Every US PS2 Game Manual Has Now Been Preserved in 4K (and It Cost $40,000)

A game preservationist called Kirkland has done a great service to the world of video games – he has created a complete set of US PS2 game manuals online in 4K that can be viewed for free at any time. Oh, and it cost $40,000 to complete.

As reported by Kotaku, Kirkland has preserved over 1,900 PS2 game manuals, variants, art books, mini-guides, and comics by uploading them to Archive.org in 4K, and in doing so has forever opened a door to a time before the digital Renaissance.

Kirkland’s Collection of PS2 Games (Image Credit: Kirkland and Kotaku)

These game manuals used to be part of the joy of purchasing a new game, and you’d read them to learn how to play the game, see special art and other surprises, and more. These manuals are mostly a thing of the past now and either live online or have altogether disappeared, but Kirkland has helped ensure they won’t ever be forgotten.

The entire package comes in at around 17GB (230GB before compression!) and are organized alphabetically so you can jump to your favorite game with ease. For example, you can jump right into the game manual of Final Fantasy X and learn about the controls, each of the characters, the battle system, abilities, Aeons, and more. Also included are ads for merchandise, the Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within DVD, and even an ad for Final Fantasy X-2.

As for why Kirkland chose to undergo this project that took him nearly 22 years to complete, he said it’s all about preserving that piece of history and that he wanted “our kids to be able to enjoy what we did.”

“The goal is to raise some awareness for game preservation efforts,” Kirkland said. “So many games growing up shaped how we looked at and experienced the world. Of course as we ‘grow up,’ we move to other things but there are a lot of us who have nostalgia for these things and want our kids to be able to enjoy what we did. The whole ‘read the books your father read’ deal. And there have been great efforts to preserve games: VGHF, the Strong Museum, and grassroots efforts like MAME, redump.org, No-Intro, and Cowering’s Good Tools before that. Which I always thought, ‘This is great! We’re going to have everything preserved. But without the manuals, we’re not going to know how to play them.’”

Kirkland had to take out the staples of each manual and scan each page through the Epson DS-870 sheetfed scanner. He then used a variety of apps to clean them up before uploading them in 2K and 4K resolution.

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