Nintendo licensed Tengen Tetris prototype exists

Thread in 'Discussion' started by Ezzelin, 17 Dec 2009.

  1. So I was looking at a list of a particular game prototype collector's games, and one entry piqued my interest in particular:

    The list is here:

    Has anyone heard anything about this version of Tetris? The collector (DreamTR) is willing to release dumped games to the community if a collection is taken to compensate him for the reduced value of the game after being dumped. There's also a second Tetris game listed:
    That sounds like the same thing, but who knows.
  2. I've never heard of it, and historically it doesn't make a lot of sense. This seems like the sort of thing that would be easy to fake with a simple hack, so my scam warning bells are going off. Not that the collector is necessarily scamming, he could have been a victim of a scam himself.

    At any rate I'd want some details on its provenance before considering to donate.
  3. I know dreamTR from other forums. And for years
    The guy was collecting prototypes before I had internet, not the sort of guy that gets scammed.
    More the kind that buys his games directly from the guys who created them (I mean, seriously)
  4. Can you ask him to provide some gameplay footage/screencaps?
  5. He won't :p
    I know the guy, huge collection but no information if you don't pay ;)
    I mean, I've seen him buying and selling protos for ten years, saw a LOT of people asking him for a complete list of all his games and... took him ten years to make a list available for what ? "pay me and I release the game"
    (no criticize here, I know how much of a hassle it can be to get those protos, how expensive they sell for and how the value fall dramatically when the game is dumped)
  6. Muf


    Sounds like he's the one who's scamming then.
  7. I would definitely criticize! I am fundamentally against the mentality of buying games "for the value". I've owned TAP since before it was dumped, and it's worth more to me now than it did back then. In my opinion if you're buying games that don't have value to you then you're buying for the wrong reasons.

    But my criticism ends there... I realise that most of that list is a bunch of half finished shitty games, and are not of great value to humanity at large. A few are interesting for historical reasons (like Tetris), but for the most part I really don't care if people hoard them.
  8. Edo

    Edo a.k.a. FSY

    Having recently researched the history of Tetris myself, I strongly believe that this is not legitimate. Like colour_thief said in his first post, it just doesn't make sense historically; Tengen "acquired" the rights a year before Nintendo and would have had no reason to seek rights which they already had (or at least believed they already had).

    DreamTR may well be an honest person, but somewhere along the line this prototype has been falsely labeled. Asking people to pay money for something which is not what it is claimed to be, without even providing pictures, is a bit too much.
  9. It seems odd that he cares so much about value, yet is so strict about stuff that he's made it so that people are rarely ever going to give him any money.
  10. tepples

    tepples Lockjaw developer

    Educated guess

    I'm guessing that the "licensed" Tengen Tetris uses 1. an authentic CIC instead of the Rabbit clone, 2. a Tetris brand license straight from Elorg instead of going through Andromeda and Mirrorsoft, and 3. an attempt at colors per piece like the Vs. System version of Tetris. (The Vs. System is an arcade board based on NES architecture.)

    Would it be bad to ask for a quote for the Tetris dump? (It'd probably be cheaper than a new FanTi Grape board.) Or should we just hold off because we already have LJ65?
  11. Sounds like this one guy I was talking to in line on the day the Wii came out. He bragged about how he bought a PS3...and then sold it online to turn a profit.
  12. I stumbled across this thread and I'll try to answer these to the best of my ability.

    I've been accumulating prototypes for many years from extremely high end and sensitive sources among other things. I have an extremely good contact list to say the least.

    I have TWO different Tengen Tetris LICENSED NES prototypes. A THIRD exists in a different format slightly (but very similar) by two NES Prototype Collectors (mrmark + beaglepuss).

    In no way shape or form are these bootleg. These are sample/development standard prototype NES games with EPROMS. No one "made" these from the VS Unisystem game. I am fully aware of this version of the game and this may be similar, but there are variants including one being a very different title screen and block colors and lack of music for one of the prototypes.

    With that said, to the people that say I am a scammer, what am I scamming? If you have dealt with me before and knew the sheer VOLUME of prototypes I have cartridge wise, you would see why I weed out the picture collector/ROM hunters/time wasters. Don't be naive and call me something if you don't do your research.

    I can't make it any more clear that I have a crazy collection of these types of games as well as released games.

    With that said I'm not "asking" anyone for money on this stuff. Thedrx was kind enough to put that posting out there (partial list) so people who MIGHT be interested could get some stuff together. A lot of these took a lot of time, effort, and money to obtain and I am not releasing anything for free. Too many people "expect" things for nothing and that's not how I work. I collect these for me. I'm not a fly-by-night sell your prototypes collector. I've had these things longer than most websites have been around.

    I can tell you one of these prototypes came from an internal Nintendo marketing guy who sold a bunch of games to jollerancher at a garage sale. If you google that sale, you will find out precisely what was there, and understand the magnitude of that find. It had no less than 4 Nintendo Competition cartridges.

    The other was from an internal contact from another source acquired a long time with various other prototypes.

    Here are some old pictures from Photobucket from both of the versions (including the one closest to VS Tetris)

    If there are any more questions you can either email me at or find me on AIM as DreamTR, but I will not be posting on this thread again.
  13. damn, y'all just got served. DreamTR sold me my first arcade stick, great guy!
  14. Edo

    Edo a.k.a. FSY

    DreamTR, I apologise if I in any way implied you were a scammer, that was not my intention; I was inclined to believe that you were in fact an honest person. Also, from what cyberguile said, I was under the impression that you would absolutely not release pictures even to potential buyers, until money had exchanged hands. I apologise for any offence I have caused you as a result of this misunderstanding. That said, thank you very much for sharing these pictures with us, they certainly solve a lot of mysteries.

    For anyone else that is still a little confused:

    We all jumped to the conclusion that the Nintendo licensing was for the rights to produce a Tetris game. It is now clear that this is not the case. As I've already said, Tengen acquired the rights a year before Nintendo and would have had no reason to seek rights which they already held. The Nintendo licensing has nothing to do with Tetris, it's simply for the rights to produce a game for the NES console. Virtually all North American NES games not produced by Nintendo themselves will display the "LICENSED BY NINTENDO OF AMERICA INC." text somewhere. What we are actually looking at is unmistakably a prototype of an Atari/Tengen Tetris, licensed by Academysoft/Elorg, sublicensed by Andromeda. Nintendo had nothing to do with the licensing of the Tetris game, only the rights to produce it for the NES console.

    Personally, I have very little interest in this version, but if the community would like to see it dumped, I'm willing to make a contribution to the cause.
  15. Mega RetroMan recently streamed a similar prototype. I added a timestamp to when it starts, but if you go back a little he does briefly show the cart. It's different than the one in the pictures above. The title screen and some of the graphics are also slightly different.
    Thanks to PMYA on Discord for telling me about this.

  16. It looks like a prototype for Vs. Tetris, as has been mentioned previously in the thread -- has the same title screen as DreamTR/006-2.jpg from what I can tell.
  17. No, I know of his reputation... for starters he sold the Socks the cat prototype not that long ago for automobile costs after showing a blurry video of him playing the game in his house. He does share some of his stuff but he's not a big fan of dumping priceless things publicly which given the time and effort and investment he's put into procuring this stuff I sort of can understand.

    I on a somewhat interesting note as it's relavent to tengen tetris found a rather bizarre bootleg version of this game on an rs-97's internal micro sd, it makes some changes that go beyond the scope of most of these bootlegs though not only removing references to Tengen, but to the Tetris Logo and Russian inspired sprites and downright leaves a pretty bland looking game.
    Last edited: 9 Aug 2019
  18. Muf


    Oh I understand, I just disagree. Being greedy like that isn't furthering game preservation, and he ends up looking kind of like a dick for it in the process. I'm sure he's fine with his "reputation", and couldn't care less what I have to say about it. Personally I have poured significant amounts of money in the Tetris community and into preservation of games and things like superplay VHSes (which would otherwise have been lost to analogue rot), and really all I've gotten back for it is a lively community and a warm fuzzy feeling. Difference in perspective I suppose.
    simonlc and FreakyByte like this.
  19. Can't say I blame you, but in the video game community you meet all kinds.
  20. Reviving this thread to announce that four prototypes have been released by Hidden Palace as part of their 2022-01-01 batch release. They are, as labelled by Hidden Palace:

    * Prototype A: Tengen copyright is conspicuously absent. Only one music track, most basic scoring, no handicap menu, level select is Beginner/Intermediate/Advanced/Expert, etc.
    * Prototype B: Missing a lot of credits. One music track for each of 1 Player and 2 Player, start levels from 0 to 9, no handicap menu, etc.
    * Prototype C: Menus close to final. One music track only. When multiple lines are cleared, the animation does one at a time.
    * Prototype D: Menus close to final. One music track only. When multiple lines are cleared, the animation does all at once.

    The prototype streamed by Mega RetroMan's appears to be closest to Prototype A, though I haven't yet tested any of them.

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