The Surfing Pizza’s Nintendo Quest



I’ve decided to collect every original NES/Nintendo game ever.

Depending on what site you look at, there’s 677 or 678 official licensed North American releases. Or 679. But then if you throw in the unlicensed-but-eventually-licensed Tengen-branded cartridges, there’s more. So if you begin the slippery slope into unlicensed carts, you’re at 773.

There’s also the problem of games like Stadium Events, Little Samson, and Bonk’s Adventure — official carts that are so expensive, you could plunk down $10k for loose versions of those three combined. And hell, if you have that much money to throw around, you could have just bought a freaking new car. But at that point, your life is basically incomplete and stupid if don’t also have the Nintendo World Championships cart, and that fucker is like another 10k.

So how many am I going to collect? ALL OF THEM. Or maybe just some random number like 768. I could be totally good with that.

I was inspired by the documentary Nintendo Quest, a Kickstarter-backed film that recently premiered on Amazon. Okay, well it actually premiered a year ago, but I have a kid and live in black hole of Paw Patrol and Minions. However, I declared my intention to collect every NES game back in 2009. Back then you could still find them at yard sales and flea markets for fifty cents a pop. On eBay, commons were still going for $1 -$2 each. Why did I stop?

“Because you always get bored with things fast,” the wife says, which is also her reason/prayer/zen koan for not freaking out about my latest Big Idea.

I’ve been almost disturbed by her lack of freaking out.


Her: Okay.


Her: Okay.

Me: Umm, are you feeling alright?

Her: It will be alright. You always get bored with things fast.

That may be true, but nevertheless, it’s been a dream since childhood.


And apparently, everyone else’s, too. NES games have skyrocketed. Let me throw out a few examples:

That 3-in-1 Mario/Duck Hunt/Track Meet cart? Just sold on ebay for $10.

Zelda: $20

Castlevania: $25

Mike Tyson’s Punch Out: $30

Contra: $44

Mega Man: $78

Even sports games no one cares about are stupid prices — John Elway Football and Bases Loaded go for $5 each. Tons of generic shooters with Star in the title? $10-20 each. And then there’s the large black hole mass of games you’ve never heard of — stuff like a game called Toki that I remember buying at a yard sale five years ago for a buck because it had a monkey protagonist? Just sold on ebay for $55.

Basically what I’m saying is, if you haven’t yet, RUN TO YOUR PARENTS HOUSE NOW and frantically grab your old games before they sell them at a yard sale. They’re worth hundreds.

In some way, this makes it way more fun to me, collecting at the height of the housing market. I like gambling. I love slot machines. The odds are stupid, I’m stupid for playing, and the short-lived adrenaline rush is not worth the long-term money loss.

And yet.

Here’s the trick: Buy It Now, Newly-Listed. Sit on ebay waiting for the seller who has listed their lot too low. Yesterday I nabbed a lot of 12 games for $80 on ebay about 10 minutes after it was listed. It included Contra, Solomon’s Key, and Adventures of Lolo, plus doubles I had of 8 other common titles and a Star Tropics complete in box. I can easily resell the Star Tropics and commons for $80 individually. So I just got the $40 Contra, $10 Solomon and $10 Lolo for free.

Here’s the next trick: Real Life. Yesterday I bought 10 carts for $40 at a record shop. I don’t even have to haggle with dude anymore, he just knows me and gives me a discount price now. $4 a cart isn’t an amazing price, but it is when it includes the $15 Tengen PacMania and $12 Gumshoe.

I have no idea if my ebay and haggling coups are interesting to anyone. All I know is my wife won’t listen to the stories. AREN’T THEY FASCINATING? I GOT TENGEN RBI BASEBALL for $1.62!

My current game count is 127 games, with roughly the 30 from my original childhood collection, the 50 I collected a few years ago, and the 20 I bought over the last day. I also dragged my friend Dave into the Nintendo Quest with me, and he’s trying to complete a set as well. With the intensity of a mob boss negotiation yesterday, I traded him my mint-in-box Maniac Mansion for Castlevania 3, Final Fantasy, and a loose copy of Maniac Mansion. Like Zelda, the Nintendo Quest is dangerous to go alone.

So I’m going to keep updating with my progress on the Nintendo Quest. I invite others of you to join me. We could trade. I got doubles of Double Dribble and Top Gun, yo.



I mean, I guess it could just be you if you buy those pants and shoes. It might be cheaper that way.

10 thoughts on “The Surfing Pizza’s Nintendo Quest

  1. I literally just got into this last week. I bought a Retron 5, which plays NES, SNES, Genesis, all the flavors of Game Boy, and the Japanese versions over one glorious HDMI cable. I’ve been hitting up video game stores, flea markets, eBay, Amazon for old carts that I once owned. I think that’s the part that really kills me. Other than Friday the 13th, which I rented like 1,000 times, I used to actually own everything I’ve just overpaid for. And yet, I’m having fun. As much as I loved the movie on Amazon, I’m not down for the All-In Nintendo Quest. I won’t even entertain the idea of paying ludicrous prices for crap games like Chubby Cherub–they’re rare because they suck. I just wanna play some good, old fashioned games. Thanks for your bestowing some eBay wisdom. I’ll give it a shot tonight!

  2. I do want that kid’s DuckTales poster!

    Best of luck. The next time I’m at my parents’ house I’ll see if they have any left…although I have a feeling they’re long gone.

  3. It’s a sickness going here -and I’m in (at least to cheer Surfing Pizza on).
    Mystical Quest, Aero the Acro-Bat and Super Ghouls and Ghost were my weaknesses. Back in the day we were like junkies hanging out at GameStop type places, trading nervously, feverishly even, pacing the store and staring endlessly at the walls for the newest fix to become the latest obsession that’d threaten family, friendships and employment. Throw in some Dominos and Doritos and you had nirvana …. *sigh* ….. eBay, here I come ….

  4. I support you, Pizza! Hope you get there!

    Go around to the pawn shops. Pawn shops still sell VHS tapes, for Zeus’ sake. Get thyself to the pawn shops, way before you start thinking about places like GameStop.
    Have your friends in other cities stop in at their pawnshops and text you pics of the racks so you can make your requests.
    If you have thrift stores around, you might stop in IF you happen to be in the area, but pawn shops are better.

    It also couldn’t hurt to put an ad up on the Craigslists for your city and other cities you would be willing to drive to in the ‘wanted’ section. Just say you want 8-bit NES, specify a LITTLE detail (does it matter if it’s only the cartridge? Does the cartridge have to work?) and I’d include a picture of one as an example for the folks who don’t know ‘8 bit NES’ from a cantaloupe, but everyone recognizes that gray plastic chunk.
    Ask them to shoot you a list of what they got & how much they want! Review the offers at your leisure! You’d be surprised-I did this not long ago looking for a couple old-school metal toolboxes and I’m shocked how many are lying around with owners that surf Craigslist.
    Also, if you have a Freecycle group or anything like it in your region, post the same kind of ‘wanted’ ad (except you can’t offer money and I’d leave out the parts about ‘must be shiny and in working order). Just take whatever cartridges someone wants to dump and sift out the gold later.
    You just might get a hit from someone who doesn’t want to take time to clean them and photograph them and sell them and haggle, BUT feels bad about just throwing them away, too. I give stuff away through this venue OFTEN, good stuff.

    Heck, I got a modest pile of NES myself in the garage that I’ve been rending my garments trying to figure out what to do with. If you promise to give them a loving home they’re yours!

    1. Great ideas… I’ve been thinking pawn shops and this encourages me! I’ve been hesitant to try craigslist because I feel like there’s so much competition, but it’s free and doesn’t hurt. Hey, if you want to donate your NES games to me, hit me up on email — I won’t turn that offer down. Do you have any random 80s or 90s toys on your wishlist? I might have something to trade. :)

    1. I love those holders! But I think I’d need about 300 of them, lol. I need to find a uniform way to display these. Love the way your collection looks like that though.

  5. You picked a good time as I believe the N64 just had its 20th anniversary, which means all the kids with disposable incomes will start collecting for that. Along with its generational counterparts the PS1. Which ultimately means the NES library’s prices should be declining at some point.

  6. Hey, make sure you give The Lone Ranger a play-through when you eventually get it. And use the Zapper too. The game is basically what Adventures Bayou Billy should have been.

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