Funkytown and the SNES express

I’ve been in a funk lately.  It’s okay, it happens, and I know well enough that I’ll pull through.  It’s partially just the stress of the summer bleeding over into the fall without any vacation to speak of (it’s terribly hard getting away either as a family with two toddlers or finding someone to watch said toddlers for a long period of time), and it’s partially just a lack of enthusiasm for anything — a malaise that sometimes drifts over my neck of the woods.

Personally, I find it important to have at least one or two things in my life that have me really excited, since it helps pull me through the mundane aspects.  Usually, those are entertainment-related: video games, books, even the anticipation of a movie.  Sometimes it’s a good project, or a trip, or a nighttime excursion in my superhero getup (Syptacular).  But in analysing the malaise, I realized that I’m just not excited about much right now and I’m a little worn around the edges from work.

So I was thinking about what could get me excited, and the notion of a collection came to mind.  I don’t know about you, but I’ve always kind of assumed everyone has a collection of sorts.  A movie collection, a Pez collection, a stamp collection, what have you.  We collect things.  Even my wife, for whatever reasons her estrogen dictates, collects pens.  Like, buckets and buckets of pens.  But I don’t really have a collection of anything specific, and I’ve kind of wanted one for a while now.  The only question is… what?

I thought about latching onto a beloved franchise, say Ghostbusters or Back to the Future, and collecting the crap out of that, but… as much as I love those films, I can’t get worked up to devote the energy it would take to do it justice.  Plus, that could get right expensive.

The answer came during an MMO session, where I was watching some of those retro video game YouTube clips that seem to be all the rage.   I was looking at their shelves and shelves of games and thinking how kinda cool that is — and that made me think, once again, of my beloved SNES.  Way back in the mid 2000s, I delved into eBay for SNES games and accumulated a nice collection, including a pristine copy of Chrono Trigger which I later sold to help with wedding preparations.  Still, I have a tub of games already, but there are so many other games from my teenage years I’d forgotten about.

So I spent an hour last night going through list after list of “best of SNES games” and having numerous flashbacks to time spent in many of them.  I began a wishlist of titles and informed my wife that there was nothing to fear, but I was going to become a rabid collector of all things SNES from now on and we would probably have to sell one of the children to support my habit.  Well, not that extreme.  Still.

And maybe it’s silly — considering I can play those games on emulators and the Wii and even some on my iPhone — but the notion of building up a collection of my favorite childhood games truly got me excited.  When my kids get old enough, I want to show them what games used to be like, and I know that the SNES has lasting entertainment value even today.  And maybe Mario Kart is the spark my marriage needs to recapture 16-bit love.  Again, I kid.

So we’ll see.  I started doing some research on where to buy these games — and probably a new control deck, seeing as my old one is quite decrepit and the controllers borked.  EBay, Amazon, local retailers… it’s hard to know where to start.  Suggestions from any collectors out there?  Anyone want to offload their SNES stuff to a willing buyer?

Update — Here’s the wishlist as I had it last night:

  • Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island
  • ActRaiser
  • Super Castlevania IV
  • EarthBound
  • Final Fantasy II
  • Mega Man X
  • Chrono Trigger
  • Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
  • Final Fantasy III
  • Super Metroid
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles In Time
  • Mega Man X2
  • Ogre Battle: The March of the Black Queen
  • Spider-Man & Venom: Maximum Carnage
  • Mega Man X3
  • Earthworm Jim
  • Shadowrun
  • Super Mario All-Stars
  • Pilotwings
  • Final Fight
  • Mega Man 7
  • Cybernator
  • X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse
  • The Adventures of Batman & Robin
  • Batman Returns
  • Disney’s Aladdin
  • Desert Strike: Return to the Gulf
  • Gradius III
  • F-Zero
  • Super Punch-Out!!
  • UN Squadron
  • Populous
  • Flashback
  • Aladdin
  • Kirby Superstar
  • Lion King
  • DK Country 1-3


17 thoughts on “Funkytown and the SNES express

  1. Ogre Battle, Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy 3 (with booklets) are must haves IMO. Post a list of what you are looking for, Contra series is another must have.

  2. Breath of Fire 1 and 2 are the only SNES games I still have. When newer games upset me, I go back to the classics.

  3. I used to find a lot of SNES games at places like Half-Price Books and Bookmans, but I’m not sure where you might find them now. I still have my SNES games (and NES) and I don’t see myself willing to part with them :P. Now I want to pull out Chrono Trigger and replay it.

  4. The husband and I have wanted to increase our retro games library lately too. We’re not in a position to start rabidly collecting, by any means, but it’s neat to be able to fire up a game and experience something new that we missed out on as kids (Neither of our collections were very large growing up.).

    A birthday or two ago, I got him a handheld emulator from thinkgeek. They’re nice for traveling, but it’s not really the same thing as popping in a cartridge.

  5. Speaking as a collector, I’ve found the biggest problem these days is the abundance of collections that come to me. With e-Bay and the like you can almost complete any collection in a few days if you have a large enough budget.

    I tend to put limits on how I collect as much as what I collect to increase the fun and sense of accomplishment. Like I would place a rule that I could only buy from local craigslist; I could never pay more than $5 or $10 a cartridge; only can buy what I can physically touch. Things like that make collecting more fun, at least for me.

    Good luck.

  6. I recommend the website Cheap Ass Gamer. It’s not retro-focused by any stretch, but it’s populated by lots of collectors and aficionados — if you collect so many games, gotta find a way to do it cheaply! The site has a nice tool for tracking your collection, and you can check out the trade forums (CAGgers take good care of their games, especially rare/venerated ones!). I haven’t been active on the site for a couple years (since I started with MMOs), so I’m not sure whether old-school games show up much in the Deals forum anymore. They certainly used to, through CAG I combed dozens of chain game stores to cherry pick their best cartridges. RIP EB Games…

    But even if none of the forums work out for you, the game collection tracking is top notch. : )

  7. Holy Cow. There’s so many memories crammed in this post. If had 1/10th of the games you listed and a working SNES, I probably wouldn’t need WoW any more.

    I strained myself, and the only game I could think of that you didn’t list (or wasn’t in the comments – much love to Ogre battle, the Final Fantasies, Pilotwings, Chronotrigger and Shadowrun) was 7th Saga, another console RPG.

    Then, I cheated. I looked around to job my memory (hell it’s been more than a decade – almost 2), and found a few more: EVO (weird side-scrolling evolution game), Wanders from Ys (typical console RPG), Soul Blazer (very Actraiserish), Secret of Mana (another Square Enix game), and Legend of Gaia. I personally played all of these and vouch for them. They’re not Ogre Battle, but they’re good.

    Great memories, great post!

  8. And OMG you must add Super Bomberman to your list! Don’t know what it is, but the multiplayer on the SNES games is so much awesomer than any of the more recent Bomberman titles. Super Bomberman 2 has a map that lets you jump over obstacles — I cannot tell you how many hundreds (thousands?) of times I’ve played the “jumpy level” in my lifetime. You can also get a SNES “multitap” accessory to accommodate 4 players.

  9. I would add NBA Jam, Rock ‘n Roll Racing, and probably Zombies Ate My Neighbors. I was more of a Genesis guy, but I did love my SNES.

  10. I kept all my SNES RPGs (a still boxed and sealed original JAP chrono trigger among them ^^), Mario games and Bombermans – couldn’t give them away if I tried. Besides all the Square RPGs, you really wanna make sure you got Zelda, BoF 1+2, Lufia too at the very least (although there’s a couple more I quite liked besides this).

    Parodius is a must have too, Mickey’s Magical Quest, Super Ghouls’n Ghosts, Super Metroid and Street Fighter 2 (Turbo). =)

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