March 15 (UPI) -- A video game fan in California unveiled the latest addition to his collection: an unreleased Nintendo game that might be the only copy in existence.
Stephan Reese, who owns every released game for the Nintendo Entertainment System, said he recently purchased a wrestling game called UWC from a former Nintendo employee and he soon discovered it was something unique.
"I got it in the mail and plugged it in and realized it was something I had never seen before, and I own every North American Nintendo game so I was like, 'I definitely know it's not something I have on my shelf.' This was a completely different game, completely different code base, completely different developer, everything was different about it," Reese told KABC-TV.
The cartridge, an unreleased prototype of a game that was never released, appeared to have never even been played before. Reese said it's a wrestling game that features 1980s wrestling stars like Ric Flair.
Reese said the game stands out from other collectors' items because it was never even announced -- he had never heard of it before he bought it.
"That it went all the way through submission and then not released and nobody's ever heard of it, that makes it exceptional even among games that hadn't been released where you would see them in magazines beforehand," Reese said.
The Video Game History Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to preserving the history of the medium, had likewise never even heard of UWC. Reese allowed the non-profit to make a copy of the game and post a game play video on YouTube.
"It is no exaggeration to say that this is likely the only copy of the game in the entire world, it is so so important to archive data like this when it is discovered," the foundation said.
The reason the game never saw release, and how the prototype managed to survive, remain unclear.