Sunday, 4 June 2017

Should we really trust Prototype game sales?

So I am sure most people who are into retro games and who either look around on various sale sites such as ebay for example or who read internet news sites will have either seen or read about various prototype versions of games on carts or discs. When they go up for sale they usually go up for a lot of money with some auctions ending on the frankly ridiculous side of things, just to show you the kind of thing I am refering to I will drop an image here before continuing.

Ok so what we have here is a NES game apparently a protoype version of Isolated Warrior. Now you can get a cartridge only copy of Isolated Warrior for about £7 and without trying to put the idea in to anyones head you could very easily use a special screwdriver to remove the case and soak it in order to remove its proper original shop label before priting out something which looks like the above label and gluing that in its place very easily. The above was on sale for the sum of £423, but is it real? Who really knows, sure they posted pictures of the inside of the cart as well as the outside but even if I took apart a real original copy of the game and what was inside it looked diffrent to what is inside this how does that prove this is genuine? Even I with my limited skills could soldier in usless components that would make the board look diffrent, I could add stickers with diffrent bits of writing on and use various processes to age them and make them look like theyve sat there inside the cart gathering dust for the last 30 or so years and how would you know if this was how it was supposed to look or not? Heck you could even know someone else with a prototype which has all kinds of proof with it marking it out as legitimate and yet how would you know that because mine looked diffrent to it that it wasnt just a latter or earlier prototype?

Now I know what some people might be thinking, they might be thinking well the proof is in the playing, if a game is a genuine prototype then it will play diffrently to the released product in some way, maybe it will have less levels, end suddenly or even just have subtle little diffrences and surly seeing this in action will prove the cart is real? Well the answer to that is no it wont. All that will prove is that there is a diffrent rom image burnt to the cartridges eprom chip (forgive me if I am a little wrong on the terms and specifics as this is not a field I am deeply invovled in). When NES carts were new the idea that you could take one cart and turn it in to another would have seemed crazy but thats not the case now, with the right equipment and knowledge you can infact burn a very rare game on to a chip and use a donner cartridge to get the game up and running, its not simple and it might require specialist tools but its possible, people have done it to add translation hacks on to games that have never been officially released in English but it could also be used to burn a prototype rom onto a chip so that you could then add this into a regular cartridge print a fake label designed to make the game look like a lost prototype cartridge and then pretty much ask what you want for it. Hey lets face it I am sure most people have seen a fake pirate cart during there life time quiet possibly one of those 100 in 1 type games? I even have 2 fake MegaDrive carts one of which is an English copy of Golden Axe 3 obviously fake as the game never came out over here.

I was lucky to get this from a lady who used to run a market store for retro games, she sold it to me for £4 if I remember correctly, but how easy would it be to take this and try to claim its some kind of prototype, how could anyone really disprove me? If you want to say the label is not right heck I could go print out any label I want for it remember. All I am saying is when you see something someone tries to claim is rare or special or one of a kind just remember that with all the technology we have knocking around now days it wouldnt be that hard for them to have knocked something up in order to try and pull a fast one and make a profit.

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