Gaming prototypes always make for interesting museum pieces, and while most early versions of beloved games trickle out into the wild a little at a time, sometimes the floodgate opens and deluges us with alpha and beta versions. The gates are open today as a prototype collector known as "drx" has offered up a newly acquired collection of Sega development material.
Quick numbers: 155 Sega 32x prototypes, 300 Game Gear prototypes, 464 Mega Drive prototypes, 94 Pico prototypes, 6 Gamecube prototypes -- 1024 prototype overall (what a nice round number!), making this the biggest prototype release in history (and probably ever to come). Just multiply this by $100 (which is the average price of these things, and many of them are MUCH more valuable) and you'll see how lucky you are to get them free of charge.
There is lots of stuff here -- Sonic, Ristar, Tempo, and many other high-profile, hard-to-find game prototypes which many of us played years back and miss. Many with different features, levels, hidden data.
Questionable legality aside, it's interesting to peer through this kind of stuff and see how our favorite games grew and changed during development. There's way too much here to even consider casually sifting it all just for mere curiosity, so I think I'll wait until the devoted prototype folks dig through it all and share the more interesting changes in a nice summary format with plenty of comparison images. Unfinished levels are interesting, but corrected punctuation is not.