A lot of us out there like to think we collect rare games, such as the Aero the Acrobat 2 or a handful of Nintendo Virtual Boy titles. Then there are those people out there who actually do collect rare games, but in this context "rare" refers to a prototype game that someone went halfway around the world to acquire, and "acquire" refers to paying a lot of money to Indonesian sea pirates. Welcome to the dark smokey underground of obscure game prototype collections.
In a smoke-filled room with low lighting, one regales me about the time he privately shipped a Harley Motorcycle to Japan in exchange for a one-of-a-kind piece of hardware stolen by Indonesian sea pirates. While another muses about the time he had to call Korea and explain that a mysterious MSX labeled package did not in fact contain MSX missile parts.
Video game developers and publishers are not too happy to see their unreleased property made available online, and so the legal battles and cease-and-desist orders are always in the way of these hardcore collectors. Meanwhile the rest of us gossip about their activities. Some of the prototypes locked away in various safes include Clayfighter Extreme for the Sony PlayStation, Shenmue for the Sega Saturn, Mother 3 for the Nintendo 64DD, and even the long lost Sonic X-Treme. The prototypes are not always playable games, but that doesn't stop the collectors from spending a lot of money and taking a lot of risks to acquire them. Somehow my little Virtual Boy copy of Jack Bros. doesn't seem so impressive anymore.