A scarce good
Do you have a jar with my clipped toenails in it? Not many people do. They’re a scarce commodity, but scarcity is a foolish reason to own. It’s hardwired into our brains that when there are few of them, we want it more. We know it as the “fear of missing out” and it’s one of the most annoying subtypes of greed.
Video game collecting is a fairly harmless embodiment of this. To my knowledge, no wars have been fought over a copy snapper on the Sega CD. However, it’s still pretty annoying. I collect games because they are a tangible representation of the game. I like playing them. Don’t give me a factory sealed game because I will open it. I don’t want to look down on other people’s reasons for collecting games, but I can’t help but find it ridiculous that some questionable titles retain a high value due to their scarcity. As I said before, scarcity is a pox in humanity’s ass, and here’s a closer look at some of the suppurating boils.
Family Fun at the Stadium (1987, NES)
Family fun at the stadium really grills my goat. It is considered one of the “holy grails” of the NES library. Bandai was the original creator of the Power Pad, and they were all willing to release the NES version alongside it Family fun at the stadium when Nintendo stepped in to rebrand and distribute it instead. All copies of Stadium Events that made it onto the shelves were pulled.
There are a few things I hate about it. First, Nintendo re-released the game as the more widely known one World Class Track Meet, and the two games are identical except for the title screen. Second, the number of cartridges in the wild is based entirely on speculation. Some say only a handful of them made it to consumers, but the minimum production run of an NES game is 10,000. Former Nintendo spokesman Howard Phillips doesn’t think it’s likely they were destroyed, so they could still be out there. I personally will not spend $20,000 on another title screen in the first place. But the only way it could be worse would be if someone discovers a long-forgotten range of cartridges that are skyrocketing in price.
Barbie Groom and Glam Puppies (2013, 3DS)
Dogs are pretty awesome, make no mistake. I prefer giving them scrichins and cuddling them rather than enchanting them. I have nothing against Barbie either. She doesn’t come with a proton pack or transform into anything, but I guess some kids have more imaginations. However, I can’t think of any reason I would ever want to spend more than $2000 on something like this. You could get a pretty awesome dog for $2000, but you can also get their boundless affection and gratitude a lot cheaper if you adopt.
The reason Barbie: groom and glam puppies is so expensive that the only NTSC version of it has been released in limited locations in an obscure country called Canada. I guess if you really need to complete your 3DS collection then you don’t have a choice, but if you’d rather just play the game, get the Wii or DS versions for under $10.
Action 52 (1991, NES)
I’m almost embarrassed to say I own a copy of it action 52 on the NES, but at around $300, they’re the more affordable items on this list. Inspired by pirate cartridges, action 52 is a solid idea on paper. 52 games, all in one cartridge, for the low (?) entry fee of $200. But while pirate cartridges are (usually) just a set of previously released games, all 52 games on this cartridge are entirely new. Unfortunately, the three (or maybe four) college students who were recruited to develop the games had three months to complete all 52 games.
The result is a collection of games that are impassable at best and literally unplayable at worst. There is nothing of value on the property. Its price is kept high by the fact that there aren’t many out there, and it’s notorious for being one of the worst games of all time. You don’t have to play it yourself; I can confirm it’s not good.
Eli’s Ladder (1982, Atari 2600)
Sometimes considered the rarest educational game there is, Eli’s ladder is known for its scarcity. Well, I won’t blame anyone who wants to learn math on an Atari 2600. Video games are a great way to get kids interested in learning something boring. However, Eli’s ladder is an extremely simple example of this, and because there are so few in circulation it was last sold on eBay for $5,000. If someone offered me $5,000, I promise I’d learn math so damn hard without needing an Atari 2600.
Waterworld (1995, Virtual Boy)
This is another game that I actually own, but that’s only because it wasn’t that expensive back then and I needed it to complete my collection of North American Virtual Boy games. Water world based on the 1995 post-apocalyptic film. While there were other games based on the film, Water world on Virtual Boy is a separate thing that isn’t much. A problem with many Virtual Boy games was that they felt more like tech demos or old arcade games than full experiences. Water world is like that. You sail around blowing up other boats and rescuing people. It takes about a minute to see all of this Water world has to offer, then it just repeats that but more difficult.
Bronkie the Bronchiasaur (1994, SNES)
I almost didn’t count Bronkie the bronchiasaurus because I definitely want to play it. However, I play bad games on purpose, so I’m a very bad metric. Bronkie the bronchiasaurus is an edutainment sidescroller from Raya Systems, which also brought us along Captain Novolin, Rex Ronan: Experimental Surgeon, and Packy and Marlon. It’s about the titular Bronciasaurus who must both platform and manage his asthma. While I’m a broken human to find that an enticing premise, I’m not sure I’m willing to spend more than $300 to see if it achieves its ambitions.
King James Bible (1994, Game Boy)
I am not trying to say that the King James Bible is not a worthwhile read. I’m sure it’s… neat. However, the Game Boy sounds like the worst e-reader imaginable. The system is known for its large games library and a battery life of over 8 seconds. It’s not known for having an amazing screen. Truly, its screen could best be described as “visible”, at least as long as there is enough light, but it isn’t too much of bright. The idea of reading an entire book there, let alone the Bible, sounds like a pretty depressing way to spend a road trip. There are two games and a word search if you’re curious about how many times the word “tail” appears in the Bible.
Actually, that’s something I’m curious about. Based on my research, it’s between 7x and 13x. King James Bible nobody says, so what’s the point anyway?
Neuro Dancer (1994, 3DO)
I know I said these are games you don’t want to play, but I can think of reasons why you might want to play old porn games. Not because they are worthwhile additions to the scapegoat. It’s easier than ever to try every possible flavor of porn while riding the bus or at your kid’s piano recital, and adding a game is just an unnecessary obstacle getting in the way of the nipples. No, I would play pornographic games because they are so bad; they are kitschy.
Pornographic FMV games are bad in their own category and neuro dancer because 3DO Interactive Multiplayer is the perfect example of a title that gets in the way of its own concept. Not only is it so bland that my extensive research hasn’t uncovered the existence of actual tits in it, but a high percentage of it is actually videos of people fooling around in front of cameras and tricking the cyberpunk future like something Robocop. It doesn’t get me much excitement, but what’s worse are the mazes you have to go through to get credits for making women take their clothes. Look, I don’t know how much you know about seduction, but mazes are a pretty unconventional approach.
Try match-3 instead.