Thursday, January 28, 2010

Star Wars Ewok Adventures Prototype for Atari 2600

In 1983 a Parker Bros game developer named Larry Gelberg was working on an Atari 2600 game called Star Wars: Ewok Adventures. It was supposed to be a very advanced 2600 game that let you play as an Ewok on a glider as they fought off Stormtroopers, AT-ST's, and Speeder Bikes. Think of it as an Atari 2600 version of the Ewok battle scene in Star Wars Return of the Jedi.

Sadly this game was never released because the Parker Bros game division dissolved.

Luckily for video game collectors, Atari 2600, and Star Wars fans Larry saved a prototype of the game and the prototype has recently surfaced again.

Star Wars Ewok Adventures Atari 2600 Prototype Cartridge

Star Wars Ewok 2600 Prototype
Top view of Ewok Adventures Prototype

Star Wars Atari 2600 Prototype
Side view of Ewok Adventures Cartidge

History of Star Wars Ewok Adventures for Atari 2600

Parker Bros was developing a new Star Wars game for the Atari 2600. In 1983 their game division imploded and none of the games they were working on were released. About 15-20 test cartridges were made so a marketing company could watch kids as they played it behind a one-way mirror and decide if the game was any good.

After the game was cancelled, the developer Larry Gelberg kept a few of these and in his words "I had a couple of copies that I gave away to friends since I knew PB wasn't going to release it."

One of these cartridges was given to a co-worker of Larry's several years later. Who then gave it to his five year old son, John Bennett, because he was "really into video games."

John Bennett decided to share some pictures, gameplay details, and screenshots so game collectors would know more about this elusive game.

Star Wars Ewok Adventures Gameplay

This description comes straight from John Bennett.

"You use the analog stick to control a hang glider flown by an Ewok. You use the button to drop rocks on the "bad guys" to destroy them. These include, Imperial stormtroopers, Speeder Bikes, and AT-STs. If you hit them with a rock, they die in a fiery explosion. The objective of the game is to blow up the Imperial Base.

"On the easier levels you can do this by flying your glider into the middle of the base, but on the more advanced levels, you have to hijack either an Imperial Speeder or AT-ST to destroy the base. In Ewok Adventure, The Atari joystick is used similar to that of flight stick allowing you to change the altitude and pitch of the glider. You have 360 degree control and can even fly side to side and backwards.

"The best way to gain altitude is by flying over an 'air pocket.' This causes your glider to increase its altitude significantly allowing you to easily fly over obstacles and Imperial baddies. If your altitude is too low, you crash and lose a life. The games audio is actually pretty good and it creates a vibrant atmosphere. You hear the whizzing of the glider as it flies over an air pocket and the stomping noise of the AT-ST walkers while playing."

Star Wars Ewok Adventures Screenshots

Ewok 2600 Screenshot
Player controlled Ewok has hijacked an AT-ST and is targeting the Imperial Base

Ewok 2600 Prototype Screen
>Ewok Glider (yellow) with an Imperial AT-ST (pink) and Speeder Bike (black)

Ewok Atari 2600 Screen
Title Scree: With red border (the cartridge has multiple color variations for this screen)

UPDATE: John Bennett has told me he decided to sell Ewok Adventures on ebay. You can bid on the auction yourself or just watch the auction here.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

2009 Game & Publisher Resale Value Report

This report looks at the Publishers, Consoles, Genres, and Games with the best and worst resale values. It includes over 1,000 games released during 2009 for Nintendo DS, PSP, Xbox 360, Wii, Playstation 3, and Playstation 2.

Ranked by: Publisher | Console | Genre | Game

Publisher Resale Values

The list of publisher resale values below includes every publisher with five or more games released in 2009. The '% Change' column is the average change in resale price from the original MSRP to the average price during December 2009.

Top Ten Game Publishers By Resale Value

Top Ten Game Publishers By Resale Value 2009
MTV Games had the best resale value of all video game publishers in 2009. Their average game declined in value 15%. This was due in large part to the Beatles Rock Band bundles which kept their value better than most games.

Atlus was number two because of Demon's Souls which became a big hit for them but was hard to find at stores for a while. The Demon's Souls Deluxe Edition had the biggest increase in resale value of any game in 2009 (see the chart below). "Atlus has a very small but loyal install base and unfortunately most retailers either do not stock Atlus products, or keep a limited supply. I think what we are seeing here is not necessarily eBay functioning as a secondary market, but a primary one for Atlus fans" says Jesse Divnich of EEDAR.

All Game Publishers By Resale Value

All Game Publishers By Resale Value 2009

Resale Values by Console

The table shown below is an average of all the games released during 2009 for each console with the average MSRP and average price in December used to calculate the '% Change'.

Console By Average Resale Value Per Game

Game Consoles By Resale Value 2009
The average Wii game had a better resale value than any other console while the Xbox 360 had the lowest resale value. The Wii's resale values are helped by Nintendo published games, which tend to keep their value over the long run. The popularity of the Wii in December also contributed to the higher resale values because more Wii owners were looking for games during the time when the data was gathered.

Top 10 Games by Resale Value

The top 10 games ranked by the '% Change' in resale value.
Top Ten Video Games By Resale Value
Demon's Souls Deluxe Edition had the biggest increase in resale value during 2009. It increased in price 66%. The deluxe version was made in limited quantities and Demon's Souls became one of the top RPG's of the year so the game was very sought after.

There were two other collector's edition games in the top 10, Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 Prestige Edition and Forza Motorsport 3 Limited Collector's Edition. As we have shown before, Collector's editions drop in price less than the regular versions on average.

Half of the top 10 are casual games like Just Dance, Salon Superstar, and Dreamer Horse Trainer. On average casual games keep their value longer than other games because they sell longer at retail and casual gamers don't resell their games as quickly as gamers who beat a game and trades it towards another game.

Top Genres By Resale Values

Video game genres ranked by '% Change' in resale value.
Top Ten Game Genres by Resale Value
The genres with the best resale values in 2009 were soccer, role playing games (RPG), and basketball. Soccer and basketball were helped by their late release dates in 2009. Almost every soccer and basketball game was released in October or November, which gives them less time to depreciate in value.

RPG's tend to have high resale values because they are popular collector's items and they don't sell as well as other genre's so there are fewer copies to be resold.

Baseball had the biggest drop in price during 2009 with a decrease of more than 50%. It has the opposite problem that soccer and basketball did because all the baseball games are released in early in the year to coincide with the start of baseball season.

2009 Prices Compared to 2008 Prices

"It's likely that these resale rankings will swing wildly from year to year" says Michael Pachter of Wedbush Securities. Seven of the top 10 publishers are different from 2008 to 2009. Only Nintendo, MTV Games, and Natsume make the list in both years.

According to Jesse Divinich, "Of all the publishers Nintendo is among the top for preventing price protection (discounts at retailers), which is why they maintain a high resale value on secondary markets such as eBay."

There was no variation at all in the console rankings from 2008 to 2009. Wii and Nintendo DS games were at the top of the list in both reports and Xbox 360 and PS3 games were at the bottom.

In general, Wii and DS games have a longer shelf live and sell over a longer period of time so the resale prices stay higher. There are more people buying the games over a longer period of time.

Conversely, Xbox 360 and PS3 games are very front loaded with a much larger percentage of a game's sales occurring in the first month of sales. In the following months used games flood the market as the hardcore games move onto the next big release, which causes lower resale prices.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

How I Sold Nintendo World Championships Gold

I bought Nintendo World Championships Gold in June 2009 and the process was full of highs and lows and took quite a bit of effort. In December 2009 I sold the game in a charity auction and selling the game turned out to be almost as hard as buying it.

I decided to sell Nintendo World Championships Gold because the game was just sitting in a safe deposit box. I didn't need the money so I thought it would be better to give the money to a charity instead of keeping the proceeds. I chose World Vision.

On December 11th the auction for the game started on ebay. It was a 10 day listing with no reserve and a $0.99 starting price. It was set up as a 100% charity auction so all the proceeds would automatically be donated to the charity if the auction closed successfully.

Ten days, thousands of refreshes, and a couple tums later the auction ended with a final price of $13,600.

I contacted the high bidder, told them congratulation, and sent them a paypal invoice for the total. The next morning the high bidder emailed me back saying they didn't have the money to pay and wanted to cancel the listing.
Please Cancel Auction Email

I thought to myself, "Why can't buying or selling this game be easy? It must be cursed."

Luckily two other ebay users contacted me after the auction ended saying their bids hadn't gone through successfully and they were interested in the game if the high bidder backed out. I emailed both of these bidders, told them the winner flaked out, and said two people emailed with interest in the game. I would sell it to the buyer who was willing to pay the most instead of relisting it on ebay.

The highest price one of them was willing to pay was $18,000.

On December 26th the new high bidder sent me $1,000 in earnest money so I knew they were really going to pay for the game and not back out like the ebay winner. The buyer wanted to pick-up the game in person though and pay the rest of the money then.

For tax reasons I gave World Vision the full $18,000 donation on December 26th even though I had not received the full payment from the buyer. Because I had the earnest money I knew the seller would make the full payment or they would lose the $1,000.

Seven days later on January 5th 2010 the buyer flew out to Denver. We met at a Starbuck's near the bank where the NWC Gold game was kept and talked for a about an hour about game collecting, recent video games, and why he wanted NWC. It was great to sit and talk with a fellow gamer and game collector about something we are both passionate about.

The buyer showed me the confirmation of the money transfer on his laptop. Then we headed to the bank across the street.

I got the game out of the safe deposit box, we got a private viewing room and I showed the buyer the Holy Grail of Gaming. I opened the game up, showed him the circuit board on the inside, told him a few ways to verify its authenticity, and then sealed it back up.

We shook hands. I waved good-bye to the game forever. And we went our separate ways.

The buyer wishes to remain anonymous partly because he saw the angry comments people left on this blog about my purchase. He didn't want to receive hate mail too.

He plans to keep the game as long as he can and mentioned giving it to a museum when he does get rid of it. Maybe the Smithsonian will have a Nintendo World Championships Gold on display someday for the whole world to see.

PS: A couple people had contacted me or left comments online saying they thought the whole sale was a fraud and a publicity stunt and I never gave the money away at all. I wrote this article partly to satisfy some of these doubters. I also wrote the article because I thought game collectors would find it interesting.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Nintendo Discontinues Games, Makes Them Collectible

News has been released that Nintendo may have discontinued production on some of their games. The fifteen games that will be discontinued are:

Battalion Wars II
Big Brain Academy: Wii Degree
Donkey Kong Barrel Blast
Endless Ocean
Excitebots: Trick Racing
Excite Truck
Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn
Mario Strikers Charged
Metroid Prime 3: Corruption
Metroid Prime Trilogy
New Play Control! Pikmin
Wario Land: Shake It!
Wario Ware: Smooth Moves
Wii Fit
Wii Music

You can see from the charts on most of these games that the used prices have steadily decreased over time and people are probably buying used copies instead of new ones at this point.

A few of these are ripe to become collectors items though if Nintendo stops making them.

Metroid Prime Trilogy is still selling for about $40 in the resale market. Other compilation games have kept their value very well like Grand Theft Auto Trilogy and Halo Trilogy both for Xbox.

Fire Emblem Radiant Dawn sells for almost $60 when it is sealed, which is above the original MSRP. Plus its an RPG, which tend to keep their value better than other genres.

Donkey Kong Barrel Blast is another game that could definitely become of the most expensive Wii games. No more supply coming to market, a popular franchise character, and a steady price already bode well for its chances to increase in value.

We will check back in a few weeks and see how this news from Nintendo changes the prices for these games in the short term.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Uncharted 2 Fortune Hunter Edition: Most Expensive PS3 Game

Uncharted 2 Fortune Hunter Edition
Current generation game consoles have a new "Most Expensive Game" and its for the Playstation 3: Uncharted 2 Fortune Hunter Edition. It has sold for as much as $1,526.

Back on October 16th 2009, Sony announced they were giving away 200 special edition copies of Uncharted 2. They called it Uncharted 2 Fortune Hunter Edition.

The package includes the Uncharted 2 game, a guide book, an art book, and a replica knife.

Sony would give it away to 200 random people who played Uncharted 2 online October 17th and 18th. In late December the winners received their copies of this rare PS3 game and a few listed them on eBay.

The game quickly became the most expensive Playstation 3 game, and more expensive than any Wii or Xbox 360 game too. On average Uncharted 2 Fortune Hunter has sold for about $800.

If Sony keeps this a true limited edition with only 200 copies, it should easily keep its collectible value and will remain THE most sought after PS3 game.

Thanks to JUGGALOTUS for letting us know about this game on our most expensive playstation 3 games article.



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