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Opry99er
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Almost all TI prototype cartridges in the wild are actually qualification units (equivalent to lab loaners and review copies for other systems). The board inside will be a production board, and the cases can be all kinds of crazy oddities (two-color, single color in a color never used in production, single color of a type only used rarely (like the blue, yellow-orange, or red cases used for some Scott Foressman titles), or standard release cases). Labels will often be handwritten, but some will be typed, and an even smaller group will have production labels on two-tone cases. Look carefully at the color of the Car Wars case above (I have that one). Notice how bright that white is. I have only ever seen it used for qualification units. One other note on the initial rarity of qulification units: between 150 and 175 if each cartridge would be produced in a qualification run. The purpose was to verify that the line could assemble them properly and that everything ran smoothly. Most of them never made it into the wild. In all the years I've been watching cartridges, I've never seen more than about half a dozen survivors of any given title as qualification units.

 

One note here: there ARE TI prototypes as well. Thesse will have EPROMs on an EGROM circuit card. I have several bare EGROM boards and half a dozen cartridges built on assembled EGROM boards (one of which is a copy of Parsec in a red case that I found in a Maryland thrift store back in 1995 for the princely sum of $1.49, along with a mutant black text on white background label Star Trek cartridge). Sometimes, you just have a lucky day, and that was one of mine. I bought my first Tomy Tutor there too. . .that was more expensive though, as they wanted $29.99 for it.

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  • 1 year later...
On 2/12/2018 at 11:23 PM, Ksarul said:

One note here: there ARE TI prototypes as well. Thesse will have EPROMs on an EGROM circuit card. I have several bare EGROM boards and half a dozen cartridges built on assembled EGROM boards (one of which is a copy of Parsec in a red case that I found in a Maryland thrift store back in 1995 for the princely sum of $1.49, along with a mutant black text on white background label Star Trek cartridge).

I just scored a "mutant black text on white background label Star Trek cartridge" the other day! I'm excited to receive it. Any idea how many of these prototypes are out there? How far along in development does the proto cart seem to be? Your post two years ago is the only online reference to such a prototype I could find!

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The one you're receiving would be the second confirmed Star Trek cartridge with this label type. I don't think it's a prototype. Triton Products had the rights to manufacture TI cartridges using leftover parts received from TI when they purchased the distribution rights for all remaining TI hardware and software stock. It looks like this run of cartridges was complete with the exception of the labels, so they made the black text on white background as a replacement label. TI may have made the labels (as they had the artwork for them) or Triton may have done so. The cartridges do have a 1984 date stamp (check yours when you receive it). Note also that I do know that some of the Educational cartridges were batch manufactured as late as 1985. . .I have three different cartridges made then.  

Edited by Ksarul
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Oh interesting! Thanks for the information, @Ksarul. Great to know. @Toucan's 99er.net site also confirms your hypothesis that this Star Trek cart was of Triton's creation: "Triton re-released some cartridges produced by TI in a Triton casing with a white label. A picture of one of these cartridges can be found on Bill Gaskill's web site in the "Star Trek" entry. If anybody has a cartridge that matches the one on Bill Gaskill's site, please inform me since it would help the rarity list become more complete." It is listed on 99er.net as UR for "Unbelievably Rare - A cartridge thought to never have existed, but has been found and proven it does exist."

 

I couldn't come across Bill Gaskill's website, but if someone could point me to it, that would be great. Further, this is my way of informing Toucan that I have one of these cartridges, too. Exciting!

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On 2/3/2020 at 12:00 AM, sixersfan105 said:

Oh interesting! Thanks for the information, @Ksarul. Great to know. @Toucan's 99er.net site also confirms your hypothesis that this Star Trek cart was of Triton's creation: "Triton re-released some cartridges produced by TI in a Triton casing with a white label. A picture of one of these cartridges can be found on Bill Gaskill's web site in the "Star Trek" entry. If anybody has a cartridge that matches the one on Bill Gaskill's site, please inform me since it would help the rarity list become more complete." It is listed on 99er.net as UR for "Unbelievably Rare - A cartridge thought to never have existed, but has been found and proven it does exist."

 

I couldn't come across Bill Gaskill's website, but if someone could point me to it, that would be great. Further, this is my way of informing Toucan that I have one of these cartridges, too. Exciting!

I believe that listing for the UR Star Trek is not the Triton one, but a 3rd party Sega one. A manual (actually an unfolded box) by Sega can be found on the July 1983 Enthusiast 99 Magazine on the front cover. Oh, I see it now. There is a Triton entry as well with the same rarity rating. 

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