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Thread: Unreleased Neo Geo Game Writeup: The Warlocks of the Fates (Jinryu Senki)

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    Unreleased Neo Geo Game Writeup: The Warlocks of the Fates (Jinryu Senki)

    Jinryu Senki (The Warlocks of the Fates) – NGH-077

    Jinryu Senki, better known outside of Japan as The Warlocks of the Fates, was a fantasy themed fighting game developed in 1995 by Astec21. This was the only Astec21 game in development for the Neo Geo at the time, and had it been released, it would have been their first Neo Geo title. There’s only a small amount of information that’s been published in English on The Warlocks of the Fates. The information presented here is from Neo Geo Freak magazine Vol. 1-3 and Neo Geo World Vol. 2, all in Japanese. I hope you enjoy the read and get a better look into the world of Jinryu Senki and Astec21.

    Astec21 was founded in June of 1994 with a staff of only nine people, mainly programmers. From then on, they went and gathered a team of graphic designers and other staff to start full scale game development. By October of 1994, they had 30 staff members. It is very possible that Astec21 had ties to SNK due to the fact that their headquarters was also in Esaka, Osaka Japan. Not only were they very close to the SNK headquarters, but they were also located close to four different Neo Geo Land locations. In a sense, they were right in the homeland of the Neo Geo. In an interview published in Neo Geo World magazine Vol. 2, Astec21 president Katsura Nagata commented that a Jinryu Senki RPG for the Neo Geo was in the planning stage of development. Of course, neither the main game nor the RPG saw a release.

    Story of The Warlocks of the Fates

    The sacred kingdom’s warrior, Jacquio Shankar defeats the half human, half devil being named Schlechten Weizemann. Having been defeated, Schlechten splits his soul in two; one half alive on the earth as a human, and the other half, his true form, being stored underground waiting to be awoken. 20 years after these events, Diademe Justice “J” Shankar, the son of the victorious hero Jacquio Shankar, celebrates his birthday at the holy palace of the kingdom. While there, the holy king receives a vision from the god of light, Lumiere, stating that the power of light will finally defeat the devil once and for all. Following this prophesy, J departs from the palace and heads west.

    The wise sage Skal gave J some advice to go through the forest of Forescha on his journey going west. On his way through the forest, J encounters a bandit named Mhuo. Upholding his values of justice, J battles with Mhuo, but he quickly explains that he doesn’t steal from those in need. Rather, he tries to help the poor by stealing from the wealthy. Learning this, J and Mhuo settle their differences, and he tags along with J on his journey.

    Further along, the pair encounters Vanity, a vengeful female warrior from the city of Vitraenha, with the power of darkness. Mhuo stays back while J battles with Vanity. Little did J know, that Vanity was following dark mage Klugheit. After the fight, Klugheit shows the divine dragon which appeared during the battle caused by the resistance and fusion of light and dark powers. After this event J and Mhuo depart towards the garden of souls. On the way there, at the lake of poison, they meet a mysterious child named Hirga who decides to travel with them. What awaited them at the garden of souls was…?!

    This is the dawn of the story that would be called “Jinryu Senki”

    Character Profiles


    “J” Diademe Justice Shankar – A young man who shows promise in the holy empire, thanks to inheriting the traits of his legendary father Jacquio Shankar. J has a simple personality, and strong moral integrity. He is very involved in the doctrine of the holy empire, which adds to his personal integrity. He’s very good at interacting with women. J’s main goal is to travel west to the empire of dark magic, so that he can finally slay the murderous devil Schlechten who was once defeated by J’s father.

    “Laby” Labyrianha Lieblich – She studied under Skal after losing her parents and became a master of ancient languages at age 2. Laby has control of several magical creatures which helps her magic, and she has mastered the art of flying. Her personality is cute and bright like a child; however, she feels very lonely and finds dealing with that loneliness difficult. Her purpose is to find her master who left on a sudden journey.

    Mhuo Paris – He is the leader of a band of thieves who operate in the Forescha forest. His personality is lascivious and somewhat twisted. He’s the kind of person to take on jobs that people would normally reject. If he sees a woman, he immediately goes up to her and tries to sweet talk her. His aggressive attitude is due to a rival gang of pirates led by a woman gaining more territory in the south thanks to her scouting Mhuo’s thieves away from him.

    “Vanity” Vaniteb Schauder – Vanity was the oldest daughter of the lord of Schauder manor in the West Yurai region. Two years ago, her father was murdered by the dark mage Klugheit Weisemann. Ever since then she has risked her life to get revenge for her fathers’ death.

    Klugheit Weisemann – A mysterious mage with the power of darkness. Her entire body is covered in an elaborate outfit with a serpent wrapped around a cross on the back and a mask covering her face. She had ties to Schlechten the devil who was defeated 8 years ago and intends to reign with him upon his resurrection.

    “Skal” Skala Socrateechesky – Skal helped to defeat Schlechten with J’s father Jacquio Shankar. Skal is a sage, and people refer to him as the “wise giant” out of respect. He is investigating information regarding Schlechten the devil.

    “Hirga” Hirgalt Von Gestalten – A boy who’s said to be a miracle, the child of god. In all reality, he is Gestalten the sage reincarnated. He views Skal as his rival, and he wishes to defeat him.

    Isha Irae – The daughter of a great nobleman in East Yurai. She now is the leader of a group of pirates, whose territory extends from Chet Volhina, the city of water, and Tretienha, the city of darkness. Her goal is to investigate and defeat invaders in her territory.

    Beckwem Tod – Once a high preist of the holy city, it was made public that he was performing bad deeds under his guise of high priest. When this happened, he was immediately exiled from the city. After this, he obtained the secret to summon the devil Schlechten, and promptly resurrected Abbadoom. Tod was able to control Abbadoom, and together they control a legion of people invading the land and spreading darkness.

    Abbadoom – This is the devil half of Schlechten’s soul, which was split in two when Jacquio Shankar defeated him. It is under the control of Beckwem Tod and waits for Klugheit.

    Last edited by Digmac; 07-14-2020 at 11:17 AM.
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    While the story and fantasy theme were a departure from other fighting games of the time, the gameplay of The Warlocks of the Fates differed greatly as well. Here, we'll take a look at the gameplay side of things.

    Gameplay Modes


    There are two different game modes to The Warlocks of the Fates: Jinryu Senki (The Record) and Ryūseki Majutsu-Kai (The Tournament).

    The Record is the main story mode of The Warlocks of the Fates. You move on the map as you progress through the story, battling the opponents you meet. There are 8 main stages, plus the final boss for a total of 9 stages. Depending on how you do in the game, your route on the map can change, making you encounter different characters. There are also times where you can choose what route to take through the map. When using a continue, you can change your character during The Record, however the story will reset, and you’ll have to play from the beginning. If you continue but keep your current character, you’ll continue from where you were on the map. In order to see the credits roll at the end of the game, you must beat the game on one credit.


    The Tournament is the simple VS CPU mode with no story elements. There are 8 opponents to beat in this mode. The people you face are randomized except for the 8th which is always the same. The number of opponents you’ve beaten in this mode is shown on the leaderboard. During two player VS, one can pick the stage and type of battle; Competiton, Dead or Alive, or Artistry.

    Battle Modes


    There are three battle modes in The Warlocks of the Fates. Competition is the standard battle mode in which your opponent does not die when their life is depleted. When either the player or opponent’s life bar reaches full yellow, the fight pauses, and more time is added to the timer.

    Dead or Alive is a fight to the death. When the player’s or opponent’s life is empty, their character dies. There is no break to the fight when a life gauge reaches full yellow. If someone has not died when the timer is up, another 30 seconds will be added.

    Artistry is a mode in which the winner is the person with the most artistry points when the timer runs out. You don’t take any damage in this mode, and the life bars are greyed out.

    Scoring - Artistry Points


    Scoring is very different in The Warlocks of the Fates. Score is calculated in Artistry Points. At the end of each battle you'll see your Artistry Score. This is composed of offence points, defence points, artistic points, and combination points. The more you perform more complex magic attacks, fight without spamming moves, and use your flying mechanic, the better score you'll get.

    Dragon Stones


    At the start of the game after your character is selected, you can select your dragon stone. Each dragon stone will change the color of your character and will change what magic moves you can use. Each character has a specific dragon stone that they are more powerful with than the others, so it’s important to match the stone to what character you’re using. There are six dragon stones total, and they are: Wind, Fire, Earth, Water, Light, and Darkness.

    The strength of your character and the power of your magic attacks changes depending on the time and place of the battle. For example, when a character using the water dragon stone fights in a dry stage, the overall power of the character is weaker. Another example is when a character using the light dragon stone fights during the daytime, you’ll see a boost in power.

    Flying System


    One of the largest features in Warlocks of the Fates is its flying system. The transition to flying is easy; simply press down twice while jumping. While in flight, you have access to offensive and defensive moves, so the battle can be completely fought while in the air. You can change the direction of your magic attacks while in the air by using the joystick. Pressing ABCD while flying will cancel flight and put you back on the ground. Dashing into flight from the ground can be performed by pressing ABCD. This is a good defensive move since you can avoid attacks this way. When attacked in the air, you fall back down to the ground. To avoid extra damage by hitting the ground when attacked, press down twice when falling.

    Rikiba Gauge

    The “rikiba” (force field) is a gauge that’s displayed on your life bar with the dragon stone icon. When your rikiba is low your attack power will be weak, but your defense will be high. When your rikiba is high, your attack power will be stronger, however, your defense is weak. This gauge will raise and lower as you deal out magic attacks and take damage. You can also move the gauge manually by pressing ABC to lower it and BCD to raise it. When the rikiba is at its lowest point, there is a medium magic technique that will raise it to the max.

    Magic


    Weak magic attacks are easy to use, and only require one press of the C button to pull off. You can use the joystick to direct the attack while in the air. With its ease of use, its attack power is understandably low.

    Medium magic attacks can be used by performing a forward quarter-circle plus a specific button. Which medium magic attacks you can use and how strong they are is determined by which dragon stone you chose and the character you’re using. Diffusion type medium magic has a wide spread which makes it easy to hit your opponent. This can be used by pressing the C button. Condensed type medium magic can only be fired forward, so it can be difficult to land. This is used with the D button. When your rikiba is at max, there is a defensive medium magic move can be used with CD. This move sends a three-dimensional magic square at your opponent, which renders all of their attacks powerless. In turn you have invincibility but only for a short time, so use it wisely. As stated above, all of these moves require a forward quarter-circle plus the button input.

    Advanced magic attacks are the most powerful and difficult to pull off. Each one has a unique input command, is unique to each character, and does not change dependent on which dragon stone you select. Neo Geo Freak magazine said they would include the list of commands in the following articles on Warlocks of the Fates, but sadly, this never happened.

    Pressing AB or CD at the same time while guarding uses defensive magic. AB while guarding employs “Reflection”, which simply blocks magic attacks. Pressing CD employs “Capture”, which allows you to capture your opponent’s magic attack and fire it back at them. Capture works on all levels of magic attacks, however, in the case of advanced magic you will still take chip damage. Your rikiba gauge will also be lowered twice as much than using Reflection or a normal guard. Although the magic square listed with the medium magic attacks can be considered defense magic, it’s slightly different due to the lack of having to guard.

    Proximity magic is a throwing technique that can be used when close to your opponent. When close, press forward plus B or D. This can be used on the ground or while flying.

    Sake Dōsa Parry System


    When your opponent comes out with a magic attack, you can parry the attack by pressing back to guard as soon as it would hit. This is known as the “sake dōsa” (evasion technique). This is very useful since you can completely negate your opponent’s magic attacks this way. If a button combo is pressed during the sake dōsa, you can counter with a special attack. Pressing AB will counter with a normal attack and pressing CD will counter with a weak magic attack. This is an important counter technique to learn in Warlocks of the Fates.


    Screenshot/Artwork Gallery

    Last edited by Digmac; 07-14-2020 at 11:37 AM.
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    I know we have tonnes of fighters to play but this is probably my most wanted of all the proto's. Great to read the story and see more info on the characters. Thanks for a great post.

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    Thanks, Dig!

    Great write up on this - very interesting scoring system and other tid-bits. I love that people so much younger than the majority of us old, jaded nerds here are passionate about the Neo. There's still so much to talk about and discover - when you think you know everything, here you come with new information! Keep it up! ^_^

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    Such a shame reading all those details that we never got to experience this!
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    So the proto is fully functional, but never to be released? I always wondered if the proto AES cart in that infamous glass case picture is complete.

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    There's no mystery to why this game didn't get released. It sounds like it's incredibly clunky and less-than-intuitive.

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    Sounds like a part-time job to even learn how to play this. Great read though, thanks!

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    You're knocking it out of the park with the threads lately. Fascinating stuff but you can probably see why it was never released.
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    Question is who actually has a copy of the game? Because we need to find this person and beat them up for it.

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    Thanks for the kind words guys. A lot of work went into this, but I'm happy to get the info out there.

    Quote Originally Posted by 2D_Master View Post
    So the proto is fully functional, but never to be released? I always wondered if the proto AES cart in that infamous glass case picture is complete.
    As far as I know from the magazines and the playthrough video we have of it, WOTF was almost complete, perhaps just needing final debugging to be ready for release. The video shows it being fully playable from beginning to end. That proto cart has boards in it but it's operation is unconfirmed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Burning Fight!! View Post
    You're knocking it out of the park with the threads lately. Fascinating stuff but you can probably see why it was never released.
    Thanks man. I appreciate it. The more one learns about how complex and clunky the game would have played, the easier it is to understand why it never saw a commercial release.

    Quote Originally Posted by lachlan View Post
    Question is who actually has a copy of the game? Because we need to find this person and beat them up for it.
    Mandarake Nakano. They can't catch us all.

    Lastly, here are my personal thoughts on this game.

    First off, I think the theme is very cool and different from other fighters. It would be unique on the platform. From the video that we have, the music is really solid in my opinion. There are some tracks from WOTF that I wish I could listen to without the game playing over it. Graphically, it's ok. I can't really put my finger on it, but it's just ok. Nothing special. It's not Legend of Success Joe terrible, but there's quite a bit of room for improvement. Gameplay wise, this game is so unnecessarily complex. It feels like they added every single idea that everyone on the dev team had. Watching the battles, it looks clunky and somewhat broken to play. The final battle against Abbadoom looks way too easy. I think if you played well, you could beat the whole game using just that tornado magic attack Laby has. I'd say that the flying system looks the most clunky and "broken" to me out of anything in the game.

    Do I still want to play it? 100% yes.
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    The play mechanics sound interesting and I'd sure like to see this released to the public, but boy howdy, the characters are ugly and the official artwork is hideous.

    I guess they couldn't afford to hire some half-decent manga author to draw the cast.

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    This game looks really interesting. I would love to at least try this game once, but alas a dump has yet to surface. Maybe one day, just not today.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Digmac View Post
    Thanks for the kind words guys. A lot of work went into this, but I'm happy to get the info out there.


    As far as I know from the magazines and the playthrough video we have of it, WOTF was almost complete, perhaps just needing final debugging to be ready for release. The video shows it being fully playable from beginning to end. That proto cart has boards in it but it's operation is unconfirmed.


    Thanks man. I appreciate it. The more one learns about how complex and clunky the game would have played, the easier it is to understand why it never saw a commercial release.


    Mandarake Nakano. They can't catch us all.

    Lastly, here are my personal thoughts on this game.

    First off, I think the theme is very cool and different from other fighters. It would be unique on the platform. From the video that we have, the music is really solid in my opinion. There are some tracks from WOTF that I wish I could listen to without the game playing over it. Graphically, it's ok. I can't really put my finger on it, but it's just ok. Nothing special. It's not Legend of Success Joe terrible, but there's quite a bit of room for improvement. Gameplay wise, this game is so unnecessarily complex. It feels like they added every single idea that everyone on the dev team had. Watching the battles, it looks clunky and somewhat broken to play. The final battle against Abbadoom looks way too easy. I think if you played well, you could beat the whole game using just that tornado magic attack Laby has. I'd say that the flying system looks the most clunky and "broken" to me out of anything in the game.

    Do I still want to play it? 100% yes.
    It’s so fucking silly to hoard protos at this point.

    If the hope is for a gigantic payday, you can still dump the game and make a boatload.

    If it’s to just hoard and be the guy who owns it, it’s a testament to an empty existence. It’s a goddamn video game.

    Absent any proof of it being legit, it’s not being shown for a reason. It’s probably incomplete, non-working, or super garbage. It draws dorks like us in to buy their other crap. We are discussing them now because of it. It’s rube advertising and carnival barking. Don’t pay attention to it.

    Absent absolute proof of legitimacy, I’ve learned the hard way to be extremely skeptical around here. It's fake until absolutely proven otherwise with a playtest, view of the boards, confirmation. At that point.. really.. why do we care? Why devote that much effort to something so inconsequential? Someone will allow viewing of this thing long enough to titillate but not to share it? What a pointless and vacuous existence for something this person likely did not have any stake in creating.

    Xacrow and others have been teasing this stuff for years. It’s pointless outside of a legal agreement or litigation concerns (If I had to guess, Xacrow falls under this category.) to sit on them. It’s just dick measuring.

    P.s. I know at least 2 people falling into this category are likely to read this and roll their eyes.

    My protos are fully dumped, public, and confirmed. Better games than these, undoubtedly. It doesn’t make me less awesome. You just want to be worshipped or paid trubute to for owning a rare piece of crap.

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    To my point:

    The last time we had a very frank public discussion here and called people out... certain folks got bent out of shape. “Great... you pissed them off! Now we will never see them! Let me apologize on behalf of all of you cretins!”

    It’s 2020. How did that work out for you? Garou 2 is soooooooo dope, AMIRITE?!?!?!?!?!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tacitus View Post
    To my point:

    The last time we had a very frank public discussion here and called people out... certain folks got bent out of shape. “Great... you pissed them off! Now we will never see them! Let me apologize on behalf of all of you cretins!”

    It’s 2020. How did that work out for you? Garou 2 is soooooooo dope, AMIRITE?!?!?!?!?!
    Damn....I saw a Garou 2 mention in a thread about new info on unreleased games and got my hopes up. Carry on...

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackaneseNiNjA View Post
    Damn....I saw a Garou 2 mention in a thread about new info on unreleased games and got my hopes up. Carry on...
    Yo! Welcome back, dunny! You good?
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackaneseNiNjA View Post
    Damn....I saw a Garou 2 mention in a thread about new info on unreleased games and got my hopes up. Carry on...
    Yo man! You been okay? I thought COVID might have got ya.
    Quote Originally Posted by SuperGun
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    Quote Originally Posted by wataru330 View Post
    Yo! Welcome back, dunny! You good?
    Quote Originally Posted by Digmac View Post
    Yo man! You been okay? I thought COVID might have got ya.
    Yo whats up! It’s been a trying year; lost some close people to covid, but we’re hanging in there. I know many have lost a lot this year so I am always thankful for each day. Aside from extended work, I’ve just been spending time with the fam and enjoying neo geo with the kid as usual.

    I hope everyone is staying safe and is doing ok out there.

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    These people who hoard protos shape their entire personality and existence off of pieces of plastic. They won't ever release them, because they see the protos as literal extensions of themselves, and releasing them somehow taints them. They act like toddlers trying to hoard their toys.
    Alright, back again with THE IMMORTAL JOHN HANCOCK

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackaneseNiNjA View Post
    Damn....I saw a Garou 2 mention in a thread about new info on unreleased games and got my hopes up. Carry on...
    Stuff gets leaked out every year or so, probably to drive the value more. There are alleged screenshots. Sprites were confirmed.

    It was said to have been “70% finished” and playable. Honestly, that means nothing.. it was probably largely recycled or expanded.

    It’s a decade past relevant for most of the small audience invested in it.

    I don’t care, I moved on to RB2.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tacitus View Post
    Stuff gets leaked out every year or so, probably to drive the value more. There are alleged screenshots. Sprites were confirmed.

    It was said to have been “70% finished” and playable. Honestly, that means nothing.. it was probably largely recycled or expanded.

    It’s a decade past relevant for most of the small audience invested in it.

    I don’t care, I moved on to RB2.
    I hear ya, I know Garou 2 (along with the neo geo Ninja Gaiden II play-tested game) is a lost cause. I’m just always on the look out for Fatal Fury details. RB2 is indeed awesome


    Also, thank you to Digmac for shedding more light on this unreleased title. More of us definitely should share what is in the japanese guides and magazines if we can. There’s a lot of good stuff that hasn’t really been translated and shared.
    Last edited by BlackaneseNiNjA; 07-22-2020 at 09:49 PM.

    超えるべき奴がいる。

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    Quote Originally Posted by Evan View Post
    These people who hoard protos shape their entire personality and existence off of pieces of plastic. They won't ever release them, because they see the protos as literal extensions of themselves, and releasing them somehow taints them. They act like toddlers trying to hoard their toys.
    To be fair, most people who obtain prototypes usually paid a shit ton of money for them. Burning money isn't a very popular activity.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HMG View Post
    To be fair, most people who obtain prototypes usually paid a shit ton of money for them. Burning money isn't a very popular activity.
    Other consoles get the roms out. Neo Geo has a bad record on this.

    There's an opportunity for "controlled release". One trusted third party from the community verifies and holds a copy of the rom and collects payments to compensate the prototype owner for the value. There are people out there currently holding onto unreleased roms. I'd gladly kick in a few hundred dollars for the public rom release of a unreleased Neo Geo game.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neo Alec View Post
    Other consoles get the roms out. Neo Geo has a bad record on this.

    There's an opportunity for "controlled release". One trusted third party from the community verifies and holds a copy of the rom and collects payments to compensate the prototype owner for the value. There are people out there currently holding onto unreleased roms. I'd gladly kick in a few hundred dollars for the public rom release of a unreleased Neo Geo game.
    I think Billy Pitt once offered a very reasonable stance on the subject, and there's less leeway to do what you told considering Neo Geo is already an order of magnitude more expensive than regular consoles in retail stuff alone.

    The problem is when a proto happens to be in the hands of a high end collector. Since money is NOT a motivating factor for them, the only approach is a trade. In addition, trading with a high end collector is at the absolute highest level. It is not something that can be negotiated easily because you have to bring to the table something that they do not have! In most cases, the only thing that qualifies is the same thing they have, an unreleased proto! So trading protos is a high stakes poker game which not everybody can play.
    Aka to not scare away people with more protos, and try to get more than what you have, you have to shut up about ROM releases and just trade away. Even selling is a no-go if you want to get to the highest amount of protos possible.

    When you do a controlled release you sign away any rights to be able to trade any other protos with hoarders/collectards/whatever you wanna call 'em, and they will never sell unless they're hurting for cash. Again, Atari/Nintender/Saygah has many more controlled releases and even people notorious for that sort of thing, but they don't get blocked because "the stakes" are significantly lower and there's a large range of teh ra3rs prototypes going around, so selling one of your protos won't make it as difficult to get another one as if you sold a Neo proto and went for another one.

    Personally I don't really care about protos enough to hunt/obsess over them like some people in retrogaming circles, nor do I play pretend museum archivist. Good if they get released publicly, but if someone offered Mystic Wand to me right now I'd just AT MOST act as a middleman for a community release. It's too much money for games that aren't all that interesting to justify it, and often incomplete/unplayable. I get more enjoyment out of other, more capable people documenting them.
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