Thursday, March 27, 2014

Vote to Improve eBay Sniper for Auctions

Since we launched the auction part of the eBay Sniper, the most common comment people have left is "can you change the time between sniper notifying me about auction and when the auction ends?"

Too much time and there are more listings you will get outbid on. Too little time and the auction is over before you had a chance to place your bid.

Right now we cannot make this a customizable variable but we are letting the community vote on how long this time period should be.

Cast your vote

Only 1 vote per person. This tool tells us if there is vote stuffing :)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

PriceCharting API

We're pleased to announce that we now have an API for accessing video game price data.

This has been our most popular feature request for quite some time.  For this initial release, the API is only available to those who have purchased a custom price guide.

The API lets you fetch data about any product in our database.  We'd love to hear your feedback about this feature so we can make it better.  We've tried to make the API flexible enough that you can use it from a browser, from a server, inside Google Sheets ... whatever you want.

Read the docs and build something cool.  We'd love to hear about it.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Diamond Trust of London Limited Edition Number One on eBay

Doesn't look like much but this manila envelope is one of the most interesting and fascinating and convoluted limited releases of a video game of all time. Only 6,000 copies of this game, Diamond Trust of London, were ever made and only 2,123 sold. Around 1,000 of that number were converted into limited editions. That is an EXTREMELY limited release. Like, I honestly cannot think of a game with a more limited release. Actually 6k is the lowest amount of physical copies you can have published when developing for the Nintendo DS.

Up for sale on eBay right now is #1 of the limited editions by the creator himself. The limited editions were put together by hand at home by the creator, Jason Rohrer. Each limited edition contained four stamps, a coin, four diamonds (industrial-quality), and a copy of the game itself.
The diamonds came in the little envelopes.
Each limited edition was also signed by the Jason Rohrer and the music creator, Tim Bailey. Due to the DIY nature of these editions, the stamps and coins contained in each copy are unique with no two copies containing the same items. The same can surely be said about the contents of #1.

The exact story of this game is pretty crazy and inspiring. Jason Rohrer really wanted this game to come out. His initial working with Majesco in 2009 fuzzled out after numerous game design changes from a game about "divorce investigations" to a game about "blood diamond markets" but the nail in the coffin was the game's failure to reach preorder expectations. The initial Majesco-backed title received only 23 of the required 1,000 preorders for a physical release to be published by the company. From there Jason bounced around eventually working under Zoo Publishing's indiePub label. This worked well but in the seven months that Nintendo took to approve the game, the markets had shifted and Zoo Publishing did not have the finances to actually manufacture the game. Jason, not stymied by this major setback, opted to create the first Kickstarter-funded Nintendo title. With 1,305 (I'm one of them) backers, Jason managed to raise $90,118 and successfully financed the manufacturing of the game.

The game itself is hard to describe. It is a deception-based strategy game that uses agents and bribes to smuggle blood diamonds out of Africa before the conflict diamond trade is shut down. The game also got ESRB rated as "E for everyone" and has no content descriptors. Apparently the ESRB does seem to think the blood diamond trade is subversive. Also of note is that this game uses a unique music generator, ensuring that you never hear the same song twice. It is fun to play but wasn't received too well by critics.

What is interesting about this game is that it is a collector's game. Normal gamers have never heard of this game and even the niche, indie gamers are hard-pressed to recollect this game's existence. It was a blip on the release radar and while it did receive a lot of press coverage, only 2,123 copies of the game sold. This is the definition of a rare game. It can sell for around $100 new on eBay, despite the fact that the remaining 3,877 copies are still available for sale for $30 each on the game's official site and the game's code was made available for free online by Jason himself. Back in 2012, I shot Jason a few emails and he said that he didn't appreciate this game being only a collectible and that he just hoped people would play it. 

In my opinion, this game deserves more. It deserves more attention, more notoriety, more players, and more love. It just fell flat and I feel terrible for Jason. He spent years of his life getting this out there and it just fell flat. It was a mixture of the market shifting to the 3DS, the decline in interest in strategy games, the strange and possibly offensive premise, the limited release, and the timing of it all that really conceded this game to the dustbin of gaming history but it has a great story behind it that I won't soon be forgetting.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

5 Rare & Crazy Video Game Controllers

Author: Quincy Pringle

Zelda Nubytech Controller

This licensed GameCube controller is a nonfunctional prototype. Created by Nubytech during the development of Twilight Princess in 2005. It was designed by a Nubytech employee by the name of Alfredo Tato.

This thing is crazy: not only does it have a shield in the center, but it also has a buckled leather vambrace. Only two of these were ever known to have been created, and only one is known to be in circulation. Back in 2012, one of them sold on eBay for $2,500. It’s most likely in the hands of a diehard collector, but if you see this floating around it is a must purchase simply for the rarity and value.

Sega Genesis Prototype Controller
This controller was a prototype created by Sega for the Genesis/Megadrive system. It featured a plastic center that the buttons and d-pad could be removed from, in order to facilitate a left or right handed player. The design looks very uncomfortable and I’m glad that they didn’t use it.

It popped up on eBay from a seller who reportedly received it from an ex-Sega employee. However, the auction has since been taken down which unfortunately takes away from the details. Regardless, this is an important piece of Sega history and is undoubtedly worth a lot of money.

Resident Evil 4 GameCube Chainsaw Controller
Another Nubytech GameCube controller. This device was created for the release of Resident Evil 4. While not as rare as some of the other controllers on this list, it bears mentioning simply due to its appearance and notoriety. It has to be seen to be believed.

Sporting bloodstains, a prop blade, and a matching stand, this rare and twisted piece of hardware is an amazing example of form over function. It pops up semi-frequently on eBay and typically sells for anywhere between $100-300.

Wu-Tang PS1 Controller
This controller shaped like the Wu-Tang Clan symbol(!) was made to commemorate the release of 1999’s Wu-Tang: Shaolin Style by Activision. While the game itself was not so great, the controller is pure class.

Look at it. Bask in its glory. Unfortunately, it handles like a drunken grandma and the controller itself is painful to use. In addition, the plastic used is pretty cheap quality and the controllers have been known to malfunction as a result. Despite the flaws, the controller usually run for anywhere from $60-$100 on eBay and tend to appear rather infrequently.

NES Arkanoid Vaus Controller
When Arkanoid was released on the NES back in 1986, it came packaged with this controller. Interestingly enough, neither the controller nor the game could be bough separately. Unlike the rest of the controllers on this list, it is extremely functional and works very well for its intended purpose. The knob lets the player control the paddle in the game at various speeds in order to improve the gameplay.

Its form is very unique from other NES accessories, featuring the aforementioned paddle and a button to allow for menus navigation and gameplay purposes. These controllers consistently sell in the $50-100 range and pop up on a fairly regular basis despite being rather rare.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Yoshi 3DS XL Good Investment?

Oh, look at this! To celebrate the launch of Yoshi's New Island, Nintendo is releasing a green limited edition 3DS XL complete with Yoshi being followed by five eggs. The selling price is $199, the same as a standard 3DS XL but unlike most other 3DS XL special editions, this one does NOT come with the game it is based on. Isn't that strange? You'll have to buy the game separately. They are already accepting preorders online at GameStop.

Now the question is, will this be a collectible item? Hmm... probably. That might be a little doubtful since Nintendo has been PUMPING out the limited 3DS XL's but I believe this one will be worth buying and storing under your bed. Two reasons:
  1. It's Nintendo
  2. It's Yoshi
Alright, those are some pretty superficial reasons but I'm gonna back up my claim with some real data that you can see. Let's look at the other limited edition 3DS XL's that have been released in the US.
The Pikachu 3DS XL initially retailed at $199 and $149 (at Target) but now sells for around double at $400 sealed or $300 just for the console itself and it shipped with no games included.

The Animal Crossing 3DS XL initially retailed for $199 and included Animal Crossing: New Leaf and now sells for around $300 sealed or $240 for just the console.

The Pokemon XY Red and Blue 3DS XL's initially retailed at $199 and included no game. They were even available for sale much earlier than either of the Pokemon games they are based on. They sell for around $220 for sealed and $180 for loose.
The Zelda 3DS XL was released to celebrate the release of The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds and launched around Christmas time 2013. It retailed at $199 and as low as $149 in some sales (at Target, again). It now sells for around $230 sealed and $200 alone. It is important to note that a download code for The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds came with the system.

The Mario and Luigi 3DS XL was released to celebrate Mario & Luigi: Dream Team and was part of Nintendo's "Year of Luigi" advertisement campaign. It retailed at $199, $179, and even $149 (at Walmart) during different points but is still wildly available in stores for $199 brand new and you can find used copies for around $180. It came with Mario & Luigi: Dream Team pre-installed.

So what is important to note here is that pretty much all of these have increased in price over time. That is a pretty strong indicator and collecting Nintendo is a huge fad right now. People love Nintendo and people love Yoshi; there hasn't been a Yoshi game produced since Yoshi's Island DS in 2006 and the twin launches of Yoshi's New Island and Yarn Yoshi signal that this upcoming year might be the "Year of Yoshi".

The special edition Yoshi 3DS XL goes on sale March 14th but I wouldn't preorder it or buy it as soon as it came out. I would wait for it to go on sale like many of the other limited edition 3DS XL's. When it does, I know I'll be buying one to sell at a later date... probably.

Dragon Warrior Prototype on eBay

For $50K, this piece of gaming history can be yours. Sadly, this prototype is just an internal review copy originally held in Nintendo's game library where it was rented out by game counselors to sharpen their skills and aid lost players who called in on Nintendo's (insanely profitable) tips hotline. The code contained on it is identical to the commercially released version.

Why the $50K price point? To get media attention, the seller is really just hoping for a good offer and doesn't expect any real buyers to shell out that insane amount of money. So yeah, the only differences between this and the store bought version are some stickers, hand-soldered chips, and some EPROMS.

Gotta love crappy American NES boxart.
Originally released as Dragon Quest in Japan, Dragon Warrior was released on the NES in August 1989. Since the American port came out nearly three years after the Japanese, there were several localization changes and improvements. The sprites were completely overhauled and even a save battery was implemented. The game sold exceptionally well in Japan so Nintendo of America overproduced so many copies, that it got to the point where they were even giving copies away with Nintendo Power subscriptions. This pushed it heavily and it sold well launching a franchise with several, several sequels, spin-offs, merchandise, anime, manga, etc.
Still my favorite piece of Dragon Quest merchandise.
I really wish this prototype was more of  legacy piece, that it really did have an important part in the entire saga but it is just an internal copy with some stickers and a high price. Good luck with the sale.
I take that back, this is my favorite.



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