You may have heard recently how $10,000 worth of Super Nintendo games was reported missing by the USPS. Just as the games’ buyer, a revered emulator developer and game archivist by Byuu, was about to give up hope, the games were miraculously recovered!
The package was part of an ongoing project by Byuu to archive every SNES game in existence. According to Byuu’s website, had initially spent $10K to purchase all 725 SNES games that were sold in the U.S.A. After archiving the set, he sold it off and used the proceeds, as well as an additional 10K to purchase all 1450 games sold in Japan.
When he moved on to archive all the games released in the PAL region he ran into the problem. Being low on funds, rather than purchasing the games, he arranged to borrow them from a European collector using the handle “Smarthuman.” He would send Byuu the games 100 at a time, and Byuu would send them back after they had been archived.
The first 100 went off without a hitch, the second batch, not so much. The package was initially sent to him on Jan. 5th, 2017. On Feb. 14th, Byuu had received a letter with the shipping label of the package stating the package had been damaged by machines and was missing. Byuu supposedly did everything he could to find it, saying, “I had actually started trying to get help for this long before February 14th. I had stopped by my local post office twice, called 1-800-ASK-USPS, filed an online missing mail claim, spoke to @USPSHelp on Twitter, etc. Nobody would do anything but try to get rid of me as soon as possible.”
It wasn’t until the media picked up the story that someone at USPS finally took notice. According to Byuu, “On February 16th, finally a manager at the USPS Consumer Affairs department took note of the case. And I mean that literally: he told me straight up the reason he was contacting me was because of the news articles he had encountered on this case. So thanks to the coverage, I finally had a strong contact within the USPS who passed me to his employee who then proceeded to open an investigation and help search for the package.”
On Feb. 21, 2017, Byuu received a confirmation that his package had been found, only to be informed by his CA representative that the search was a failure and the email was errant. However, she assured him she request all possible locations the package could have ended up at to do one final search.
And on Feb. 23, 2017 the package was found safe and intact, an overwhelming relief for Byuu who said, “Truth be told, I truly believed on February 14th that the package was lost forever. As such, I started to collect donations to help split the costs of buying and replacing all of these games for the donor. Yes, I know it wasn’t legally my responsibility, but I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t.”
In total, Byuu collected $1,020 via Paypal, plus pledges for $146 via Patreon to which he is completely refunding to all donors.
Going forward, Byuu plans to receive games in much smaller quantities, and while he extends an apology to USPS for initial claims of theft or negligence, he does believe they should review their equipment to avoid problems like this in the future.