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What just happened? Two ultra-rare, unreleased Nintendo Entertainment System games have found their way to eBay where bidding has already reached the $6,000 mark. The auctions are from separate sellers out of California and have captured the interest of game preservationists around the globe. Frank Cifaldi, co-founder of the Video Game History Foundation (VGHF), brought out attention to the auctions.
The first is for a US prototype of The Battlefields of Napoleon. According to the description, this one-of-a-kind, unreleased game was rescued from a dumpster after The Learning Company purchased Broderbund in 1998. The cart has been WATA certified and includes two additional CHR ROMS. It even comes with all of the box art needed to craft a retail game box.
Battlefields of Napoleon has approximately four days left as of this writing and has been bid up to $5,900.
The second, and perhaps even more compelling auction, is for an NES prototype demo cartridge reportedly created by Rare. Dubbed Scanner, it's a one-level prototype that was designed for the Power Glove. Notably, only two games were ever released with official support for the ill-fated NES accessory. Had it made it to market, this would have been the third.
The auction for Scanner has about one and a half days remaining and is up to $6,000 already. Both sellers have 100 percent positive feedback with hundreds of successful transactions under their belts.
Cifaldi said this is normally the type of thing they would go after and figure out financially after the fact. It has been a rough year, however, and they unfortunately are not in a position to throw thousands of dollars at these prototypes.
That said, anyone interested in helping out with the effort can DM Cifaldi to discuss tax-deductible options for donating to VGHF. In an October 11 post, Cifaldi said they had already raised $4,000 to go toward the purchases.
I don't know what price to expect on these but in my experience we are in the thousands here. If you've got the cash to spare and want to see these, my DMs are open. We can also discuss tax-deductible options if you're in the U.S. and want to donate to VGHF for this purpose.— Frank Cifaldi (PRGE).nes (@frankcifaldi) October 11, 2022
Here's to hoping the games end up in the hands of an owner willing to dump them for the collective community to enjoy.