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Legend of Zelda NES Nintendo Prototype On Sale For $150K

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the I'm-going-to-need-a-raise dept.

NES (Games) 114

YokimaSun writes "Following on from Last months Mega auction of rare games that went for a staggering 1.2 Million dollars, comes another auction. This time its of the only Legend of Zelda Nes Prototype cartridge in the world, bundled with it is a sealed copy of the retail version of the game, those of you excited by this news will have to dig deep because the price is set at a mouthwatering US $150,000.00."

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pretty far out prototype as per description.. (2)

gl4ss (559668) | about 2 years ago | (#40818875)

"Game Special Features Horseback riding is a new and key element in the game play. A great deal of combat takes place on horseback enabling Link to bump his adversaries off their war-horses. Shifting camera system that allows for views behind the back and from above. Camera can be locked during battles. All new characters."

so.. does this proto have that or did they just copypaste that from somewhere?

Re:pretty far out prototype as per description.. (5, Informative)

eyenot (102141) | about 2 years ago | (#40818931)

That description is clearly from the Gamecube Zelda game "Twilight Princess".

Re:pretty far out prototype as per description.. (2)

zifn4b (1040588) | about 2 years ago | (#40819525)

That description is really messed up. Ocarina of Time is the first Zelda game to feature horseback riding. Twilight Princess is the first game to feature horseback combat.

Re:pretty far out prototype as per description.. (1)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about 2 years ago | (#40821309)

That description is really messed up. Ocarina of Time is the first Zelda game to feature horseback riding. Twilight Princess is the first game to feature horseback combat.

Unless I'm misremembering things badly, OoT allows you to use the bow and arrow while riding Epona. Doesn't that count as "horseback combat"?

Hey look! An Ebay Auction. (4, Insightful)

NalosLayor (958307) | about 2 years ago | (#40818887)

I hate to be that guy, but is this marketing spam? I mean, it's not like it's some lost version of the game or some unreleased sequel. Its a late prototype of a widely released game that may or may not have the exact same ROM on it as the one that shipped. Rare? Yes. Interesting to anyone other than an high level (read:obsessive) collector? I doubt it.

Re:Hey look! An Ebay Auction. (3, Informative)

tuffy (10202) | about 2 years ago | (#40818995)

It's probably this prototype [tcrf.net] whose ROM is floating around the interwebs, but remains quite valuable as a physical cartridge.

Re:Hey look! An Ebay Auction. (4, Informative)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about 2 years ago | (#40819193)

It's probably NOT that prototype, since they stated in the auction that there are no apparent differences that they've seen between it and the final release version. I'd imagine that the missing prologue of the prototype you linked would have stood out. Also, his prototype is stamped NOA for Nintendo of America, and, I believe, has been localized into English, whereas the prototype you've linked is in Japanese. It sounds like his is a much later prototype and from a different branch of the company.

Re:Hey look! An Ebay Auction. (1)

tuffy (10202) | about 2 years ago | (#40819971)

You're quite right. I should've noticed it wasn't a Famicom cartridge earlier, but only saw the picture and read the description more thoroughly after my post.

Re:Hey look! An Ebay Auction. (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about 2 years ago | (#40820007)

Now that you mention it, I completely failed to notice that it wasn't a Famicon cart either. That would've been the obvious thing to point out, had I realized it. *facepalm*

Even so, your post was quite interesting, since while I had heard about that ROM, I hadn't seen much info on it prior to this.

Re:Hey look! An Ebay Auction. (1)

LocalH (28506) | about 2 years ago | (#40820297)

The dumped Zelda proto wasn't a Famicom cart, either.

Re:Hey look! An Ebay Auction. (1)

LocalH (28506) | about 2 years ago | (#40819605)

Nope. That prototype was FDS, not cartridge.

Re:Hey look! An Ebay Auction. (1)

Trepidity (597) | about 2 years ago | (#40819009)

Links to ebay sales of vintage games seems to be a minor theme [slashdot.org] of July 2012 for some reason.

Re:Hey look! An Ebay Auction. (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 2 years ago | (#40819523)

Why bother with this expensive stuff?

[walks over and fires up MAME machine, housed in an original Tempest cabinet]

Re:Hey look! An Ebay Auction. (1)

Trepidity (597) | about 2 years ago | (#40819645)

Collector instinct I guess.

I do think there are some differences to playing consoles on the original hardware, though. Emulators have been getting better, e.g. improving the fidelity of audio emulation (there are some weird hardware sound chips that are hard to emulate), and in a few emulators, recreating the CRT phosphor decay. But there can still be significant differences.

On the other hand, all you really need for even that is the console itself, since you can get rewritable cartridges to load ROMs onto. If I were putting together an original-console setup, I'd probably do it that way, archiving the consoles physically but the games electronically.

Re:Hey look! An Ebay Auction. (1)

wolrahnaes (632574) | about 2 years ago | (#40820079)

On the other hand, all you really need for even that is the console itself, since you can get rewritable cartridges to load ROMs onto. If I were putting together an original-console setup, I'd probably do it that way, archiving the consoles physically but the games electronically.

That's a project I've been investigating the feasibility of recently, using a microcontroller or FPGA to emulate cartridges for use with real console hardware. Most ROM-only cartridges could probably be handled by a microcontroller with sufficient memory, but the 16 bit era in particular brought a lot of on-cartridge coprocessors (SNES's SuperFX being the most well known) which would probably bump those firmly up in to FPGA territory.

The catch of course is that the consoles that would be easiest to do this with are also those that are best emulated. I'm pretty sure there were recent articles about a SNES emulator (maybe simulator in this case) which on paper should be literally perfect, though it has much higher CPU requirements than others due to its exacting simulation of the individual chips rather than taking shortcuts where available.

Re:Hey look! An Ebay Auction. (3, Informative)

Trepidity (597) | about 2 years ago | (#40820233)

recent articles about a SNES emulator (maybe simulator in this case) which on paper should be literally perfect

Ah yeah, I remember that story; found this Slashdot post about it [slashdot.org] from last year.

That's getting pretty close to perfect, but I think some of the tricky part is not just emulating the console hardware, but the interface with the analog world, which you can get even with a literally exact emulation.

For example, one of the most common aesthetic flaws in emulators is audio aliasing. If you take the Atari 2600's sound chip, it outputs square waves directly to line-out, because it's a super-cheap chip that is literally a digital circuit (alternating high and low voltages) plugged into analog audio out. Its operation has been reverse engineered so it's emulated bit- and cycle-perfectly by most Atari emulators. But the sound in most of them is still wrong, because when you generate square waves digitally as PCM audio, as opposed to plugging a circuit directly into an analog line-out, you get pretty bad aliasing. Digitally generating unaliased (band-limited) square waves is actually a fairly complex problem, with a bunch of research papers about it. This guy [slack.net] has been trying to get code into some emulators to do it.

That's just one example, but the observation is that you have to do more than a literal simulation of the original hardware to get it to be a good emulation, sometimes, in this case dealing with the fact that digital simulation of audio-generating chips is inherently different from running those chips to analog audio output.

Re:Hey look! An Ebay Auction. (1)

adavies42 (746183) | about 2 years ago | (#40823285)

i suppose the worst case is asteroids, which is only properly reproducible with an oscilloscope....

Re:Hey look! An Ebay Auction. (1)

Applekid (993327) | about 2 years ago | (#40820561)

That's a project I've been investigating the feasibility of recently, using a microcontroller or FPGA to emulate cartridges for use with real console hardware. Most ROM-only cartridges could probably be handled by a microcontroller with sufficient memory, but the 16 bit era in particular brought a lot of on-cartridge coprocessors (SNES's SuperFX being the most well known) which would probably bump those firmly up in to FPGA territory.

The catch of course is that the consoles that would be easiest to do this with are also those that are best emulated. I'm pretty sure there were recent articles about a SNES emulator (maybe simulator in this case) which on paper should be literally perfect, though it has much higher CPU requirements than others due to its exacting simulation of the individual chips rather than taking shortcuts where available.

Existing products like Everdrive and Powerpak (and more I may not know about) do exactly that. While you're slightly late, the idea is interesting and implementations can differ widely, so please don't quit and you might produce something far superior to these. For example, VRC7 is not supported by the NES Powerpak, hardware acceleration chips like SuperFX aren't supported on the SNES Powerpak, and certain game save types aren't supported by Everdrive 64

Re:Hey look! An Ebay Auction. (1)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about 2 years ago | (#40820711)

That's a project I've been investigating the feasibility of recently, using a microcontroller or FPGA to emulate cartridges for use with real console hardware.

For the NES, this has already been done [retrousb.com] . You're correct that for the SNES, coprocessors would make it a more difficult proposition.

Re:Hey look! An Ebay Auction. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40821777)

You mean like this:

http://sd2snes.de/blog/status

Re:Hey look! An Ebay Auction. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40821127)

You desecrated an original Tempest machine to make a stupid MAME cabinet? Heretic!

Re:Hey look! An Ebay Auction. (1)

Fishchip (1203964) | about 2 years ago | (#40822219)

Granted, your Tempest cab probably didn't cost as much as this, but there's a smidgen of irony there.

My favorite part of the listing: (5, Funny)

Rei (128717) | about 2 years ago | (#40818913)

Price: US $150,000.00
Approximately £95,456.28 ...

Sell it yourself £12.00 Avg used

Wow, what a deal!

Re:My favorite part of the listing: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40820579)

That is greed plain and simple. People who can spend that much on a game have no business buying it. They should give that money to the poor or some other good cause, not foolish games. Go OWNS mf-ers

Re:My favorite part of the listing: (2)

LocalH (28506) | about 2 years ago | (#40820701)

Who are you to pass judgement on how someone else spends their money?

Re:My favorite part of the listing: (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40820825)

A typical slash dotter thats who! F the rich CEOS, and everyone else.

Re:My favorite part of the listing: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40821169)

The real problem is how foolish people end up with so much money in the first place.

Were you being sarcastic? (4, Insightful)

FilmedInNoir (1392323) | about 2 years ago | (#40818953)

Steak with blue cheese is mouthwatering. $150,000.000 for an old NES game is jaw-dropping, staggering, and possibly outrageous. Consult with your local thesaurus to learn more.

Re:Were you being sarcastic? (1)

jon_doh2.0 (2097642) | about 2 years ago | (#40819295)

Perhaps eye-watering was meant.

Re:Were you being sarcastic? (1)

hackula (2596247) | about 2 years ago | (#40819907)

I know. Isn't it ironic?

Re:Were you being sarcastic? (1)

Tarlus (1000874) | about 2 years ago | (#40821105)

For those who like a rich flavor...

Re:Were you being sarcastic? (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about 2 years ago | (#40821717)

This is like an MMO auction. Set the highest possible price and hope someone bites. Doesn't matter if it's outrageously high because it costs you nothing to attempt to sell it to naive fools.

Upload the ROM data (1)

twocows (1216842) | about 2 years ago | (#40818963)

It would be really neat if whoever bought it was to upload the ROM data to the internet for everyone to see and experience. Unfortunately, it's more likely going to sit in someone's collection in a pretty little glass case.

Re:Upload the ROM data (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about 2 years ago | (#40819037)

The reason that this stinks is because it appears to be the exact same rom that was released. The only reason to release the rom would be to get entusiasts to crowdsource and see if there are actual differences from the released version.

Someone could of easily just taken a old cartridge rom from a released cart. and put it in its own case. If you could show differences it would be a different story.

Re:Upload the ROM data (2)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about 2 years ago | (#40819481)

Someone could of easily just taken a old cartridge rom from a released cart. and put it in its own case.

The circuit board is definitely not the same as the released version. The production version of Legend of Zelda has a standard NES-SNROM PCB. The prototype in this auction uses a custom board labeled "NES-SRP-TEST-02" which appears to have four EPROMs installed, probably 256Kbit each. (The production version has the game code on a single 1Mbit mask ROM.)

Re:Upload the ROM data (1)

LocalH (28506) | about 2 years ago | (#40819753)

I've never heard of "NES-SRP-TEST-02" and apparently neither has Google. Most prototypes I've seen are either on modified retail boards, custom boards, or NES-TKEPROM boards. Coupled with the fact that I can't see any NES video artifacts (although the video is blurry), I'm having serious doubts about this cartridge's authenticity. The artifacts could be explained away by either blurry camera or RGB-modded NES, but the board is a big red flag one for me. Even if it is authentic, it wouldn't be worth $150,000 being most likely the final retail binary. There was an actual prototype Zelda disk that had numerous differences, and it didn't sell for anywhere near $150,000.

Re:Upload the ROM data (1)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about 2 years ago | (#40819817)

I wonder what the "SRP" stands for. Summer Retail Promotion, perhaps? Does anyone know if Zelda was demoed in toy stores during the summer of 1987? Just speculation on my part. I can't say for sure if it is authentic.

SxROM is MMC1 (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#40819941)

I do know S-series boards tend to be used with MMC1 mapper. Retail LOZ was released on an NES-SNROM board.

Re:Upload the ROM data (1)

LocalH (28506) | about 2 years ago | (#40819913)

Doing some research, it appears that this game came through DreamTR, a well known prototype collector. This eases my mind a bit on the authenticity, as he knows what he's talking about. Here's a tiny, tiny bit of info [neswarpzone.com] .

Re:Upload the ROM data (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40820559)

>I've never heard of "NES-SRP-TEST-02" and apparently neither has Google

I'd bet it has heard of it now ...

Re:Upload the ROM data (1)

PyroMosh (287149) | about 2 years ago | (#40821267)

I agree that $150K seems way overly optimistic.

But why should it surprise you that you've never heard of a board for what may be a one-off prototype?

Particularly since Zelda was the first game to have battery-backup save (and you can plainly see what looks like a battery on the board), it would make sense that they might create a custom board for testing.

Re:Upload the ROM data (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 2 years ago | (#40819849)

..and the desc is messed up and both the evidence links were dead when I tried them.

of course if someone bought this without having prior knoweledge of the carts existence, he would be a fool

Re:Upload the ROM data (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40819043)

This. The only people who can afford this are the right pretentious types who don't like anyone else having what they have.

Basically the worst of the worst when it comes to collectors.

Mouthwatering? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40819053)

"Mouthwatering" may not be the best description for this... how about "bowel loosening"?

Re:Mouthwatering? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40820497)

I think they meant "eye-watering" which is usually the term used when something is very expensive/large.

"Mouth-watering" would mean it's something you want and I don't see why someone would be salivating over a high price other than the people selling it.

Why? (1)

Captain Spam (66120) | about 2 years ago | (#40819071)

As someone who likes to play games, a prototype cartridge only really has value to me if it's a beta or otherwise different version from the released game or for an obscure game that never actually got released (i.e. the English version of Mother 1 (colloquially: Earthbound Zero), which was translated and localized, but had the plug pulled at the last second before NOA released it). Apart from tossing it in a display case and inviting people to come stare at it for a few seconds, what would be the purpose of a prototype cart of one of the most popular games of the NES era? To me, it sounds like it has the same amount of novelty as the gold cases: "Yes, it's the same program as the game everyone else has... but this one's in a funny-looking prototype case!"

Re:Why? (1)

noc007 (633443) | about 2 years ago | (#40819575)

Value is in the eye of the beholder. For someone out there, this is a piece of history.

It really depends on if a person values it or not. A few examples:
-Beanie Babies are valuable to some people. I got a scolding before I was about to cut off the paper TY tag; I still don't understand why that stupid tag increases the value of an overpriced stuffed animal.
-The Mona Lisa is one of the most famos paintings and is considered by some to be priceless. For someone that doesn't understand or care about its history or significance, it's just another stupid painting.
-In the Star Trek cannon, gold is worthless.

/Maybe one day I'll get lucky and my POG collection will actually be worth something.

Re:Why? (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | about 2 years ago | (#40819791)

I agree 100%. However, in this case, there aren't many beholders who's eyes value it at that price.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40820937)

-In the Star Trek cannon, gold is worthless

I beg to differ; as a projectile from a cannon, gold would probably work much better than wood or styrofoam.

The word you are looking for is "canon."

Re:Why? (1)

geminidomino (614729) | about 2 years ago | (#40821595)

I beg to differ; as a projectile from a cannon, gold would probably work much better than wood or styrofoam.

That just means that wood and styrofoam are useless, too. I imagine that the titanium hull of a starship would weather the ablative strike of a soft gold projectile rather well.

Re:Why? (1)

NalosLayor (958307) | about 2 years ago | (#40822679)

Not necessarily. It all depends on how fast said gold is going. After all, you punch a hole in the side of a tank using liquid copper.

It's not a prototype. It's a test cart (2, Interesting)

Eightbitgnosis (1571875) | about 2 years ago | (#40819079)

The Zelda Test cartridge comes in that sort of orangeish yellow color. I used to have one myself.

Just do a google search for "NES Zelda test cart", and you'll find plenty of other examples. This particular test cart just happens to have a hand written label.

It's a nice find, but worth no more than $150

Re:It's not a prototype. It's a test cart (3, Informative)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about 2 years ago | (#40819219)

It's not a test cart, it's a prototype. As they pointed out if you read through the questions and follow some of the links, the PCB for this cart is unlike any of the ones ever seen in a test cart. Externally it looks similar. Internally it's anything but. Hence why it's being billed as unique.

Re:It's not a prototype. It's a test cart (1)

Eightbitgnosis (1571875) | about 2 years ago | (#40819509)

I saw the questions section, but I found very little in the way of proof. There is no picture of a test cart's PCB to verify against, and the in article they refer to verify this claim has nothing more than front facing picture and a passing mention of the cart. Do you have a verifiable Zelda test cart PCB picture to compare against?

If this is a prototype then why did it come out in a test cart's color? The orangish-yellow is a standard in many other test carts. Taking a look at other NES prototypes I find only grey carts.

Re:It's not a prototype. It's a test cart (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about 2 years ago | (#40819885)

It makes no sense that they would need to debunk every conspiracy theory, so I don't see why you're expecting them to have posted pictures of a test cart's PCB just to verify that it isn't one. Should they have also posted pictures of a Duck Hunt cartridge or an empty box or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to demonstrate that the item for sale is NOT one of those?

What they did do is post images of the prototype's PCB, so if your claims are valid, you have everything you need to disprove them. Rather than asking me for proof, however, I'd suggest you should do your own legwork, since the onus is on you to prove your extraordinary claims. The people asking questions in the auction certainly seem to think it's different, since one of the questions asks how they can be certain this isn't a test cart with the PCB swapped, suggesting that they recognize that the PCB is different.

Re:It's not a prototype. It's a test cart (2)

Eightbitgnosis (1571875) | about 2 years ago | (#40820169)

Ahh sure, why should someone selling something for $150,000 be expected to provide evidence of the item's validity.....

Why would they post the PCB? Well do you have a spare Zelda test cart to compare against? Even among those who have one; would they open it up? This isn't exactly an easy verification.

Re:It's not a prototype. It's a test cart (1)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about 2 years ago | (#40820693)

Why would they post the PCB? Well do you have a spare Zelda test cart to compare against? Even among those who have one; would they open it up? This isn't exactly an easy verification.

Opening NES cartridges is not at all difficult, and there is essentially no risk of damage if you use the correct tool and work with reasonable care. (Japanese Famicom games are actually more of a challenge, because they snap together rather than using screws, and it's easy to break the plastic trying to get them apart.)

Re:It's not a prototype. It's a test cart (1)

Viewsonic (584922) | about 2 years ago | (#40821069)

I'm sorry, but when trying to sell something like this, it is up to the seller to provide all the verifiable proof. Sadly, anyone buying this cart without a written letter from one of the developers involved, or someone at Nintendo who can certify this as legit, is going to be let down and should probably stay as far away from this as possible.

Re:It's not a prototype. It's a test cart (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about 2 years ago | (#40821567)

I agree and I disagree.

Yes, in an ideal case, letters or certificates of authenticity should be provided. I also agree that most people would be setting themselves up to be let down. This isn't something I'd buy, even at $15.

However, there are some cases where an item may be genuine and may be unique, but because of the nature of the item its authenticity can never be confirmed. As a result, the fact that it exists is taken as tautological evidence that it is what it claims to be, since what else could it be? Prototypes are a great example, since they rarely leave the company willingly, the company is generally unwilling to discuss them, and only a handful of people within the company may even have knowledge of a particular prototype. That doesn't mean that they are any less genuine, just that it isn't verifiable, nor should it be expected to be verifiable.

The types of people in the market for this are the types of people that are used to not having certificates of authenticity tied to every cart that they buy. They know what they're getting into. Or at least I would hope they are.

The only question here is whether this is something created by a third-party, rather than something unique that originated from within Nintendo. The evidence does seem to point towards it being from Nintendo, but I agree that you'd be taking a large risk in purchasing it. Personally, while I do believe it's legit, and I definitely don't think it's a test cart (which was the contention being made here by others), I'd tell anyone asking me for advice to not purchase it.

Re:It's not a prototype. It's a test cart (1)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about 2 years ago | (#40819903)

I saw the questions section, but I found very little in the way of proof. There is no picture of a test cart's PCB to verify against, and the in article they refer to verify this claim has nothing more than front facing picture and a passing mention of the cart. Do you have a verifiable Zelda test cart PCB picture to compare against?

Someone on the NintendoAge forum who owns a yellow Zelda test cart said [nintendoage.com] that it has the same PCB as the production cart.

You can see a photo of the production Zelda PCB here [dyndns.org] .

Re:It's not a prototype. It's a test cart (1)

Eightbitgnosis (1571875) | about 2 years ago | (#40820287)

As much as I'd like to take the word of Parpunk's random 2007 post I'm not convinced. I have no idea who that is, and given the distinctive test-cart-like features of the game I'm inclined inclined to believe it is not a prototype.

In addition we don't even know if the PCB in the picture belongs to this game. Who is going to open it up to check it out after buying? Or maybe this was formatted from another non-Zelda PCB with compatible mappers?

Hey, maybe Parpunk is right. And maybe this is a prototype that just happens to look like a test cart. But that's a huge maybe for a $150,000 purchase. Would you spend that much without verifying six ways to Sunday that this was legit?

Re:It's not a prototype. It's a test cart (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40820953)

I wouldn't spend that much on anything Zelda, period.

But yeah, you really do look like a tinfoilhatter right now.

Re:It's not a prototype. It's a test cart (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about 2 years ago | (#40820995)

If you're the type that's inclined to drop $150,000 on a prototype, there's a good chance you already have a few test carts in your collection and have seen what their PCBs look like, since you'd be used to checking the authenticity of those as well, I should think.

Re:It's not a prototype. It's a test cart (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40819745)

The type of PCB means nothing. It's the content of the ROMs that matters, and it's 100% identical to the retail game.

This is worth nothing.

Re:It's not a prototype. It's a test cart (1)

LocalH (28506) | about 2 years ago | (#40820353)

Well, there are two schools of thought:

1) What matters is the data, and if it's identical to retail then it's worthless
2) What matters is the authenticity, and even if the binary is identical to retail, the fact that it's an authentic prototype/test cart is worth something

I belong to the latter school. I own a Sonic 3 EPROM cartridge that's on an authentic board, but I've dumped it to find out it's 100% bit-identical to retail. It's still worth something to me because it's an authentic prototype cartridge.

It's the first school of thought that causes such carts to go undumped, even for private backup (although this mindset is waning). If I had the cash, I'd still pay even for a cart that had been dumped and publically released, as the cart is still unique and not so easily fakeable (sure there exist repros, but they don't usually reproduce the prototype housing, just the data).

It's certainly not with $150,000 though. I expect it to end up either selling for maybe a couple thousand, or not selling at all.

Dead Battery? (1, Offtopic)

guttentag (313541) | about 2 years ago | (#40819109)

I can see the winner posting a series of YouTube videos:
  • feverishly unwrapping it
  • documenting the unboxing
  • inserting it into his NES
  • playing it for six hours
  • saving
  • coming back to find that his save is lost because the 25-year-old battery is dead
  • throwing a tantrum involving a lot of yelling and smashed ABS plastic
  • a sad, drunken admission that the only reason he bought it was because the battery in his old cartridge had died and he assumed a new one would have a fresh battery

Re:Dead Battery? (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about 2 years ago | (#40819241)

Strangely, I could see someone like Notch from Minecraft fame doing something like that as a prank, since he hasn't exactly been shy about spending big for some random things.

Re:Dead Battery? (1)

Tarlus (1000874) | about 2 years ago | (#40821353)

It's not like they're hard to replace...

Re:Dead Battery? (1)

AmberBlackCat (829689) | about 2 years ago | (#40822509)

For what it's worth, I don't think you're off-topic.

Nice! (1)

drxenos (573895) | about 2 years ago | (#40819135)

I've been collecting computer games since the 70s (yes, 70s). I love this kind of stuff! What I really want to see is the prototype cartridge for the Atari 2600 version of Treasures of Tarmin. I would love to have to the ROM from that!

Mentally challenged editor? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40819207)

"This time its of the only Legend of Zelda Nes Prototype cartridge in the world, bundled with it is a sealed copy of the retail version of the game, those of you excited by this news will have to dig deep because the price is set at a mouthwatering US $150,000.00."

Those are at least three different sentences in one -- horrible comma abuse -- and it's "it's". Fucking retarded editor. I want to murder you for this.

Re:Mentally challenged editor? (1)

Tr3vin (1220548) | about 2 years ago | (#40819309)

You must be new here. On slashdot, editors don't actually edit anything. Instead, they just post whatever was submitted.

Re:Mentally challenged editor? (5, Funny)

Rei (128717) | about 2 years ago | (#40819369)

Fucking retarded editor. I want to murder you for this.

Fine, except that he's hiding deep inside a dungeon in Death Mountain, and to get access to it, you'll need to collect the pieces of a sacred relic of power from different dungeons scattered across the land...

Re:Mentally challenged editor? (2)

Megane (129182) | about 2 years ago | (#40820545)

Sorry, your fucking retarded editor is in another castle!

Re:Mentally challenged editor? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40820319)

Herpderp AC, you can't have the balls to murder if you haven't grown enough of them to man up enough to use an actual user name.

Re:Mentally challenged editor? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40820417)

You are retarded.

Another Previously Unreleased Software Application (2)

Astrogen (16643) | about 2 years ago | (#40819265)

I have some early versions of a dice rolling game I made in the late 80's. Never been seen before.

The game crashes in certain circumstances, but it isn't documented exactly why.

The bidding starts at $1000.

Re:Another Previously Unreleased Software Applicat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40819321)

I have an unfinished slot machine game that I programmed somewhere around 2001. I'll beet your $1000 and offer it for $999. Any takers?

Re:Another Previously Unreleased Software Applicat (1)

Tynin (634655) | about 2 years ago | (#40819537)

I have an unfinished slot machine game that I programmed somewhere around 2001. I'll beet your $1000 and offer it for $999. Any takers?

In 1998, I wrote a tic-tac-toe game that you and a friend could play together, using two separate computers, via... dare I say it!? Why via TCP socket wizardry! ...and the like, all done in what little of C++ I knew! I promise you it is still in its completed beta form! Even still, it has been very well tested, in the tens of times, or more... works like a charm! I'm practically giving it away for the low low price of $998.42!! ACT NOW!!!

A very big "WTF?!" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40819351)

"Game Special Features Horseback riding is a new and key element in the game play. A great deal of combat takes place on horseback enabling Link to bump his adversaries off their war-horses. Shifting camera system that allows for views behind the back and from above. Camera can be locked during battles. All new characters."

What the hell is up with this?!

Am I being picky...? (1, Insightful)

interval1066 (668936) | about 2 years ago | (#40819483)

His ebay description says its still in the shrink wrap yet he posts a link to a video of him playing the game with the cart shoved in to an NES console.

Re:Am I being picky...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40819559)

He is also including a sealed Zelda game in the auction, in addition to the questionably-unique cart.

Re:Am I being picky...? (2)

NoPinchies (2621637) | about 2 years ago | (#40819595)

The factory sealed copy is the one in shrink wrap. The prototype is shown in the video.

Re:Am I being picky...? (1)

LocalH (28506) | about 2 years ago | (#40819673)

He's also selling a sealed copy of the retail game.

Easy to falsify? (1)

blind biker (1066130) | about 2 years ago | (#40819521)

I am sure I'm overlooking something, but to me, it seems that all you need to do to "create" this prototype, is burn the ROM file (available around the web) onto the EPROMs, place them into a garden variety copy of Legend of Zelda, and that's it. One could even easily make a funky-colored case for the cart, with a 3D printer. A $50-100 expense for a 3 orders of magnitude higher profit.

Re:Easy to falsify? (2)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about 2 years ago | (#40819749)

I am sure I'm overlooking something, but to me, it seems that all you need to do to "create" this prototype, is burn the ROM file (available around the web) onto the EPROMs, place them into a garden variety copy of Legend of Zelda, and that's it. One could even easily make a funky-colored case for the cart, with a 3D printer. A $50-100 expense for a 3 orders of magnitude higher profit.

Anyone planning to do this would need to design and fabricate a fake PCB as well, since the PCB for prototypes is considerably different for those on production NES games. On most NES boards, you can't even swap in an EPROM without doing some hacking to the traces, since the mask ROM pinouts are not standard.

If someone were both knowledgeable and dishonest enough to try something like this, they'd probably be better off counterfeiting a rare production NES game, like Stadium Events (which routinely goes for thousands of dollars). For that, they could get the PCB and cart casing from a common game, remove the old label, and forge a new one. The hardest part would be getting new mask ROMs with silkscreening matching the originals. My prediction is that if high-end NES collecting proves to be more than a passing fad, we'll see some very convincing counterfeits being manufactured in China before too much longer...

Re:Easy to falsify? (1)

blind biker (1066130) | about 2 years ago | (#40820445)

Thanks. You are right, and you also provided me with some interesting info.

And I also agree about the prediction of practically indistinguishable knock-offs of rare games from China. Unless they do some TIXE-kind of fuckup.

About the description (4, Informative)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about 2 years ago | (#40819569)

Several posters pointed out that the description seems to be for a newer Zelda game, not the original Legend of Zelda. This isn't because the seller put in incorrect info, but because there's a problem with the stock eBay description. Whenever you sell a video game on eBay, the selling tool will beg you to select the game from eBay's internal database and hassle you if you don't. This database information contains stuff like name, release date, and a short description (the part which was botched here). It also sometimes contains stock photos, which can be (and usually are) deleted and overridden by whoever is posting the listing.

eBay does the same thing with books and other media as well. You can see this by going to "Sell an item" and entering the media name in the box labeled "Enter a UPC, ISBN, VIN VIN help or keywords that describe your item." There are about 500 entries containing the phrase "Legend of Zelda", so it's not surprising that there might be some corrupted entries and/or duplicates in there.

Authenticity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40819659)

The simple label reads "HP NOA 2-23-87 Legend of Zelda." The actual release of the game was August 22nd 1987. I can only speculate that the 2-23-87 refers to the date they completed this prototype and being so close to launch is why there are no differences from the released version. Again I'm speculating.

And based on this speculation he asks for 150,000?

It'd be nice to at least get Nintendo's opinion on this.

Re:Authenticity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40820767)

The simple label reads "HP NOA 2-23-87 Legend of Zelda." The actual release of the game was August 22nd 1987. I can only speculate that the 2-23-87 refers to the date they completed this prototype and being so close to launch is why there are no differences from the released version. Again I'm speculating.

And based on this speculation he asks for 150,000?

It'd be nice to at least get Nintendo's opinion on this.

I'm sure Nintendo's opinion is the prototype/test cart was illegally stolen, that the contents are copyrighted and thus distribution is illegal, and that reselling the game is illegal.

What, no free shipping? (0)

v1 (525388) | about 2 years ago | (#40819811)

I'm out. I'll just wait for another one to come up for sale.

Prototype or not (1)

Tiger_Storms (769548) | about 2 years ago | (#40819933)

Regardless of it's raraty it's not worth $15,000 I would say maybe $15 or heck even $25 but people need to understand that when eletronics get older they become more worthelss. Sure the game was awesome but comon in the pictures you can cearly see he's taken it apart and states

I can only speculate that the 2-23-87 refers to the date they completed this prototype and being so close to launch is why there are no differences from the released version. Again I'm speculating.

which means that he has no idea if it's really the prototype or not. He's just trying to make a quick buck of anyone who will read the headlines and not the fine print.

Re:Prototype or not (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40822513)

15 or 25? Get real fool. If it's really a prototype, it's worth quite a bit. Maybe not THIS much, but 15 or 25 is throwaway money for a unique piece of history- very similar to why the fact that the game working is pretty secondary. How much is a Nihonto worth? And you sure can't take it to battle.

Anyway, you are correct that it may not be as presented, which would be another issue. I don't think it will sell for that much. I believe that the actual price, while easily over a couple thousand, is probably nowhere near 15% of a million dollars.

Rip-Off (1)

INeededALogin (771371) | about 2 years ago | (#40820099)

This is a US localization prototype... with no differences which means that it most likely was a release candidate. The fact that they are advertising this as the only one is just marketing. Just because they haven't seen another one doesn't mean it doesn't exist. If it sells for 150k... I would expect to start seeing some real prototypes to start being found by Nintendo Employees from the 80s.

A very big "WTF?!" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40820181)

"Game Special Features Horseback riding is a new and key element in the game play. A great deal of combat takes place on horseback enabling Link to bump his adversaries off their war-horses. Shifting camera system that allows for views behind the back and from above. Camera can be locked during battles. All new characters."

What the hell is up with this?!

Prototype? Hardly. (1)

SFMoogle (2696941) | about 2 years ago | (#40820275)

Based on the video footage the eBayer posted, there's nothing even remotely "prototype" about this cartridge.

People who don't work in the game industry just loveto throw around the word "prototype" or "beta" for any kind of pre-release game disc or cartridge that wasn't actually released 100% in its pre-release form. The reality is that a "prototype", in game industry nomenclature, is typically reserved for an extremely early build of the game, well before the game has even gone into production let alone a testing cycle. "Alpha" versions of games are content- and feature-complete, and are playable, but typically lack polished art, have performance issues, are significantly buggy, and may still undergo major revisions. "Beta" versions of games, excluding the ones that typically undergo public beta-testing due to the enormity of doing a full sweep, are typically nearly identical to the released version of the game save for crash bugs.

Based on the cartridge ID "NES-SRP-TEST-02", it's obviously a cartridge that was used in the QA (testing) department for doing sweeps of bugs, well into the final development cycle. I'd even bet dollars to donuts, based on the complete lack of anything different in the video versus the released version of the game, that it was one of the last builds of the game made before it went to manufacturing.

That being the case, is the game even remotely worth $150,000? Hardly. Maybe if there were significant differences between it and the final version of the game, maybe if it was actually different in some way, but it's not. This guy is just trying to make a buck off of collectors with more money than technical sense.

Re:Prototype? Hardly. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40820381)

Get over yourself.

Re:Prototype? Hardly. (1)

SFMoogle (2696941) | about 2 years ago | (#40822577)

Go back to sucking dick in a back alley, AC.

Re:Prototype? Hardly. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40822595)

Get over yourself.

Oh look, it's the eBay seller. Hit a little close to home, huh?

Validation (1)

Excelcia (906188) | about 2 years ago | (#40822937)

For $150,000, I would take the time to make a "prototype" cartridge. Built with 80s technology, this would not be hard to make at home. The kind of price tag that is being asked for it is something that is reserved for items with verified provenance. And when I said verified, I mean something more than the seller saying "go google 'NES ZELDA PROTO'". Which, interestingly enough turns up a couple of forum threads debating whether or not it's genuine.

Seriously, making this thing would be an afternoon project. I hope someone insists on some serious background checks.

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