Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Nintendo World Championship Fever!

Ever since the NWC $100K fiasco a couple of days ago, anything Nintendo World Championship related has become a hot, hot item. I will be your guide on this wonderful, overpriced adventure.

The cord looks so sloppy in that case.
NWC-branded 2nd player NES controller (VGA graded 85+) plus a bunch of official paperwork and even a VIP pass sold for $4,700 on eBay. The NWC game itself could only be started by pressing START on the second player's controller to prevent false starts. These NWC controllers surface occasionally but the 2nd player controller is much more uncommon than the 1st player one.

This sideways image is straight from the listing.
Waiting to pay $500 for a 25 year-old NWC semifinalist t-shirt, now's your chance. Straight from the original owner, this collector's piece is extremely eclectic. These are actually really hard to come by since they ran out of them later on in the 29-city tour and were only handed out in a few cities, a real interesting piece.

Another NWC has come out of the woodwork and was quickly snatched up for $17,500. This copy is in much better condition than the "Mario" cart and was sold by Matt and Mark Nolan. These brothers took advantage of the current media hype and used the money to invest in a duplex to rent out to make even more money. These guys are shrewd, shrewd buyers and sellers in the collector's market so kudos to them for turning a quick buck.

The third NWC cart to show up on eBay in the last week. This one was formerly owned by one of Nintendo "Game Play Counselors", these were the people who manned the extremely profitable Nintendo tips hotline during the 80's and 90's. This copy is also in the best condition yet. It is currently at $11K and has five days to go. Make sure to keep an eye on this because even though it won't go for $100K, I'm sure it will fetch a great price.

The gold NWC is one of the rarest, most valuable games in existence and one of them is currently on eBay. Given away to 26 lucky winners of the mail-in sweepstakes from the back of Nintendo Power #14, this cart is identical to the grey version in every way except it is in a shiny, gold housing. They are actually made from the grey versions and are supposed to have a special label on the front but the seller alleges that it fell off this copy. The seller also claims to have found it in a box of games purchased back in '94. Collectors are currently questioning the authenticity of this piece since it is extremely easy to "upgrade" a grey version to a gold version by just taking a Zelda cartridge, removing the label, and cutting a hole in it to display the dip switches in the corner. The current consensus is that it is legit but who really knows. This is also a huge spectacle. It is currently at $100K with 9 days left. Even if this auction is rife with shill bidders, this might be the first "Million Dollar Game".

This is a Nintendo Powerfest '94 cartridge and it is for sale on eBay right now for the low, low price of $4,800. This cartridge was used at a series of events leading up to the 1994 Nintendo World Championships, yeah, there were more than one Nintendo World Championship. Around 33 of these cartridges were produced but only two are currently in the hands of collectors and both of those are different versions, the "1,000,000 point per run" version and the "10,000 point per run" version. This is the 10,000 point one. This is the only one in known existence. This is getting zero publicity and only the hardcore collectors know the story of this true Holy Grail of game collecting. Keep an eye on this auction and if you want to own something amazing and have some disposable income, I suggest you bid on it. This cartridge is more rare than both versions of the NWC. I am interested to see how much it will go for.

The whole NWC craze is insane and it is an exciting time to be in the game collecting community. This is honestly one of the few things that excites me in gaming anymore. To see all these rare and incredible items come out all at once is truly amazing. I can't wait to see what tomorrow's auctions hold.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Nintendo World Championship Cart DOESN'T sell for $99,902

One of the biggest, craziest auctions in a long, long time just ended for the sale of this beat up "Grey" Nintendo World Championship cartridge for sale by Stephen "Muresan" Ross. This cartridge is rare but it is obviously in really bad shape with a bad label and to add insult to injury, someone even wrote "Mario" on the front in blue ink. The history behind this interesting item is that it is one of several special competition cartridges made by Nintendo in 1990 as part of their "world" championship that toured twenty-nine cities across the United States and ended in Universal Studios Hollywood in California. 

These cartridges were played in the competitions and the players with the highest scores moved on to the final rounds. Former Nintendo employee, Howard Phillips, has recently come forward to say that around 150 of these cartridges were made (often mistakenly reported as 116 due to journalists using Wikipedia as a credible source) were made and distributed across the nation for the contest but only 90 of these carts were given to finalists in the competition. The remaining carts were returned to Nintendo and 26 were converted to the "Gold" Nintendo World Championship cartridges that were given away in a mail-in sweepstakes contest found  in the back of the July/August 1990 volume of Nintendo Power. A few of the remaining grey NWC cartridges even made their way into the ownership of various Nintendo employees.
Amusing side note is that they even used special controllers for the event.
The particular history of this rather infamous "Mario" cart is that it was the first NWC for auction and showed up in its current condition on a usenet newsgroup and for about $400 several years ago, was traded to hardcore trader, DreamTR, and was more recently sold for around $5,000 to Muresan. That is a pretty average price for this item; Grey NWC's show up on eBay all the time and usually sell for around $8,000. I've personally seen them for sale at $12,000 at the TooManyGames Convention in 2011.
I love the "Mario" NWC cart. It is so bad.
 The "Mario" NWC cartridge has caught the mainstream media's attention and has even been reported on BBC, cnet, and TIME. Things got really crazy when it became the headline story on AOL. The price SKYROCKETED. It was listed at 5k and ended 328 bids later on Jan 25, 2014 at6:55 PM EST with a closing price of $99,902. I know I'm supposed to be "impartial" but screw that, $99,902 is too much. This beats the crap out of the previous highest price paid for a video game, a sealed copy of Stadium Events for $75,000 late last year.

After the auction ended, things took a turn for the south. At 7:38 PM EST Muresan informed the NintendoAge.com forums that the top bidder had backed out, claiming that their 2 year-old had placed the bid without their knowledge on their account. I wasn't aware that 2 year-olds could enter a bid amount, review, and confirm the bid... on two separate bidding occasions...

Needless to say, things are getting complicated. This means that Muresan now has a chance to offer the other bidders if they want to buy it but that is going to be a long, arduous process as it is likely that several of their 2 year-olds also unknowingly placed bids on the items. Actually, the entire list of bidders, complete with highest bid, feedback, and number of times they bid, was released by JosephLeo with permission by Muresan. Wow, one bidder bid over a hundred times jacking the price up by $30,000.

The long and the short of it was that Muresan got trolled. The unprecedented  publicity spread the word and the wolves smelled easy prey so they pounced. This gets problematic when investment websites pick up on this story and say that this is a "safe" investment, that you are guaranteed to make money on it.

This auction is going to make it to all the news outlets and alter the public's perception of rare games and their value but they aren't going to know the whole story. The fact is that this is just a shill bidders' version of a bad joke. From now on, most people will claim that NWC can fetch as much as $100,000 but in honesty, it is not worth that much. This auction will have long-lasting and far-reaching effects on the game collecting community and market. People looking to make a quick buck will be attracted by the promise of riches and fortune. Demand will increase for these rare items with a limited supply resulting in a spike in price. This is compounded by the fact that people with deep-pockets, sometimes called whales, will begin to turn their attention to the market and be able to make these absurd purchases and have the money to back it up.

My sympathies go out to Muresan and I wish him the best of luck with this nightmare of getting the money.

You can follow the entire thread on NintendoAge.com's forums where I'm sure updates will be posted as they happen.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

7 Limited Edition Game Boys You Didn't Know Existed!

The Nintendo Game Boy, occasionally referred to as the DMG due to it's model number, is an 8-bit handheld video game device conceived by Gunpei Yokoi as a follow-up to the Game & Watch series and was first produced in 1989. The machine was an amazing success and sold more than 86 million units. This dated piece of hardware has even received a new following as it has become a quintessential instrument in the chiptune music scene. For all of it's history and fame, it does have it's little secrets and as a collector, they fascinate me. We all know that there are often special or limited editions of games and consoles released but it was only recently that I stumbled upon some of the more rare versions of this notable gadget. I've come across 7 limited edition Game Boys I had never heard of until today. I hope you enjoy learning about them as much as I did.

Woah, Wario on a black Game Boy? This is a pretty cool device! What's interesting to point out is the "LIMITED EDITION" sticker on the front of the box and the fact that the Game Boy is missing the typical "Nintendo GAME BOY" printed on the front. This was a prize given away in the UK from the show Ghost Train in the early 90's. Weird show, cool prize. I've never seen one sell, ever. So pricing it is problematic.

The only Game Boy to prominently display a demon on the front, this rare edition is another UK only and was released alongside the other colors as part of Nintendo's "Play It Loud!" ad campaign. The crazy thing is that you can still find these, new, for around $200 and loose for half that. They aren't that rare in the UK.

Buy a car, get a Game Boy. This was a sales strategy in Japan employed by Toyota in 1992. It is kind of a lame edition. The logo just sort of slapped on there, no cool color scheme, nothing neat. Well, if you find one they are worth around $200 but they are stupidly hard to find, especially anywhere but Japan.

The Milka Game Boy is a sweet addition to any collection. This legendary collectible sports a tiny, purple, Milka-branded cow on a green pasture and was another contest prize, this time in Germany. There are rumored to be only 50 of these in existence and they sell for more than $230.

Remember Planet Hollywood? The well-conceived, and poorly executed restaurant chain that failed where Hard Rock Cafe succeeded? Well, for a while in the early 90's they were on top of the world. They had everything and even managed a deal with Nintendo to get Planet Hollywood-branded Game Boys. How crazy is that! They were sold in the gift shop of the restaurant and were rumored to be another European-exclusive. Occasionally they show up on eBay and would probably fetch around $200.

No, this isn't some hand-painted Game Boy, this is an honest to goodness game show prize Game Boy. I have no idea what show it was given away on and details are scarce but it was believed to be somewhere in the UK and the owner even posted a video online showing it off. It is missing the "Nintendo GAME BOY" printed on the front but it was professionally painted and in the video you can see that the serial number was added on after the paint job. I wish I knew more about this and feel free to post and tell us if you know. I have no idea what it is worth.
Well, that's all of them and that's all I have for you today... wait a minute, what is that on top! Is that a hot pink Game Boy with a Kirby on it. Yes, yes it is! There are no details on that item other than this photo which comes from Nintendo's official European website. I have never seen one and this is the only photo I can find of it. It is truly a holy grail of Game Boy collecting. If you know anything about it, please leave a comment.
[UPDATE: A reader left a comment and it turns out that it was part of mail in sweepstakes for a UK company called, The Jacob's Bakery Limited, and only 25 were given out. Also recently, one went up on eBay then was taken down but I grabbed the photos.]

I hope you enjoyed my list and check the blog often for more articles on rare collectibles you didn't even know to collect!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Luigi's Mansion Diorama Sells Out on Club Nintendo (and then is Quietly Unlisted)

I'm sure you've seen this around. Club Nintendo offered this special diorama for Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon (also known as Luigi's Mansion 2 in every other region) for 1500 coins. This is an expensive item as 1500 coins equals about $1,500 spent on brand new Nintendo games. Sadly, this was a hot item and a lot of people snapped them up and it sold out very quickly.

People quickly turned around and put them up on eBay. They seem to sell for around $150-$200 but I have seen a few go for over $300. The real twist is that, I don't think this item is going to be offered again. Unlike other sold out items like the colored 3DS XL Charging Cradles, the diorama has been unlisted from the the Club Nintendo rewards catalog. While it still can be found on site, it can only be reached through other links. This looks like it is going to be a rare item but I'm really sad that Club Nintendo items aren't more collectible. Game & Watch Collection 1 and 2 are both rare, mail-order only game released exclusively through Club Nintendo and they are both declining in price. I guess many collectors just haven't tuned into the fact that these are rare exclusives that are no longer available through Club Nintendo, just like the diorama. This stuff is rare and collectors should collect them!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Console Filtering Added to eBay Game Sniper

Our new eBay Game Sniper has been very popular with users, but we always want to make improvements. The most requested feature users asked for was the ability to filter by console. A Nintendo collector doesn't need to know about a great deal on a PC game.

Filtering results by console is now live.

Click the link next to 'Console Filter'. It defaults to 'All' for all consoles.

This will bring up a dialog box asking you to select the consoles you are interested in.

Clicking a heading like 'Nintendo' or 'Sega' will select all consoles underneath it.

When done click 'Ok'.

The Console Filter will now show you which consoles you have selected. Only deals for those consoles will appear on your screen.

These settings are remembered from visit to visit and carry over to the Lot Value Calculator too.

Monday, January 13, 2014

EarthBound Air Freshner Sells for $304.00

Well in the never ending circus that is people paying absurd amounts for EarthBound merchandise, we are blessed with this wonderful attraction, a Mach Pizza Air Freshner (still sealed), certificate of authenticity, and original envelope the whole thing came in from Nintendo. All this sold for $304 + $7.76 S&H.

I'm not gonna lie, this is an odd item with an equally odd history. You could only get this by ripping out and mailing one of the scratch and sniff cards in the back of the EarthBound Player's Guide that came bundled with the game in big box format. You were supposed to scratch the card, sniff it, and guess correctly what the mystery smell was. It was supposed to be "pizza" but it didn't matter what you wrote in because they sent the air freshener to everyone who mailed in. I managed to find some scans of the cards.

The air freshener smells like pizza and is based off the in-game pizza delivery service, Mach Pizza. It is really a cool, interesting item and I can't help but wonder how many of them are still floating around. I'm sure not many but keep checking eBay and be prepared to shell out around $300 if you want one. EarthBound items are a hot commodity right now and I will continue to report on what people are willing to pay for 20 year-old air fresheners.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

January 11 is Skylander's Day at GameStop!

Today is Skylander's day only at GameStop! Yay, I love Skylanders. I don't know why but it is probably the fact that it combines collecting, video games, and copious amounts of fun. I went ahead and posted the flyer for the event but there are also some additional bonuses that aren't advertised. 

Additional Discounts

50% off any Skylanders Accessories (Saturday, 1/11, only)

Trade Offers

30% extra trade-in credit towards Skylanders SWAP Force Starter Packs
50% off all Accessories! Woah, you could probably make a nice profit reselling some of the figures. Well, I may have been a little late with letting you all know but GameStop is open for another four hours so I better get a move on. Good luck and make sure to pick up all four mini Skylander figurines and don't worry, they are still available after today but you can only receive one after spending $30 on Skylanders merchandise.

Pokemon Distribution Carts Pulled from eBay

Pokemon Collectors everywhere let out a collective gripe earlier this week as eBay has seemingly pulled all Not For Resale Distribution cartridges from their online auction site. Some background on these distribution cartridges is that these are special DS carts that are given to stores such as GameStop, Toys'R'Us, Walmart, etc. for event distributions of items and Pokemon. These carts are not sold commercially nor are they made available to the general public. They only contain information for the things being given away and have no actual game data, distributing via the DS Wireless Communications. After they are used for a certain amount of time, they are returned to Nintendo where they are destroyed or stored but occasionally they fall into the hands of collectors.

Collectors prize these items because of their rarity, association with Pokemon, and their practical use, as they can endlessly generate rare Pokemon and items for competitive use. They often fetch prices in the $100's of dollars but expect prices to skyrocket as they can no longer be publicly sold on eBay. I expect them to still turn up on sites like NintendoAge.com but you can also still get them through eBay, only if you buy them from International Sellers for INSANE prices ($400+). 

Begin hoarding now.

Friday, January 3, 2014

eBay Game Sniper: Tips and Success Stories

Last week we publicly launched our eBay Game Sniper tool but I have been using it during testing for the last four months. Here are some tips and success stories I have had during that time.

About the Tool: The eBay Game Sniper shows you newly listed games on eBay with fixed prices below their market values. It lets you know about these deals less than 2 minutes after being posted. So you can buy it before others see the deal.

Success Stories with Sniper

Using the tool during the last four months I've purchased 157 auctions at a cost of $4,190 but a value of $6,962. That saved me $2,772 or 40%. Below are some of my favorite deals.

All three Panzer Dragoon games for Sega Saturn. Complete in box and mint condition for $260.

Complete in box Popful Mail for Sega CD. The scratches were very easy to remove and now it is mint.

Earthbound for $110

Tips for Getting Deals with Sniper

Log into eBay First: The best deals are bought very quickly. To increase your odds of winning make sure you are logged into eBay before sniping. Logging into eBay takes me 17 seconds. During this time someone else will have already won.

Streamline Payment: Some listings let you "commit to buy", which lets you win the listing before paying. But many listings will require payment first. Make sure your default shipping address is correct and you select "Yes, streamline my future purchases". This saves steps and valuable time during payment.

Don't Get Sloppy: You need to be fast to win the best deals, but don't try to be so fast that you fail to read the auction title or look at the photo. These are examples of common types of mislisted items:
  • "Earthbound for Super Nintendo SNES (1995) Manual" - not selling the game just the manual
  • "Suikoden II Playstation (1999)" - photo shows the case & manual only, but game not included
  • "Tetris for NES" - listed it with Little Samson details so our value is for a different game
Don't Get Frustrated: Even following these tips you will not snipe every deal. I won 157 auctions, but I failed to win at least three times that. Forget about it and be ready for the next one.

Your Success Stories

Use the eBay Game Sniper and follow these tips. Then share your success stories below. I would love to hear about the deals you found.



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