There's something that's been bugging me for a while. According to many websites, the official release date for Silent Hill is January 31th 1999 for the US. But, EVERY «black label disc» (and I've tried quite a few) I put in my computer show the date February 9th 1999. Now, if the game was really released on January 31th 1999, that means that a disc with an earlier date exist, right? Then, if I'm not mistaken, that would be the one we call: Silent Hill (v. 1.0) [NTSC-U] [SLUS-00707] with the date being January 21th 1999? (also called "Public Beta" I think).
Then, I heard there was two variations of the game, the first prints of the game came with a shiny foil-like manual, and the later with a normal manual without the shiny effect, then the Greatest Hits version. I bought two "shiny" versions hoping that these would come with a disc with the January 21th 1999 date, and still, they are both from February 9th 1999 (although, I understand the disc could have been swapped).
So my question is, how rare is the Silent Hill (v. 1.0)? I have tested about 10 discs and still haven't find a single one with the January 21th 1999 date. Am I unlucky? Does it exist at all on the market?
BTW, I already have a .cue/.bin of that version, I want the physical disc for my collection
The answer is simple, the reported release date is wrong. It was most likely released in late February in the USA. As you say, the retail game build, both cover variants, are from 1999.feb.9th. They are the same build. There are no American retail version with a different date.
The ISO dated 1999.jan.21th must be a pre-release copy which somebody leaked. This kind of builds would only exist on CD-Rs, often sent to videogame journalists for review. They are very rare, and I have never seen an official CD-R with this exact build.