This week's community question is all about your most prized gaming collectible. Perhaps it's something that sits in pride of place in your office or gaming space, or perhaps it's somewhere in a box, safe and sound, to be taken out and admired on rare occasions. Either way, what we want to know is - what is it, and what makes it so special to you?
While you formulate your response, here's the USgamer to tell you about their most cherished gaming collectibles. And they have quite a few interesting ones.
Over the past few weeks, I've been unboxing my life as I settle into a new home, and that's actually what prompted me to suggest this topic. I've unearthed a bunch of knickknacks I'd forgotten all about, and I'm curious to see what kind of other trinkets game fans have accumulated over the years. I actually had something completely different in mind at the time we kicked off this piece, but one of this week's biggest stories prompted me to make a last-minute switch-up. Now that Kojima Productions L.A. is no more, and the facility in which the studio was based has been shuttered, the sake box I took home from the building's opening ceremony has suddenly shot up considerably in my esteem.
Just a little more than two years ago, back when USgamer was a little pup of a website rather than the juggernaut it is today, I was invited along with a bunch of other press down to the official opening event for Kojima's international office. He was there, along with Yoji Shinkawa (who produced a special drawing for the event), and this being a Japanese company and all they marked the event by cracking open a massive drum of sake and sharing a toast with the crowd from these cedar sake boxes.
I don't tend to keep trinkets like this too often, but I liked how different this one was from the usual figurines and posters and whatnot. I also enjoyed the irony of taking home such a decidedly Japanese keepsake to celebrate the opening of Kojima's very American branch.
I initially kept the box with my wine and cocktail glasses, but I've since changed my mind. It would be kind of weird to use this unique (and kind of strange) memento as if it were just any other service item, and now it sits on my office desk where it will become all dusty and no one would ever make the mistake of trying to sip sake from it. I've found a perfect role for it, too.
If we're talking about the kind of "collectible" that you get in Deluxe editions of games, then I don't really have an answer for you. I just don't buy that kind of stuff, as I already have way too many things at home without adding to the clutter. However, if we're talking about unusual gaming collectibles from the past that have some kind of novelty or historical value, then I guess I've got plenty to talk about - because over the years I've collected a ton of old gaming stuff.
First of all, I have a Game Gear that was one of the first off the production line, and came with its own small, ultra-limited edition aluminium flight case. Sega sent that to me back in the day as a review version of the machine, and I've always kept it because it's so neat. I've since collected a whole bunch of Game Gear games to go with it, and together they make a decent collection. I'm sure it's not worth much - Game Gears aren't exactly fondly remembered - but I like having it as a souvenir from the early 90's.
Another thing that I have that I won't part with is a mint, boxed TurboGrafx-16. I picked that up a while back, because I just love the system and have always wanted one. I've played around with plenty of original Japanese PC Engines, but there's just something about the TG-16 that I like, so when I got the chance to pick up a boxed one for a very reasonable price, I couldn't help but jump on the opportunity. Funnily enough, I don't have any games for it yet - I've never got around to collecting them. I just wanted to own a brand new system. Maybe one day I'll start picking up the back catalog, since most TG-16 games aren't that expensive these days.
I've also collected a bunch of interesting NES games over the years - and along with those I have a Power Glove that's still in its original box. I don't ever use it - because I don't have either of the games that it works with - but I still think it's one of the most interesting items from the NES period, along with ROB. It's just such an iconic peripheral. Not many people ended up buying one, but everybody knows what it is - probably because it was featured so heavily in the gaming movie, The Wizard. I guess that's really the "coolest" gaming collectible I own - at least, I think so. To quote the movie, "I love the Power Glove. It's so bad!"
It's odd, because I don't really collect things like that. I tend to go the opposite direction and divest myself of extra cruft at my earliest convenience. It took me a while to rack my brain and see what I've hauled around with me from place-to-place, other than my old game systems themselves. In the end, I settled on my official gold Nintendo 64 controller.
I acquired it at E3 1997, the sole time the event was on the East Coast. See, back in the day, you could go to E3 if you worked in the video game industry in any capacity. I worked as a retail clerk at Video Game Exchange, a local equivalent of Electronic Boutique or Babbage's. Me and my fellow clerks decided to register for the event and then we all took a road trip down to Atlanta, Georgia.
I'd always been into games. Video Game Exchange was my first job at 15, after I convince my mother and the manager to let me work there on a work permit. E3 was the first time that I decided that I wanted to be involved with the industry in some capacity. (A decision I put off for a long time.) For a 17 year old, it was stunning at the time.
Anyways, Nintendo was showing off Starfox 64 at the event, specifically the multiplayer dogfighting mode. They had a tournament running, with 4 players fighting it out on a huge screen. It was my first time with the game, but hey… it was nearly everyone's first time with the game. I came out the other side of a long line a winner in my round. The reward was a gold N64 controller… a system I didn't have at the time.
It's the same gold controller I believe Nintendo eventually released everywhere. The only real difference is the embossed 3D "N" underneath the Nintendo logo. It's just a small, random keepsake that I have in my attic. I'm not the type of person to collect stuff, but it's a cool little piece for history that I'm sure only hundreds have.
When I saw this question, I actually had to take a walk around my house to see what I had in terms of game collectibles. Don't get me wrong, I have my share of gaming stuff, but I've mostly donated or gotten rid of it over the years. Call me anti-clutter.
I suppose the best answer to this question is that I've lately made it a habit to collect vintage game packages when I'm in Japan. When I was there in 2013, I picked up Fire Emblem for the Super Famicom, Zeta Gundam: Hot Scramble for the Famicom, and Pokémon Green for the Game Boy. I have an affinity for nice heart, so I've kept them on shelves around my office along with a Shovel Knight collectible box that I got from a friend.
Otherwise, for me the games are the thing. I have plenty of love for individual characters and franchises, but I tend to like to visit them in their own world rather than my own.
This may make we members of the games press sound like a spoiled lot, but the typical video game tchotchkes don't hold the same value for us as they would to your average consumer. Okay, the shield I took home from a Dark Souls III preview event is pretty cool, but how many times am I ever going to use it as intended? Maybe seven or eight, tops. (It's perfectly okay to hate me at this point.)
The truth is, so much game-themed molded plastic and stitched fabric passes through our hands, the prospect of letting any more of it fill our homes can be downright terrifying. So, if I end up holding on to anything, it's gotta be special—the fact that I no longer have a proper work desk to display my nerd junk means space is extremely limited. So, the one thing that's remained the centerpiece of my small collection is the NES version of Maniac Mansion, signed by Ron Gilbert.
It's true that I have other collectables that are technically worth more, but this loose cart without a doubt holds the most sentimental value. I hadn't even spent a year at my new full-time job—1UP.com—and I managed to get Ron Gilbert to come in and record an episode of Retronauts to celebrate Maniac Mansion's 25th anniversary. Since then, I've spoken with plenty of influential members of the video game industry, but 2012 marked the first time I was able to meet someone I assumed I never would—not to mention someone who designed one of my favorite games of all time. Now, I fully understand Gilbert didn't work on the NES port, and it's not even his favorite version. But it's the one I grew up with, and I was willing to briefly put aside the small amount of professionalism I possess for the chance to get a signature.
The strange thing is, at this point I've met Tim Schafer face-to-face more than Ron Gilbert, and I never thought of asking the former to sign my copy of Maniac Mansion as well—he apparently started at LucasArts as a bug tester on this version of the game. I guess, at some point, I'll need to weasel a signature out of him to make this thing complete. You've been warned, Tim.