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SNES preservation project "dead" after $10k of games lost in the post


A Nintendo fan’s project to digitally preserve every SNES game has ended in defeat after the US Postal Service (USPS) lost a package containing 100 cartridges.

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The parcel contained between $7500 and $10k worth of vintage games, which were en route to amateur archivist Byuu.

The package made the journey from Frankfurt to Byuu’s home state of New Jersey, but after this was lost by the USPS. It was the second of five planned shipments of games from a European collector, who has now been left without a large chunk of their collection.

Byuu had planned to borrow the games, 100 at a time, dump the cartridge’s contents, then repackage them and send them back. This worked fine for the first 100, so Byuu was eagerly awaiting the second shipment to continue his work.

After the shipment went missing, Byuu spent weeks appealing for help on Reddit from anyone who worked within the USPS or knew anyone at its New Jersey processing centre. The sender had insurance, but only for its travel to the US. Beyond that, it was lost. Sadly, after more than a month of no word, Byuu’s luck seems to have run out.

For those thinking “clearly this is a scam”, Byuu is a well-known member of the emulation community and author of his own SNES emulator, higan, which is widely regarded as one of the best there is.

As our own Chris Bratt found out when investigating Nintendo’s own Virtual Console service, many of the pirated SNES ROMs available online are not true copies of the game – they’ve been edited in some way. Not even Nintendo has the original digital images of all these games – which is how copied games find their way onto Nintendo’s own store.