Game Hunt (12/11/11): Three Copies of NBA Live ’98.
By Eric Kennedy Sunday, 11 Dec 2011

It’s been another long layoff between articles, which might mean I’m losing some of my lust for the hunt. I’ve had some good finds in the last few months, including a couple of factory sealed gems, but I’ve also had some days where it just felt like a huge waste of time. The thrift stores seem to have dried up as of late, which has killed some of my motivation to go looking. Maybe it will only take another great find to get me back on track… In any case, here’s what I’ve compiled since late August.

Find: NBA Live ‘98 x3 (SNES)

Price / Condition: $3 each / varying condition

Where at: Pawn Shop

Why: In my efforts to track down Super Nintendo games for my collection, few have daunted me as much as this damn game. 1998 was the year that EA stopped releasing updates of their sports franchises for the SNES; thus, the ‘98 games are a little tougher to come across. I was able to find NHL ‘98 and Madden ‘98 without too much of a problem, but it took me forever to track down NBA Live ‘98. The first time I found a copy, it was missing a screw. I figured, hey no big deal, I’ll just replace the screw. WRONG. The previous owner actually broke off the plastic piece that the screw threaded into. Fine, chalk that one up to random acts of idiocy. I next saw a copy at my local game store, for the bargain price of $3, but out of apathy decided not to buy it that day. Naturally, it was gone when I went in next week. UGH! So when I recently came across not one, but TWO copies of NBA Live ‘98 at a pawn shop, I bought them both, almost out of spite. I saw another copy later that day, and bought that one too. Why? Because fuck NBA Live ‘98, that’s why.

Deal or Not a Deal? $3 is a good deal, because it’s slightly harder to find, but I didn’t need to buy three copies. This is some perverted form of game rage; hunting rage, maybe?

Find: Boxing Legends of the Ring (SNES)

Price / Condition: $2.50 / Nice on the front, messy on the back.

Where at: St Vincent De Paul

Why: There’s nothing too terribly exciting about this game, but the price illustrates how much of a tightwad I am. When I saw it for $5, my feeling was that it was too much to pay for what is probably a mediocre sports game. Knowing that this particular thrift has “half off everything” sales pretty often, and that I live close enough to check them from time to time, I left it there. I guessed that nobody else in the area would be interested in a boxing game not named Super Punch Out, and I was right. I came back a couple weeks later and got it for 2.50. Mission accomplished.

Deal or Not a Deal? It’s a good price for a common game.

Find: Metroid Fusion (GBA)

Price / Condition: $4 / Very good.

Where at: Pawn shop

Why: Well, I’ve officially been fooled by my first pirate cart. For those of you who own Metroid Fusion, you know this isn’t the normal label art. I thought maybe there was a re-release of this game at some point, with a different label; in hindsight, that seems like poor reasoning. Two other things give this away as a pirate. First, the back of the cart doesn’t say “patent pending” like most other GBA carts. Second, and more importantly, the save battery doesn’t work. Well, crap.

Deal or Not a Deal? I got robbed, but at least the pawn shop has a good return policy on games. I’ll be taking this one back.

Find: F-Zero (SNES)

Price / Condition: $13 / Mint & Sealed!

Where at: Next Level Games

Why: This is one of those purchases you make purely for the sake of having a nice looking collector’s piece. The game truly is in mint condition, like the day it was put on the store shelf. F-Zero is one of my favorite SNES games, and I already have a loose copy for playing purposes. Seemed too good to pass up. Turns out the reason this store had it was because they know someone who unearthed a crate of unopened F-Zeros. I love hearing about stuff like that. It’s what makes collecting exciting!

Deal or Not a Deal? It’s a “Player’s Choice” reprint, so it’s not worth a ton of money like some sealed games can be, but this is still a fair price.

Find: Super Street Fighter II Turbo Revival (GBA)

Price / Condition: $4 / Very good!

Where at: Pawn shop

Why: I had heard this was a very admirable port for a handheld system, and I was not let down! They sacrificed nothing on graphics, as this game looks amazing, with smooth animations and no slowdown. The music is well done, and the sound effects don’t take a hit either. The only real knock on this game (other than a few bugs) is the control scheme: there are only 4 buttons to work with on the GBA, so they had to get creative. You have to tap the a/b button very lightly to pull off a jab/short attack. It can be challenging in the heat of battle, so that’s kind of irritating. Other than that, I’m pretty blown away by what they were able to do on the GBA.

Deal or Not a Deal? Definitely a good deal, as this at least a ten dollar game.

Find: Playboy: The Mansion (Xbox)

Price / Condition: $2 / Good, although the manual is warped.

Where at: Pawn shop.

Why: I couldn’t resist the temptation of buying an M-rated game, especially one that promises boobies. I’ve heard this game described as “The Sims, with boobs”. I’d say that’s accurate, though it’s a sight more clunky and less fun than The Sims. I played long enough to woo some big-breasted girl in lingerie, and made her my girlfriend… but I couldn’t figure out a way to actually do the deed with her. Somewhat disappointing. Even God of War has sex scenes!

Deal or Not a Deal? All I got was blue balls, so I can’t call this a deal.

Find: Desert Commander (NES)

Price / Condition: $2 / A little worn, rental sticker on the back (better than being on the front,

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Where at: Pawn shop

Why: Even though I had never heard of a turn-based strategy game on the NES (in the U.S., at least), I hoped that this was a “tactics” type game. Well, it is, and not a bad one at that. There’s a surprising amount of depth, though obviously not as much as a modern day tactics game. Unit type match-ups play a big part in combat, and you also have to worry about terrain bonuses, and refueling your units at the appropriate bases. Great music and decent animations make this something for strategy buffs to check out, for sure!

Deal or Not a Deal? No doubt about it, two bucks is a deal for on an uncommon NES game of good quality.

Find: Talking Super Jeopardy! (NES)

Price / Condition: $2 / Good

Where at: Pawn Shop

Why: I was pretty pumped when I saw this, because it had the potential to the ultimate version of Jeopardy! Sadly, they could get neither the voice nor the likeness of Alex Trebec for this game, and it just doesn’t feel the same without him. I mean, look at this chump:

I’ll give them points for making the host laughably cheesy, but still, I’d rather play the SNES version with a true-to-life Trebec.

Deal or Not a Deal? No Alex? No deal.

Find: JAWS (NES)

Price / Condition: $4 / Pretty good, but it looks like somebody started to write their name on it, then thought better of it. Or maybe their name really is AHO.

Where at: Value Village

Why: I haven’t played this game since I was a very young boy, and even then it didn’t seem very exciting… but I just had to satisfy that nostalgic urge.

Deal or Not a Deal? Nostalgia aside, I’ve heard this is a super short game, so it’s probably not worth four bucks.

Find: Maniac Mansion (NES)

Price / Condition: $2 / Very good, and with the hint poster, too!

Where at: Pawn Shop

Why: This cart was stuffed into one of those cheap blue rental cases, which I normally discard after purchase, but on the upside, it means the poster was kept in excellent condition. Here’s a game that I’ve never played in my life, but I know that I must someday. After all, I’ve played the sequel, Day of the Tentacle, and that was a fantastic game!

Deal or Not a Deal? With the hint poster in excellent condition, this is a killer deal, and a neat addition to my collection.

Find: Micro Machines 64: Turbo Edition (N64)

Price / Condition: $3 / Okay, ugly store sticker on side of cart. Should come off easy though.

Where at: Pawn Shop

Why: While every Micro Machines game that I’ve played has basically been the same, they’ve all been pretty fun. This really is the same game オンライン カジノ as the NES and SNES versions, but with better graphics. Kinda odd that they would release the game on three different generations of consoles, without ever overhauling the engine (as far as I can tell). Also, the multiplayer mode is balls, so don’t bother.

Deal or Not a Deal? Eh, not a bad deal if you need a Micro Machines fix.

Find: Super Pad 64 Plus (N64)

Price / Condition: $3.50 / Analog stick in great condition, which is the most important thing.

Where at: Goodwill

Why: This might sound like blasphemy to some, but I very much prefer this to the standard Nintendo 64 controller. Makes it feel more like a “normal” controller, to me. I’ve been waiting a while to find one with a good stick at a cheap price.

Deal or Not a Deal? Good deal for me, as I don’t really see these very often in this condition.

Find: Lode Runner (PSX)

Price / Condition: $2.39 / The expected scratches here and there, but plays fine.

Where at: Goodwill

Why: I don’t own the original version of this game in any form, and playing it on a Commodore 64 is one my earliest memories. I figure an updated port will suffice to relive those days. It’s interesting to note that instead of your typical Playstation CG intro movie, the CD begins with an introduction from the game’s creator. Cool!

Deal or Not a Deal? Pretty good deal, since there’s a fair amount of meat to this game.

Find: The Punisher: The Ultimate Payback! (GB)

Price / Condition: $2.50 / Very good.

Where at: Tacoma Swap Meet

Why: So, this trip to the swap meet was pretty much a BUST for me. The only people who had anything worth buying weren’t willing to budge on their high prices. In an effort to salvage something out of the day, I took a chance on some Game Boy games I knew nothing about. Lucky for me, this game is basically Operation Wolf with Punisher graphics slapped on it (and no light gun, natch). This is a good thing, because I love me some Operation Wolf.

Deal or Not a Deal? I haggled with the guy, and he gave me a bargain. Thanks dude, you were the only guy at the swap who was willing to make a deal.

Find: Universal Soldier (GB)

Price / Condition: $2.50 / Very good.

Where at: Tacoma Swap Meet

Why: This is the other game I got from the swap meet vendor. I suspected that it might be a crappy platformer, trying to milk a movie license to sell cartridges. In actuality, they’re trying to milk the license by slapping the name Universal Soldier on… TURRICAN II! Yeah, that’s pretty awesome. It’s exactly the same game and engine, with a different title screen. The funny thing is that I didn’t even realize I was playing Turrican at first, until I started to recognize the music.

Deal or Not a Deal? A nice deal, and a nicer surprise!

Find: Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee (PSX)

Price / Condition: $8 / Factory sealed!

Where at: Half Price Books

Why: As I’ve mentioned in the past, it takes a lot of patience and a little luck to find cheap deals at HPB. This time, I was just lucky. I’m sure they use eBay and/or Amazon t come up with their prices for “collectible” games, but it must be difficult to price something that doesn’t come up often, like sealed black label Playstation games. The Oddworld series is well regarded from what I hear, so I knew this was a good pick-up.

Deal or Not a Deal? It sold for $40 on eBay, so I obviously got a good deal.

Find: Xenogears (PSX)

Price / Condition: $24 / Brand new!

Where at: Half Price Books

Why: They also had this at Half Price Books. I’m no huge fan of long, drawn-out RPGs, but it’s hard to pass up a sealed copy of something like this. Haven’t had much luck trying to turn it into a profit on eBay, so I’ll hold on to it for now. It might even make a good Christmas present someday, either for myself, or somebody else. If only it had been a black label, but oh well. Still a pretty rare find.

Deal or Not a Deal? Opened and complete copies can go for more than what I paid for a brand new copy. Seems like a pretty good investment.

Not a bad assortment of finds, but I’ve been taking it easy since the swap meet, for the most part. The next big thrift sale is on Black Friday, and I’m not sure I really want to deal with that. I might make another run this weekend, but if I come up empty handed again, it just might put me out of the hunt for good. Keep your fingers crossed!

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