A few years ago, there was an online movie prop auction being held in California.

My friend and I were huge b-movie buffs at the time. As undergrads, struggling to get our daily nourishment from the unlimited salad and breadsticks at the Olive Garden, affording the original left latex paw of the Creature From the Black Lagoon was out of our league. Instead, we pooled our money together—one hundred George Washingtons swimming in our pockets—to bid on a prop outfit worn by one of the street punks in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie. At the time, a black Tiger Schulmann-look-alike uniform and beekeeper's mask sounded better to us than a decent meal at a real Italian restaurant. This was the Ninja Turtles, after all. Our childhoods. We could manage to do some fasting. Besides, we saw a commercial about the unlimited pasta bowl returning soon.

The auction estimates varied, everywhere from a hundred dollars for our dojo digs to in the tens of thousands of dollars for old Universal Monster Movie relics. When we logged in, the auction was already in progress, so we quickly tried to figure out the bidding process. The ninja prop clothes had an early lot number; but we arrived just in time. Because I won two out of three rock-paper-scissors, I was to handle computer mouse duties.

"This is like Monopoly, man," I said, "like when you auction off The Boardwalk."

Obviously, I had no idea what the hell I was talking about.

The online auction had a video/audio feed at the top of the screen. It looked like the auction was being held in a tent of some sort outside. "Our next lot is a real nostalgic treat, folks," the auctioneer began. "You remember the Turtles. There was, help me out here, Michaelangelo, Donatello, DaVinci, and the rat. Well, what we have here is a clothing prop from the their first movie in perfect condition." He looked down at some papers on his podium. "This is a screen-worn Foot Soldier outfit." He looked up and raised his hands, "Cowabunga, dudes!"

The crowd cheered in their metal fold-out seats, and even we clapped, which got some stares from the other people on the computers in the university's library.

"Okay, let's start this off at… give me fifty, fifty, fifty, looking for fifty… I have fifty online. Seventy-five, seventy-five, I have fifty, looking for seventy-five…"

The numbers rose and rose and the rest is kind of a blur. All I remember is my friend screaming for me to stop, but I was in the zone. I had the power. Turtle Power.

"Give me the goddamn mouse," he said, prying it out of my hand finally.

"Online, I need an answer," the auctioneer said. "We're at three hundred. Everybody loves kung-fu fighting." Some in the crowd chuckled.

By this time most of the library sat staring at us struggle over the mouse.

"All bids in? Okay, I sold it for three hundred dollars."

My body began to unwind from the excitement. I returned to my center in time for the opening of the next lot. Though we couldn't afford most of the items, every once in a while something would start low, like a quiver of arrows from that '90s Robin Hood movie starring Kevin Costner, and we'd try our hand at bidding, only to watch it spike in price halfway through.

That was, until lot 202 came up—starting price: a measly $20.

"A white screen-worn Home Alone 3 camouflage costume worn by one of the film's bad guys," the auctioneer said. He put his hands up to his face, "Kevin!"

My eyes widened. The Home Alone movies had been a staple of my young life; Macaulay Caulkin used to be a kind of litmus test for my boyhood coolness.

The third movie, I remembered then, was sorely Caulkin-less, picking up the now-formulaic plot of the previous films with the same antics of a cunningly cute boy in a house alone with bumbling burglars. The crooks, however, hit another family in the Chicagoland area. And John Williams was nowhere to be found.

"Mr. Hughes, himself, may have touched this costume," the auctioneer taunted.

The writer and director of The Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller's Day Off? $20 to own some of his DNA?


Yes, sold it was—for fifty dollars, exactly the amount that I had on me.

As an auction novice, I had no idea about buyer's premiums and, so, my friend, who walked away with an original script of Schwarzenegger's Kindergarten Cop (intent on framing the page with the line about boys having penises, and girls, vaginas), loaned me some funds.

A few weeks later, our package of goodies arrived in the mail. The script looked brand new, but the suit—the suit had a hole missing from the bottom area.

I e-mailed the auction company right away and said that the auctioneer didn't mention anything about it being damaged, pointing out that it's all burnt in the back.

I received a cold copy-and-pasted reply to the effect of: "The inspection of merchandise during the designated preview times before the start of an auction is the buyer's sole responsibility. All items are sold as-is. No refunds will be given for any item."

It was my friend who then noticed the 20th Century Fox tag inside the suit.

"'Unger has butt blown out,' it says." He slapped me on the back. "Yo, my man, you just spent fifty bucks on an ass-blown Home Alone jump suit. Jealous as shit!"

Eventually, the penis/vagina page of the script was displayed quite distinguishably in a classy mahogany frame on my friend's dorm wall up until graduation, but as for my assless camouflage movie prop—I had a harder time finding the right spot for it. For the time being, it remains in the downstairs closet, between my windbreaker and winter coat.

My friend dared me to wear it to the Olive Garden, but I was afraid I'd get arrested for indecent exposure. Either that, or taken to a mental hospital.

Although games based on the first movie were released on six different home and handheld consoles, half are actually ports. There are really only three gameplay variations of Home Alone: The Video Game. The first is the Bethesda-developed Nintendo Entertainment System version that involves controlling Kevin around his house as he plants traps to trip up Harry and Marv for 20 minutes until the cops arrive. Then there's SEGA's take on the Genesis, the Master System, and the Game Gear that involves saving the whole neighborhood from the Wet Bandits who wish to steal everything from the houses and then flood them. And finally there's the Super Nintendo and the Game Boy adaptation that has the player finding and collecting loot to keep away from the burglars.

Albeit simple and repetitive, this iteration is ideal for playing in short bursts on the go. I could see pulling the game out for a few minutes while you're on the train. It's mind numbing, yes, but that's the game's best quality; it's busy work that will keep you from feeling obliged to engage in conversation with the other passengers around you. Kevin, you're a real life saver.

The entire game's scenario can be divided into five steps.

Step One: Collect items by jumping over them or pressing up on chests of drawers.

Step Two: When Kevin reaches his carrying limit, find the nearest laundry chute and make a drop-off so he can collect more precious items.

Step Three: Once you've recovered enough items, head to the basement door to find a key to open it.

Step Four: Make your way through the basement until you reach the boss. Hit the loose brick to cause it fall on the enemy's head.

Step Five: Toss the saved stuff into the vault. Repeat steps one through five.




Sound fun to you?

To be fair, although the developers went for a much more materialistic tone here, there are some moments of Home Alone that remain faithful to the movie. Here are the top five things that Imagineering, the game's developers, got right.

#5: Pizza!

This they got only half-right: Pizza is hidden everywhere in the game.

Unfortunately for Kevin, it has pepperoni on it. Buzz must have hogged all of the plain cheese pizza again.

BONUS PICK: Destroying Buzz's Room!

"Buzz, I'm going through all your private stuff! You better come out and pound me!"

In the game, when Kevin brings down Buzz's shelves, he doesn't get a pounding; he receives a free 1 UP.

#4: Buzz's Pet Tarantula!

Buzz's tarantula makes an appearance in the game but, again, like the pizza, the developers kind of screwed up. Instead of acting as a helpful item to throw at the crooks, you have to fight a gigantic mutant version of Buzz's six-legged pet. I suppose crashing the tarantula tank for a 1 UP wasn't worth it in the end.

#3: After Shave Aftermath!

I can't for the life of me understand this one. In one of the bathrooms on the third level, you can find a bottle of after shave that, when picked up, makes you invincible to the point where you can take down any bad guy you touch. Maybe I need to start using some after shave, myself.

#2: Creepy Old Man and His Creepy Old Shovel!

When Kevin has to face off against Harry near the end of the game, the old man lends Kevin a hand—or, should I say, a shovel. Thanks, Marley, but please stop with the icy stare or you'll likely never be invited back to see your granddaughter.

#1: The Possessed Furnace!

If you thought Harry and Marv are the final bosses in this game, you'd be wrong. It's, get this, the furnace in the basement! It seems the furnace's inherent evilness wasn't simply a figment of imagination made up in Kevin's mind, as the thing has literally grown eyes and shoots damaging soot and fireballs at him. It's plain to see that metaphors for childhood fears are completely lost on Imagineering.

And you know what else is completely lost? This prototype article.

The Prototype

Here comes the old girl now! I suppose I failed to mention before that TH*Q published this game. TH*Q also published Where's Waldo?, Swamp Thing, and The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends.

The oppressive nightmares, the scratching on the walls, the ghostly cries at night—it's all starting to come together and make sense to me. I'll move the game out of my bedroom before I go to sleep tonight. Maybe bury it in the backyard and conduct a cleansing ceremonial ritual. That should put the angry, vengeful spirits to rest.

The prototype has a sticker on the EPROM chip that reads "aug." with what I initially thought was "july" but is actually "juli" beneath it. "Juli" is German for July, which leads me to believe this prototype once traveled to Deutschland ("August" is spelled the same in German as it is in English). Home Alone was purchased from a collector in the Netherlands named Niels Thomassen.

The date on the label is 8/27/91. The official North American release was in November 1991.

A similar sticker with the same handwritten dates is on the back covering the word "Action" in black magic marker. Having the game's genre spelled out here is a good indication that this prototype was sent to the gaming press for review purposes.

If you've read other prototype articles on this site, you should know my tricks by now: The longer the introduction, the less likely it is for there to be differences. After dumping Home Alone, I compared the prototype ROM image to the North American retail ROM image. The data is the same.

All together now,