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Retro Console Collecting - Part X (The Holy Grail)

Posted 9th November 2012 at 06:19 AM by Schizo

Oh dear. The cobwebs. The dust. I think I even saw a few cockroaches scurrying their way through here. And who left the back door unlocked? I think I saw a few squatters comment spammers camping out in here.

Well, we cleared all that riff-raff out. Time for a little spit & polish, a little elbow grease, (a lot of booze), and we're gonna make this place shine again.

(In other words, I am totally going to start making regular updates and articles again)



And if you believe that last statement, then I've got this prime waterfront real estate I'll sell ya cheap


Since I've been so busy in the last year or so (read: lazy), I would be here for quite a while trying to document all the various pickups and scores I've made since my last update.

So I'm not gonna do that. Besides, you'd be bored with that anyway. I'll bore you with a completely different topic instead.

What I am going to talk about today is one of those pieces that you want in your collection more than any other. A single game that would make you so happy to finally own, and the piece that is a centerpiece of your collection.

I speak of finding the holy grail.



No, not that holy grail...


Everyone has their holy grail when it comes to collecting. Usually it is something quite rare, expensive, or holds some sentimental value.

My holy grail? I speak of Earthbound for the SNES.



It will be mine. Oh yes...it will be mine.


Earthbound was a sequel to an NES game only released in Japan called "Mother". The game was incredibly well-received by critics and fans alike, however the game only sold 140,000 copies in North America. This was due to a couple of fatal flaws:
  • Late lifecycle release - Earthbound was released in 1995, well into the SNES' lifecycle. At this point, the Sega Saturn had already been released, the Sony Playstation was coming soon, and the N64 was already announced and was about a year away. Gamers simply weren't buying the games for these older systems with new ones on the horizon.
  • Piss-poor marketing - Earthbound has to rate among one of the largest marketing failures for games at that time. Nintendo started their advertising for the game using a series of scratch n' sniff stickers (which all smelled horrible as I recall) to promote the game. You also had some print ad gems like this one:



    Because everyone wants to buy a game that stinks

  • The genre - Fianl Fantasy VII was still a couple of years away, and the majority of gamers weren't playing JRPGs. These titles were still considered a niche market, and weren't expected to sell as well.

So Earthbound had all this going against it from the start. No wonder it didn't sell so well.

So why do I want it?

Well, for starters, Earthbound is unique in that the box is so much larger than a standard SNES box. Why you ask? Because they included a strategy guide with the game.

Let me spell that out again, just to let that sink in with you for a moment.

They included the strategy guide with the game.

Totally unique idea for the time. Can you imagine releasing a game with a strategy guide bundled in with it now? Prima and Brady would lose their collective wits.

Second, the game is incredible. It has been praised as one of the best examples of the JRPG on not only the SNES, but one of the best JRPGs period. It had a great mix of gameplay, and what was unique for the time - the game had quite a bit of humor to it as well. Grab it to play on an emulator if you can get a chance. Earthbound is consistently one of the most requested games to be released on the Wii Virtual Console for good reason.

Finally, I want this game because I've been kicking myself for 17 years for not buying it. I distinctly remember holding the box in my hands at the store, and eventually putting it back in favor of something else. Seriously, it was the stupid ad campaign that turned me off to the game. I just didn't see how a game promoted by stinky smells would be any good.



He chose...poorly. Ok, ok, last Indiana Jones Holy Grail reference, I swear!


This is a decision I've come to regret for one simple reason.

Holy crap the market value of this game is absolutely astronomical.

If you want to shell out for the just the cartridge of this game, expect to shell out close to $200 for this sucker. If you're a complete in box collector like myself, the bill comes closer to $500!

Eek.

So I hold out hope that I'll somehow find one of these in the wild someday. Someone who doesn't know the value of what the are sitting on. Someone who just wants to get rid of the old games taking up space in the attic.

And while I'm wishing for things, I wish Scarlett Johansson would suddenly appear in my lap.



Well, in all honesty...I'd take her over the game


Till next time. I promise there won't be as long of a gap between updates. And if you believe that, about that waterfront property...
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