Two extremely rare “unreleased, one-of-a-kind, never digitized” Nintendo NES games have appeared on eBay, according to a Tweeter by Frank Cifaldi of the Video Game History Foundation, as seen by Kotaku. One of them, called Napoleon’s battlefields, was only released in Japan. The other is a cartridge from Rare, and appears to be the demo for one of the few games ever developed for the Nintendo Power Glove.
According to eBay’s Battlefields of Napoleon listing, the game was “rescued from a dumpster after The Learning Company acquired Brøderbund in 1998 and then dumped most of the historical assets.” Items in the bundle include a WATA-certified prototype on a development board and two additional CHR ROMs. It also includes the original packaging design.
In fact, the ROMs, maps and packaging were probably prepared for final production, but they were never released in English for some reason. “It comes with the actual files that would be sent to Nintendo for printing! Using them we can create perfect digital versions,” Cifaldi said in a tweet. There are still four auction days left, but it is already selling for $5,700.
Since Napoleon is WATA rated, the code has already been dumped for review, so technically “never scanned” isn’t entirely accurate. As Notes Cifaldi, however, the code may be published by whoever purchases it. “I can’t put it online unless a new owner allows it, and if that new owner is us [the Video Game History Foundation]we’ll obviously allow it,” he said. To see how this (extremely complicated) game worked, check out this YouTube video from RndStranger.
The other is labeled “CES SAMPLE: Please return to RARE COIN-IT INC.” According to the eBay auction on this one, it’s a “1-level prototype game demo called ‘Scanner’ which was designed for the Mattel Power Glove” by Rare, the developer who built many titles for Nintendo. The listing goes on to say that the seller’s husband was the designer of the game, adding that it was tested in a retail environment and is playable. Bidding is currently at $6,000 with 40 hours of bidding remaining.
Cifaldi is attempting to purchase them for the non-profit Video Game History Foundation dedicated to preserving video games for future generations. However, he said the organization needs help acquiring them as they are likely to fetch high prices. If you want to participate to help them acquire these fun and historically important titles, Cifaldi notes that his DMs are open on his Twitter account.
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