Saturday, August 30, 2014
When you have 12 of the same Famicom cart you can organize them into 3 by 4 squares which, when put together with other carts you have 12 of, can open up some interesting interior decorating ideas.
Saturday, August 16, 2014
One of the types of Famicom ephemera which I enjoy collecting the most are chirashi (mini posters/ flyers) that were handed out back in the day to advertise upcoming game releases.
I like them mainly because they look cool and are the sort of thing that look good when framed and hanging on your wall. Like my Gyrodine and Sky Destroyer ones, which have awesome artwork on them:
I picked up a small lot of them off of Yahoo Auctions the other day that just arrived in the mail. I`m pretty happy with them. Most of them were actually Famicom Disk System games, like Metroid here which is probably my favorite of the lot:
And Super Mario Bros 2:
Zelda no Densetsu:
The only thing that I dislike about collecting Famicom chirashi is the price - they are pretty hard to find so the prices likewise tend to be on the high side and bargains are few and far between. Still though its kind of worth it for the cool artwork. They also have cool stuff on the back, like this one which explains how you can re-write games on disks:
Collecting chirashi is actually one of my main non-Famicom collecting pursuits too. In addition to advertising video games they are also used for a lot of other things, including movies. Japanese movie chirashi are actually in some ways even cooler than the Famicom chirashi. Japanese movies almost always have unique paintings commissioned for them which are reproduced on the chirashi. The artwork, which often combines familiar scenes with bold looking kanji, make them look pretty awesome. Like this poster from You Only Live Twice, with the 007 in big type, with the title in kanji below. Totally epic:
Same with this old school Battle Star Galactica from the 70s:
Thursday, August 14, 2014
The man in the centre of the above picture is Yoshitaka Enomoto. He is standing next to the host of a TV show called Nandemo Kanteidan, which is kind of a Japanese version of Antiques Roadshow. It is a lot more flamboyant than the English version, but I watch it a lot. Mostly people bring stuff like old samurai swords, paintings, bits of pottery, etc in to get told it is either worth a fortune or completely worthless. The host, who is a comedian, cracks jokes throughout the show.
Anyway, the particular episode that Mr. Enomoto appeared on was broadcast on Tuesday this week. He brought an interesting bit of Famicom history and an interesting story with him. The antique that he brought with him to have appraised was this (pardon the photo quality, I was just aiming my camera at the TV while the show was on):
A gold copy of Rockman 4!
If you aren`t familiar with hyper Famicom rarities, the gold Rockman 4 is probably the rarest Famicom cart out there, only 8 copies of it were ever made. I have seen one in the wild once and posted about it here, at Super Potato in Osaka last year.
The carts were made as prizes for a competition that Capcom ran to have fans design the boss characters in the new Rockman game. They received over 70,000 entries from fans across Japan, most of them little kids. Only 8 were chosen and each of those 8 kids got a special gold copy of the game when it was released.
Its rarity means that it is super valuable and, as with a lot of these gold/silver special carts, it is pretty easy to fake (all you have to do is paint a regular Rockman 4 cart gold, though an expert would immediately recognize it since the underlying plastic is a different color from regular carts).
There was no danger that this one was a forgery, however, since Mr. Enomoto as a junior high school student back in 1991 was one of the lucky 8 winners of Capcom`s contest. His design? Brightman:
It was pretty neat to see that at least one copy of the gold Rockman 4s remains in the hands of the actual kid who won it back in the day.
The show did a little segment about the history of the Famicom, which was interesting but if you are reading this blog you probably already know the details so I won`t recap what they said.
628,000 yen (about $6300 US) on it, and this one looked like it was in every bit as good condition. Maybe Super Potato is a bit overpriced? Or the experts on Nandemo Kanteidan don`t quite know as much as they let on? I guess it is hard to put a price on something so rare, they must hardly ever pop up for sale.
Its also interesting to wonder how many of the other 8 are still in the hands of their original owners? Obviously the one in Super Potato isn`t, but what of the other 6?
As an interesting point to end the post on, the experience of designing Brightman as a kid seems to have had a major influence on Enomoto. He went on to become a professional illustrator and has worked on a lot of animated TV shows and Manga!
Saturday, August 2, 2014
As usual, Erik over at Before Mario has beat me to writing a post about Mach Rider by about 3 years and I recommend checking his post out for the full scoop on the toy. Just to recap the highlights here: It is based on a toy originally released by Hasbro under a different name. It came in 3 colors (I got the yellow one, but I guess the photo gives that away). Its basically a racing car that will fly at high speeds off a jump ramp. It is awesome.
The box mine came in is a bit beat up, but its awesome nonetheless:
Before finishing this post, I have to put a little plug in for a friend of mine over on Famicom World, Dire51 (aka Rob Strangman) who has just put out a book about retro gaming entitled "Memoirs of a Virtual Caveman". If you are looking for some light retro game reading, give it a look!