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Are These All Atari 2600 Prototypes?


Deemar
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I found all of these from a single seller that had a lot of old vintage gaming hardware. They appear to be prototypes but do you think they are? Do you think someone could have made them recently as a joke? My main concern is there's such a wide range here frm licnsed Atari games all the way to scarce games like Jawbreaker, there doesn't seem to be any sort of pattern with the titles. What do you think these are?

 

 

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They aren't prototypes at all, but pirate copies of games.  To play the games, they would have used a cartridge with a socket on them, usually a ZIF (zero insertion force) socket that is exposed through a hole cut in the cartridge, or just a board that's not in a cartridge shell at all.  While I wouldn't call these "common", they do show up on a regular basis, and usually with the cartridge.  I've seen quite a few of them over the past 20 years.

 

The EPROMs in your photos are all 2K, 4K, and 8K, and usually there would be a switch of some sort to toggle between the 2K/4K games and 8K games (which use bankswitching). 

 

 ..Al

 

 

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4 minutes ago, Albert said:

They aren't prototypes at all, but pirate copies of games.  To play the games, they would have used a cartridge with a socket on them, usually a ZIF (zero insertion force) socket that is exposed through a hole cut in the cartridge, or just a board that's not in a cartridge shell at all.  While I wouldn't call these "common", they do show up on a regular basis, and usually with the cartridge.  I've seen quite a few of them over the past 20 years.

 

The EPROMs in your photos are all 2K, 4K, and 8K, and usually there would be a switch of some sort to toggle between the 2K/4K games and 8K games (which use bankswitching). 

 

 ..Al

 

 

Thanks, I took a chance on them already for about $230 CAD, sounds like a bad buy. What do you think they're worth?

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3 minutes ago, Deemar said:

Thanks, I took a chance on them already for about $230 CAD, sounds like a bad buy. What do you think they're worth?

Unfortunately, as they are just copies of games on EPROMs, they really aren't worth too much.  The EPROMs themselves might be a dollar or two at most, especially if you were to buy them in quantity.

 

 ..Al

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Just now, Albert said:

Unfortunately, as they are just copies of games on EPROMs, they really aren't worth too much.  The EPROMs themselves might be a dollar or two at most, especially if you were to buy them in quantity.

 

 ..Al

Thanks. Last question, how do you know they're not prototypes?

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13 minutes ago, Deemar said:

Thanks. Last question, how do you know they're not prototypes?

I've never seen prototypes like this where it's a bunch of random games from multiple parties on EPROMs with handwritten labels.  Usually prototypes are on socketed circuit boards and/or in cartridge shells, generally accompanied by labels that have a date for each particular game (or something else indicating a particular version, which is important for games in development).  And oftentimes, those labels are typed or printed in some fashion (but not always, of course).  And it would be unusual for prototypes for so many games to be together like this.  If they were all prototypes, they would be worth a lot more than $230 CAD, especially if they were each in their own cartridge/circuit board. 

 

I have seen many examples of games sold in batches like this as bare EPROMs, and usually the cartridge to play them is included.  These show up on AtariAge on a regular basis, and such examples have never been collections of original prototype games.

 

 ..Al

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5 minutes ago, Albert said:

I've never seen prototypes like this where it's a bunch of random games from multiple parties on EPROMs with handwritten labels.  Usually prototypes are on socketed circuit boards and/or in cartridge shells, generally accompanied by labels that have a date for each particular game (or something else indicating a particular version, which is important for games in development).  And oftentimes, those labels are typed or printed in some fashion (but not always, of course).  And it would be unusual for prototypes for so many games to be together like this.  If they were all prototypes, they would be a lot more than $230 CAD, especially if they were each in their own cartridge/circuit board. 

 

I have seen many examples of games sold in batches like this as bare EPROMs, and usually the cartridge to play them is included.  These show up on AtariAge on a regular basis, and such examples have never been collections of original prototype games.

 

 ..Al

More like this? I have about a 100 of these NES chips. This is almost a complete library of Tengen games.

 

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1 minute ago, Deemar said:

More like this? I have about a 100 of these NES chips. This is almost a complete library of Tengen games.

 

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I don't really know much about NES prototypes, so I can't say either way with these.  Besides the dates on those, and the "PRG" and "CHR" text on the labels,  I'm not sure the significance of the other text on them, but that's certainly more than I usually see on bare chips like this.  I don't know how prevalent piracy of NES games was back then -- I do see the dates on most of those are from 89 and 90, though, which is about the middle of the lifespan of the NES here in the US.  Still unusual, in my opinion, to see large collections of chips like this without any accompanying circuit boards.

 

 ..Al

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The collection of NES EPROMs in the photo is probably all release versions. I can't speak to the meaning of every piece of text on the labels, but aside from the checksums quite a bit of it matches labels from production cartridge ICs. For instance you've got multiple copies of 335011-* that are from After Burner, 335008-* from Road Runner. Note the repeated checksum on some of these, "3273" twice in the top row for the two Road Runner PRG ROMs, or the complete set of duplicates (set of 3 ROMs) for After Burner in the second column. FWIW, out of laziness I only verified all the Road Runner and After Burner checksums match the production cart checksums :)

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Ok, I'm lazy but fortunately MAME does a good job of tracking the IC labels and nes20db.xml has precomputed 16-bit checksums so I don't have to do it 😁. Everything in the NES photo that is fully visible is a likely production image based on the labels (i.e. the checksums match). I can't say about the EPROM without a label (obviously), nor about the "NES PM" ROMs without checksums in the third column, and I don't know what any of the three on the right side are.

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Thanks, I appreciate it very much. I was already pretty sure about the NES, I got them all from a well known prototype collector and they did come with multiple SLROM and AOROM boards, as well as multiple other NES and Game Boy prototype chips / boards. I do have more picture of the NES but what you see in the photo is PM = Pac Man, AS = Alien Sydrome, AB = After Burder, KC = Kitty's Catch, SX = Skull And Crossbones, RR = Road Runner, TB = Toobin' and it goes on from there. The ones in the photo may be the same as final ROM but I know for sure Gauntlet (not pictured) and some others have differences from the final releases just from a quick play through I did.

 

I was really curious about the Atari chips, I'm a pretty aggressive prototype collector and decided to take a chance on them, I appreciate the feedback that these are likely worthless.

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Well if you think there are any with differences the only way to be sure is to dump them and compare. Labels are just labels and you never know what's on a chip until you read it. Also 16-bit checksums are pretty sketch when it comes to data validation or verification. It's just a bare minimum sanity check, slightly above the level of having a correct file size.

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5 hours ago, Deemar said:

I was really curious about the Atari chips, I'm a pretty aggressive prototype collector and decided to take a chance on them, I appreciate the feedback that these are likely worthless.

Pirate EPROMS, not protoypes.

Take a look here:
http://www.atarimania.com/game-atari-2600-vcs-eprom-reader-cart_28458.html

8)

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