A noble attempt to accurately preserve every single SNES game has come to an end after a package containing between $7,500 and $10,000 of rare cartridges was lost by the United States Postal Service.

The package was en route to renowned archivist Byuu, best known for creating the superb SNES emulator higan. It contained 100 of the rarest PAL releases - such as Castlevania: Vampire's Kiss, Hagane and several Mega Man titles - and was posted from a collector's home Frankfurt, Germany to Byuu in New Jersey, the second of five scheduled shipments. The first package had made the trip - and back again - without issue, but this one was lost after it touched down on US soil, and the insurance taken out by the collector only covered it while it traveled through Europe.

You may wonder why Byuu would possibly need these games when pretty much every SNES title created has been dumped online, but the majority of the ROMs available on the internet aren't "pure" copies of the original and have been tinkered with in some way. Even Nintendo itself lacks a complete digital catalogue of its releases - hence the accusation that it uploaded a ROM found on the web for Virtual Console version of Super Mario Bros. a while back.

After this catastrophic setback, Byuu has - for the time being, at least - admitted defeat and is currently looking into ways to reimburse the collector:

I'd rather start working on reimbursing the sender now, as game prices only go up. He lent me 100 valuable games (Vampire's Kiss, Incantation, Hagane, Mega Man 7+X+X2+X3, etc etc), and now I can't send his games back.

It was a terrible mistake have him trust the mail system. I'm not going to risk anyone else's games like that again.

Hopefully the package will eventually turn up and the finder - no doubt perplexed by an abundance of SNES carts which are incompatible with the North American version of the console - will do the right thing and make sure it gets to its intended destination.

[source eurogamer.net, via reddit.com]