Quoted from BeaglePuss:
Prototypes and samples are clearly more rare than Punchy the Clown, but that would cheapen his contribution to this thread. It’s easy to disqualify things to better fit your own agenda.
I have no agenda except education.
Rarity is dependent on physical independent numbers of built games, not trying to roll it up into subcategories of a formally produced one. This is the same manner that sites such as the IPDB/IPSND operate and I support.
I own prototypes, samples, and low export versions of games which allow people to undertand the documented differences of title design. In some cases nearly 25 years or many more, when titles were developed.
If a game was actually made, it defines it is part of a title. A sample (test) game is still part of the initial production run, as is an early production. If it was not formally produced, it fits this category as true rarity, meaning a full prototype, and certainly qualifies. I have written articles and threads on PinSide that explains these differences of all types of categories of games.
As a direct example which I explained briefly in one post, Gator version Alligator both "rare" games in my inventory. Alligator is very rare export (especially today), Gator generally rare Ted Zale zipper flippers. However, there are physical differences in the components of both games other than artwork, which might look identical otherwise to an enthusiast. They are formally classified as different games for this reason, just like an EM version of a large production SS game. Most people never even realize these aspects today, as games continue to age and we are in a new age of collectors, and I document for history. However, neither of these specific titles qualify for this thread based on original production numbers made, hence they were not formally presented.
Today, the concept of most "limited edition" games are examples of "artificial rarity", which in some cases have little if nothing different except cosmestics.