4 Pop Culture Classics That Beat Their Replacements
While Nintendo seems all too willing to bid farewell to the console once considered a wonder in dorm rooms and assisted-living facilities alike, the generations that grew up on Nintendo's older systems aren't willing to let them go so easily. Despite a virtual arcade that allowed Wii users to download games from its classic systems for less than $5 a pop, gamers who'd already shelled out for those titles in their youth weren't all so willing to do so again. Sites such as ThinkGeek began selling $50 third-party consoles that could play Nintendo Entertainment System and Super Nintendo games. Independent sellers such as J.J. Hendricks, owner of Englewood, Colo.-based JJGames, still make a living refurbishing old NES, SNES, Nintendo 64 and Gamecube games and consoles and sell forgotten favorites such as Konami's Zombies Ate My Neighbors and Taito's Bubble Bobble 2 for well over their original value.
Hendricks is aware of just how lucrative the vintage Nintendo market can be for sellers, but also how costly it can get for a gamer with a taste for rare titles. Back in 2009, he paid $17,500 for a rare, gold Nintendo World Championships 1990 cartridge used at Nintendo live events more than 20 years ago. While the cartridge is still great for playing mini versions of Super Mario Brothers, Rad Racer and Tetris, it's also one of only 26 ever produced and one of about 13 still in existence. That same year, he sold the only copy of Nintendo Campus Challenge for $20,100.
Five-figure cartridge are only getting more common as supplies dwindle and demand increases. In July, Hendricks paid $12,000 for a copy of Nintendo PowerFest '94, a game that asked players on Nintendo's live tour to get the highest combined score on Super Mario Bros: The Lost Levels, Super Mario Kart and Ken Griffey Jr. Presents Major League Baseball. Though there were 100 made, only two are still in existence. That's a bargain compared with the price of a sealed copy of Bandai's Stadium Events fitness game. Nintendo bought the rights to this game and re-released it in the U.S. as World Class Track Meet, but 200 survived and a sealed copy sold on eBay(EBAY) two years ago for $41,300.
It's a bit of a stretch to call CDs "current" when roughly 60% of all album sales are digital downloads, but if you're looking for a hard copy it's still the format of choice.