Tag Archives: japan

Farewell, my Conker buyin’

The retro gaming’ collector’s bubble has definitely gone global. Prices on classic games around Tokyo have gone way up since the last time I was here, back in Sept. 2015. I’m seeing retro titles that have doubled in price, some that have even tripled. So much for Japan as a last bastion for cheap, interesting, classic gaming finds…!

Of all the outlandish price explosions I’ve seen in the brief time I’ve been in Japan, though, none compares to the skyrocketing costs of game music CDs. It makes me feel a lot better about the relatively small amount of money I’ve sunk into game vinyl over the past year. Check out these CDs, which you wouldn’t think would be particularly spendy:

The yen-to-dollar exchange rate currently stands at 112:1, meaning that Donkey Kong Country 2 CD is selling for slightly more than $1400. No, I didn’t forget a decimal point. That is fourteen-hundred American dollars. These four CDs here are the costliest game music collections I saw today at the Nakano Broadway mall (which contains about half a dozen shops that sell retrogames and related goods), and they all have one thing in common: They’re all for Rare-developed games. Given the correlation between scarcity and price on collector’s goods, you have wonder if perhaps someone misunderstood these “Rare CDs” as “rare CDs” and priced them accordingly. Or it could just be that someone really likes David Wise. A lot. I mean, yeah, he’s great, but…

Anyway, the completely bonkers pricing on vintage games in my old cart-pilfering haunts means this is going to be a marvelously inexpensive trip to Japan. Most interesting games have priced themselves beyond the limits of what I consider reasonable, at least here in Tokyo.

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Retronauts Vol. III Episode 10 Is 100% Duty-free

Retronauts 10 cover

Hey kids, it’s your ol’ pal Jeremy, back for more Retronauts fun. Today’s episode was actually recorded a couple of months ago. Remember when all the Laser Time folks showed up on an episode and I didn’t? That’s because I was in Japan, making this show happen. There’s a very good reason for the exotic locale: One of our Kickstarter backers who supported the show at the “co-host an episode” level, Dan Feit, lives in Japan. He pitched in assuming he’d never actually be able to make good on his pledge, but since I was over in Japan for Tokyo Game Show, we figured “Well, what the heck?”

Huge thanks to our friends at 8-4 Ltd. (hosts of the 8-4 Play podcast!) for lending us space, equipment, and opinions to make this happen.

So what did we discuss while we were in Japan? Well, Japan. Specifically, I put the question to everyone: What was the golden age of Japanese games? Each contributor had a different response, and the result was a pretty interesting (if overly nostalgic) conversation. Responses range from the mid ’80s to the late ’90s; sadly, no one wanted to go to bat for the past couple of console generations.

Taking part in this merry discussion was… a whole lot of people, actually. Obviously you have myself and Dan, as well as Mark MacDonald and John Ricciardi of 8-4. Also present was long-time contributor Kat Bailey as well as long-time Friend of Retronauts and all-around fashion plate Kyle McLain. And, finally, quite by surprise, former Retronauts regular Shane Bettenhausen happened to be in the office when we were recording and jumped in to share his opinions after a lengthy exile from podcasting.

Unfortunately I have to apologize up front for the uneven sound quality. We had seven people sharing three microphones, and the guy who usually does the 8-4 Play sound setup wasn’t there to get things working for us. Kat and I were also running late due to crowded trains, so we had to cut our session short. I’ve done what I can to balance out the audio, but there’s no avoiding the fact that some of the sound was clipped because I hadn’t set up the unfamiliar sound board correctly. And need I mention the crosstalk that inevitably happens with more than four people on the mike (especially when certain among us are so garrulous)? So, apologies again. Hopefully you’ll find the content of this episode sufficient to compensate for the imperfect sound quality.

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