DIY remanufacturing/recreating computer software packaging?
August 4, 2019 10:33 AM   Subscribe

I bought some vintage software on CD-ROM. The discs are fine but the box and manuals are not. Dented, torn, and stained with brown splatters. How feasible is it to recreate the packaging? Make some replacement manuals in PDF, recreate box art, and print a new cardboard box and stuff? Have any vintage game collectors done anything similar? Where would I find out how to do this?
posted by Monochrome to Grab Bag (6 answers total)
P.S. Simply buying one in better condition is a no-go due to rarity/expense.
posted by Monochrome at 10:34 AM on August 4, 2019

I'd look for a book maker/book artist in the area. Often they make boxes, do printing, etc... Good luck!
posted by PistachioRoux at 10:39 AM on August 4, 2019

The people at Sudomod have done a bunch of this for GameBoy mods.
posted by Z303 at 10:48 AM on August 4, 2019

I see no reason why it couldn't be done, although I haven't seen anyone actually do it. I think a lot of game collectors (and collectors of old stuff in general) are more concerned about the authenticity of something rather than the condition, i.e. an authentic [whatever thing] in iffy condition is considered more desirable than a replica in perfect condition. But that's just a matter of opinion.

If you're just making one, I would try to carefully open the box up and flatten it out, and use it as a pattern for the new one. You'll need to scan (or photograph and then digitally flatten) the artwork, clean it up in Photoshop or similar, and then have a printer reproduce it on cardstock similar to what the original box was made from. Single-wall cardboard boxes, such as the ones that computer games used to come in, were generally die-cut I believe. That's an expensive process for a one-off and it may be hard to find someone locally who can do it; I would probably just have your printer give you several copies and then carefully work with an X-Acto to cut it to the right shape, using a tracing from the old box as a pattern.

The manual strikes me as being more tedious but probably more straightforward; you'll just need to scan each page (maybe find or borrow a book scanner?) get all the scans into a page layout program, and take it to a printer who can print and trim it to size. Any city should have a print shop capable of doing this, particularly if it's a simple binding method. (An office supplies store can probably do it, if you're okay with a spiral or comb binding. Sewn or "perfect" bound will probably require an actual printshop.)

It occurred to me that people who make props might have techniques for making one-off, realistic boxes for computer games, books, etc., but unfortunately my searches for anything related to video game props is inundated with results for prop/replica weapons. But maybe someone with better Google-fu can find something in that vein.
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:53 AM on August 4, 2019

Any graphic designer with Photoshop/Illustrator/InDesign, a scanner, a color printer, chipboard, spraymount, an x-acto knife, and a booklet stapler could do this but it would cost. Without seeing the originals, it's hard to estimate how much or if it could be attempted by a non-professional. Using a commercial or quick printer to print any of it, you might run into copyright issues.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 12:25 PM on August 4, 2019 [1 favorite]

If you’re just making full color sheets that you cut with a ruler and x-acto and spray adhesive to a box you’ve glued together out of foam core, probably any printer that produces the results you like is fine. If you want to replace, say, the name of a game on a cartridge, I’d probably do it with something like
posted by bigbigdog at 9:34 PM on August 4, 2019

« Older Seeking high-instep slip-on shoes for...   |   To roast, or not to roast... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.