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$10,000 worth of rare games went “missing” in the mail, says game archivist

by Eric Frederiksen | February 17, 2017February 17, 2017 11:30 am PDT

You know that feeling you get, lingering in the back of your mind, every time you put something in the mail? What if it doesn’t get there? That came true for game archivist Byuu and a European collector, both of whom are now out to the tune of $10,000.

Byuu is one of the noble souls seeking to keep our old games alive, tracking down rare games and dumping them into ROMs so that they can be emulated from here into perpetuity. Byuu’s been part of the community for a long time and has even built his own emulator, higan, which Eurogamer says is considered one of the better SNES emulators out there. Byuu, based out of New Jersey, had been corresponding with a European collector to get his hands on some of those rare titles, and the collector had agreed to lend them. The first shipment went through fine, but the second one disappeared when the USPS apparently lost it – 100 rare cartridges now in the wind.

After weeks of hassling the USPS and appealing to Reddit for help, Byuu finally got a response from the Postal Service. It’s not much of a response, though, and it has only served to fuel his theory that the shipment was stolen rather than lost or destroyed.

The service returned to Byuu a fragment of the box’s packaging and included a form letter that described the package as having received “damage by normal machine processing at our facility.”

Right, they were “damaged”

Byuu once again took to Reddit, writing that “they shipped me the motherf***ing box label and nothing else, claiming the machine ate it,” he wrote. “If the label [came] off, it’d belong to the box right next to it without a label.”

“The USPS employees in Jersey City just stole a $10k package of games. This is felony theft. Please spread this as far and wide as you can. I’ll be contacting all the press I can as I wait.”

For the owner’s part, they’d had the shipment professionally packaged by the shipping company, so it’s not like a thrice-used Amazon box was the container in question.

If this was indeed theft, it’s pretty gross, and a dumb one. If Byuu and others are paying attention to pawn shops and GameStops in the Jersey City area, as well as places like eBay and Craigslist, it’ll be obvious when a bunch of European cartridges show up on the market.

For now, though, this story doesn’t have much of a happy ending. Suffice to say, the USPS has effectively put an end to Byuu’s project, as he’s not willing to risk any more cartridges. We’re hoping Byuu and the collector get some resolution.

Eurogamer Kotaku

Eric Frederiksen

Eric Frederiksen has been a gamer since someone made the mistake of letting him play their Nintendo many years ago, pushing him to beg for his own,...

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