Tuesday 14 April 2009

Master System Prototypes (New releases)

As most collectors will know prototypes and samples of unreleased or unfinished games are one of the holy grails of the hobby. It is one area of Master System collecting that has always eluded me. I know fellow collectors lucky enough to have many prototypes, either by tracking down people who worked in the trade back in the 80's/ early 90's or by battling it out on ebay (or other auction sites). In some rare and lucky instances people have happened upon very poorly listed online auctions from sellers who don't really understand the importance of what they are selling.. and this (in a round about way) is how I have come to own my first 3 prototypes.

(click to enlrge)

A fellow on an Atari forum bid on an ebay auction listed as just samples and demo's. He took a chance that paid off as it turned out to be a huge bundle of prototype cartridges originating from a programmer formally at Sega of America (see pictures above). Luckily a sega8bit forum member spotted the thread on the Atari forum and pointed the buyer in the right direction, within a few days all the deals were done and lots of collectors were very happy. All of the cartridges were sold untested which added to the excitement as you didn't quite know what they were going to contain. It wasn't long before reports started to come back to the forum of unfinished early versions and demonstration screens.

Moonwalker (Unfinished/ pre release sample?)

Castle Of illusion - 'Coming Soon' rolling demo

Blade Eagle 3D - early version

I had hoped to get my hands on quite a few of the cartridges but due to work and my social life I couldn't compete with the frantic bartering which these types of events command. However I am very happy with the 3 I received (above) and pleased that the other owners are, in the most part, people who will share their findings. I have dumped and released the above 3 prototypes for anyone who would like to try them. please download the Roms by clicking the below links. You may also need to download Meka (Master System emulation software) if you have not all ready done so.

Castle Of Illusion rolling demo rom download. - Short but interesting. Quite a few of the newly discovered prototypes were similar to this.

Moonwalker pre-release? prototype rom download. - I'm not sure how different this is, I have only played the first level though at to me it seemed that the end of level section with the static screen and lots of enemies was much easyer than the final release, maybe you can spot things I can't?

Blade Eagle 3D early version prototype rom download. - This is clearly much different to the final version from the title screen and music to the actual game itself.

I hope you enjoy these roms and please post comments on any findings. should I be lucky enough to come across any more prototypes I'll update this page.