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RARE HISTORICAL 5200 PROTOTYPE FOR SALE FOR THE FIRST TIME


canyonfisher
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I have decided to sell the most important piece of my Atari 5200 prototype collection.

 

The earliest known version of Basketball! Thanks to Tempest for your help researching this proto back in 2006!

I will consider offers here before I put it up on ebay. I am an established seller there with over 10,000+ feedback.

http://atariage.com/forums/topic/87144-new-version-of-5200-rs-basketball-discovered/

http://www.atariprot...sbasketball.htm

Thanks

 

Canyon Fisher

PixelBiscuit Records

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Edited by canyonfisher
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  • 2 weeks later...

I have no interest in purchasing this game, so I have no comment on the reasonableness of the price, but I do have a more general question -- do people who purchase these prototypes generally do so to actually play the game, or just because they want a rare item in their collection?

 

With one or two exceptions (e.g. Aquaventure), all of the prototypes that I have played (in emulation) have not been much fun; and certainly not worth a premium price, just to be able to play the game.

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I have no interest in purchasing this game, so I have no comment on the reasonableness of the price, but I do have a more general question -- do people who purchase these prototypes generally do so to actually play the game, or just because they want a rare item in their collection?

 

With one or two exceptions (e.g. Aquaventure), all of the prototypes that I have played (in emulation) have not been much fun; and certainly not worth a premium price, just to be able to play the game.

 

unreleased games it's the only way to own a "real" copy of the game. As for released games with less features in an earlier release it would be for the sake of rarity and it's place in the history of gaming I guess. Myself I couldn't give a shit about that kinda stuff but enough people do it seems.

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All of the prototypes I have are for the TI-99/4A as opposed to Atari releases, so my answer may be a bit different as well. The prototypes for which I've paid larger sums are generally for programs that were ultimately never released (even if the code for them did escape into the wild at some point). With those, it is truly a rarity thing, as the code is often in specialized chips called GROMs, so burning your own was generally out of the question even if you did have the code. You could often execute the game in main memory by using a specialized loader, but to run it like it was originally intended, you had no choice but to track down one of the (exceedingly rare) prototypes. I've actually rectified that problem by working with a couple of friends (Acadiel and Tursi here on AtariAge) to design the UberGROM cartridge board which allows us to use those surviving bits of code as they were originally designed to be used (the board emulates a set of TI GROM chips). That said, my main reason for acquisition was to preserve the code and make it available to the TI community when it wasn't something that already existed in the wild. Having the physical original is a bonus--and my seven-year-old loves to play them too, although now he usually receives them in the form of an UberGROM cartridge (or as part of a compilation cartridge that executes the program from the main system memory using the specialized loader used for disk copies of the code) as opposed to my original prototype of the game he wants to play.

 

Most of the TI prototypes are not true prototypes in any event. They are most often the output from a pre-production qualification run using the final boards and chips. The ones for released games are just curiosities in weird cases (I bought six of them two weeks ago for about $5 each as part of a larger lot of stuff). The ones for unreleased games are useful gems (also in the weird cases most of the time). The true prototypes are immediately identifiable, as they use a circuit card not found in the production environment (it allows GROM simulation using a different scheme than the UberGROM uses) and standard EPROM chips. These boards are rare when compared to the preproduction protos, as they weren't often let out by the TI engineering team. Most titles in the wild exist in quantities of one or two--so they do have a bit of a premium. Loaners were almost never let out using true prototype boards--those were almost always the pre-production qualification run test articles. Most of these true prototypes I have came to me directly from former TI engineers or from former TI managers who were involved with the 99/4A back then. Larger programs almost never exist in true prototype form, as they were implemented in GROM simulators (I have one of the simulators) or in bulky GROM emulator boxes that plugged a cable into the cartridge port (I have three different types of the GROM Emulator boxes, and I've seen a fourth variant).

 

For these devices, the code was either loaded from disk (the GSIM device) or burned into up to 12 standard EPROMs and installed in one of the EGROM boxes. As the chips could be changed out at any time, most original EGROM chip sets were reused for the next project. Only two of my EGROM Boxes still have the chips in them. Most of the surviving prototype code only survives in disk form (originally in GSIM format, but converted to other loader formats over the years), which is a definitely different situation from that in the Atari and Commodore worlds.

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I have no interest in purchasing this game, so I have no comment on the reasonableness of the price, but I do have a more general question -- do people who purchase these prototypes generally do so to actually play the game, or just because they want a rare item in their collection?

 

With one or two exceptions (e.g. Aquaventure), all of the prototypes that I have played (in emulation) have not been much fun; and certainly not worth a premium price, just to be able to play the game.

 

Most of them get played once or twice, then put in a box on a shelf forever more.

 

 

unreleased games it's the only way to own a "real" copy of the game. As for released games with less features in an earlier release it would be for the sake of rarity and it's place in the history of gaming I guess. Myself I couldn't give a shit about that kinda stuff but enough people do it seems.

 

I don't care about it either. And the 5 or 6 prototype items I've purchased over the years I could never get my money back, let alone make even a tiny 5% profit.

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-- do people who purchase these prototypes generally do so to actually play the game, or just because they want a rare item in their collection?

 

In regards to the early beta game that is being discussed here, if the data remains undumped, then the answer would be to play the game. If the data has already been dumped, then it would be just to have a rare game in their collection.

 

Here is an explanation that I feel best categorizes those of us who have a curious interest in prototype games.

 

-- early beta builds of released games --

these are often works in progress of games that were being developed and eventually saw release. they can have minor differences or major differences then the final build of the officially released games.

 

-- final builds of released games --

these were more often then not the versions that most video game magazines were sent for review. they play exactly the same as the released versions, but are usually on eproms & special circuit boards.

 

-- protos of unreleased games --

these can be at any stage of development from betas in very early stages, to sometimes unplayable, extremely buggy, without sound, etc. or can also be 100% complete and fully working, but were ultimately canceled.

 

Every collector has their own opinions & reasons for what they collect & why.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Honestly I'd say it's probably worth around $250 or so. It's a one of a kind (for now anyway) proto, but it's not really a new game or something that's all that fun to play. It does have some historical interest, although that doesn't necessarily mean it's worth more.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 4 weeks later...

Guys... About 10 years ago I sold 20 of my protos for prices I that chose, 300, 250, 150, 100, etc.... and I kept this one, never put it up for sale until now. This price its been reduced to, 499, is what its worth to me, nothing less. I don't care if it ever sells. I enjoy owning something with a story. It costs me nothing to have it on the market for now. I'm in no hurry. We are talking about something with very subjective value but also very real rarity. I've sold over 40,000 items on ebay, but that doesn't mean everything I have in my personal collections is always for sale, that's my decision. This piece is for sale for now. Enjoy the pieces you own that are or aren't for sale. :-)

Edited by canyonfisher
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Guys... About 10 years ago I sold 20 of my protos for prices I that chose, 300, 250, 150, 100, etc.... and I kept this one, never put it up for sale until now. This price its been reduced to, 499, is what its worth to me, nothing less. I don't care if it ever sells. I enjoy owning something with a story. It costs me nothing to have it on the market for now. I'm in no hurry. We are talking about something with very subjective value but also very real rarity. I've sold over 40,000 items on ebay, but that doesn't mean everything I have in my personal collections is always for sale, that's my decision. This piece is for sale for now. Enjoy the pieces you own that are or aren't for sale. :-)

 

 

$500 is still 4 or 5 times what it would realistically sell for.

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I disagree. As I have said already, I have sold many much less interesting or significant titles for between 150 and 300 dollars over the last 10 years. Here's a challenge, please post an example of a more interesting unique title that sold for 4-5 times less? ($125-100). Once again this will be subjective, but shouldn't be too difficult: 1) Title, 2) price it sold for 3) your personal opinion of why that title is more awesome than the earliest known copy of one of only a handful of known 4 player 5200 games... but still only sold for 100-125 bucks.

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I disagree. As I have said already, I have sold many much less interesting or significant titles for between 150 and 300 dollars over the last 10 years. Here's a challenge, please post an example of a more interesting unique title that sold for 4-5 times less? ($125-100). Once again this will be subjective, but shouldn't be too difficult: 1) Title, 2) price it sold for 3) your personal opinion of why that title is more awesome than the earliest known copy of one of only a handful of known 4 player 5200 games... but still only sold for 100-125 bucks.

 

I guess the ones sold on ebay I wanted to reference are too far back to show up. Good luck selling your game.

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  • 2 months later...

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