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It looks like a major preservation project for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System has come to a grinding halt after games valued at as much as $10,000 went missing in the mail.
For fans of classic gaming, this will probably read something like a horror story. In short, an archivist who goes by the name Byuu was in the process of backing up and preserving every SNES game in existence. From classic games in the Super Mario Bros. and Donkey Kong franchise to cult gems like Zombies Ate My Neighbors. His plan was to borrow what he didn't own himself, and everything was going fine...Until it wasn't.
Byuu, who lives in New Jersey, was in the process of borrowing rare games from a collector in Frankfurt when the unthinkable happened. Well, actually, it's pretty thinkable if you've ever had to deal with the U.S. Postal Service. Anyway, the duo were collaborating in 100-game blocks, and the first batch made the journey to Byuu for download and back again without any issues. The second batch of 100 games, though, never arrived. According to a report from Eurogamer, the games in that collection were valued at between $7,500 and $10,000. The sender had purchased insurance for the collection, but it only extended to his home country. Once the package arrived in New Jersey, which is where it was last seen, it was no longer covered under said insurance.
The original report goes on to explain that Byuu is a well-known, pretty public figure in the archiving business. This SNES project of his has been well documented so, in other words, it's not seeming very likely that he would be pulling some sort of a scam here. A dude in Frankfurt didn't receive a mysterious email asking to borrow his games, no questions asked, in other words.
Unfortunately, this incident has basically flattened Byuu's drive to continue the archiving project, which is both understandable and a real shame. He is instead shifting his focus to raising funds to reimburse the original sender for their games. Byuu can't replace the cartridges, but he can at least send a big check and hope there are no hard feelings. He's apparently considering setting up a GoFundMe to help soften the personal blow. We doubt he's under any sort of legal obligation to do this, but he feels responsible for what happened.
Byuu apparently spent a lot of time on Reddit and various other sites trying to make contact with folks working for the USPS and the like. His hope was that someone, somewhere, might be able to find the missing parcel. Enough time has passed, though, that he has finally admitted defeat.