The original 1st production run of some NES games (1985-87) differ slightly from the later ones produced, the 1st ones were made with 5 screws in place on the back holding the carts together and had a nice smooth surface on the top, then later on they were made with 3 screws and 2 plastic lugs at the top of the cart. They were changed because Nintendo found that it was cheaper producing carts with 3 screws and some plastic rather than 5 screws, but also it made it easier to open/close the cart when making/repairing them.
A good example of cart variations are the black box games like Super Mario Bros. where there were 2, 5 screw variants then 3, 3 screw variants. The 5 screw versions were the PAL/Mattel and NTSC/North American ones (Back in the 80's Mattel covered the PAL region until 1989), the 3 screw versions were PAL/Mattel, Later PAL and North American ones.
Another Variant on the Carts are the labels, the early variant had a circular gold and black authenticity seal (for gold Zelda's they were circular and either gold and dark gold or white and gold ), later carts had either a oval gold and white seal or a circular gold and white seal. In 1989 for both the PAL and NTSC regions Nintendo used oval seals, but by 1990 Nintendo used Circular seals for the PAL region and oval for NTSC.
One quite rare variant is the Super Mario Bros. 3 game in where the very first production run had the Bros. part on the Left instead of the Right(Also there is a slight programming difference changing some of the words from the initial release). One other rare NES variant cart is the very first Zelda that had 5 screws (original 1987 release in US only), each subsequent variant had 3 screws after.
Some original black box NTSC 5 screw carts have a Famicom adapter inside, though hard to find these are 100% 1985 first release. These let you play Famicom games on the NES. Such games to include this is Gyromite and stack up, with some other games such as Super Mario Bros though harder to find.
For the PAL region e.g. the UK most of the Mattel carts are 5 screw but there are still 3 screw Mattel variants.
Rare 1st Run NES games
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31 May 2014
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