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Thread: Rare Atari Game Leaked

  1. #21
    Alex (Level 15) Custom rank graphic
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg2600 View Post
    At one time, I do believe that a prototype that wasn't released on-line did have a higher value. However, at this point and time, is that still the case?
    It's a bit different with prototype console games than arcade games. With a basic cartridge that you just want to play the game with, you could just make your own repro cart to play the game and there's not too much difference in practical experience in playing it. I could see not wanting to pay too much to own a prototype that's already widely available to play elsewhere, there's an appeal to owning something not available anywhere else so some people would pay more for it.

    With an arcade game where the legit copies are full cabinets with custom controls, the main value is with the entire cabinet rather than with the game code. To even own an arcade game you need to have enough room to store it, and if you only have space for a select few cabinets, is this the game you'd want to dedicate space for? There's a much more limited group of collectors who would want to buy arcade prototypes compared to console prototypes, I doubt that this being leaked would really affect the demand or value too much as the people who wanted it previously would probably still want it now. Unless the game really sucks to play and now potential buyers know it sucks.

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gameguy View Post
    It's a bit different with prototype console games than arcade games. With a basic cartridge that you just want to play the game with, you could just make your own repro cart to play the game and there's not too much difference in practical experience in playing it. I could see not wanting to pay too much to own a prototype that's already widely available to play elsewhere, there's an appeal to owning something not available anywhere else so some people would pay more for it.

    With an arcade game where the legit copies are full cabinets with custom controls, the main value is with the entire cabinet rather than with the game code. To even own an arcade game you need to have enough room to store it, and if you only have space for a select few cabinets, is this the game you'd want to dedicate space for? There's a much more limited group of collectors who would want to buy arcade prototypes compared to console prototypes, I doubt that this being leaked would really affect the demand or value too much as the people who wanted it previously would probably still want it now. Unless the game really sucks to play and now potential buyers know it sucks.
    I agree, the hardware is where the money is. That being said, many arcade proto collectors are simply too fearful of damaging the machines in some cases. Then again, the infamous Marble Man saga has largely come down to a couple of incredibly gruff individuals who worked at Atari. It's not a money thing either, they just don't want to work with anyone. I find that in 2019, the value attached to a prototype is really about who wrote it, what IP it covers, and how scarce it is rather than was it dumped.
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    Great Puma (Level 12) jb143's Avatar
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    But if/when the roms do fail, they do realize that unless they were dumped, then they are out of luck right?
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    Quote Originally Posted by jb143 View Post
    But if/when the roms do fail, they do realize that unless they were dumped, then they are out of luck right?
    I think part of the problem with this whole discussion is that preservation and dumping are distinct from public release. The roms for the game that was just "leaked" have been dumped for a long time from at least two different sets of chips. Just because someone doesn't want their prototype shared with the public doesn't mean they haven't dumped it. I know several wealthy collectors with one-of-a-kind arcade boards and they have definitely made multiple rom dumps and safely stored them in redundant off-site backups.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg2600 View Post
    I agree, the hardware is where the money is. That being said, many arcade proto collectors are simply too fearful of damaging the machines in some cases. Then again, the infamous Marble Man saga has largely come down to a couple of incredibly gruff individuals who worked at Atari. It's not a money thing either, they just don't want to work with anyone. I find that in 2019, the value attached to a prototype is really about who wrote it, what IP it covers, and how scarce it is rather than was it dumped.
    That's really not accurate from what I have seen. There is a certain small group of wealthy collectors who value exclusivity as part of the financial calculation when buying or selling prototype hardware, including arcade machines. I've contributed to rom dump funds where some one-of-a-kind boards have been purchased and dumped and made available to the public and it's very clear that when someone has something unique, the price goes up exponentially. Although the hardware maintains some value, it's nowhere near where it was before the unique software was dumped and distributed widely.

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    Interesting story. I'm skeptical that it's true, but if that's how things really went down, would the owner of the cabinet even have any kind of legal case? I mean, the tech was brought in to service other hardware, so there's no trespassing. They didn't steal or damage the cabinet or any physical component of it. And the owner of the cabinet doesn't own the IP or source code, despite whatever delusions wealthy collectors of one (or three)-of-a-kind games may have. The scenario would definitely be a betrayal of trust, but I'm struggling to come up with anything the owner could sue the tech over or charge him with.

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