My boyfriend was feeling pretty crummy on Sunday. We were supposed to wake up early and travel out of town to a game exchange event but he was not fit to travel. I wasn’t completely heartbroken by this news because the event we were going to go to was the swap we went to last year and absolutely hated. All the prices were jacked sky-high, nobody was willing to negotiate, and the venue was really poor: too small for the number of people and very dimly lit to make things even more challenging. There’s nothing worse than straining your eyes while straining through crowds of rude people. I am pretty short, so I get shouldered out at tables pretty easily.
The past few events we went to, we paid a little extra money for VIP tickets. These normally permit entry into the event anywhere from 15-30 minutes early, meaning that you get first whack at people’s wares before the public masses are released into the venue. This has been a fairly positive experience because we get to scope out everything we want, but the downside has always been that nobody wants to negotiate during the VIP time because it’s “too early”. It’s a double-edged sword, really. We have always wondered what would happen if we showed up at the end of the swap. Sure, lots of the good stuff might be scooped up, but what about all those really expensive and rare things that people only want to negotiate for at the end when you are the last hope for a sale? We put this theory to the test!
We ended up going to the tail end of the swap, arriving with just two hours left of a six hour event. To be completely honest, it was pretty brutal. I couldn’t tell if everything had just been completely picked over by the time we got there or if there was just nothing good to begin with. The number of game vendors were few and far between at this event, which was
even more reason for me to not consider going back next year disappointing. Despite this, we did manage to snag a few really good deals on some non-game items as well as as two games.
The games we picked up were Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego for Sega Master System complete in its case with all its sleuthing information manuals, as well as a loose copy of Contra Hard Corps. The Contra game was an exciting find because we had a smokin’ deal fall through on us a few days prior. Someone on the local classifieds site had been selling Contra Hard Corps, Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker and a bunch of other really awesome Sega Genesis games. The best part? They only wanted $50 for everything! We were literally poised to leave for this person’s house after making a deal over email when the lady wrote us back saying her boyfriend had made a deal with someone else and that it was spoken for. She broke the cardinal rule of making bargains: follow through on what you agreed upon. It’s been several days now and I’m still reeling about it. I could go on all day about poor bargaining etiquette, but I’ll spare you all the rant. Anyway, after that jarring experience it was nice to find a copy of the Contra game for my boyfriend who was still feeling a little burned over not getting that Genesis game lot. Here’s a photo of the two games:
Unfortunately, the Contra cartridge I managed to find at the swap was a Majesco release. Majesco is a company that put out late runs of games, so the cartridge I found wasn’t an original “print”. The cartridge label is of lower quality than the first releases (no gloss finish, grainier image), and it also lacks a title on its end label. These are all things I didn’t notice before buying because I had gotten caught up in doing something nice for my boyfriend. For one horrifying moment I thought I had been duped into buying a reproduction. Thankfully, Contra Hard Corps being the Majesco release doesn’t make the game worth any less or play any differently, but it’s just an ugly cartridge. Even the PCB is ugly. Here are a few pictures of the game:
Apart from those, I managed to make out like a bandit with five great strategy/player’s guides as well as a handful of SNES game instruction manuals. The booklets were in decent shape with the exception of Zombies Ate My Neighbours, which came with a detached front cover and is missing the back cover altogether. I got all of these for $5 total.
For me, finding strategy guides for Final Fantasy IV/Chrono Trigger (the PS1 version on the Final Fantasy Chronicles compilation disc) and Final Fantasy IX were the highlight of the trip. FFIV and FFIX are my favourites in the series, and the vendor sold me both books for $5 because they were closing up and someone had forgotten to price them! How convenient. I also managed to snag two Zelda player’s guides: The Minish Cap and Ocarina of Time, as well as the one for Paper Mario for N64 for $40 (the seller originally wanted $85 for all three, so not too shabby.) They are all in really great condition with their posters/extra goodies still intact. I adore hard copy media like this because of its amazing art and extra content. I can’t tell you how many times I read the manual for the Super Mario Bros. 1-3/Legend of Zelda games for NES as a kid scouring for hints, tips and trivia.
One thing that the books vendor did have was a consumer guide for early Nintendo games. I LOVE that sort of thing and was holding it in my hands until I saw a $25 price tag on the back. For something I might look through a few times, I couldn’t bring myself to buy it. I don’t have any regrets yet. I will keep you posted if those float to the surface.
Would I do another End-of-Swap Adventure again? Probably not. The pickings were slim, the vendors were tired and unfed, and some people even had some of their stuff packed up with over an hour left! At least now we know what to expect at that time of day. We might try aiming for just after the event start time next time so that we a) don’t have to wait in line, and b) can still be there early enough to find some good stuff. It seems that all the stuff I am looking for gets snatched up pretty quickly. Damn my obsession with obscure/rare/good RPGs.
Despite all my earlier negativity about the timing experiment as a whole, the swap was still a wonderful experience to share with my favourite loved one. As I mentioned previously, this might be the end of swaps for the year unless we decide to go to a few later on that are at least a 6 hour drive away. If it hasn’t snowed yet, we might just consider it! We have a whole horrible, reclusive winter to plan more swap parameters to test. Perhaps our time might be better spent priming our immune systems so we stop feeling ill on the days we need to go to these things!
Thanks for reading!