The Fascinating World of Nintendo Prototypes

The Fascinating World of Nintendo Prototypes

In a recent listing on the Japanese Yahoo Auctions site, a pre-production version of the Super Famicom, the Japanese equivalent of the Super Nintendo (SNES), has caught the attention of video game enthusiasts. This particular prototype features some unique differences from the final production model, such as a headphone jack and volume wheel on the side, as well as a big red power switch and left-aligned controller ports.

One of the standout features of this Super Famicom prototype is the placement of the expansion port on the front of the console, rather than the bottom as seen in the final design. Additionally, the yellowed panel surrounding the controller ports adds to the charm of this rare find. Video game collector and historian Chris Kohler has described this prototype as “god-tier Nintendo collector bait,” highlighting the appeal of such unique and unreleased items in the gaming community.

When comparing this Super Famicom prototype to the final release, it is clear that Nintendo made significant design changes before launching the console. Magazine scans from a 1989 Nintendo press demonstration show a prototype that closely resembles the one being auctioned. However, the final SNES model released in the US featured a different, more boxy design with purple sliding switches on top.

The discovery of this rare Super Famicom prototype is not the first time a lost Nintendo prototype has surfaced. In the past, prototypes of the Nintendo / Sony PlayStation and a wired version of the Wiimote designed for the GameCube were also uncovered in auctions. These unreleased designs provide a glimpse into the creative process at Nintendo and the many iterations that a product can go through before reaching the market.

As the auction for the Super Famicom prototype continues to attract attention and bids, it serves as a reminder of the rich history and evolution of gaming consoles. The fascination with rare prototypes and unreleased designs reflects a deep appreciation for the innovation and creativity that drives the video game industry. Whether this prototype ends up in a private collection or a museum, its significance in the world of gaming history is undeniable.


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