Rare Old Games
by: Dr. Boogie
You know what's even better than playing video games? Holding onto them and letting them appreciate in value!
Yes, I used to enjoy playing games, getting the newest one and firing it up in the comfort of my living room so I could put in a few hours before school/work. Now I'm perfectly content to line those same games up in my living room and just appreciate them as great investments. Ah, adulthood.
I wanted to make sure our readership is up to date on some of the rarer titles on the market, because you never know when you'll be strolling around a swap meet, or an estate sale, or some other sale being put on by a rube who hasn't read this article and doesn't know what to charge for their super rare games. This is your chance to de-rube, so get reading:
Blink's Blonk was one of the earliest games ever created for a home video game console. Prior to the release of this game, the only way children knew to entertain themselves was by touching stray animals, or taking a ball and coming up with as many permutations of moving that ball as possible. How pedestrian.
Now, they could have electrons dazzling them with colored lighting and music consisting of both high and low notes! Unfortunately, this brand new form of entertainment was a bit too new. Marketers wound up selling it as a novel way to entertain pets while their owners were at work, and the game sold very poorly. Now, only a handful of copies exist, mostly in the hands of a few especially prescient cat owners.
Current Value: $200.00
When this game came out, people's minds literally exploded. Literally. Whenever you see an old advertisement that shows how awesome it is by showing the players with a little bit of blood trickling out of their noses, you can thank this game. We laugh about it now, but there was a time when parents feared for the lives of their children because entertainment had reached the point where even the tiny blood vessels in your brain wanted to be front and center for the joy that was bombarding your face.
In fact, some speculated that Awesome Shmazzabrazzzraaugh's child-killing power would hurt sales. And technically, they were right: a handful of children with extra thick veins survived the initial exposure, only to discover that the game was rife with bugs and not very fun at all. This was because the entire QA staff had been slain by the test code, and the publisher had to go to market with what they had. Word of mouth did what the sundered skulls of our children could not, and the publisher went under. The unsold cartridges were melted down and turned into a memorial for everyone who died as a result of the game's release, with a small postscript from the survivors reading, "Eh, it was okay."
Current Value: $170 (it will also cost you permanent/fatal brain damage)
In contrast to the previous entry, Sadboy Shuffle was reviled since its inception. Lead designer Gary Mucksworth said the inspiration for the game came to him in a dream that he couldn't fully remember because it made him so unhappy. He wrote down the parts he could remember and rushed into production. Four weeks later, he churned out a game so heinous that players grew to hate not only the game itself, but everyone involved in its creation and their immediate family.
Mucksworth, who was despised long before the game's release, mostly due to his vocal insistence that Nilla Wafers caused autism, took the criticism hard. Shortly after its release, he wandered off into the woods, saying only, "What I have done, cannot be undone." No one has heard from him since.
In 2007, an especially rare copy of the game allegedly signed by Mucksworth surfaced on eBay for more than twice the average price. Mere hours into auction, however, it was revealed to be a fake, as Mucksworth always wrote his signature with a slightly larger heart over the "o".
Current Value: $549 (unsigned)
Hoss Thief Harry!
Video games are no stranger to controversy, and Hoss Thief Harry was one of the most infamous: Joseph Spracht imagined a simple game centered on the idea of you controlling a cartoonish horse thief. In the game, you would have to sneak past a watchful farmer, subdue his rebellious horses, and lead them out of the pen, with points awarded for speed and the kind of horse you broke.
What Spracht didn't realize was that those early graphics left a lot to the imagination. Whereas Spracht saw the player character holding a comically-large gun in front of him as he snuck up to the horses, the rest of the world saw a man with an enormous erection sneaking up behind the unsuspecting horses. Worse yet, the "breaking" animation that played when you tried to tame the horses looked more than a little like you were humping them. And it certainly didn't help that a tamed horse would follow you with a big smile on its face.
Spracht, who was in one of those religions that frowns on bestiality, was horrified by the early reactions. He gathered up as many copies of the game as he could, melted them into a pile, dumped them in a swamp, and then fire-bombed the swamp. Years later, a successful Kickstarter campaign led to an excavation of the so-called "horsebang mound". There was hope that some of the cartridges might have escaped being melted, but it turns out Spracht was as talented at melting games as he was at making graphic 4-bit depictions of horse buggery.
Current Value: $730 (in box), $5 (melted pile redolent of swamp gas)
Nintendo Entertainment System
Back in the late 1980s, Japanese developer Go Go Luck Dog was in a bad way. No one cared even the slightest bit about anything they had been releasing, and their cash reserves were nearly empty. With bankruptcy fast approaching, they decided to crank out one final attempt to keep the fantasy of game development alive for them: Last Dream.
It worked. The game was a monster hit and spawned a franchise filled with sequels, plush toys, music CDs, art books, radio dramas, and hundreds of petabytes of fan-made porn images. Eventually, they wanted to branch out into the western markets, and so they sought out a publisher to bring them stateside.
When the US version of the game finally came out, the fan response was mixed. They had known about the Japanese version for years prior to its release, and some of the changes made during the localization process left them cold. Most notable were the changes to the two main characters: the protagonist character, whose name was an unpronounceable symbol generally understood to mean "young hot-blooded dreaming boy", was instead changed to "Jim". Meanwhile, amid fears that parent groups might take issue with the game's content, "Jim's" partner, a vivacious and seemingly-underaged sex robot, was removed and replaced with a wise-cracking mailbox.
The initial reaction grew markedly worse when GGLD publicly denounced the title, citing plans to bring over upwards of 26 different costume pack DLCs for the now altered sidekick. Plans to import the sequel were scrapped, as it focused entirely on the sidekick character and introduced a new battle system in which you defeated opponents by knocking their clothes off.
Current Value: $400 (standard edition), $800 (Pantsu Edition w/ promotional box art-printed panties)
The rarest of the rare. Published on a console that no longer exists, created for a world gaming championship and used exactly one time before the entire championship was disbanded without a single winner, this title was created by a man with a dream. The dream was to do everything one time, and then never again. When he programmed the game, he would refuse to write anything down for fear that someone else might use it again. Every day, he would come in and program a new level without consulting the code he had written the day before. When creating a new character, he would start saying random syllables, combining them as he went because he did not want any prior experience to color his work. When he finally completed work on the game, he placed the only copy of the code in a sealed envelope and mailed it to the publisher. On the packaging, he wrote the name he wished to give his masterpiece: an incomprehensible mass of swirls and scribbles because he had attempted to make his own written language.
When the completed product was first revealed, the author assaulted every reporter who tried to document the game's existence. The only reason we know of it now is thanks to a tourist's photo taken just outside the demo location where you can just barely make out the image of the game on a TV screen reflected off the glasses of the tourist's son. That son has faint recollection of that day, but when an unmarked cartridge was placed in a knock-off Super Famicom console and played on a TV in front of him, he was heard to remark, "Yeah, that's probably it." It's said that the author, hundreds of miles away and knowing absolutely nothing about this demonstration, stood up and opened his mouth in a silent scream. Moments later, he was dead. It took authorities months to identify him because he refused to carry any identification and routinely had his teeth capped and uncapped to throw off anyone seeking dental records.
Now, this single solitary unit is in the hands of an anonymous collector. In order to play the game, this collector had to hire a team of engineers to reverse-engineer the code within the cartridge itself in order to recreate the now completely unknown hardware used to play it. He dubbed the sole prototype "The Onliest". He hooked it up to a television that had sat in a box unopened since the first time the words "video" and "game" were uttered together in the same sentence. No one knows how long he played that game, but when he was finished, he turned off the console, removed the cartridge, placed it into a timelock safe, welded the safe shut, put the safe inside a larger safe, put that safe in a vault, sealed the vault in cement, laid over the cement with some tasteful wood paneling, and built a nice rec room in front of the paneling.
It's nearly impossible to put a price tag on something this rare, but given the game's history and the enormous cost of making it, not including the collector's safe-and-paneling expenses, some estimate it could go for as much as the GDP of a small country.
*UPDATE* Last month, a janitor found a backup copy of the game in a file cabinet at the now defunct publisher's office. The game has gotten a digital release and the price of the unattainable, thoroughly buried cartridge has been hurt considerably.
Current Value: $9.99 (standard), $2.49 (Steam sale price)
This is just a sampling of some of the ultra rare titles you can expect to find as you work to fill every inch of your living space with gaming goodness. And while you're at it, don't forget to buy plenty of new games because there's no telling when the shit might go down and suddenly, a copy of some off-brand shovelware is transformed into a priceless work of gaming history! And then who's going to be laughing at me for owning 500 copies of Sneak King? Nobody.
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