Thursday, April 19, 2012

My Kind of Sort of Almost Valuable But Not Quite Famicom Games

As I have been inching ever closer to my goal of collecting all of the Famicom carts ever released I have been slowly coming to terms with the fact that I have picked almost all of the low hanging fruit in the console's catalogue.  F1 Race?  Got it.  Baseball?  Got it.  Mahjong?  Got, like, 12 of it.

The sad fact is that a lot of the remaining games on my "need it" list are the expensive ones.  This has forced me to move out of my "comfort zone" of buying mostly games that cost less than 1000 yen each and start getting some of the "glass case" games from my local shops.
The good news is that unlike the Atari 2600 and some other consoles, the Famicom collection doesn't include many impossible to find holy grails.  Well, there are a few.  In the above photo for example among those Famicom carts (bottom row, 3rd from the right) is a gold copy of Hot Scramble for 44,000 yen (over 500$).  There are a lot of rare variants of some carts like that (Rockman 4, Kinnikuman Muscle Tag Match and Obake QTaro Wan Wan Panic are others) that they only made a few copies of for some promotion and thus sell for obscene amounts, but they don't count towards the basic set. 

Anyway, having broken down and started to spend some real money I have put together a modest but respectable little pile of "semi-expensive" Famicom carts:
None of these are particularly expensive, but they are all games that usually sell in the 2000-6000 yen (25-80$) range, which is about as high as I can go right now. 

 The best cart I have is probably this one here:
Good old Gimmick.  Ironically it is the one I got for the cheapest out of all of these and the only one I have CIB.

One of my most recent acquisitions was this baby:
Guevara!!!  I got this at Manga Souko last week for 2500 yen, one of the highest prices I've ever paid for a Famicom cart.  I've wanted it for a long time though.  They have one at Mandarake for 3000 yen and I have been eyeing it for years.  Seeing it for slightly cheaper at another shop was enough to push me over the edge and take the leap.

My second most valuable game (according to the Japanese market at least) is probably this one:

Idol Hakkenden.  You have probably never heard of it.  It is an obscure little RPG about a teen pop idol.  I don't know why it is expensive (007 has a loose copy in their glass case for 5800 yen, Manga Souko has one for about 4000), perhaps because it is pretty hard to find.  I never play it but I like it a lot, the cover art just looks really cool.

Anyway, those are my good ones.  Oh except for Magical Doropie which I forgot to include in the photos.  To end, please make note of the fact that the copy of Spartan X 2 in these photos looks quite nice.  Last month I bought a brutally sun-faded copy of it at Omocha Souko.  I wasn't overly happy with that so when I saw a nice copy of the game at Manga Souko last week for almost the same price I decided to pick up a replacement copy!


  1. just finished reading all of your posts and i have to say that i really like your blog! it has given me even more incentive to go to japan and to stop looking for famicom games off of ebay >o> keep it up!

    p.s. i like the little comic strips you do, as well as the pictures of your dog ^^

  2. Only in japan would 25-30 dollars be considered expensive for a hard to get game. It's what I'd pay in Ireland with shipping to get an easy to find game in most cases.

  3. Anonymous - thanks for reading! Do take a trip to Japan someday if you can, its a much nicer place than Ebay:)

    Retr0gamer - Wow. 25-30 dollars will get you a lot of easy to find games over here:)

  4. The only places here are car boot sales and the pickings there aren't good at all. There's only the one retrogames shop I know of and they set their prices by ebay so 15 euros/20 dollars is the cheapest you'll get a decent game for. I'll probably need a second suitcase for all the famicom stuff I'd buy whenever I make it to japan!

  5. interesting... didn't think that Guerrilla War (aka Guevara) was that hard to find of a game. I've got a box copy of the NES version and it is super fun! Kind of a top-down predecessor to Metal Slug.

  6. I didn't know Bionic Commando happened to be one of the somewhat more expensive games. I'm glad I got a Famicom copy for so cheap last month.

    I just love it so much; It was never much of a hit in Japan, was it?

  7. So... I see you have a copy of Utsurun Desu. Tell me, what do you think of that one? Pretty out there, huh? I think that'd make for a pretty funny article.

  8. Retr0gamer - wow, that sucks! There are some shops in Japan like that too actually, but the average game is usually in the 300-1000 yen range at most shops which is pretty reasonable. For the Famicom I would guess that 80% of the games in the entire library can be had for less than 1000 (about 12$) in most shops.

    Anonymous - is the NES version of Guevara cheap? The Famicom version is quite expensive, I think mainly because it is relatively hard to find. I havent played it yet - I`ve been waiting so long to get it that I want to try it for the first time when the time is right. Some special occasion.

    Kaibun - Yeah, Bionic Commando for the Famicom is one of the harder-to-find ones. The cheapest I have ever seen it for is 1500 yen (about 20$). Usually it sells for a little less than Guevera but not much. Mandarake in town here has a CIB copy for I think 7500 yen (almost 100$).

    Skyrunner - totally agree. A post about that one is in the planning:)

    1. Hee hee hee... I'll be looking forward to that one. Some advice for the game: the start of the second level loops constantly until you dance in front of the ghost enemy while standing in a certain spot. Now that you know, you'll be able to get past that part unlike me, who got stuck until I looked it up.

  9. Very nice "prestige" case you got there. Those games can get exponentially pricey quite fast, especially when complete in box. Have you picked up Battle Formula and Recca yet? Also, I've been searching for a boxed copy of Yancha Maru part 1. I've only ever seen it once. Do you ever run across one of these in your game hunts?

  10. Hmmm, I've never heard of either of these games. Was Guevara released in other territories under a different name? I'm going to have to go look it up now. Also, I love the cover art for Idol Hakkenden. I can't imagine how the game plays (does it contain battles, like most RPGs, or is it more of an adventure game?

  11. Guevara = Guerilla War (NES, Arcade, etc)

  12. Skyrunner - thanks for the tip!!

    Stealthlurker - thanks, I dont have Battle Formula or Recca Yet. Recca is way too expensive for me right now, they have a CIB copy at Mandarake in town here for 40,000 yen or so if I recall. Maybe someday:) I haven`t seen a CIB Yancha Maru 1 but will keep an eye out for it!

    Bryan - as Stealthlurker says, Guevara was Guerilla War in the US. Idol Hakkenden, despite its cool cover, is basically just an RPG about being a pop idol. I only played it for as long as it took for me to realize it so I don`t actually know much about it. Its kind of hard to find anyway.

  13. I got myself a GunNac a few weeks back - very cool game. Gimmick isn't easy to find though.

    It's not a good feeling reaching the expensive titles though. Why is it they are always the last to get? :D

  14. Yeah I agree GunNac is a good game.

    I was very lucky with Gimmick and found it cheap, otherwise it would not be in the collection. It is impossible to find in Fukuoka now.

    Having just the expensive titles left to acquire does at least make things interesting - its much funner when the games you are looking for are actually hard to track down:)