|Posted by Private Joker on June 2, 2012 at 1:25 PM|
...and where is it going?!?
After close to two years, I thought it was time to reflect on where I got with my collection and see in which direction it is heading. What better time to do this now that I have collected a full set of European Master System games?! To be quite honest, at one point, it was getting a bit out of control. I decided it was necessary to collect all region variants. However, a few weeks after that decision and getting more and more knowledge on those variations, I realized just how impossible that task is. Not just that but it would’ve take a vast amount of money just on shipping costs let alone the games themselves. Taking into account that I would be paying for games I already own, I just couldn’t justify it to continue. At the end of the entry, I’ll be talking about what will be the future of my collection on short and long term.
But first, read along to see how far I’ve gotten in such a short period of time. Some people take years to get where I am now. I don’t want sound self-involved here; it all depends on your own tactics or whether or not you collect for other systems. I totally focused on the Master System and I got lucky quite a few times. The next couple of paragraphs will be about different items or series I collected and will of course be shown in pictures as well. You can read this in whatever tone you want, but I’m writing it with a certain feeling of pride and in a narrating voice. For some reason, I sound like Morgan Freeman when rereading these paragraphs.
The biggest achievement is obviously completing the European set of games. Not all PAL games* are in my possession because there are some double packs in Australia and the purple releases in Portugal, but every title released besides these in PAL format, are in my collection. As you can see in the picture, I’ve set them up in one shelf (Expedit) but in three rows. Each square holds just under 40 games and the later releases are on the front row. As some of you might know, I’m a bit of a neat freak and having the same style of spines lined up like this is very appealing to me. They are still alphabetically ordered in a way that I can pick out a game quite easily when I want to play it. The first row is A-Z and so are the back two but then separately.
The Classic, Kixx and Card releases are put together on the bottom shelf for esthetic reasons.
Three rows behind each other to save space.
Some mini-quests I’ve been going for inside of the main goal are the previously mentioned Classics and Kixx releases. I’m most proud of my Classics set as I’ve got fond memories of one of the games (Wonder Boy) and also owned another in the series when I was younger. They also appeal to me because of their covers and in comparison to other system’s budget games, they look quite nice. The most fun game in this series to collect was, for me, Robocop vs. The Terminator. I had the privilege to own three copies at one point (and I’ll never cease to mention it) while many collectors are still looking for their first. I was able to help one fellow collector with a copy and sold the other on eBay. It was up for less than an hour I think but probably for a very reasonable price. I have no idea how much one would go for now in a good auction but seeing the latest prices, that might blow every Master System collector’s mind.
All complete and in mint condition.
The Kixx games were actually a bit harder to collect since BIN-men have gone absolutely berserk over them. There is rarely a copy in auction that goes unnoticed but every game in this series aside from the Hulk is up for BIN constantly. It took me a while to get the last game, The Incredible Hulk, at a decent price and in the end I caved for a BIN. It was an ok price for me though and since I bought the regular Hulk for a fiver with a good manual, I was able to put together a mint copy and get back 15 Euro on my Kixx version bringing it down to 15 Euro in total.
Whilst I didn’t actively go for the 3-D-, Light Phaser and card-set, I do own all of them but I didn’t see it as a separate achievement. Those were just part of the main goal but nonetheless, here they all are lined up together.
Still hoping to find Hang On boxed.
Shooting Gallery is still missing the manual, anyone?
Still need to test a few out, especially Missile Defense.
Even though I decided not to collect variations anymore, I will however be keeping my three Ultima IV games all complete with their respective booklets. Blue = English, Yellow = German and Pink = French. These games are not easy to collect complete and for the completists amongst you, there are also some extra folders that came with the game but I don’t consider them part of the complete game myself. In case you didn’t know yet, those booklets don’t fit in the Master System game case which is why you rarely see them pop up. When they do pop up, they are always in mint condition. There is a logic explanation for that though. When someone holds on to these booklets, it means that it is someone who knows the value of them or is just a very organized and clean person.
There really was only one Holy Grail for me. However, this next release was another very exciting purchase along the way. One of the many thrilling moments in 2012 for me so far. The Lucky Dime Caper Limited Edition Box Set is a cool addition to a Master System collection and I can only advise you to pick one up whenever you get the opportunity. They can fetch a hefty price on eBay at the moment, but I got lucky on a relatively cheap price on the forums. It is only missing the poster and has a few scuffs, but I couldn’t be bothered any less.
The one and only Holy Grail was Les Schtroumpfs Autour Du Monde for me but not the last game I purchased. I took a short cut on the last one, Championship Hockey, but not in the least do I regret taking it. Seeing as a minty and complete copy is reaching epic proportions and knowing that it’s the worst game on the system, I just couldn’t bring myself to pass the opportunity to get it dirt cheap but in rough condition. Here is a collection of some of the rarer games in the Master System collection and the games I paid the most for.
Smurfs is missing the poster.
Within the European releases, there are some alternate covers and releases. Which ones I’m going to actively look for, I don’t really know yet because it could just lead me down the same uncontrollable path of collecting anything that looks slightly different. I already own some alternate covers such as Indiana Jones and the Image Works / Virgin Games releases. I will probably just keep whatever I own already and see what happens. They don’t attract too much attention yet so selling them won’t do me any good. If I happen to come across anything cheap, I’ll probably pick it up but wouldn’t bother otherwise.
The versions of Olympic Gold, Winter Olympics and World Cup USA ’90 with their souvenir booklet are nice tiny side quests, but not too bothered about them at the moment either. Another tiny variation region specific are the language variations in games such as The Lion King and Jungle Book. I do look at them differently from the other language variations for some reason, but I have decided to let them slide. They are not all that easy to find and can attract a fair bit of attention making them even more expensive than necessary.
What about the thrill of discovering a new variation? Well that was initially one of the bigger reasons of going for those country specific retail games, but it just doesn’t weigh up to the other arguments. I did have the honor to find a very rare Italian release and it was exhilarating, but it didn’t really get too much attention and satisfaction as I would’ve liked. I’m sure I’ll get a lot more satisfaction from discovering a game in the PAL library that I haven’t played yet and thoroughly enjoy.
While Master System was my main focus, I did manage to snatch a nice amount of other sweet deals for other systems. I love buying in bulk because of the financial benefit and also for the time you spend with it. It takes a while to get through the lots, cleaning, testing, bragging about it… And for the past two years (almost), that was the most fun part in collecting. I consider gaming and collecting two different aspects so when I say that buying job lots was the most fun part, it doesn’t mean that I didn’t have more fun gaming than collecting. On the contrary, I wish I had taken more time for gaming.
There were two systems, still Sega of course, that caught my attention the past few years. Mega Drive and Game Gear both appealed to me in one way or another. Mega Drive mostly for its fun 4-player action with Micro Machines way ahead of the bunch and Game Gear actually for the time I spend in the small room… I started off with a couple of games and broken consoles and quickly learned how to repair them. I was very satisfied with the quality of some of the ports and soon, my only working GG took its place in the apartment. I have now amassed a nice set of games for these systems and will continue to do so but in a slower rhythm. When job lots appear, I won’t be able to resist, but the price has to be right. With currently over 125 Mega Drive games (all complete), 60 complete and 20-ish cart only Game Gear games, I’ve got a nice display in my living room.
Again three rows to save space.
10 blocks, 6 games per block.
To be able to play your games, you need a console or handheld to play them on. While some people feel perfectly fine with owning an unboxed console, most of us collectors prefer to have the original box. We all have to admit that the biggest reason we collect is for the sake of nostalgia and what better way to spike that feeling than the original box of the system you got fresh from the store? I didn’t have that feeling with the Master System myself, but nonetheless, I’ve bought consoles and handhelds new and I know perfectly well what it does to a collector.
On top of having the right console to play the games on, certain games need peripherals and again, it’s nicer to have them boxed as well. As you can see on the overview picture, I’ve got a certain number of boxed consoles and accessories. I’m still missing a few such as the handle controller and the SG commander controller, but those are not necessary to play the games.
Here is a list of the hardware that I own boxed for my Sega collection. From left toright in my display:
- Game Gear
- Game Gear Sonic version
- Game Gear Plus
- TV Tuner
- Car adapter
- Master System I Hang On
- Master System I Plus Hang On / Safari Hunt
- Master System I Alex Kidd
- Master System I Italian
- Master System II Alex Kidd
- Master System II Plus
- 3-D Glasses
- Light Phaser
- Light Phaser Tec Toy
- Light Phaser US
- Sports Pad
- Sports Pad Japanese
- Rapid Fire Control Stick
- Control Stick
- Rapid Fire Unit (sealed)
- Mega Drive Arcade Stick II
- Multi Player Mega Drive
- Power Base Adapter
- Multi-Mega Limited Edition
- Mega CD II
- Mega Drive II Sonic 2 version
- Mega Drive I
- Lock On (official Sega product)
So, after having reached my main goal and many side quests conquered, what is still left to do? First of all, it is my intention to just enjoy my collection. This short term plan involves playing games. Getting more knowledge about the games, their origin, background, cross-platform conversions or ports… You name it, I just want to be able to get into discussion and not stand on the sideline saying, "I’ve got that game, but I don’t really know anything about it.” You can expect reviews, game plays and walk throughs along the road so I can spread the love for Master System and as you might have understood for Mega Drive, Game Gear and Mega CD as well. Who knows, in the not-so-short-term, I might expand to other Sega consoles such as the Sega Saturn or the Dreamcast.
In the long run, I’m still looking to expand my collection but I will take it slow. I will continue as slow as it comes just to be able to enjoy gaming more instead of collecting for the sake of it. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed collecting and playing my Master System games but it might have been a little too fast.
A small idea that has been growing in my head is to collect all the games that had an impact on me during my youth. I’ve been able to find some of the classics such as the Super Mario games, Tony Hawk Pro Skater, Gran Turismo, etc. However, from time to time I’m reminded of other games that I totally forgot about. There are three major periods in my childhood that involve retro games. The first period is my NES period at my parent’s friends. We played the three SMB games, Duck Hunt and Hogan’s Alley. My favorite Super Mario Bros. game is the second one. Pure nostalgic value of course as I am aware that the first is the first and the third is the best. I have got all these games back, but I’d like to get them complete eventually.
The second period is the one I spent at my neighbor’s place. He is the person I bought my Master System set from and where I spent most of my days. When we weren’t playing Power Rangers outside, we were on his game consoles. At the moment, I can only remember the N64 games such as Vigilante 8 2nd Offence and Turok but there must have been many others that just don’t come to mind.
The third period was about my own personal purchases when I turned 15. I bought my own Xbox console new as well as my Game Boy Advance SP. I’m still looking for the Xbox bundle I bought because I threw away the box. I still own the games I bought then, but in this period, it’s mostly about getting back the consoles.
And there you have it, this is what I’ve got planned for my collection. I didn’t talk about how and where I want it all displayed because me and my girlfriend don’t have any set plan yet.
I would advise anyone who just started collecting or is thinking about it to just take your time and enjoy it fully. Set yourself some ground rules and stick to your budget. Be realistic and try not to get carried away. Before you know it, it can become an addiction and you don’t want to end up being a hoarder instead of someone who loves the nostalgia of things. Nobody should tell you how to go about your business and whether or not you go for a full set, it is all entirely up to you. Spread the joy with other people, organize evenings where you can all share your interests, educate yourself and educate others and most of all just enjoy what you are doing.
*PAL is actually a German standard for your analogue color TV set and a game can’t really be called PAL, but generally people use this to define the region of a certain game even though it is not the correct term.