One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Treasure
There are a lot of fun sayings in the English language. Some of them are easily understood, like “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Some of them take a little research to understand, like “don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.” As I have been on my quest to collect every single Nintendo 64 game released in North America, I have found that the phrase “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” holds very true. It is stunningly ironic that some of the games with the highest values dollar-wise have the lowest values as actual games. If I wasn’t trying to collect these, they would be suitable for little more than giving dust a place to live. I have compiled a few of the best/worst examples. The prices here are average ballpark numbers based off of completed eBay auctions and this price guide that I highly recommend.
Transformers: Beast Wars Transmetals- $50
You may remember this game as one I was unfortunately saddled with when I went trick or treating N64 style. It is one of the “Blockbuster exclusive” N64 games that are hard to find and therefore expensive and it is just awful in every conceivable way. A total waste of good plastic. There isn’t much that can be said about Transformers: Beast Wars Transmetals that hasn’t been said about wildlife that has been hit by a full speed locomotive. Gameplay, graphics, sound, following the actual property it’s based off of, this game does none of that well.
Better use of money– Buying 100 items out of those $.50 machines at K-Mart that came in those plastic bubbles. You remember, the ones where the bubble was more fun than the toy.
Turok: Rage Wars (Gray Cartridge)- $125
I mean, really? A game that had about 3 hours of fun in it, with some of the worst AI you’ll ever encounter is more than twice as much as a brand new game because it’s a color variant? Yes, it’s true. Variant collectors are out there and they are extremely dedicated to their craft. The gray cartridge of this awful excuse for a game is pretty rare and so the price has been jacked up to extremely ridiculous proportions. If you are thinking of playing Turok: Rage Wars, do let me know. I’d like to send someone to check on you in a couple of hours to make sure you haven’t rammed your head through the TV.
Better use of money– Hiring Bobcat Goldthwait to read you one bedtime story.
Super Bowling- $45
A bowling game! Jason Lamb will be thrilled! This game was released at the end of the N64’s life cycle and it is harder to find than spaghetti at Taco Bell which is why it sells for so much money. This game doesn’t just suck compared to other bowling games. It sucks compared to other games that suck. The graphics were horrendous, the music was something you’d expect to hear at an interpretive dance show, the voice over was repetitive and super annoying, and the gameplay was nothing to write home about either unless your family likes letters about terrible games.
Better use of money- Paying a Taco Bell employee to cut tortillas to look like spaghetti.
Snowboard Kids 2 – $35
This game isn’t too terrible. It is horrifyingly average and horrifyingly average N64 games belong in the $10 and under bracket. How average is this game? It is so average that Eric Hunter might bring it to the Retro Showdown on the next episode of 1 More Podcastle. Before this game came the first Snowboard Kids. This was a sequel that wasn’t much different at all from the first game. It was a second attempt to catch lightning in a bottle. They failed. They used graphics, sound, and gameplay that were dated when they released the first game and tried to pass it off a second time. It was a cutesy attempt at making a cartoonish snowboarding game and it sort of, kind of worked. ONCE.
Better use of money- Go right ahead and get yourself a Shoulder Dolly.
Clay Fighter: Sculptor’s Cut- $150
This has to be the saddest example on the list. Here you have a re-release of Clay Fighter 63 1/3 that was another one of those Blockbuster exclusive deals selling for a price that makes me weep in my heart. You see, Clay Fighter 63 1/3 was an ok fighting game. It borrowed the Killer Instinct combo system and it had special moves and basic fighting game fare. That game alone was flawed because it was rushed into production before it was ready. Don’t get me started on that practice, trust me. It did have Earthworm Jim though and I LOVE Earthworm Jim. To me, just that character made the game enjoyable. Along came this great idea to re-release it with a new title and add in some stuff that went AWOL from the first game. They added 4 mildly entertaining characters and to do that, they removed the combo system and a lot of the special moves. This turned an ok fighting game into basically a high school humor laced cartoon slapfight. The only reason it is this price is because of its rarity, certainly not its quality.
Better use of money– Get your $150 changed into singles and then throw your next-door neighbor a ticker tape parade when he comes home from work.
Join me back here next time when I talk about something related to Nintendo 64 in one fashion or another.