Every NES cartridge ever made on eBay (as long as it's American and grey)

Every few months, an eBay auction arises where some poor schlub — racked with debt, pursued by loan sharks with tire irons — is forced to sell the retro-gaming collection he's amassed over decades. This NES collection currently on eBay is just such: every gray NES cartridge ever released in America (no Zeldas, friends), including two that were held back from production except for reviewer copies: the elusive Final Fantasy II and California Raisins. Think of what it took to put this together. Think of the millions of feverish prayers mumbled skyward to a Mario God every time a flea market shoebox full of games was rooted through. Think of the grease-stained rivulets of sweat cascading down one lone collector's pustulent face as he scrimped and saved on a fry cook's salary for that elusive copy of Final Fantasy II. I am not entirely a monster: my heart yearns to help him, to make his treasure my own. I go for the "Buy It Now" button, only $3,800. Then the monster in me goes WTF. Every NES game for $3,800 is certainly a sweet deal... until you realize that with a slight somersault of your ethics, you could get them all in one Bittorrent mega-pack for $3,800 less... including Zeldas. It's still awesome to see this dedication, of course. It's sad to see games so lovingly collected sold against the collector's will. But with emulation being what it is, collectibility is the only value carts still have: monetary worth informed only by redundant nostalgia for an obsolete media format when the games themselves have ascended to fresher technology. Utterly meta collectibility: the future of nostalgia, as media digitally escapes the shackles of its delivery. Nintendo NES Collection Grey Cartridge Games! [eBay]
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22 Responses to Every NES cartridge ever made on eBay (as long as it's American and grey)

  1. fr4nk says:

    The Zelda games do come in grey… they were rereleased late in the NES’ life.
    The grey cart is worth more than the gold one, because there were fewer made.

  2. Centricity says:


    I wonder… is that number deliberate?

  3. sisyphus says:

    I am loathe to correct typographical errors, John, but you mispelled “digitally.”

    Trivial nitpicking aside, let out that WTF monster. Just let it out.

    A lot of those Bittorrent mega packs also include MAME, SNES and myriad other platforms, nostalgic and otherwise. Why go for meta collectibility when you can achieve comprehensive, sybaritic collectibility?

  4. John Brownlee says:

    Sisyphus, ha! Thanks. In truth, I noticed and corrected seconds before you posted.

    Apologies. I’ve spent the afternoon boozing across the street as I wait for the new cleaning girl to finish the apartment. She’s taken five hours on the bathroom, which fuels my rage, and thus my booze requirement. :)

  5. Jarvik7 says:

    If it’s lacking gold cards, it’s probably missing all of the Codemasters games too. I’m too lazy to check the list though.

  6. sisyphus says:

    Aside from being envious of your freedom to “booze” in the afternoon, I’m mostly overcome with a disgusting curiosity–what could you possibly do in a bathroom that would necessitate five hours of professional cleaning?

    Perhaps rage is the wrong reaction. Shame?

  7. John Brownlee says:

    To be fair to the poor girl, I made a mistake: I told her “thoroughness is more important than staying within budget.” Naive. It was bad, but not five hours bad: more like two hours bad. She seemed to think what I wanted was her to scrub the grout until it was opalescent between all tiles and a toilet so clean I could eat out of it… which wasn’t even the case when I moved in. I know. I’m a bachelor. I ran out of clean plates. I tried.

  8. John Brownlee says:

    Also, she’s not really a “professional” just a poor ex-pat trying to get by in Berlin, a city with a 35% unemployment rate. I assume she’s partly milking me and partly inexperienced.

  9. Anonymous says:

    This is a cool auction, but his “review” copy of Final Fantasy 2 is probably fake. Any review copy would not have a production label, certainly not with that art style (the original box art had a drastically different logo.

    Oh, and then there’s this:

    Anybody can buy one of those it for $25. It looks exactly the same as the reproductions that guy has.

  10. John Brownlee says:

    Also, when I say two hours bad, I mean “I sublet it and wanted it absolutely spotless within reason so they didn’t hold any bad feelings against me.” Germans are INSANELY clean, in a way Americans have a hard time comprehending: I moved out of an apartment 9 months ago only to have the landlord inspect the 14 foot ceiling for finger prints and try to ding me for imagined ones (I am five foot seven).

  11. se7a7n7 says:

    I think his Buy it Now price is too low. Plus he should be selling the the ultra rare games separately.

    Typical of undervalued auctions, this guy has people offering him much less to end the auction early.

  12. sisyphus says:

    Hah, I suspected all along that the boozing was a direct response to the stress of moving.

    Last time I moved, I did not have the luxury of a paid cleaning service (regardless of any sort of extortion involved). Rather, I think I conscripted friends and plied them with booze. The power of drink: it’s really multi-functional when it comes to high stress situations.

    My grout wasn’t opalescent, but it passed muster.

    /end thread hijacking.

  13. crwatson21 says:

    “Utterly meta collectibility: the future of nostalgia as media digitially escapes the shackles of the its delivery.”

    Spelling errors aside, this is worded beautifully.

    “Utterly meta collectibility: the future of nostalgia as media digitally escapes the shackles of its delivery.”

  14. SamF says:

    The last apartment I moved out of had so much cat pee in one corner that it had absorbed into the concrete and the owner had to pay way more than my deposit to get the smell out.

    Needless to say I didn’t get any of my deposit back.

    And it wasn’t my fault. A “friend” brought her cat over while she was supposed to be cat-sitting MY cats while I was on vacation, and the little bugger didn’t get along with my cats, so it peed on the carpet under the desk. All week.

    Oh, and: he should have offered to sell it to Gabe and Tycho for them to use as a prize for PAX, either this year or next.

  15. hassan-i-sabbah says:

    One of the saddest classified ads i have seen was a poor chaps selling his lifetime collection of Star Trek memorabilia,It was the last line that broke my heart-“Klingon wife forces sale! Truly tragic.

  16. License Farm says:

    Sounds like when Lisa Marie Presley forced Nic Cage to sell his awesome comic collection, which included AMAZING FANTASY #15 (first appearance of Spider-Man). So glad that marriage worked out for the best…

    Granted, you can get all these on BitTorrent now, but there’s something tactile about these that playing them on a computer can’t reproduce. I hope some customer of Ben Heckendorn snatches these up and makes us all very jealous on the subway soon.

    Ah! But if this contains every grey catridge, it must contain those that were written with the R.O.B., the PowerGlove, the U-Force and the, what was it, PowerPad? in mind, BUT THOSE ARE NOT IN THIS PACKAGE. So while you’ll have a complete collection, you won’t be able to play them all properly. If you’re enough of a completist to pay $3800 for all this plastic, you probably won’t settle for less than complete use.

  17. John Brownlee says:

    Thanks, though what spelling errors? All I see is a left over “the” from a different phrasing. And correcting! Thanks for pointing it out.

  18. BBNinja says:

    I have a collection (supposedly complete) of NES game roms that totals 13,337. This includes internation releases and various verions as well.

  19. Rob Absher says:

    This is actually my collection on ebay. Just to clear a few things Zelda and Zelda 2 are both in the auction. Sorry for the confussion. Go to nintendoearth.com to see everygame pictured individually.

    Thanks, Rob Absher

  20. sisyphus says:

    There’s also something tactile about repeatedly removing the cartridge and emptying my enfeebled lungs into them to ameliorate the frequent glitching.

    I wouldn’t mind seeing a Heckendorn creation, though.

  21. DMcK says:

    I’m actually heartened when I see someone finally ditching a huge collection of trivial stuff. Some years ago, my folks moved down to North Carolina, so I had to go through all the crap in my childhood bedroom to see what I wanted to keep (or have kept; my sweet parents had no problem if they had to find a place for it all themselves). I was kind of a proto-hoarder, so it was a LOT of crap…magazines, books, toys, comics, god knows how many plastic Japanese robot models, etc. etc. ad infinitum — all of it “cool stuff” from the committed nostalgist’s point of view. Took many days of carefully poring through all of it…and in the end, I made the decision to send 99.9% of it to the dump. The catharsis from this unburdening was a truly valuable experience for me; I didn’t have to contend with this mountain of debris occupying space both physical and psychic in my life anymore. I recommend it!

    Although I have the feeling that the Germans would still burn down my apartment and make me pay for the gasoline.

  22. Halloween Jack says:

    All of your new-fangled 21C bit-torrenting-emulating gimcrackery misses the true appeal of this deal: someone, not unlike myself, getting to pretend that they were one of the Kool Kidz who had all the game cartridges, or even a game system at all, back in the day, to heal that childhood wound of unfulfillment. It’s kind of like that movie where Christopher Reeve stares really hard at a watch and all of a sudden he’s back in the glory days of typhoid fever and minstrel shows and he gets to bang Jane Seymour. Sorta.

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