Friday, June 7, 2024

Spot the difference: Ultra(s)cope box variants

Today's story is for people who appreciate the smallest details. People who see useful information where others see merely trifling trivia. It is also a story about paying close attention and discovering things hiding in plain sight.

For many years, I believed there were two versions of the Nintendo Ultra Scope from 1971.

One of them was actually called Ultra Cope, while the other one was called Ultra Scope.

The missing 'S' in that first version was most likely an error, although it was carried through (or started with) the name in Japanese: ウルトラコープ, which does read as Ultra Cope.

The Japanese name of the second version has an added "SU" (ス), and reads as ウルトラスコープ (which means, indeed, Ultra Scope).

The different names of the two versions can be seen on the front and sides of the box, as well as on the plastic housing itself.

When I first posted about this wonderful device back in 2011 (check that out here), somebody added a comment mentioning the existence of a third version. However, no visual proof was provided at the time, and I soon forgot about it.

I never came across this alleged third version - that is to say, I never noticed it. Until somebody pointed it out to me (thank you Bart).

Once I saw it, the difference was obvious. I wondered how many time I must have come across this third version without registering it.

In my mind, the version with the diagonal text on the front was always an Ultra Cope.

(red) spot the difference

However, an Ultra Scope version with the diagonal text exists as well, making three different box versions in total.

There is also an international version as well with English text Surveillance Scope on the front. But this is actually the regular first Japanese box version, with a piece of paper glued to it. Does it count as another version?

Well, okay. I guess that makes four.

Lesson of today: don't assume too much, and keep your eyes wide open.

In case you are still wondering what an Ultra Cope / Ultra Scope actually is, check out that post from 2011.

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