Interview

Brett Martin, video game memorabilia collector

Collect Them All

The owner of the world’s largest video game memorabilia collection opens up about his nostalgia-driven quest to acquire gaming’s elusive trinkets.

By Cory Casciato • August 19, 2013

If it’s true that whoever dies with the most toys wins, then Brett Martin is in the pole position. The Guinness Book Of World Records recently made it official, certifying his collection of video game memorabilia as the world’s largest. The Coloradan stay-at-home dad has amassed 10,000 pieces worth an estimated $110,000, including everything from the kind of posters you used to find in gaming magazines to oddities like Mario-licensed power tools. His website, Video Game Memorabilia Museum, started as a way for him to catalog his collection but has grown to a hub for the collecting community, with forums where users share their latest acquisitions and resources for identifying counterfeit toys. The Gameological Society spoke to Martin to get some insight into the world of video game collectibles, how you get your collection certified as the world’s largest, and what his wife thinks of his hobby.

The Gameological Society: How did you get started collecting video game memorabilia?

Brett Martin: I got some Mario figures from my parents back when I was nine. I had them in my toy box, and when eBay came out I wanted to know if there were any more in the set. I went to eBay and found a whole bunch more in the set and collected those. While I was hunting for those, I found out there were all kinds of figures out there. I was curious to find out where they all came from and discovered an international world of Mario through looking at eBay all over the world. There are special European ones and a bunch of Japanese ones, of course. It just kind of escalated from there.

Gameological: This has got to be an expensive hobby.

Martin: It is expensive, but I keep it on a budget. I never pay more than $500 for one item. I still have and keep that goal today. There’s stuff out there that’s well over $500 that I want, but I don’t really want to spend that kind of money on. Over the 10 years, I don’t feel like I’ve spent all that much monthly, [but] when I look back at it, it’s like, “Wow, I spent a lot of money.”

Gameological: $500 an item is a pretty hefty limit, and that raises the question of what things out there are more expensive than that. Is there an upper-limit for this kind of stuff? What’s the most expensive thing you’ve seen out there?

Martin: In the video game memorabilia realm, things don’t tend to get much above two grand. But there are a lot of video games that tend to fetch a lot more than that. For memorabilia, there are some really big things that people paid for, like a rare statue—that can go for a lot more than that. Some people have stuff on eBay for well over that, and they never really sell. Someone did give me an offer on one of my items for $3,500, and that was a prototype figure that was never released. It can get higher than that, but more often than not it doesn’t go above $1,000. Extremely rare stuff will hit more.

Gameological: What are some of the most common items that people collect? What do they get their feet wet with?

Martin: Sometimes its posters, like magazine giveaways, promotional items, and stuff from freebie giveaways. There’s a ton of those in the video game realm, still. It was huge in the ’90s but that dwindled in about 2000, and in 2010, they reintroduced the swag. People would go to events and try to hoard swag and whatnot.

For buying off of eBay, it’s the cheaper figures. Even the McDonald’s fast food toys from the ’90s, people will collect those. There’s currently some Mario figures in stores that people can collect. That’s really exciting. It happened about three years ago. They started licensing figures for North American stores. They took a lot of the old Japanese figures that had been released previously in 2006 and licensed them for distribution in North America. Wacky stuff. [It’s] exciting for me to see because kids are going to the stores and buying things that I bought long ago.

Gameological: On the flip side, what are some of the more unusual items, either in your collection or that you’ve seen that you yourself don’t have?

Martin: I love the really weird stuff, and I tend to have quite a bit of it so I can show it off, like, “This is a Mario-licensed griddle or pancake maker,” or something like that. There’s a Mario tricycle that I had seen that I don’t have because the import cost would be insane. It’s in Japan only, and I have the little topper that goes on it, but I don’t have the tricycle. There’s a Nintendo cigar they were giving out. There’s more adult stuff, which is funny because Nintendo prides itself as a family company. There’s liquor glasses, poker sets, and things you wouldn’t really expect from them. I collected that stuff.

They keep releasing stuff, and I always want stuff.

There’s also a badminton set from Super Mario World—really random sports things. There are Mario Tennis tennis balls and Mario golf sets and things like this. Actually, they have a lot of Mario Golf stuff from before Mario had a golf game. They had a bunch of Super Mario World-licensed golf supplies for people who’d go golfing in Japan. I’ve seen a lot of stationary sets. I’ll take a walk around to see what else—there’s always stuff I miss when I think about it.

Here’s a Mario cookie jar. There’s a ceramic Mario china tea set.

Gameological: Like a fine china set?

Martin: Yeah. It’s not really elaborate or detailed, but it has Mario painted on it and Mario paintings of the pixelated characters. It’s a nice, inexpensive piece that was sold in Japan. Oh, here’s a really great one. Here’s an actual tool set—not fake ones for kids to play with but little tools that are Mario-licensed from Germany. There’s a power drill and a saw. All kinds of crazy stuff.

Gameological: Are they quality tools?

Martin: I wouldn’t think so, but they’re usable. But they’re old, so maybe. They’re kid-sized it seems. They may not be full-sized, but you can really cut yourself on these.

Gameological: I imagine a lot of these things are of Japanese origin. Have you ever made a pilgrimage to Japan to buy anything?

Martin: There’s a proxy bidding service that allows you to bid on Yahoo Japan auctions because eBay didn’t really take off there. I have a couple of proxy services that I bid with, and they bulk ship it from Japan. I’d love to [go], but getting over there is expensive and it would be so much more expensive when I’m there. I’d have to bring a couple extra suitcases and fill them up. I’ve never been. I have been to E3 now for two years, and I’ve gotten the giveaways there as best I could. It’s always really tough to get things from E3. And there’s a lot of people who pay for their trip to E3 by getting the items and then selling them on eBay.

Video Game Memorabilia Museum, Donkey Kong

Gameological: It seems like a significant portion of your collection is Nintendo memorabilia. Is that where your heart is?

Martin: Mostly in Nintendo because that’s where most of the nostalgia stems from. That’s where a lot of this is coming from. It’s the characters that I love. Every game I play brings a little nostalgia, but there’s always something new in Nintendo games that interests me. That’s why I think they cater to all parties in the video game industry, which is hard to do. There are a lot more mature titles, and I’ve played some of those too, but I’m not a big fan of the first-person shooters. As it goes, I’m more of a Nintendo fan, then Sony second, and Microsoft in a distant third.

Gameological: You said you try not to spend more than $500 on any item, and you mentioned a $3,500 unique figurine you have. Is that your most expensive and unusual piece?

Martin: I have one that’s [worth] about 10 grand. I wouldn’t let it go for anything less than $8,000. To the right person, it could go for $10,000. That’s a prototype figure that I have.

Gameological: Guinness certified your collection of video game memorabilia as the world’s largest. Did they approach you, or did you contact them to say “I think I have the biggest collection. Can I get it certified?” How did that happen?

Martin: It was always in the back of my mind, but it’s so large and tedious to try and get through. They had approached me in 2009. I’m actually in the 2009 video game edition of Guinness World Records. They wanted me to get it all together and get photographs and give them the number. They used that number in the book, but I had to get it certified. To get it certified is really difficult because, for collections, you have to count it, and then two other people outside your family and friends have to verify it. There were a bunch of road blocks.

Last year, they were looking for a big collection, and they wanted specifically Donkey Kong, or Kirby, or Mario. I thought, “I think I have all of those.” I knew a bunch of other collectors, but I thought I had the biggest of this collection and that collection. They said, “Can you give us an Excel spreadsheet of everything in your collection?” This was in May, and they wanted it in by August. I thought I couldn’t do it with two kids. We just left it there, and someone in upper management saw the emails and said, “Why don’t we come out to and do this as a big promo to help sell the book this year?” They came out and photographed everything and interviewed me. They wanted to use me to sell the book that year. I guess it worked pretty good.

Gameological: You mentioned that you’ve got kids and a wife. What does your wife think of your collection?

Martin: She tolerates it—to a point. She wants it to get smaller, but it gets larger. They keep releasing stuff, and I always want stuff. It’s hard to just go cold turkey for the whole thing. I’m kind of settled down on the crazy buying. There’s a small room for where a lot of the big stuff is. But if something comes that I’m blown away by, I can’t pass it up.

Gameological: When did you start the website?

Martin: That was 2005. It was essentially a gallery for some of the things I owned. Really early on, I was adding things, and people were emailing me because I had a contact form. People were like, “Hey, you’ve got to start a forum on this so we can talk about the things that you have.” Then, I had a lot of people coming on and asking questions. I thought, “Hmm, that’s interesting.” It kind of rolled into this community. As I bought or found something, I’d post on the forum, and people would talk about it. They’d discuss prices, and they became an online family or a collective who collects similar things.

Now we have a blog and a database and all these things that update everybody on what’s available, what’s coming up soon, where to pre-order stuff, and how to get stuff from Japan. There’s a bunch of videos on there. It’s really grown since 2005. Now I’m working on something much bigger than that for collectors. It’s a collecting social networking site that we’re working on.

Gameological: This social networking venture, is this something you’re hoping to make money off of, or is it for the community?

Martin: I’m hoping to take the best parts of my site and turn it into something much much more. What I’d really want as a collector, and what I’ve learned other collectors really like to see, is everyone wants to know a few basic things about collecting. If you collect something, “How much is it worth?” is the biggest question on the table. Are things appreciating? Should I sell this now? What are trends looking like? Video games have definitely entered this level of categorizing and tracking, but there’s no good place for it.

Video Game Memorabilia Museum, Mega Man

Gameological: You’ve got some stuff on your site about fakes. Is that a problem going around?

Martin: It’s disgusting out there. eBay and Amazon are just bastions of counterfeit and artificial merchandise. I consider that a real shame.

There’s three types of fakes in my opinion. The unofficial kind, where there isn’t something official that it’s based on. So there’s a character from the Mario universe that hasn’t had a figure yet, and there’s a figure you can buy on eBay. That’s unofficial. [Second], a counterfeit item is something that has an official release, but then, they took that sculpt or the molder and replicated it, and are releasing it on eBay for sale. [Finally], adapted merchandise. They take a lone counterfeit in white and make it into something else. They’ll take a Yoshi plush, duplicate the pattern, and release a counterfeit plush, and take that same pattern and apply it to a coin purse.

Gameological: It’s like a hybrid of the other two types.

Martin: Exactly. I’ve been trying to combat this since I found out about it. I have arguments with people, like, “Look, I’ve been collecting for 15 years. I know when this started.” A couple years after my website came out, we discussed this a lot—where they were coming from. They looked like crap. All of a sudden, those people got better equipment. Most of them come from China.

There’s websites you can go to and find all these things. MarioMall.com is a good place to find out what fakes are coming out soon. They take the license they don’t have and create the merchandise. The thing that makes me the saddest is counterfeit merchandise because that lowers the value of the official merchandise. When there’s a boatload out there, and it appears to be easy to obtain, it’s like, I can’t tell between the figure on my shelf that I know is official and the counterfeit product someone bought on eBay yesterday. Mine is almost 10 years old, and theirs is a week old. I’ll have arguments with people who say they know it’s official. I’m like, “Well that doesn’t mean it’s official.”

I’d love to expand on that whole portion because collectors really hate counterfeit merchandise. I’ve seen some collections that appear as big as mine, but I take one look at it and I know it’s counterfeit. It bothers me that someone might come along and say, “Hey, I’ve got a bigger collection than this guy,” and I say, “Well, that’s why it says mine’s the largest official collection.” Someone can go buy 50 different Mario figures for five bucks because it’s so cheap. They don’t care. They just wanted to get that five bucks in their pocket.

Video Game Memorabilia Museum, Zelda

Gameological: The fake stuff is always going to be cheaper.

Martin: A mom going online looking for Mario figures—she doesn’t know. Some of the plushes, you won’t know if they have illegal goods inside of them, or might be manufactured in a way that’s not be safe or legal here. I tried for a little while, and no one cares. It’s tough. It’s bad out there.

Gameological: What advice would you give someone just starting to collect?

Martin: That’s a good question. I think the thing that I always say first is to make a budget and stick to it. It’s going to be difficult. There’s so many things out there that even if you picked your pony—you can pick a character you really like—there’s probably going to be boatloads of stuff out there to purchase, and you can’t get it all at once. I know there are a lot of kids who come on my YouTube channel or my forums, and they say, “Oh my gosh you’re rich, you buy all these things.” I’m like, “I didn’t buy all this on eBay yesterday.”

Another big tip is good things come to those who wait. Over 13 years of collecting, I’ve seen things that I really wanted and passed them up because of my goal to not spend more than $500. Later on, I’d see it at $50 at some random auction or another low-advertised thing. You never know where you’ll find this stuff. There are events where I’ve paid too much for things, but most of the time I can find a better price for something, especially on eBay. There’s always something better out there if you wait. Waiting is hard, and that’s something that I can contradict myself really easily on. If something’s released, there’s maybe a 2-week window to get that item, and then, all of a sudden, it’s out of print. You never know which ones are mass manufactured or have this run, and that’s it. It’s very rare in the video game memorabilia world for something to be re-released. Most of the time they’ll pick that sculpt and add it to a different set. Limited runs are what the video game memorabilia world is about.

It’s disgusting out there. eBay and Amazon are just bastions of counterfeit merchandise.

It’s hard to not be buying all the stuff that’s coming out. There’s so much stuff out there that it’s hard to break in. All the stuff I haven’t moved on is now considered rare, potentially, because it’s not available anymore. You can find that stuff on eBay occasionally. Some of the rarest things I have, I’ve only seen twice before. I don’t know why that baffles some people. They’re like, “Why don’t you get it on eBay?” Well, people have to put stuff on eBay for it to become available. It’s not like a store that has everything in stock. It’s a hard concept to sell sometimes.

Gameological: There’s probably 10,000 that exist, and there are 10,000 people who have them who don’t want to sell them. You’re never going to see it.

Martin: Exactly. It’s a hard concept to sell sometimes. They started asking me if it’s counterfeit, and I said, “Hey! Don’t go there.” It’s one of those things where people don’t always believe you. Those are the two big tips I give people: Stick to a budget and be patient if you can be. Grab stuff early on release dates instead of later because it’ll just go up in value. That’s what I learned about video game memorabilia. I’ve had very few items depreciate. Or when I bought them high, they’ve went lower. I have a few instances of that happening where if I wait a year and see another one in auction, lo and behold, it’s gone up a hundred bucks. It’s a fluctuating market, but it’s an upward trend.

Video games aren’t going anywhere. It’s one of those things, now that there as a new generation comes in looking for nostalgia, things tend to go higher on eBay. There’s something about this stuff that everyone knows what it is now. It took video games a lot of years to mature, [but] now the parents know, “Oh yeah, my kids played Mario,” or, “I play Mario with my kids.” Something like that. There’s a lot for competing collectors out there.

Photos by Brett Martin.

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  • Cloks

    On that note, what’s everyone’s favorite piece of video-game memorabilia that they own?

    Mine has to be the Fallout 3 Vault Boy Bobble-head. It’s not based on any specific bobble-head from the game but it’s really neat in its own regard and people never fail to comment on it. I move every year and it’s probably the only toy I own that has graced my desk since I got it.

    • The_Helmaroc_King

      I own too many knick-knacks and whatsits from collector editions and similar (a fool and his money…) but I don’t have a lot of space to put much on display.

      For the longest time, though, I’ve had the not-quite-limited edition Master Chief helmet sitting on top of a bookshelf. Sometime after I got that, I got the rooster hat from Scribblenauts, which is far too small for any male above the age of 12; the Chief’s been wearing it since.

      This is about a foot away from a bust of “Soap” McTavish wearing night-vision goggles and a Mario hat. I believe this is standard issue for most special forces around the world.

    • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Girard

      I have a number of ill-advised purchases from the Nintendo Power Super Power Club from back in the day, including an ‘animation cel’ from Yoshi’s Island 2 (even at the time I knew the game couldn’t have ever used animation cels in any part of its production, but I enjoyed the game so much, and the cel came with a ‘certificate of authenticity’ so it MUST have been worth it, right?), and full sets of MegaMan X and Donkey Kong Country POGs.

      In reality, the NP issues themselves (though they may be mouldering in my mom’s basement half a country away) are probably more cherished “collector’s items” than any of the stupid crap I bought from them.

      I have a hand-written, autographed letter from Steve Purcell on custom Sam & Max stationery, which is only tangentially game-related, but is probably something I like more than any video-game-related thing (that isn’t an actual video game).

      • DrFlimFlam

         Wait, wait wait. Donkey Kong is back… in POG form?

    • huge_jacked_man

      I don’t really have any except a few boxed editions from when videogame boxes were massive (Maniac Mansion, The Dig, stuff like that). 

      I want this though:
      http://img.gawkerassets.com/post/9/2012/11/untitled-3_1.jpg

      I won’t wear it but maybe as a poster or something, looks cool.

      • http://starttocrate.tumblr.com/ Http Lovecraft

        Dark Souls has the best merch.

    • CountBulletsula

      I love watches, so my favorite piece of memorabilia is the watch I got from pre-ordering Virtue’s Last Reward.  It looks just like the one from the game and is actually practical!  I wish I had gotten a blue one instead of a green one, but, hey, at least I got one.

      • huge_jacked_man

        Are you a solo or a pair?

        • CountBulletsula

          The only other thing that would make the watch better would be if it listed Solo or Pair, but, alas, it does not.

    • boardgameguy

      I have a Mario lapel pin that I believe originated with Nintendo Power in the 80s. It’s small and unassuming and my favorite.

    • PugsMalone

      Gotta go with the tarot cards that I got from pre-ordering the PSP remake of Tactics Ogre.

    • Jackbert

      Probably Cole McGrath’s sling pack from the Infamous 2 Hero Edition. It’s an exact replica and is a great pack in its own right; I use it for a carry-on or overnight bag.

      I also really like Nathan Drake’s ring from the Uncharted 3 Collector’s edition. Again, an exact replica, down to the inscriptions on the ring. I typically display it on my display table, but sometimes I tuck it under the shirt I’m wearing like a total doofus. It’s nice to be a total doofus sometimes though.

    • indy2003

      I’m sure it’s not really worth anything, but I have a little plush Yoshi who sits on my desk and manages to make life just a little bit brighter each day. Definitely my favorite piece of game memorabilia.

      • Marozeph

        I often planned to put something game-related on my desk to make it a little less barren, but everything i see either doesn’t appeal to me or is too expensive (Ubisoft once released a Ezio-figure i really liked, but it was like 250€).

        Doesn’t help that a lot of this stuff apparently never officially makes it to Germany and is only obtainable via import.

    • Kyle O’Reilly

       It’s weird to say but I own zero pieces of video game memorabilia.  Zero. None. Zilch.

      I tried getting into figurines back when I was in Middle School but I just didn’t see the point and pawned them all at Krypton Comics.

      But if you want to get hyper-technical my parents used to have a Legend of Zeldsa childs plate set we ate on when I was really young.  It was the old school style when he had read hair.  God knows where it is now though.

    • Cornell_University

      I still have some unopened packs of NES game puffy stickers moldering in my parents attic.  I also had a LOT of Mario character themed Shasta that I bought in Salt Lake City visiting relatives.  God knows whatever happened to it.

    • Boonehams

      I own that exact Master Sword and Hylian shield that Brett Martin is holding in the header image.  They hang together as a display in my living room.

    • His_Space_Holiness

      I have four Mega Man figurines that I got as presents when I was a kid, mostly because a friend of mine had Mega Man 3 and I thought it was cool. I’ve got Proto Man, Dr. Light, Guts Man, and Bomb Man. They fall over a lot.

      I also have a SPY Fox shirt, which is awesome for obvious reasons.

      By far the bit of swag that I’ve gotten the most use from, however, is the notepad that came with Diablo III. Turns out I’m an adult.

      • Cloks

        I got a lot of use out of that notepad as well. More than the game, I’d wager.

    • http://mrglitchsreviews.blogspot.com/ Mr. Glitch

      I own a whole mess of games & consoles, but very little memorabilia. I guess my favorite is a Pac Man dinner tray, which I imagine held many a delicious Hungry Man fried chicken dinner.

    • Vermes

      Just today I won an eBay auction for the item that’ll probably take that spot. It’s a plastic Japanese keshi figurine of Firebrand from the Ghosts N Goblins series. The line was produced in the 1980s, and the toy itself looks like this:

      http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-fGN6bsgJzt8/UWmEw4rYXhI/AAAAAAAAdDM/WC6ZBorD3n8/s1600/makaimura+(13).JPGExcept the one I purchased is red/orange, AS FIREBRAND SHOULD BE. This thing appeals to me on several nerd levels.

    • EmperorNortonI

      I had the leaden ankh from Ultima IV.  That was pretty awesome, but it was made out of lead, which I knew, even in my youth, should not be in contact with skin.  Otherwise I might have worn it, like a total nerd.

      A while ago, I had 5 or 6 figures of the Zaku from Mobile Suit Gundam.  While teaching at a Japanese junior high, I had a running story about my part time job as a robot pilot, and the crappy hand-me-down Zaku that my Monster Defense Corporation employer used to deal with the local megafauna.  People started buying my Zaku figures for birthdays and whatnot.  But when I moved, I junked all of them, even the big ProModel that I had painstakingly constructed to make fake photos of my Zaku in the local park. 

      I also own 5 or 6 figures of Likitongue, from Pokemon.  Its utter and hideous wrongness was appealing.  I have one on my desk at work.

      Finally, I have a collection of Starbucks mugs from the various places I’ve visited.  It’s pretty big, but I actually drink from them, so there’s that.

    • DrFlimFlam

       I wrote the OPM Letter of the Month at some point in 2001 and received the OPM Box of Joy. It was far larger than I could have possibly expected and filled with all sorts of crazy memorabilia  – FFVIII summon figures, Soul Calibur cards, and promotional material for games long since forgotten, like Evil Twin. Most of it is gone now, lost to moving across the country, into one house and then another, and also a child (seriously, you will rethink all your knicknacks as a child destroys them and also needs room for their own junk), but I still have the small figurines that came with the FFVII summons, a cactuar and tonberry, and the Chrono Cross clock. And Nightmare and Ivy figures that  I put into a battle pose as they fight each other.

      I sold my FFX Bahamut figure at a garage sale we ran this last week. I have two surfaces on which I display things of mine, really, and there’s only so much of your stuff you can look at anyway before you stop noticing anyway.

  • PaganPoet

    Man, this guy is in Colorado? What city/town? He should open a museum. I’d go.

  • Flying_Turtle

    Wow, that guy’s collection is something. It’s not too surprising that there are folks out there that collect a lot of this stuff; it seems like anyone who’s ever just had to collect all the doodads or get all the achievements in a game would have at least some predilection for collecting in real life.

    I’ve never felt the desire to collect much of anything. My mother and sister got this idea a couple decades back that I should collect shot glasses, so I wound up getting them as gifts for a while until I made it clear that I really didn’t want to look after a bunch of shot glasses. The point of that story, I think, is that I’m not that much fun to be around.

    • Marozeph

      I collected beermats for some time, but it was a decidedly half-assed collection and i dumped them when moved to a new appartment. I never really felt much need to collect anything specific, because i hate throwing stuff away and as a result, my cellar gets filled with a collection of books i’ll never read, albums i’ll never listen to and games i’ll never play anyway.

      The point of that story, i think, is that i really need to clean up my cellar.

  • rvb1023

    My “collection” essentially consists of any games I want to get my hands on, the occasional rare game I get just to say I have it, and Collector’s Editions whenever I can afford them/want to support the developers more. I’m the kind of guy who will buy physical copies of things until the day I die and pick up a digital copy for cheap years down the line for simplicities sake. By doing so I hope to have a somewhat impressive/depressing wall of games. I think watching AVGN and seeing his basement filled with games gave me a similar craving to have a “gaming room” when I eventually get a place of my own.

    Speaking of digital versus retail, Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs is up for preorder and Amnesia was the first game I ever bought at launch as far as digital is concerned. A Machine for Pigs would be the second but I picked up Dragon Commander earlier this month.

  • Unexpected Dave

    Completely off-topic here, but has anyone else finished the Amazon level in DuckTales Remastered?

    I am so fucking angry at that cinematic (see 3:14) (http://youtu.be/19-luzjfQ9g?t=3m14s). Am I being over-sensitive here, or does anyone else think that this is some serious neo-colonialist bullshit?

    • boardgameguy

      in that the locals are all “thank you foreigner for doing what we couldn’t – you are so great let us all praise you”?

    • stakkalee

      No, you’re right, that’s pretty fucked up.  I was all set to cut them a little slack because the original game also had the Amazon level, but then I went and checked and the original didn’t have those natives.  I mean, all in all it’s not as offensive as it could have been (no bones in noses, thankfully) but it’s still a misstep by WayForward.  And there’s no motivation for including it; it’s not a commentary, or a joke, or nostalgia, or anything that might justify or redeem the inclusion.  Someone just decided, “Oh, the Amazon?  Gotta have natives in loincloths.”  Like I said, not as awful as it could have been, but still indicative of some deeply ingrained racism.

      • Jackbert

        I’d say there is a motivation to including it; seems to me like a tribute to the Carl Barks comics that feature almost identical native designs (plus bone-in-nose) very heavily. The dialogue was also similar, with the structure of “thank you, o great one” and then making fun of Scrooge’s collecting obsession after he leaves.

        • Unexpected Dave

          Barks’ natives, like in “Voodoo Hoodoo” or “Lost in the Andes”, tended to be less reverential of Americans…

        • Jackbert

          @UnexpectedDave:disqus : Agreed, it’s not a particularly well-executed tribute, but I think it was a tribute nonetheless. I have noticed a lot of that sarcastic reverence though.

        • stakkalee

          That may be, and calling them an homage does cut them a little more slack, but Barks’ was writing in the 40s-60s and reflected the racial stereotypes of the times, and to uncritically re-present those stereotypes in 2013 without any examination is problematic, to say the least.  It would be like doing a reboot of The Spirit and including a literal depiction of Ebony White, because that’s how Will Eisner did it.

        • PaganPoet

          Maybe I’m just hopelessly naive, but I honestly took this scene as Disney making fun of themselves and the Carl Barks comics in question. I think they were flipping your expectations when the native leader speaks in a proper British accent with a haughty, eyes-partly-closed expression on his face.

          On a side note, how funky is the arranged music in this game? I’m particularly fond of The Amazon’s samba remix. Makes me wanna wear a passista bikini with feathers and shimmy on a parade float.

        • Jackbert

          @stakkalee:disqus : I didn’t realize I had to point out that it was very problematic; I thought that was obvious enough, given the video. I was merely pointing out a potential motivation.

        • His_Space_Holiness

          Oh man, Ebony White. Eisner himself figured out what a mistake that was in later years and desperately tried to walk it back, introducing other, less-stereotypical black characters and defining his dialect as a “Southern drawl.” Yet the design remained the same, so nothing else he did was going to make Ebony not racist.

          Then later, he tried to write Ebony out of the story entirely, replacing his racist black caricature with… a racist Eskimo caricature. That didn’t work either. It wasn’t until Darwyn Cooke revived the character that Ebony wound up being not horribly offensive.

        • stakkalee

          @Jackbert:disqus  Sorry if I seemed to be coming down hard on you or something; that wasn’t what I was trying to do and I knew from your comment that you weren’t justifying the portrayal.  I’m just tired of studios and developers not taking a moment to consider whether the elements they’re including in their games might have overtones that they didn’t intend.

      • PaganPoet

        The natives WERE in the original, though. Check at 18:40 in the video you posted. They oddly seem to be wearing Devo hats.

        • His_Space_Holiness

          Makes sense. The imperialists treat them like animals, but are they not men?

        • stakkalee

          Shit, so they were.  That’s what I get for not watching the whole video.  In my defense, the guy playing died a LOT, and it got boring after a while.

  • boardgameguy

    For a moment, I believed Cory was going to ask what his wife did to financially support his habit, but then the interview took a different tact. I’d still be very curious to know since it seems like he has put a decent chunk of his disposable income towards this. My other thought was that maybe his site (through advertising) is helping to generate revenue that is being put towards more merchandise. Either way, that’s a lot of stuff.

  • Sini_Star

    get a job, deadbeat

    • Jackbert

      Stay-at-home dad is a job.

    • Cornell_University

      Man, who installed the Churlish 1.0 upgrade?

    • His_Space_Holiness

      SHUT UP, DAD

  • http://salmon-leap.blogspot.com/ Salmon

    This is veering off a bit, but speaking of Nostalgia, there was a recent article in The Atlantic studying it:

    http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/08/when-nostalgia-was-a-disease/278648/

    The term itself was coined by a 17th Century Swiss physician, and it almost literally means “The Pain of Returning Home” (which is a rather lyrical phrase in and of itself I think). It was of interest originally because it was seen as a disease that soldiers on campaign would get which would impede progress and fighting ability, so it was dealt with harshly. 

    Bringing it back to video games, most people on this site are probably old enough to have profound nostalgia for a game, series or system, but the obsolescence of computers and consoles makes them different from something like cinema, which has been standardized for decades. Nostalgia for Casablanca, which is available in every format under the sun, is something much more easily sated than nostalgia for an out of print game for a console long discontinued. 

    This probably then feeds into the practice of preserving art: video games as a medium have such a profound obstacle to longevity. I actually love the trend of remastering previous generations’ games up to HD for current systems, but how good a solution is this? How is the medium going to preserve games for fifty years, a hundred years, and onwards? 

  • chrisk

    probably the saddest collection i’ve ever seen was someone had a big wooden display case of playing card decks. maybe 200?

    collections generally creep me out and make me want to go home and throw 1/2 of my things away.

    • Kyle O’Reilly

      There is something off-putting about a room that is packed to the gills with all similar things.  Unless it’s taxidermied animal heads, than it’s just Teddy-Roosevelt-esque.

      But I’m not gonna disparage anybody for having a hobby. This dude obviously digs it so more power to him.

  • Kyle O’Reilly

    Slap a chubby little girl in there who does stepperettes or pageants or something and you got yourself a quality TLC program.

    Bonus points if grandpa has a giant beard and brews his own moonshine.

    “Dad, you almost spilled mash liquor on my Wario plush!”
    “Wario plush?  I gotcher’ Wario Plush right here!”
    *cue boingo sound effect and roll commercial*

  • Aurora Boreanaz

    My wife and I both love LEGO.  When she was pregnant with our daughter last year, we started collecting LEGO Friends sets for when she’s old enough to play with them.  Originally we just got a few sets, but soon decided we were going to try to collect every set in the line.  So far we’re doing pretty good with that goal.  (We also got a bunch of Duplo sets for her to play with up until then.)

    From there, I also started collecting sets from other themes as a potential investment strategy.  LEGO sets rarely lose value after retirement, so if a set isn’t raising in value, I can either break even or just open it and play with it myself.

    Unlike my other failed attempts at collecting toys (Star Wars, random action figures, baseball cards), LEGO bricks are something that I have always loved and am perfectly happy keeping if they don’t end up making money.  My wife supports it as well, and loves keeping an eye out for new Friends sets.  And heck, if they DO end up being worth more later, we can sell them to pay for Baby B’s college!

    • His_Space_Holiness

      Dammit, and here I’ve been donating my old LEGO sets to my mom’s friends’ kids! I could’ve made bank!

      • Aurora Boreanaz

        I used to play the mind game of “damn, if I’d only kept this in the package I could have made money” with some of the sets I had in the past.  But the enjoyment of playing with them far outweighed the money at the time.  And the few times I did find a really good deal on clearance sets, I bought extras to resell and got the ones I wanted to keep nearly for free.

        Now where I CAN kick myself is when I started collecting Star Wars figures, and kept buying duplicates – one to keep in the package, and one to open and display on my shelves.  Since I wasn’t actually playing with them by that point, I really should have just kept them all in the package.

    • Unexpected Dave

      The most frustrating thing about collecting Star Wars toys in the 90s was that they kept reissuing old figures, better than before. Most carded figures on eBay sell for less than their original retail price.

      • Aurora Boreanaz

        I still remember the outrage over the “Caveman Leia” figure.  God, that first sculpt was abysmal.  And of course all of the male characters at the time were built more like He-Man.

  • signsofrain

    I’m particularly proud of my Ultima VI original map and moonstone. I’ve been meaning to have the map framed, actually. 

  • josef nelson

    jesus christ,guy.sheesh already…

  • Pope The Rev XXVIII

    That’s not collecting that’s Hourding