While browsing through Japanese Yahoo Auctions, an interesting and rare item caught the attention of tech enthusiasts and video game collectors alike. A pre-production version of the Super Famicom, the Japanese equivalent of the Super Nintendo (SNES), was listed for sale. This prototype featured some distinct differences from the officially released version in 1990, such as a headphone jack and volume wheel on the side. Renowned video game collector and historian, Chris Kohler, dubbed it as “god-tier Nintendo collector bait.”

Upon closer inspection, it was revealed that the prototype had a big red power switch and controller ports located on the left side of the console, unlike the final design. Additionally, the console’s expansion port was positioned at the front, deviating from its placement on the bottom in the production model. The yellowed panel surrounding the controller ports added a nostalgic touch, reminiscent of classic SNES consoles.

Comparing the prototype to the final release of the Super Famicom, significant design differences were evident. The prototype closely resembled the version showcased in magazine scans from a 1989 Nintendo press demonstration. This design direction, along with other prototypes from that era featured in Time Extension, was abandoned for the bulky and angular design of the US SNES. Subsequent revisions, such as the New-Style Super NES in 1997, attempted to refine the design but still fell short of the original prototype’s sleek aesthetics.

The discovery of the Super Famicom prototype is not the only instance of rare Nintendo prototypes surfacing. Previously, a Nintendo/Sony PlayStation prototype was acquired by Pets.com founder Greg McLemore at an auction, which also included a headphone jack. Another notable find was an unreleased, wired version of the Wiimote designed to connect to the GameCube, sold at a Japanese auction for a significant sum. These rare prototypes offer a glimpse into the creative process and iterations that ultimately lead to the production of iconic gaming consoles.

Overall, the Super Famicom prototype auctioned on Japanese Yahoo Auctions presents a unique opportunity for collectors and enthusiasts to own a piece of gaming history. With bidding reaching over one million yen, it is clear that the allure of rare prototypes continues to captivate audiences worldwide.


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