A Seasoned Criminal

A few days ago, my wife and I went down to the United States to go to the National Comedy Center that opened at the beginning of this month (August).  After dropping off our dog at the Doggy Camp that he goes we proceeded down to the border.  From my many border crossings I’ve always felt that the Rainbow Bridge at Niagara Falls is the fastest, however when I looked online at the border crossing times it said that there was no wait at the Lewiston Bridge.  Against all instincts I decided to cross here:(

Well unfortunately the wait time was at least a half hour, and that wasn’t the only bad thing to happen.  When we arrived at the inspections booths, I was “arrested” for a possible felony charge with a A & D (armed and dangerous) designation.  I was asked to turn off my vehicle and get out of the car to spread my hands and feet.  I was briefly patted down (I had nothing on me), then handcuffed for a more thorough search where I became very intimate with one of the guards if you know what I mean!  I was escorted to a holding room where I found myself alone (solitary confinement) where I waited approximately five minutes before someone came in to unhand-cuff me and told me that I wasn’t who they were looking for.  Apparently someone else with the same name had committed a crime and they wanted to be sure it wasn’t me.  I was quickly processed, and we were sent on our way, but honestly after you’ve done some hard time you just don’t come out the same.  In total it held us back about 45 minutes which meant that I had less time to look for retro video games:(

I looked for a secret store in Elmwood (an area near downtown Buffalo) but he either moved or went out of business.  The owner didn’t really advertise at all except for on
Facebook, but unless you knew what to look for it wasn’t that obvious… maybe why he’s not there anymore.

These are two games that I didn’t have in my collection that I found at a place in Eastern Hills Mall in Williamsville called the Niagara Emporium.  Eastern Hills sure isn’t what it used to be… it’s kind of pathetic now and don’t understand how it manages to keep many stores when it seems like a ghost town.  Anyways I met a guy there named Krystian who owns a space called I Got Game and he seemed like a great guy to know… especially if you are into collecting retro video games:)  He’s a bit younger than I am… of course I based this on his appearance and also after talking to him he said his main collection was for N64 games.  This guy had games for most systems, but after I was done purchasing the above two NES games I was out of cash.  NASCAR is a very common game that for whatever reason I haven’t picked up yet, but Wayne’s World is a bit rare, and from what I hear quite difficult to find with a nice label… this copy is perfect and I got a fairly good deal at $100US.  I’m not really into negotiating  so I was delighted when he gave me what I felt was both a fair, and good price.  He asked me about where to go in Toronto for retro games and of course I recommended the Retro Game Bros., and to stay away from A&C Games as they tried to rip me off on a lousy copy of E.T. for the Atari 2600 several years back!

Anyways after we were done visiting family, and saw the National Comedy Center (which was quite well done I must say!) we took off for Erie, PA to check out Presque Isle.  Just before the entrance there is a diner called Sara’s and they serve malt shakes (hard to find these days).  I ordered a peanut butter shake and let me tell you, that alone made the trip to Erie worthwhile.  It was that good!


After we finished our shakes we went off to a place called Basement Transmissions to see a band that I haven’t heard from in over 25 years called Green Jelly.  They had a song called the Three Little Pigs which was what put them on the map in the early ’90s.

The tickets were only $12 and there couldn’t have been more than sixty people in the audience, yet they still rocked some simple to play tunes and were a lot of fun!

SEGA Corner:  If you want a lot good Genesis and Master System games check out Krystian’s store I Got Game.

Until next time,

Nintendo Joe


Nintendo Quest NES Collection Budget

Remember a while ago (three years to be exact) that movie called Nintendo Quest that was a documentary on a guy (Jay Bartlett) who challenged himself to getting all 678 North American released NES games in 30 days?!  There are some spoilers here so stop reading if you intend on watching it.  I thought that it was a pretty good film if you are into game collecting and I met Jay at a game swap in Waterloo ON,.IMG_1167

I do however have a few issues with the film:

  1. They never mentioned what Jay’s budget for all the games was, however I’ve done some calculations and figure that he spent around $15,000 – $18,000… give or take3 a few bucks.  I’ll explain my calculations more on this at the end of this entry.
  2. They rarely mentioned how much Jay paid for each game which would have been nice to see how much of a deal he received as well as a better estimate on what we the common people should be paying for these games.  This is especially bothersome as he went into some stores and claimed to have received some really good deals.  One of the stores he went to in Toronto that he said gave him the best prices was A&C Games on Spadina Ave..  I know first hand that this store has ridiculous prices… five years ago, they wanted to charge me $15 for an Atari version of E.T.  The guys said that was because E.T. is rated the worst game to ever be released on every console to date.  The game was and still worth $1 or less.  What really burns me is that even the Game Chasers who have a Youtube show went into this store and received good deals just because they featured the store on the show.  So unless you are filming a movie/show and are willing to give free media recognition, stay away from A&C Games unless you want to get ripped off.  A&C Games sucks!
  3. Jay had some friends who GAVE him some really rare and expensive games like Stadium Events, Panic Restaurant, Cowboy Kid, etc.  While very generous of them, these options aren’t available to most of us collectors so and I felt a little cheated… and jealous!
  4. Jay never mentioned his girlfriend once in the entire film.  It would have been more realistic to see him arguing with her about how much money he was spending/wasting on games when he could have been paying down the mortgage.

Onto how I calculated the amount Jay I think spent on the entire North American NES library.

Firstly, at the end of the 30 days, he was short 25 games and it said he had 9% of his budget left.  I calculated the market value of how much each game cost in todays prices, and that came to roughly $3,140.  Figuring that the price of games back in 2014 when the movie was filmed were considerably lower, I can estimate that the missing games would have cost him somewhere in the neighbourhood of $2,200.  If this was represented 9% of Jays total budget, then he started with around $24, 444 .  However, we must keep in mind that he bought in bulk and therefore received a discount, and the store owners saw an opportunity to advertise their store on Jay’s movie, and thus gave him a much lower price then any of us would ever get… like at A&C Games.  With this in mind, and considering he received some of the most expensive games for free, I think it is safe to say that Jay spent somewhere between $15,000 – $18,000 on completing his NES collection.

I’m envious, jealous, and all that of Jay Bartlett for it really felt like he had a lot of fun on his quest.  Congratulations on completing such an awesome collection… now go pay off that mortgage!

Nintendo Joe


Gone For A While… Recent Pick Ups… and some Venting!

IIMG_5039‘ve not posted in quite a while… like almost 7 weeks now, but this is only because I haven’t had any pick ups really worth mentioning.  However all that changed last weekend when I managed to score a copy of Secret of Mana, Secret of Evermore, Final Fantasy II for the SNES.  I love RPG’s so I’m REALLY looking forward to playing these games… especially Secret of Mana which I think I will play first.  To be honest, I’ve never even seen this game and only bought it because one of my buddies raves about this game as being his favourite on the SNES.  As to whether or not it is any good, only time will tell.

IMG_5041I also managed to score a copy of Dragon Warrior IV for the NES… this completes my Dragon Warrior collection on the original Nintendo, though there are many other chapters released on other consoles such as the PS2, Nintendo DS, etc.  These other titles may be good but I’ve never played any of them.  Dragon Warrior was a great little RPG from back in the day.  For the price, the original is definitely worth a play through.. should be able to find it for less than $7US.  My only complaint about this title was that there wasn’t a large variety of monsters to fight, but what irked me more so was that you only had one hero in your party.  I suppose this had it’s benefits as you could focus all your efforts on building up the one character…. but it also made the game a bit lonely:(  Alas in Dragon Warrior II they started to allow you to acquire a party of adventurers.  I’m not sure what is different about Dragon Warrior IV as I’ve never played it, but considering how much I enjoyed the first one in the early 90’s I don’t think it will disappoint.

Okay so lets start talking cost.  These are all premium titles and they didn’t come cheap, but I think I came out alright considering these were all purchased from a store and a reseller.  For Secret of Evermore and Final Fantasy II, which as you can see from the photo carried a $100 price tag for the pair I actually spent no cash.  I did however trade an N64 with memory expansion, and extra controller, an SNES controller, Super MarioIMG_5043 World for the SNES, and Super Smash Bros: Brawl.  Now I probably could have fetched a better price if I sold this lot on Kijiji, but I’m really getting tired of these types of sites (Craigslist is also included in this mix).  The games are over priced, and no matter how well/low you price your games everyone wants a better deal.  So you know what… forget it… this lot had been sitting around in my basement for a while now, and the Ice Man offered me $100 in trade for it.  I feel good about it because I know I will actually play these games… unlike many of the NES titles that I’ve picked up in the past purely for the sake of collecting them.  Dragon Warrior IV however is a title I can’t wait to play… well at least after Secret of Mana:)  These latter two tittles however I had to shell out some cash for.  I traded in a couple of PS2 games (Gungrave, and another title I can’t remember but was nothing special), three of those multi game joysticks that you hook directly up to the TV… (these are crap in my opinion, but Fred wanted them).  I also traded two GBA carts (Mario Vs. Donkey Kong… this is actually a great game but I have two copies of it, and Super Mario Advance 3… again a double.  So in addition to the aforementioned trades, I offered him $100 to which Fred agreed.  It’s a lot of money I know, but for these two titles I think I did rather well…plus I haven’t had any pick ups in quite a while so even my wife wasn’t too mad;)

Now for my venting.  If you’ve followed my blog (and lets face it most of you haven’t:(… you’ll know I’m a fan of the youtube show The Game Chasers.  They now have 43 “episodes” and yes I’ve watched them all.  When I think about how much time that is…. approximately 21 minutes per show times 43… that’s, well, that’s just over 15 hours of my life that I have spent watching them.  I’ve come to several conclusions… heck after 15 hours of viewing something you had better have something to show for it.


What I’ve concluded is this.  Billy and Jay seem alright… but the way they treat their sidekicks really bugs me… especially that 8-Bit Eric.  They treat him like a second class citizen; as though he should feel lucky to be graced with their presence and allowed to be on their stupid show.  I have something to say to him… “8 Bit Eric, if you are reading this, don’t put up with any more of Billy and Jay’s crap… you muscle your way in there and get the games before they do and feel good about it.  They’ve had their moment in the sun… their 15 minutes of fame, well now my friend it is your turn. You really come off as a bit of a wuss sometimes, but 8-Bit Eric, I know you have it within you to be something more than the Game Chasers make you out to be.  Don’t be a chump, be a champion.  Grab what’s yours dude… like AlphaOmegaSin does!”

Anyways… the Game Chasers came up to Toronto Canada (they are from Texas) and they were told to go to this game store that I have been in a few times called A&C Games.  Now please let me inform you that unless you have a “showmqdefault” you won’t be getting any good deals here.  When I was first getting into collecting I was picking up Atari 2600 carts as these definitely have the best art work on the covers… unfortunately the games are so awful that they belong in a land fill… in fact that brings me to my point (like I ever have one) … for the longest time there was an urban myth about the game E.T. for the Atari 2600.  They produced this game so quickly so as to coincide with the release of the movie, that it was a complete marketing and programming disaster…. in fact it has been named the WORST video game every made. several thousand copies ended up in a landfill in New Mexico.  Well as it turns out the myth was true… they were in fact buried in a dump, and somehow ended up collectively fetching $37,000 on Ebay (there were approximately 700,000 copies buried there).  Anyways… wow was that ever long winded… the guys at A&C games wanted to charge me $15 for the title for apparently the “Worst game ever” has some value.  Thankfully I didn’t fall for their trick and managed to pick up a copy of E.T. for $1 at another store… even at that price I think I over paid!

So theseancgamesfinal Game Chasers come into A&C Games and they let them rummage through all their unsorted items in which they find several goodies…. Panic Restaurant, Mighty Final Fight, Battletoads/Double Dragon, and several other desirable collector games.  The price for all the games… $300CAN… for goodness sake, Panic Restaurant alone goes for more than that!  It really burns me that these dudes from Texas come up here with their stupid show and get great deals from the highest priced video game store in Toronto.  Can you say Jealous/Envious… Yeah I guess:(.

SEGA CORNER:  This part of the blog seems to be a fan favourite… well actually only the Sega Dude likes it but that is enough validation for me:)  Speaking of the Sega Dude, he recently gave me a few more games for nothing but a thank you note that I still have to write… Thanks dude!  Maybe a section of my basement should be called The Sega Dude Corner… after all many of the games came from him?!:)  While Phantasy Star III absolutely sucks, it’s great to have it in my collection.  All I need now is part II… my favourite chapter.  There is a game swap coming up on March 29th in Waterloo.  We have ordered a table, but this time I want to do more trading.  The Sega Dude and I are going with high hopes.IMG_5044IMG_5045


Until next time!

Nintendo Joe