News Article

Legend of Zelda Prototype Cartridge Posted on eBay

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Yours for just $150,000

When it comes to online purchases, you're unlikely to find any other website with quite the same variety as eBay. You can quite easily buy some custom made birthday cards for a few dollars, or a rare prototype The Legend of Zelda cartridge for just $150,000, which is the price of a small house or expensive sports car.

The seller, tjcurtin1, states in the eBay listing his belief that this may be the only copy of this item in the world, and has posted a number of images and a video to boost claims of legitimacy. In terms of the value and rarity of the cartridge, the listing says the following.

This is without a doubt the pinnacle of my collection and I challenge anyone to come up with anything more important in the video game collecting scene. Stadium Events? How many carts are out there? Hundreds. NWC Gold Cart? Again how many? There is one Prototype in the world for the NES Zelda, one prototype that started the launch of a generation of gamers and you are viewing it.

Various efforts to show authenticity are made, such as explaining the label as showing a date merely months before the title launched and demonstrating the TEST circuit board within. The cart itself is yellow as opposed to the retail gold, but the listing is also offering a boxed copy of the retail title as an extra. At the time of writing bids have been submitted, but obviously none at the target price, and it'll be interesting to see whether anyone is actually willing to pay the full amount. The seller has also produced a video, below, of the prototype cartridge in action and then disassembled, though collectors may want him to stop putting a cart allegedly worth $150,000 into a yellowing old NES.

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User Comments (37)



Gridatttack said:

Its a ripoff. Saw it the other day. There is a proto of the famicon disk version of the game floating on the net, which is considerably different from the final game, unlike this, and im sure it didn't cost this much. Also, this isn't the only prototype, as I already mentioned the existence of a famicon version proto. Also, if you look at the top of the sticker, it says NOA COPY and some numbers, implying this isn't the only one in existence.
I must say that the only difference in this copy is the cart, which uses the same for the various NES test programs carts. The game is the same, and the seller should be ashamed of himself for putting it up for 150K. This could either be a retailer demo or reviewer copy, which is worth no more than 1000$



sykotek said:

I see a test cart. I've seen Zelda test carts before...with labels. For what reason would one presume this is a prototype and not simply a test cart with a label that has been replaced and scribbled upon? It's not as though I have the money, but even wouldn't make the slightest sense to spend such a ridiculous amount on what could be faked for a lot less...unless I was planning to blend it...



ThomasBW84 said:

I'm no expert on the video game collector's market, but I think that's exceptionally pricey. Personally, if I had £120,000 or so I'd be buying myself a small apartment, so I think this listing needs to find a multimillionaire to have any hope.



Millenia said:

That's insane. Who even knows if that is genuinely a prototype cartridge. It could be a review copy or store copy. It wouldn't be worth risking that money when there's no way to tell if it is what he claims.



WiiLovePeace said:

That's a total rip-off simply on the basis that there is no difference between it & the retail release. If it had some added test menu or some debugger built in or something it might have been worth lots of monies but otherwise it might as well be a fake PCB that some random made.



RupeeClock said:

It's certainly not as valuable as the seller is making it out to be, there was also only one Earthbound NES (Mother) prototype cartridge, I think that cost something like $200...

The primary concern of anyone who would have this would be so they could dump the ROM to analyse it, compare it to the final release, try and learn some secrets to the background of the development.



123akis said:

theres only ONE way to find out if this is 100% genuine, ask shigeru miyamoto



eltomo said:

Did he buy the box? I don't understand why a retail box would come with a prototype?

I'm sure this will be found fake, some egghead will say the font on the sticker wasn't available in '87, or the scuff on the back shows the original cartage colour. The guy sells a few random semi-rare games, he must have had this a while, and he's never thought of selling it until recently? Only one in the WORLD, it may be... legit, I doubt it.



RQuinain said:

"Please be respectful when sending offers"

...Welp, probably shouldn't have sent him an offer of $1 then...

@eltomo The article says he's including the boxed retail game as an extra.



coolvw93 said:

if there is no known difference from the retail version, for the price, there is no point in getting it, well for me that is because i already have legend of zelda on the nes. it may be a "collectors item" but ill pass on this one....



Ron_DelVillano said:

Did no one else notice that absolutely dreadful crushed velvet bench that he's working on?




ouroborous said:

Geeeez, worst demo video ever. He can't seem to get ANY kind of focus on the TV screen at all and his crappy NES is sitting on his grandma's nasty footstool thing in his dumpy livingroom. This guy reeks of being happy to get $50 bucks just to go get a stampbag or two. If he doesn't sell it he's gonna be owing ebay some serious monies, if I recall how that stupid site works.



Mario500 said:

I always found the abbreviation "WTF" rude and unnecessary for enhancing speech or feelings. It should not be used as a tag for articles on this site.



triforcepower73 said:

Or you could buy the one on 3ds eshop for around six bucks. And it's the actual, full, incredibly epic game it was 26 years ago.



SilverBaretta said:

I quite sure there are more than one of these. I'm also quite sure that they're faked more often than not.



ThomasBW84 said:

@Mario500 Fair enough, it's been a tag we use for stories where the content's surprising, funny etc for a good long while now. Thanks for the feedback, it's always welcome and taken on board.



Onett said:

I'm sure the guys at Nintendo are laughing themselves into a coma right now.



TheConsiglio said:

What A RIPOFF He's Wanting to be the Next Millionaire If He Thinks He Could Sell It For $150,000!



ToastyYogurt said:

@GridAttack: The Famicom Disk System version came before the cartridge version, and the cartridge is just a port of the Disk System version. Judging by that, it's possible the prototype could just be the finished game on a cartridge to make sure that everything worked right (especially the save battery). I'm not saying this is legit, I'm just making a point.

@TheConsiglio: Not a ripoff for collectors if it's legit. Collectors LOVE super rare things.



Gridatttack said:

@Destroyer64 Sounds like the best possible answer for what is this prototype. Judging how it says test, It may be a test on how the conversion went.
@RupeeClock Some people already analyzed the prototype version of the famicon disk system version. Its differences are all archived in the cutting room floor if you want to see the differences.



tanookisuit said:

If you want to know more about this thing just go to and use the search tool. He posted as MinusWorlds there a post about the game not too long ago with pics and a story about how he came across it and all the rest.

No I don't think expects 150K for this, but it won't go cheap. My only guess is that it would go for higher than anything else to date has as far as obscure rarities. JJGames has the only SNES Campus Challenge cart around that plays one one scoring method vs the only other copy which has boosted scores for the finals and he paid 5 figures for that. People also paid 5 figures for a sealed up boxed in plastic and graded Stadium Events.

Seeing this is Zelda and a prototype, likely a battery test with a translation(final?) of the FDS game moved to the NES and looking at the date on it it's hard to say if it's 100% to retail. On the FDS the game looked and sounded a bit different due to what that disk system could do as it had extra sound channels and allowed for a little more visual fluff.

Like I said, go check NA and ask about it, I'm sure you can find the post and get all the info you'll ever need.



LeTr011 said:

I will never risk the money to get it even if I had that type of money.Wouldn't be surprised to find out it's a test and not a prototype or even just a normal cartridge.

If proof is shown by Nintendo I'll eat my words back up.



grimbldoo said:

Psh, I have that kind of money between my couch cushions . He is asking for way to much.



Neram said:

I was going to say "I pity da fool" who actually buys that, but honestly you'd have to be a complete idiot to pay that much for something the guy obviously made himself, some matte yellow paint and a regular stationary sticker that he could have easily dirtied up to make it look old. Who's to say he didn't write that test copy crap on their himself? The fact that it's exactly the same software goes to show how fake this is. Unless Nintendo somehow certifies this as legit, this shouldn't even be considered by anyone in their right mind.



Demonic_St33V said:

Gimme a few days to hit up the local used game shops for every copy of Zelda they have, work out a deal with a buddy of mine who owns a 3D printer to have the yellow carts fabricated and I'll be willing to make you all a much better deal....

Seriously, I can't trust auctions like this any more.



Gridatttack said:

I just went to nintendoage where the seller is posting. I say he is trolling I cant believe someone offered 25K and the seller declined...



Nintenbro said:

Three words... Certificate of Authenticity, and then it's still priced outrageously!



Mario-Man-Child said:

This is crazy $150,000 for a couple of prehistoric computer chips and a piece of yellow plastic. Gimme me a break, not if I had a billion $ would I ever buy this peace of junk. Nintendo are a company they are not Gods

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