A true fan of the Final Fantasy video game series will tell you that the game we know in the U.S. as Final Fantasy II (FF2) was released in Japan as Final Fantasy IV, and that the game known in Japan as Final Fantasy II was never released by game maker Square in the United States. But did you know that the Japanese version of FF2 was slated to be released in the U.S. by Square, and that one — just one — demo copy of an English Final Fantasy II was made to show to the press?
It's true, and after nine years sitting in a private collection (of a known seller), that lone Final Fantasy II cartridge has surfaced on eBay. The price tag: $50,000. A lot of money, sure, but this is the rarest of the rare — the holy grail of NES collectibles that few fans even know exist.
The Nintendo cartridge itself seems pretty generic. The only hint to its ultra-expensive game identity is a tiny sticker on its upper right hand corner that says "Final Fantasy 2 Sample, copyright 1988, 1991 Squaresoft." Inside the circuitry lay a fully playable, complete, English-translated copy of the game released in Japan as Final Fantasy II. The game is even labeled on the inside "FF2 NES for CES."
The sample cartridge is a one-of-a-kind item, built for the 1991 Consumer Electronics Show. At the time, Square had plans to release the game in the U.S. But by the end of the year, that plan had been scrapped in lieu of focusing on porting the more technologically advanced Final Fantasy IV for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System.
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