Every collector knows these struggles all too well…their unavoidable at times and can easily turn a great find into a major headache, I’m talking about the damaged carts, marked up/written on carts and the ultimate bane of many collectors: the video store stickers…I’m getting angry just writing this so let’s get to it!
As seen in the above picture of Willow, this is one thing that instantly kills the desirability of a cartridge. Nothing is worse than seeing a game you’ve been lookimg for, only to pull it up and see it’s damaged. It always makes me wonder “How did this possibly happen?” Especially if the damage isnt obvious like the Willow cart, we’ve all seen the carts with the mystery hole punched in it, the cigarette burns, melted plastic, or my personal favorite: the name permanently carved/etched into the game.
I get that these were pricey games when they came out and you wanted to mark your stuff as yours to stop theft, etc but how do you take such care to identify it as yours but still manage to punch a hole in the middle of the cart? Sadly I come across broken/damaged carts more than I’d like and it’s always something I’ve been looking for and for some reason the prices don’t usually reflect the condition which makes even less sense than how it got the random damage to begin with.
This is another of my major pet peeves when game hunting, the label condition is important to me as I like to display my games as well as enjoy the art work found on a lot of the labels. It can be frustrating to find ripped, faded, unglued, and in some rarer cases the “I just ripped the label off and wrote ‘Mario Bros 3’ on it” labels.
The labels in my opinion are important and their being damaged can lead to having to find upgrades or buying replacements and replacement labels are a whole grey area of ethics on their own. The sad thing is that a lot of the label damage was avoidable, the sun fading, stickers, peeling and writing on the labels could have been avoided. That brings me to…
When I was a kid I loved my limited amount of NES stuff…a lot…but I couldn’t ever bring myself to write my name on them, really it was easier to just remember what buddy you lent it to than to deface the cart. Not everyone was like me so I frequently find carts with some random kids name scribbled on it, fortunately most of these can be cleaned off if it’s just written on in marker.
However…once and a while there was a kid who’s parents thought of that so dad would bust out the trusty wood burning gun and carve little Billy’s name into it…video stores often employed this tactic as well, but if you got those stickers off I think you earned keeping it…but more on that in a bit.
This is most frustrating to me when coming across uncommon games that have been written on as it’s not really killing the value, but does create a headache on my end as I’ll have to take the time to see if I can clean it up or not. It can be amusing sometimes though, as I’ve come across games that were owned by the same kid but have changed hands a few times and end up in different stores so it’s funny to find one somewhere and you see the same kids name scrawled on it.
Stickers…the bane of my existence!!!!
I touched on this in the last segment and anyone who collects knows the rage that comes with seeing these bastards plastered on that cart you just picked up. Most games back in the day were rented from your local convenience store or video store…and these guys wanted to make sure you weren’t going to try to punk their merchandise.
I don’t know what part of hell they forged the glue used on these stickers in, but that stuff does NOT go down without a fight! The worst were the ones that were metallic stickers as their the ones I have the most trouble getting rid of, but the regular stickers were almost as bad. Some stores used a small sticker so it’s not so bad but stores like Blockbuster plastered a big ol sticker right on the back that takes up 50% of the surface space.
At least these offenders usually only put them on the back…however, nothing kills me like seeing a sticker on the front label or in any way covering the end label. These stickers are usually best left alone unless you want to damage the label underneath. I get that stores didn’t want to get ripped off but why would you ever plaster your sticker on the actual game label? Sellers who put price stickers on labels are just about as bad in my books too but at least most of those are easily removed, but still why?
For some collectors the stickers aren’t much of an issue depending where they are, some even like seeing what various places the games came from as it adds a bit of history or a story behind the game especially if you run across one that used to be in a local store where you have used to rent from.
Now obviously nobody really had the forethought in the NES heyday that one day these cartridges would be collectable again in the future, so as collectors we have to deal with the imperfections in a quickly shrinking stock of games. It’s sad to see some of these games didn’t make it through the years without a few bumps and scars, but at least some are repairable with a little time and effort on our end.
In the end these aren’t all things that deter all collectors as not everyone cares about the stickers or writing, etc and really that’s a good thing that a lot of these games still get some love and get rescued from possibly ending up in a landfill.
See you in the wild….I’ll be the guy bitching to myself about the video store sticker on that copy of RC pro AM 2..so if you see me say “hi”. Lol.