Attack of the Variants
When I last left you, I was sharing the irony that some of the most expensive games to collect for the N64 were some of the worst for the system. In that post, I noted that the gray variant of Turok: Rage Wars was insanely more expensive than the standard black cartridge. This was something that was not uncommon with cartridges. For various reasons, a lot of different games had a variant version. The game itself was usually no different, yet the cost of one of those variants now is significantly higher. As a follow up to my last post, I thought it would be fun to take a look at some of these variants and the cost difference that might surprise you.
Aidyn Chronicles: The First Mage
This game shipped for the most part with a black cartridge. There was, however a gray variant cartridge that right now sells for about five to six times the price of the black cartridge. Gray is apparently the new platinum. As a game, this was ok at best. I will give it its due as having an interesting story. I found that it tried way too hard to look like the N64 Zelda games and it did an awful job of it. Add in an atrocious soundtrack and obtuse gameplay and the normal $8 for the black cartridge seems about right, maybe even a bit high. Purchasing the gray variant at around $50 is going to take some serious dedication.
Bass Masters 2000
Yeah! Gone fishin’! Who doesn’t love a fishing video game? Nothing like a good fishing game to really…. BWAHAHAHAHA! I almost made it through that with a straight face. I’m sure there are fishing game aficionados out there but I can’t imagine there are a lot of them. As far as fishing games went, this one was best described as meh. As far as actual games go, it was best described as yuck. This game shipped with a blue cartridge as standard. You can find that one for around $5. Not too shabby. However, there is a gray variant that will run you around $80. Yep. $80. For a fishing game from 13 years ago. I’m going to let that sink in.
Scooby Doo! Classic Creep Capers
I definitely don’t want to discourage any collectors out there. Collecting is a lot of fun and I encourage any of you interested in collecting games to do so. To help soothe you from the shell shock of Bassmasters 2000, I present some justice. Scooby Doo! Classic Creep Capers was a cheap attempt at making a quick buck off of a name. By default, this game had a black cartridge. Guess what. Did you guess that there is a gray one? Nice. You’re getting it. The black version of this game can be picked up for under $5. Here comes the justice part. The gray variant is only around $10. Even variant collectors don’t care enough about their collections to buy this game twice.
Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
While most of these games are bad, there were actual great games that had variants. Take Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask for example. This was a fantastic game and it had 4 variants. You have your gold cartridge with the regular label. That right now is worth around $40. Then you have the gold cartridge with the holographic label. That one is currently around $50. Here is where it gets interesting. There were also 2 “not for resale” variants. There is a gold one that is about $35. But then there is the gray one. The gray, not for resale Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask is currently valued used at $735.50. Needless to say, if you happen across one of those, it would be advisable to go right ahead and snag that.
This is not even close to complete list of variants that were available on the N64, just some examples. All of this can get overwhelming and there are a lot of folds and wrinkles in the collecting world but if I can give you one piece of advice from my collecting experiences it would be to have fun. Enjoy the hunt. Enjoy reconnecting with some old memories. Don’t let it get more complicated than it needs to be. It can be very rewarding to one day realize that you have amassed a very large collection and have enjoyed every moment of the ride. Join me back here in two weeks when I use words and pictures together in a beautiful symphony of retro gaming opinion blogging goodness.