A moving image technician with the Library of Congress recently stumbled upon a very interesting find. While performing inventory of recently acquired video games, David Gibson found a DVD-R labeled Duke Nukem: Critical Mass (PSP). Finding a DVD-R isn't out of the ordinary for staffers except for the fact that this particular game was never released for Sony's now-discontinued handheld console.
Technicians with the Library of Congress often get such discs, most of which simply contain gameplay footage. But when Gibson dug a little deeper, he realized that the disc in question did not contain video, but instead a file directory, including every asset used to make up the game in a wide variety of proprietary formats.
It was only after even more research that he realized the game had never been released for the PSP and what he actually had on his hands was the source disc used to author the UMD (Universal Media Disc - the medium that Sony used for the PlayStation Portable).
The problem, however, was (and still remains) trying to gain access to Sony's proprietary files not to mention the legal hurdles they'd have to overcome. Gibson reached out to the homebrew community and while he did make some headway, he was ultimately unable to actually play the game.
For now, the assets and code will be stored in a digital archive at the Packard Campus in Culpeper and the physical disc will be stored in temperature-controlled vaults for preservation purposes.