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.
Me: I’M GOING TO COLLECT 700 OF A SIMILAR LOOKING OBJECT.
Me: I’M GOING TO SPEND THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS.
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.
Mike Tyson’s Punch Out: $30
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.
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.
THIS COULD BE YOU:
I mean, I guess it could just be you if you buy those pants and shoes. It might be cheaper that way.