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Ultra-Rare Tengen Tetris Prototype Up For Auction

Posted by Andy Green

An important relic of video game history

Tengen Tetris is one of the rarest, if not the rarest, NES cartridges out there. It was released way back in 1989 but after only a month on the shelves, unsold copies of the game were recalled - a shame considering many felt it was the better version of the game due to its improved graphics and two-player mode.

It all came down to who had the licensing rights to the game - Nintendo or Tengen (an Atari brand). Through a bizarre turn of events it turned out Nintendo were awarded the rights to publish the console version while Atari only had the rights to make the arcade edition. Tengen were therefore forced to recall and destroy all unsold copies making it one heck of a collector’s item.

You’d think it wouldn’t get much rarer than that, but a prototype copy of the game has emerged – and it’s being sold at auction right now.

Housed on a Duck Hunt cartridge, the prototype clearly displays ‘Licensed by Nintendo of America’ on the title screen and is an artefact of video game history.

You can put a bid in on the prototype right now, but we have a feeling this one’s going to bring in the big bucks by the time it closes.

Any of you remember this one? Will you be putting in a bid?

Thanks to Patrick Scott Patterson for the tip.


From the web

User Comments (16)



TheChosen said:

I feel highly skeptic at this, but then again I do so everytime a "rare prototype of an already established game" pops up (See Zelda "prototype" we had last year). Reading all the info though it seems legit though.

The fact that it says "Licensed by Nintendo" does stand out for me, since at this point they were pretty much done with Nintendo and making unlicensed carts. I've been trying to come up with a reason why it would have that.



Tasuki said:

I remember playing that version once at a friend of my moms house years ago. I have to agree that it was alot better than Nintendo's Tetris. It was a shame that they had to destroy it.



Omega said:

They should put it up on the Virtual Console for 100000 Wii Points.



gekslupis said:

Who thinks this will go for about a million or more and then turns out to be fake



tanookisuit said:

Well if it's a fake, those over at NA got taken as suckers by it too as it was flashed there before if I remember right. Just because it's unbelievable doesn't make it impossible. That zelda proto ended up not only being verified, but also verified by it's original owner, Gamemaster Howard it was his.



Drawdler said:

Protocarts are always suspicious.
I actually have the demo disc of the Japanese version of Spyro the dragon, which is arguably the rarest version of any Spyro game(well, except, maybe, Tomendo Tours). So I sort of have something like this, though it will never be nearly as desired.



Yoshis95 said:

If theres no copy right on this they should turn it into a ROM for an Emulator so the legacy of this game might live on

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