Four of seven extremely rare Famicon (NES) games created by Konami for schools and a public utility company in Japan decades ago have been discovered and dumped online for use with emulators. The emulation was made possible by two Russian enthusiasts and a very lucky auction discovery, one that included special and extremely rare hardware that is needed to use the game cartridges.
The emulation project involves seven games in the Space School series, which was created by Japan’s NHK national broadcaster specifically for schools and a gas company. Because of their niche audiences and limited availability, these games were never made available commercially, making them not only very rare but also essentially unknown.
Despite the extreme rarity, four of the seven games have been preserved as ROMs made publicly available to the public thanks to ‘Russian Geek’ Nikolai Gubanov and the famous Russia-based ROM hacker known only as ‘CaH4e3.’ The story of these rare games and how they eventually became available for emulation is detailed by Russian Geek in the long video above.
Put simply, Russian Geek discovered one of these rare Space School games up for auction with the key component that made preservation possible: the insanely rare QTa adapter made specifically for these niche educational games. It’s impossible to use the game cartridges without their related adapter.
According to Polygon, word got back to hacker ‘CaH4e3’ who already privately owned some files related to the Space School series. The existence of a physical cartridge and the related QTa adapter enabled CaH4e3 to figure out how to reverse engineer the existing files. As a result of a collaboration between the two individuals, four of the seven Space School game ROMs can be downloaded here.