I was recently contacted by a gentleman named Greg wondering if I had any more information on Action 52 prototype cartridges for the original 8-bit Nintendo. Since my knowledge is quite limited on these, I figured I’d open this one up to the gaming community to try to get him some feedback on them that way. (Post updated here)
From Greg Pabich:
In 1990-1991 I owned a large used movie and game distributorship. I was referred to Vince Perri to see about buying a new game called ACTION 52. I went to Miami to meet him and see the game. Long story short, I did not buy the game, but I did wind up with a prototype copy. It came with the usual box, a plastic sleeve (that did not have the Active logo embossed on it) and the instructional manual, game list and Cheetahmen comicbook. This is the only one like it I have ever seen.
The differences in the production games and this one are :
PROTOTYPE: blue motherboard, paper label (like your Variation 1) and the motherboard DOES NOT have the usual two blue capacitors?? in the upper right hand corner.
My copy has a clear plastic case and has metal screws that hold the cartridge together. The plastic cartridge body is slightly different and the motherboard is entirely different in electronic configuration. It is stamped “MADE IN AMERICA” in small white letters at the top of the motherboard
I have a second further variation. It has a clear case similar to the production style cart, black motherboard, no “capacitors” and has a painted label(decals?) like the standard production carts. I am not certain how similar this is to your Variation 1 motherboard as your noted Variation has the paper label and mine has the more “see through” decal like label. This cart is stamped “MADE IN THE USA” in large white letters that are upside down on the bottom of the motherboard
PRODUCTION: green motherboard, painted label(decals?) and the motherboard has the two blue capacitors?? in the upper right hand corner of the motherboard.
Has anyone else seen these two early versions or do I have something unique?
I think the prototype IS unique, but I don’t know how the second variation (black motherboard)I have fits into the timeline?
While I can’t say I know much about the differences between these models, it seems that Mike Sanders at Cheetahmen Corner has been able to shine some light on these unique cartridges in his thread.
If you have any knowledge that would be helpful for Greg regarding these games, feel free to comment below. Best of luck Greg!
UPDATE: Feel free to read my followup articles: “What’s Rarer: A Prototype Action 52 Cart or a Person Who’s Met Vince Perri?” and “The Evolution of the Action 52”