Quoted from Colsond3:
I thought the point of IPSND was to only submit games or parts you own, so the location is also tracked.
I didn’t know you were supposed to just randomly submit serial numbers based on photographs you find of games? That doesn’t really confirm the game still actually exists.
Oh no, that’s not the point at all. The point is to compile the valid, existing serial numbers. We don’t know what numbering system, range, or numbers were actually used.
Many manufactures straight up lied about production runs and fabricated serial numbers to mislead their competitors. If you look at the top submitters, it’s mostly just from eBay parts listings.
Now ideally the games should still existent, but even if it no longer exists you should record the serial number before its lost forever and give an update on its fate, as I have for the unfortunate games that could not be saved. That way a record of that number exists and we know it was valid in use for the purpose of the serial number range.
For example, I visit many collections and I ask the owners if I can submit their machines for them. Everyone so far has said yes, and a few expressed surprise when they learned about the database. My friends now just send me numbers for their new pick-ups because they know I enjoy it.
Part numbers can be just as helpful, as long as they’re entered as a part and not a complete machine. They still let us know that a real game existed for this serial number and sometimes it fills gaps in the date codes. Certain Williams numbers have been identify and were used to denote the excess parts made to serve as spares. They added special prefixes to them usually.
The location isn’t as important. That’s why they encourage duplication submissions, it simply allows us to know where there games end up in their travels. It can also possibly help determine theft the more complete it becomes. I leave the location empty if I don’t know where it is, or I enter it wherever I came across the machine.
The Serial Number Database is like us reverse engineering the production numbers. Look at the modern Sterns. Those have a TON of submissions and it’s shocking how FEW they seem to make of them. Stern won’t tell us production numbers anytime soon, so it’s up to us to try and decode the secrets.
tl;dr - Sorry about the essay, I know how tedious they can be to read. With all the known numbers we can figure out how many were actually made.