Become a Nintendo Games and Watches Collector – Feature


Considering the enduring nature of the Game & Watch line, the attractive case design, and the desirable Nintendo branding, it’s no surprise that a truly hardcore collectible scene has developed over the past few years. The reasons differ depending on the collector you are talking to. “For most collectors today, it’s just nostalgia,” comments the British Game & Watch fanatic. Andy cole. “People now find themselves with the resources to buy the games they coveted as a child, which their meager pocket money couldn’t afford. “

Others do it more for the sake of the brand, like the Dutch collector Martin Van Spanje: “I’ve always loved Nintendo games and the Game & Watch series is basically where it all started for this company. I want to see them all and find out how Nintendo has progressed.

Whatever the reason, putting together all 60 of these unique devices isn’t an easy (or cheap) task. “Even though most games can be found for a five, you need a lot of money if you want all 60,” says Van Spanje. “My collection has already cost me around € 3,600, and I’m still missing four of the most expensive games. Also, I don’t collect games in perfect condition, and I don’t care about packaging and user manuals. If you want all of that too, you need to at least double your piggy bank.

Indeed, boxed specimens in mint condition can fetch prices up to triple digits, and the elusive “60th” game – a special edition of Super Mario Bros. produced in 1987 – is incredibly difficult to locate. “This is the holy grail of Game & Watches and has remained almost completely unknown in collector circles for over a decade,” explains Cole. “It was produced as a prize in a competition for owners of an NES F1 racing game. 10,000 have been released in Japan alone, making it by far the rarest Game & Watch title. It wasn’t until the beginning of the 21st century, when Japanese collectors spread the word, that this game became widely recognized. Due to its rarity, it’s worth more than any other game in the lineup – expect to pay around £ 300 just for a specimen without a box.

Another aspect that makes the line so appealing today is the durability of the games themselves. “As the number of auctions and in the collections shows, they still perform as well, mainly thanks to their extremely simple electronics,” comments Cole. “They are probably more reliable than a game console today; I expect they will still be around long after the last PS3 goes to landfill. Van Spanje goes on to say: “The games were intended for children and fit in your pocket. If you keep them safe, they will last forever, even if you play them regularly.

Does our intrepid gang of Game & Watch experts have any advice for potential collectors? “A potential collector must first set a goal,” advises G&W expert Mike Panayiotakis. “There is a lot to collect and buying everything is not an option unless you have unlimited money. Want to collect boxed games? Would you like to get special versions of the games? Would you like to get all 60 games? You need to focus on specific items and create a list of the items you want to collect.

Cole gives similar advice: “The answer I always give to this question is to take it slow, because it is possible to get a full collection of each title in a month or two only if you have the money, but where’s the fun in there? Decide on a goal before you start; for example, decide if you want loose or boxed games, special or regular editions, then stick to your goal and be patient to wait for the right games to show up. My collection took me about five years to complete, but I got really good deals and it’s more satisfying than spending a few thousand dollars all at once.

As is the case when a product grows in value, the Game & Watch market is very sensitive to counterfeits. “Over the past few months we’ve seen a lot of counterfeit items pop up,” Cole reveals. “These are mostly boxes and instructions – having a box, especially one in good condition, adds a lot to the value of a game.” These high-quality reproductions of the original packaging have caused a serial headache for dedicated collectors.

“Most collectors are looking for new items and have paid huge sums of money to acquire them,” says Panayiotakis. “Getting the original Game & Watch boxes back intact is no easy task, but if someone started selling perfect counterfeit boxes or games, your collection would instantly be worth one-twentieth of what you paid for as the market would be flooded. perfect articles. . However, at this point the problem is limited to the boxes and instructions. “To my knowledge, no one has managed to produce a fake game yet,” Cole says. If any fake machines should appear, Panayiotakis has no doubts about it. the effect it would have on the collecting community. “Perfect counterfeit items would make the task of collecting authentic games very difficult,” he said. “I don’t think it would be useful to collect the games after that, if such an event ever occurs. “

This feature originally appeared in its entirety in Imagine Publishing The retro gamer magazine, and is reproduced here with kind permission.

Special thanks to Andy cole to provide exclusive material photographs.

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