The world's oldest Torrent is still being shared worldwide after 4,500 days

Even though it's of a version of a sci-fi movie that's almost entirely unwatchable

Torrent, BitTorrent, The Matrix, ASCII

Keanu Reeves as Neo in 'The Matrix' as rendered on ASCII [Imgur]

A digital file that appears to have a life of its own, it has been revealed that the world’s oldest Torrent is a fan-made and barely watchable version of the 1999 sci-fi classic The Matrix, that is still downloaded a couple of times a week even though it plays the film entirely as a series of neon-green characters on a black background.

More than 12 years ago, some unknown web user uploaded the file to a website that now no longer exists. BitTorrent, which works as a distribution system for Torrent files of every kind, has seen millions of files uploaded in its history, and the first reports of this version of the Keanu Reeves-starring blockbuster emerged a decade ago, when tech reporters marvelled at how the file had been going for 696 days – which was unusually long at the time.

But now, more than 4,420 days since it first debuted on December 20th, 2003, the Torrent continues to attract a handful of downloads every week, and TorrentFreak, a blog dedicated to Torrents, reports that it is “the oldest torrent that’s still being actively shared.”

The ASCII version of the film was always intended as a parody of the original and has been downloaded by tens of thousands of people in its 12-year life. The glowing green letters and numbers are a pastiche of the film’s own graphics and design. You can see a scene from the sequel film The Matrix Reloaded in ASCII below:

Though not everyone is particularly fond of the unorthodox presentation, with one commenter in 2004 clearly not knowing what he or she was downloading, writing: “dude, tell me what to do with this Matrix ASCII, cause the picture is all green n stuff, cant even see what’s going on.”

Clearly that user didn’t know that you can only enjoy an ASCII version after you’ve swallowed the blue pill...

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