It had been far too long since my last visit to one of my favorite local retro video games stores. As chance would have it I was recently passing by and I took the opportunity to visit GameSwap.
And man, am I glad I did.
I didn’t score any ultra-rare video games that any collector would drool over. Nothing so dramatic. In fact, the only video game I did buy is not the highlight of the trip. But the miscellaneous stuff I found for great prices kept pilling up until I was thoroughly stoked about my visit to GameSwap.
First up is the game I purchased; Universal Soldier for the Sega Genesis. The uninspired cardboard box and unique cartridge almost make this game unrecognizable as a Sega Genesis game. So much so that I had forgotten and took a picture of it along side some of my Sega Master System games by mistake instead of with my Genesis Collection.
The game is almost the same experience as Turican but it’s not as good. I’ve read that Universal Soldier is a re-branded version of Turican II. But where Turican is good Universal Solider feels unpolished and even unfinished. However, for a really friendly price of $20 CAD it was great to experience this game first-hand for myself.
Now the fun miscellaneous stuff starts. I asked the owner of the store (a great guy that I’ve enjoyed chatting with over the years) if he had any NES or SNES manuals. He thought about it for a moment and answered something to the effect ‘I don’t know. Have a look in these.’ And he brought out three boxes stuffed with stuff. This is a nice example of the personal touch that you just can’t get online. I must have spent about 30-45 minutes carefully digging through everything.
The first misc. thing of interest I found was a poster for Eternal Champions. Normally I wouldn’t go out of my way for something like this but here is was and it was in excellent condition. I don’t need a poster like this to consider my copy of Eternal Champions complete but it’s still a very nice touch. Now my Eternal Champions is MORE complete!
Or is it?…
When I got home I went searching for my Eternal Champions eager to make it ‘more’ complete. Only to discover that I didn’t actually have the game for the Sega Genesis. I have it for the Sega Mega Drive. Well, now that I’ve got this really nice poster that fits so nicely in the game case there was only one thing to do. I hopped onto ebay and found myself Eternal Champions. The good news is I was able to buy one for $25 CAD including shipping. Plus the $5 I paid for the poster I’ve got myself an excellent condition Eternal Champions!
The next find, and very similar discovery, was a poster for Jurassic Park. Also for $5 so I thought ‘why not?’.
This time I actually had the game for this poster and now my Sega Genesis Jurassic Park ‘more’ complete as well! I did discovered that my Jurassic Park is a little beat up. The case, manual and cartridge have enough nicks and dings to make the over all package feel a bit bruised. I may buy another one if I can find as good a deal as I did with Eternal Champions.
Digging a little further into these boxes I found a good condition Sega Genesis Model 2 manual. I already have a boxed Model 2 Sega Genesis but since I didn’t recall seeing a large black manual I though maybe I didn’t have one at all. So for $5 I put the Genesis manual in my growing pile of miscellaneous and affordable cool stuff.
The left image and top right image are of the manual I purchased. The middle right image is all the stuff I already had in my boxed Model 2 Genesis (hardware not pictured). Turns out I did already have the manual. But mine is a fold-out style pamphlet and not an actual book. So now I have two manuals for my Sega Genesis. Yeah, I know… it’s over-kill. By the way, this boxed complete Genesis cost me $15 CAD at a thrift shop… no big deal.
Continuing; every now and again I would find a good condition NES manual but it took a while before I found one I actually needed. And what I found was a nice surprise. P.O.W. Prisoners of War is not a rare game but after selling off many of my NES cartridges this is one I kept. For a NES title the graphics are very good and I couldn’t bring myself to sell it. The manual I found while rummaging cost me $5. I also bought a manual for NES Ninja Gaiden for $5. Unfortunately I discovered that I already have the Ninja Gaiden manual. So that accidental double will go to Nintendo Joe.
Delving deeper still into the depths of these three magical boxes things started to get even more interesting. Have a quick look at the two images below. You might think to yourself ‘what am I looking at?’. But you know. Deep down you know what it is. Just like my gut was trying tell me the second I saw it and even though I have never before seen this manual or even played the game yet… I knew this was the manual for SNES Chrono Trigger.
The reason it’s not instantly recognizable is because it’s missing the cover and the first 8 pages (and the last 8 pages). Even in this state I was worried about how much it might cost. The Retro World is crazy over Chrono Trigger. So I put it aside and expected that it would cost more than I would be willing to pay. In fact I didn’t even ask for a price or make an offer. It took the store owner’s crazy savvy salesman’s intuition to make something happen. He looked at me and said ‘Make an offer. Offer me $20’. I paused… $20 is a lot for a portion of a manual. But it’s Chrono Trigger! And $20 isn’t a ton of money. It seemed like a reasonable offer. So I said “I was going to offer $20 but I didn’t think you’d go for it”. And he replied ‘How about $25’.
Son of a Bee! I’ve been set up!
On eBay this manual would cost me at least $60 and I don’t want to pony up that much money so this felt like it was as good a compromise as I would ever get. I ended up paying $25 and I was still having a lot of fun rummaging through the boxes of miscellaneous goodness.
Below is my ‘not really anymore complete than it was before’ copy of Chrono Trigger for the SNES.
Don’t ask me what’s in the table of contents or what the buttons on the joystick do in Chrono Trigger.
I do NOT know! Those details are not in my manual.
And don’t ask me about any details of the 90-day Limited Warranty.
I do NOT know! Those details are not in my manual.
However, I can tell you that the party member Marle has very power Magic. And that her healing powers are essential to your success.
This box diving adventure is not yet over! A Gold Star for anyone who knows what the below books are. Any guesses?
I wasn’t sure myself at first. But I had an idea. First, I did believed they were for the game Ultima IV. But I wasn’t sure if what I found was from the PC version or the Sega Master System version. The PC version I didn’t really want at all… but the Master System version I really wanted. And the fact that they said SEGA on the back cover I decided that for $20 for all four it was worth the risk. I took them home and started searching for the answer.
I’ve found a few images of both the PC version and Sega Master System version and it really does look like I’ve found the English and French versions for the Sega Master System.
These are images I found on the Internet posted by other collectors.
Below are a few pictures of my now complete Ultima IV for the Sega Master System. To me this really is the highlight of this post. I knew these books existed but I never thought I’d ever find them.
In Canada it’s common that a product will come with manuals/documentation for both English and French. So maybe that is why I found two sets of books in both languages. I don’t know if every Ultima IV for the Sega Master System was originally sold in Canada with both language book sets or if you just got one set depending on where in Canada you bought them from. Regardless I’m very happy to have both sets!
I’m noticing that as the years roll by and I continue to collect I’m learning that obscure or hard to find collectibles have a way of coming around when you least expect them. Be patient and don’t forget to have fun with the stuff you already have.
If you’re in Toronto GTA be sure to pay a visit to GameSwap.