Can you name the one game that NES collectors crave above all others? Nope, it’s not Tengen’s doomed release of Tetris (and that’s a story and a half to be told another time). It’s a little known game from 1987.. and people will pay $30,000 for it. More below.
Do you remember World Class Track Meet and the Nintendo Power Pad? It was the forerunner to Wii Fit, Dance Dance Revolution and all the other games that attempted to make video game playing something you did ACTIVELY, rather then slouching in a chair. But.. what folks don’t know is that both titles were essentially version 2 of the product, and that leads into this story.
Bandai released Stadium Events, which used the forerunner of the Power Pad (called the Family Fun Fitness Pad) for gameplay. Technology was still in its infancy, and really, the best way to do well in the game was to get on your hands and knees and press the buttons on the pad to be sure your presses registered and your guy ran as fast as possible. You know, cheating. But apparently Nintendo president Minoru Arakawa saw it, and thought it would be a great feature for the NES (remember, to get away from the stigma of the video game crash of Atari, they tried all kinds of gimmicks, including the Zapper light gun and R.O.B. the Robot… incidentally, did anyone ever beat Gyroscope? I sure as hell didn’t). So a deal was made with Bandai to acquire Stadium Events and the Family Fun Fitness Pad, and they were re-released, with Nintendo branding as World Class Track Meet and the NES Power Pad.
So, only 10,000 copies of Stadium Events were ever made (which I believe was the minimum that Nintendo would allow you to make), and the fact was, it wasn’t a really great game, and for those who you know, actually wanted to PLAY it, you could just buy the Nintendo version), so most of the games disappeared into history. So, there are very few copies left, and most of them are already in the hands of private collectors. So, now, if you are a collecting completionist, if you have to “catch them all”, you’re going to have to pay and pay big, because it’s like the old Honus Wagner baseball cards. There isn’t many copies left, and only worth something BECAUSE it’s rare, AND because you can point to that and say it’s rare.
The ESPN goes into more details of the scene around the game, including a woman who saw a copy in a Goodwill store for $8 and turned it into a down payment for her family’s new home, and a lucky warehouse worker who actually found three unopened CASES of the game (18 copies) in 1992 and still holds on to an unopened case today.
Honestly, I think that’s one of the things we’ll miss going forward about our video game history, can you see someone in say, 2045 paying $30,000 for a mint unopened copy of say, Call of Duty Infinite Warfare? Somehow I doubt it.
David "SirFozzie" Yellope is the operator of the "An 8 bit mind in an 8 Gigabyte World". (an8bitmind.com) While not QUITE yet at the stage of waving his cane and telling the kids to "get off his lawn", he does admit he owns three canes.