based in Oakland, California that is dedicated to preserving and teaching the history of our beloved medium. Cifaldi made the "incredible find" at Retro City Games in Las Vegas and shared his discovery via his Twitter page.

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The copy he found was released in 1989 and even includes a map and manual, physical items that can be hard to track down even for NES or PS1 games, let alone something that's nearly 34 years old. They look in good condition too, which is not always easy when paper can be so easily corroded.

Habitat was developed for the Commodore 64 personal computer and was a pioneer in many ways. It was an online world that could support more than 15,000 players. These users could run Businesses, play mini Games, uncover secrets, discover mysteries, or, like most modern MMOs, just chill and hang out. Remember, this was a time when Games were composed of bytes and the Internet was pretty niche.

While legendary titles such as Ultimate Online and EverQuest might be thought of as among the first MMOs, Habitat predated these Games by more than a decade. While Games that allowed online multiplayer did exist before Habitat, Lucasfilm Games' title pioneered the virtual graphical space that users could share and interact with. (Gosh, that sounds like a metaverse.)

Developed by pioneers Chip Morningstar and Randy Farmer, Habitat connected players online using Quantum Link, which would eventually be succeeded by America Online (which you might know better as AOL). The Commodore 64 Game was eventually sunsetted in the early 1990s. The IP was sold off and was ported to different systems and Habitat 2 was even released on the likes of the Sega Saturn Japan (thanks The Verge).

Meanwhile, those wanting to give Habitat a play can do so via the Neohabitat project, which is available online for all to try. Neohabitat was created by Randy Farmer, one of the original creators of the original Game, and can be found here.

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