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Posted Mon Feb 12, 2018 8:46 PM
Posted Mon Feb 12, 2018 10:23 PM
Almost all TI prototype cartridges in the wild are actually qualification units (equivalent to lab loaners and review copies for other systems). The board inside will be a production board, and the cases can be all kinds of crazy oddities (two-color, single color in a color never used in production, single color of a type only used rarely (like the blue, yellow-orange, or red cases used for some Scott Foressman titles), or standard release cases). Labels will often be handwritten, but some will be typed, and an even smaller group will have production labels on two-tone cases. Look carefully at the color of the Car Wars case above (I have that one). Notice how bright that white is. I have only ever seen it used for qualification units. One other note on the initial rarity of qulification units: between 150 and 175 if each cartridge would be produced in a qualification run. The purpose was to verify that the line could assemble them properly and that everything ran smoothly. Most of them never made it into the wild. In all the years I've been watching cartridges, I've never seen more than about half a dozen survivors of any given title as qualification units.
One note here: there ARE TI prototypes as well. Thesse will have EPROMs on an EGROM circuit card. I have several bare EGROM boards and half a dozen cartridges built on assembled EGROM boards (one of which is a copy of Parsec in a red case that I found in a Maryland thrift store back in 1995 for the princely sum of $1.49, along with a mutant black text on white background label Star Trek cartridge). Sometimes, you just have a lucky day, and that was one of mine. I bought my first Tomy Tutor there too. . .that was more expensive though, as they wanted $29.99 for it.
Posted Mon Feb 12, 2018 11:22 PM
Wow!!! I need to make a trip out your way some time, Jim..... I hope I dont melt when I gaze upon the glory. ((Vision of Raiders of the Lost Ark))
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