This Yard Has Saled #8: Christmas in July

Jingle bells, jingle bells, I bought tons of games.

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July, July, July.

Yes, I’m aware of the age-old “Christmas in July” joke, which is precisely why I opted to use it as this entry’s title, but ya gotta hear me out here.

So far, July 2019 has been the single most lucrative month for me in terms of videogame collecting. I added to my collection more than one hundred unique items, including not only games, but consoles, accessories, boxes, and manuals. It was truly a month to remember.

So, uh, let’s talk about it!

Monday, July 1st, 2019

If you’ll remember from the previous installment of This Yard Has Saled, I received two Nintendo Entertainment Systems from a friend at the end of June. So, once I had finished with my daily work and errands, I made haste to travel to my favorite videogame store on Long Island, the Video Game Trading Post in Levittown, which I’ve mentioned about 1,000 times now.

Being good friends with the owner, Mike, has always come in handy, but receiving more trade credit than an ordinary customer would have to be my favorite perk. I entered the store and met with Melissa, an employee and also Mike’s girlfriend. Mike was absent from the store, but Melissa placed a call to let him know I wanted to trade the NESes in; Mike authorized $45 in trade credit, which I sought to blow right away in one shot.

From the NES shelves, I snagged a copy each of Adventures in the Magic Kingdom and Bases Loaded 3, and I also relieved the Trading Post of their remaining copies of the Nintendo 64 classics Magical Tetris Challenge and Mischief Makers. I was particularly happy to have finally crossed that last one off my list.

Thanks again for those NESes, George! You added four more lovely games to my collection!

Friday, July 5th, 2019

The 5th boasted two scenarios where I picked up games. Firstly, I spied on LetGo that someone was selling a copy of Duck Hunt for NES with the manual for only $5. I already owned the game, but didn’t have the manual, and had seen it go for much more than that price before, so I figured I could get the pair and just flip the game for reimbursement cash.

I contacted the LetGo user, who agreed to meet me in the parking lot adjoining my local Costco and Savers. Jackie accompanied me, agreeing that this would also be a good opportunity to check Savers for some deals.

We made our way to the aforementioned lot and waited for the LetGo user to arrive. When I received the message detailing a more specific meeting spot in the parking lot, Jackie and I walked there and greeted a woman likely not much older than us who identified herself as Nikki.

“So, what, you guys play these games still?” she said after shaking our hands.

“Well, yeah! But I also collect them,” I replied.

“Oh, that’s interesting. Yeah, these old games are my husband’s, but with the new baby, it’s time to get rid of some old stuff.”

I could have mentioned something about babies or adult life, but those things are boring, so instead I said, “Did you say ‘these’? Do you have more?”

“Oh, for sure! I thought you would have seen my other posts on the app. I did them individually.” As Nikki said this, she opened the trunk of her minivan, revealing a treasure trove of more NES games and some Super Nintendo games—and even manuals!

Jackie spoke for me, as my mouth was deluged by saliva. “Whoa!”

I swallowed. “Can we look through all of these?”

“Yeah, of course!” Nikki said, delighted to rid herself of these games.

“Do you mind if I separate some of these manuals from their games also?”

“Knock yourself out.”

Looking through her goods, I found that she had many things I already had myself, but I made a stack of games and manuals that I didn’t. To her surprise, I opted not to take Duck Hunt since she let me take only the manual (which I did). Other than that, I claimed Rygar, Shingen the Ruler, Wheel of Fortune Family Editionand Pro Wrestling (with its manual) for NES, then grabbed WWF Super WrestleMania and Street Fighter II: The World Warrior (with their manuals) for SNES. Additionally, I grabbed NES manuals for Gyromite, Kung Fu, Millpede, Pinball, Super Mario Bros. 2and Super Spike V’Ball, as well as the SNES manual for John Madden Football.

I asked her how much she wanted for everything I piled up, and she took a long while to think about it. When finally she was satisfied with the number in her head, she spoke it aloud to me: “$45?”

I said quickly, “How about $35?”

Nikki nodded and said, “Alright, that seems fair!” Jackie and I paid. Nikki and I shook hands, and she shook Jackie’s hand again as well. On our way back to my car to drop everything off before our Savers adventure, Jackie asked, “You did good?”

I cackled like an evil villain. “Manuals!” I shouted.

We entered Savers next, and I ran to their dedicated media section, still high on manual fumes. They didn’t have very much of interest, but I decided to buy a couple more PlayStation sports titles for my collection, since it’s never really a bad time to do so; they’re always dirt cheap.

Thus, I walked out of Savers with complete copies of NHL 97, NHL Breakaway 98, Madden NFL 99, NHL Powerplay ’96, NCAA Final Four 99, NHL 2000, and PGA Tour 98I think I paid only about $9 for the lot. Not bad at all.

Saturday, July 6th, 2019

Another Saturday, another day of—say it with me now—yard sales!

Jackie and I got up a little earlier than usual to ensure we’d find some deals. I’d been getting sick and tired of hearing that we just missed claiming some games for ourselves, so I resolved to screw with my sleep schedule and be out the door by 8.

Our first stop or two weren’t very promising, but we persevered, as is always our wont. The third sale at which we arrived had mostly jewelry and makeup, to which Jackie was attracted, but there were actually two complete Xbox 360 games sitting out on a table, Madden NFL 09 and NCAA Football 08; they were seemingly the only gaming things around.

The woman sitting at the table asked for $5, but after I rebutted with $3, we met in the middle with $4, which I didn’t mind. I didn’t really want these games, but I figure I might as well get them out of the way. One step closer to a complete Xbox 360 collection, I suppose.

After a few other strikeouts, our next stop took us to the St. Mark’s Church Thrift Store right in my hometown of Islip, which I try to frequent as often as I can. They have a dedicated media section just like a Savers or Goodwill, but sometimes they slip up, so I always check the CDs and DVDs after heading there first. And this time, my eye was attracted to a tiny, little green rectangle on a black spine: a PlayStation Greatest Hits game. Unmistakable.

Twisted Metal 2. Absolute score.

I swatted Jackie’s shoulder frantically to get her attention, as she was busy rifling through DVDs in search of games. She turned around and noticed to what I was wildly gesturing, which caused her to smile widely and say, “Take it out!”

It always fills my heart with such glee to rescue a videogame from the obscurity of the CD or DVD shelf. With a smile and an abnormal amount of excitement in my fingertips, I took the game from its space on the shelf, and…

You’ve got to be kidding me.

Maybe the disc is still in there! my idiot brain thought.

No.

“It’s a Ja Rule CD inside a Twisted Metal 2 case with a Nelly booklet,” I said. “The most unfortunately mismatched combination in human history.”

“At least we have a fun story to tell people,” Jackie said, shrugging.

“I’m telling Tyler right now,” I said, and sent him the same photos you’ve just viewed.

Trying not to let the disappointment of that encounter get to me, I left the thrift store empty-handed and we continued on to more yard sales.

A sale or two later, we pulled up to a house near the water with mostly furniture for sale, but I noticed that there were some complete Wii games stacked neatly on a plastic table. Sifting through, I decided only to take Crash of the Titans, as I had all the other titles in the stack. Holding the game up to the hostess, I asked, “Excuse me, how much for your games?”

Before she could answer, her very young daughter ran up to me, pointed at the game, and said, bragging, “That used to be mine!”

I laughed and looked back up at her mother, who said, “Five?”

I shrugged a little and responded, “Would you do three?”

“Uh, I think three’s a little too cheap. They used to be her games, after all,” the hostess responded, motioning at her daughter.

Look, I love kids, and I want them to be happy as much as the next guy. But don’t use your kids as bargaining chips when it comes to a yard sale haggle.

Luckily I’m not the type of person who would relent to that sort of tactic, so I said, “Nah, it’s not worth that much to me,” and went to place it back on the pile.

The hostess quickly said, “I mean, I could do $4 if you want.”

I wanted the game, so I figured that was at least a bit more acceptable. I paid for it and we went on our way.

Moving out further west, we came across a yard sale that looked as though it was being operated by two very young girls, as I saw no adults around. At this particular sale, Jackie brought to my attention a complete Xbox 360 copy of DJ Hero and the required turntable controller. I asked whether I could take the pair for just $5, and the girls shrugged and said alright.

Our next destination was a yard sale slightly further west, where it looked as though only hardware and tools were being sold. But, as you well know, I always ask about videogames, because you never know what someone is hiding away in their attic or basement, unaware someone would be willing to buy it.

“Excuse me,” I began, flagging down the host, “you wouldn’t happen to have any videogames, would you?”

“Uh, I think I have some PlayStation stuff in the basement if you want to hang on while I get it.”

“I’d love to take a look.”

The man disappeared for a few minutes, but returned with a cardboard box full of keep cases. When he put the box in front of me, I noticed a lot of them were DVDs, but at the bottom of the mountain was an original-model PlayStation 2, one controller, and a single complete game, the Greatest Hits (or red label) version of Namco Museum.

I didn’t need anything other than just the game, so I asked if he’d do a dollar on it.

He replied, “I mean, sure, but you don’t want the console?”

I said, “Well, I already have it, but if you’d so something low like five or so, I’d take it off your hands.”

“I’ll do ten,” a woman standing behind me chimed in.

The guy looked up and said that was fine, and handed her the entire box.

Excuse me? This is a yard sale, not an auction. Wait your turn. This is how the haggle goes. The dude wants a certain price, I give him mine, and then we spit numbers back and forth until we work it out. If he had asked me to do ten dollars, I would have said that was fine! I could have flipped it for $15 or something that same day. But I didn’t even get to hear an answer about my offer. Instead, a complete third party broke into our discussion and took this deal from me. Even Jackie was upset by it.

Consider this a PSA. A yard sale is not an auction. Just as though you were shopping in someone’s store, you cannot claim something about which someone else is inquiring. It’s rude and an incredibly flagitious tactic.

I paid for the Namco Museum and avoided looking at the woman who had stolen this deal from me. Instead I pretended we were in a rush and we left posthaste. On the drive to our next destination, Jackie had some choice words to say about the encounter that I won’t repeat here.

A few failed stops later, we came to a sale where merchandise was just strewn about on the lawn. Among some of the wares here were a few complete Wii and Xbox 360 games. I figured I’d supplement my Wii collection with some of the assorted titles from this pile.

As I was sifting through games, I kept hearing people ask prices to a woman who would then consult another woman in Spanish before answering. It quickly became clear that the Spanish-speaking woman was the real hostess of the sale and could not communicate with English speakers, so the other woman was her liaison.

I continued to look through Wii games when I noticed, tucked away in a plastic bag, one that I really wanted, Xenoblade Chronicles. I opened it up to check the disc, and…not a disc in sight. I looked around for someone close-by to ask, but it looked as though the Spanish-speaking woman was the only one around; her liaison must have stepped inside the house for a moment.

No issue for me, being a man who loves language just as much as videogames. I grabbed Xenoblade Chronicles and three of the Wii sports titles and approached the woman.

Opening Xenoblade Chronicles and holding it up, I said, “Perdón, ¿sabe usted dónde está el disco?”

“No. Lo siento,” was her saddened reply.

I was upset more than I let on, but I simply said, “No problema. Entonces, quiero estos tres, por favor,” holding up the other three games, The Bigs, Madden NFL 08and Madden NFL 10She just nodded without asking for a price, so I continued, “¿Seis?”

She nodded again. Seemingly impressed with me, Jackie grabbed the games while I took out my wallet to pay. We then left. In retrospect, I should have gotten the Xenoblade Chronicles case, but I guess I wasn’t thinking about it at the time.

Our final stop of the day was a planned one. My friends Ben and Amanda were holding a yard sale at the home of Ben’s dad. As we approached, Ben recognized it was me and began with, “We don’t have any videogames!”

I laughed and hugged Ben and Amanda, as did Jackie. We talked about various things and made a quasi-hangout of the whole thing, but I did notice a few board games I wanted, so I bought them.

However, as we were gearing up to leave, Ben went back inside to check to see if he had more board games. As luck would have it, he came out not with board games, but with a Sega Game Gear Deluxe Carry-All Case.

“I thought you had no videogames!” I shouted at him as he exited the house.

“I guess I was wrong! Dad still had my Game Gear stuff from when I was a kid,” Ben answered.

“I’m sorry,” I said, “did you just say you had a Game Gear when you were a kid?”

“Yeah, why?”

“I’m so sorry you missed out on Game Boy,” I said, laughing.

“Hey, I played the hell out of this thing, so I’d say I had a fine childhood.”

We bantered a bit more before I finally opened the case and saw more goodies inside. As expected, there was a Game Gear and its AC adapter, but the case also housed the Game Gear Battery Pack and the Game Gear Car Adaptor.

The lid section of the case had quite a few games: Fred Couples Golf, The Majors: Pro Baseball, Prince of Persia, Mortal Kombat II, Columns, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movieand Paperboy 2.

Ben then unzipped the front pouch on the case to reveal an assortment of manuals. The manuals for the Game Gear, Battery Pack, and Car Adaptor were all there, as well as for all the games in the case. Additionally, manuals for Caesars Palace, Chicago Syndicate, NBA Jam, Road Rash, Poker Face Paul’s Gin, Poker Face Paul’s Solitaire, Shaq Fu, Shinobi II: The Silent Fury, and Super Space Invaders were present, as well as the NES Game Genie Programming Manual and Codebook.

When I had finally seen everything there was in this package, I took a step back and drew a long, pensive breath. “How much do you want?” I asked Ben.

“Give me a number you’re comfortable with,” he responded.

“$30 and I’ll take it off your hands.”

“Let’s do $35 because I love to torture you,” Ben said playfully. I laughed and agreed, and we shook hands while my heart blew kisses to me from deep within my chest.

We said our goodbyes and left, and our day of yard saling was over. I was ecstatic to not only have seen Ben and helped him out, but to have gotten such a great deal from a friend. I already owned a Game Gear and both Columns and Mortal Kombat II, so I resolved to pass them on to Tyler, who I knew had none of them.

Sunday, July 7th, 2019

On this bright summer morning, I decided to wake up early and visit the Bellmore Flea Market here on Long Island for the first time this year. I used to go quite a lot more often, but recently there has been a gigantic surge of resellers and it’s difficult to find actual deals there anymore. Still, I made plans to go ahead and drive on down.

Primarily I was going to meet with Justin, a friend of mine from Long Island Retro Gaming on Facebook who has set me up with multiple great deals in the last year and a half. He had a few things he was looking to get rid of and had posted on the group that he would be at the flea market. More than anything, I hoped I could get a couple things from him very cheaply, since he’s usually incredibly generous with his prices.

I arrived at the flea market around 10 AM and looked around before anything else, just to see if I noticed anything spectacular or at least a little bit eye-catching. Unfortunately, I noticed nothing of the sort at that time, and instead I messaged Justin to meet up.

We did so, and we greeted each other warmly. He took me to his car in the parking lot of the flea market (which was really just the Bellmore train station parking lot) where he opened up his trunk to show me all the stuff he’d been recently trying to get rid of.

Without incident, I purchased from him Home Alone for Genesis, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York and Taz-Mania for Super Nintendo, Ecco the Dolphin: Defender of the Future for Sega Dreamcast, and a red label Crash Nitro Kart for PlayStation 2. Each game was fully complete except the Genesis game, which was only missing the manual. In total, I paid only $14, because Justin is an incredibly generous and helpful man.

I thanked Justin and continued on to the remainder of the flea market, where I did come across someone selling a couple of random games among the rest of their wares, luckily. They asked only for $1 on The Lion King for Game Gear, so I happily added yet another Game Gear game to my collection this month.

Oddly enough, a second vendor was asking for $1 on Ecco the Dolphin, the first one, also on Game Gear, so I snagged that as well. Not too bad!

Looking around the flea market, I came across someone selling a bunch of housewares and what looked like broken electronics. Interspersed in their wares, though, were a few copies of Nintendo Power, which I wanted immediately. Asking about them, I was met with a dismal price point of $20 per magazine, which made me want to throw up. I put the idyllic magazines down and wheeled out of there as rapidly as I could manage.

In my wheeling, I almost missed another vendor who had more assorted electronics, but one of them was a sealed Nintendo DS Headset. The vendor wanted $2 for, but settled for just $1 when he saw he’d have to break a twenty if I met his original request. Instead I handed him my single single and continued on my way.

I found a vendor who was dealing mostly in tools and wall plaques, but three lonely NES games sat on his table collecting dust. Two of them I already had, but the third was Blades of Steel, which I still needed. I inquired about his prices and he asked for $5.

“Would you consider just $2?” I asked.

He thought about it for a moment, eyeing the game to evaluate its estimated value in his head. Finally, he said, “$3?”

I’d do that all day long, and so I did.

Everyone else that had videogames at the flea market was a reseller, and I decided to steer clear and head home. Even still, on my way to my car, I noticed that one of the resellers was actually Anthony, another friend of mine from Long Island Retro Gaming. Our transaction was relatively harmless, as I asked about Sega Rally Championship for Sega Saturn and he gave it to me for just $4. Thanks, Anthony!

Despite not expecting to find too terribly much at the Bellmore Flea Market, I came away with quite a few good things, thanks in no small part to two friends of mine. I’d say that’s a win.

A bag full of games, otherwise known as my favorite kind of bag!

Saturday, July 13th, 2019

It rained this morning, so Jackie and I opted not to go out yard saling. Instead, we slept in, and when we awoke, we thought it would be a perfect opportunity to go back to Asset Recovery Liquidators and see what kinds of deals we could find.

Walking into the store, we were met with the same charm as usual from Jonathan, who walked us through some of the new things they’d gotten in recently. I looked with wide eyes at their amazing prices, as usual.

I figured it would be a good day to focus on padding out some of my more meager collections, so I got a few Intellivision games, Zaxxon and Lady Bug, as well as yet another Game Gear game, Joe Montana Football. Jackie pointed out their immense collection of Atari 2600 games to me, so I also looked through those bins and came away with Football, Venture, Dragonfire, Fire Fighterand Star Voyager. I also snagged a single Nintendo 64 game, NFL Quarterback Club ’98Altogether, and of course after their 50% discount for Saturdays, I paid $11.

Friday, July 19th, 2019

On this Friday, I was all set to meet with my friend Phil at his workplace. On Long Island Retro Gaming, he had posted a yard sale score which included an alternate copy of Super Mario Bros. 3 that not many people seem to know about. On an average cartridge for the game, the word “Bros.” is right-justified underneath the word “Mario”, but this is actually the second-run print. In the first-run print, the word “Bros.” is left-justified instead, and additionally there’s a typo in the game itself which was fixed in the second printing.

I owned only the second-run copy, and so wanted to procure the first-run for myself as well. Phil asked only for $15, which I found to be totally reasonable. I met him at his workplace in Melville and happily swiped the copy from his hands, forking the cash in his direction. Thank you for giving up your yard sale find for the benefit of my collection, buddy!

I suppose it’s worth mentioning that these two copies are so incredibly alike that they don’t differ at all in price, and few people consider them true label variants. But if you’re a true collector (also known as a sicko like me), then it’s just as important to own both copies as it would be to own label variants for any other game.

First-run copy on the left, second-run on the right. Also pictured is my goofy face.

Saturday, July 20th, 2019

Another Saturday, another day yard saling! Or so you’d think.

Exhausted from the previous night’s shenanigans of hanging out with my friends, Jackie and I decided to sleep in and spend this Saturday thrifting instead.

Our first stop after waking up was the same Savers we hit up earlier in the month, which had a few new PlayStation sports games. Evidently there was someone in the area who was trying to offload their inventory, because all of these titles were different from the ones I had previously claimed. Still, not wanting to spend too much money right away, I only took two: NHL FaceOff 2001 and Madden NFL 2000. They were about $3 after tax, so I wasn’t gonna complain.

Our next stop was the Goodwill in Ronkonkoma, at which I have historically found very little, but it’s always worth a try. There seemed to be nothing of worth in their dedicated videogame section. In their electronics section, though, miraculously, I found a Wii Fit Plus bundle containing the box and Balance Board, but no game. No biggie, as I already owned the game. Jackie also noticed a complete copy of Rayman Origins for Xbox 360 sitting by itself in their glass case. We claimed it as well and headed back to the car with $6 less on us.

Next, I wanted to check out the Goodwill in Commack, which would require a 30-minute drive west. Jackie was game, so we pressed onward. On the way, Jackie asked me what kinds of things I expect to find when I go to a Goodwill.

“Honestly, anything,” I said. “You never know what someone will dump off there, thinking it’s garbage, or just to donate to the less fortunate. But often enough I see things like Wii consoles or things like that. There’s actually a second model of the Wii called the Wii Family Edition that has a few minor modifications made to it and looks really similar to the original model, so few people know it’s even different. But I’d like to see that at a Goodwill one of these days. I come across regular Wiis often enough that it’s possible; it just hasn’t happened yet.”

Well, I should have buckled up, because the Commack Goodwill took me for the ride of my life when Jackie and I noticed that they actually had one. A black Wii Family Edition in a baggie with all the necessary hookups, labeled $20, stared right at me, taunting me. Unfortunately, I had only $10 left after our previous transactions, as I try to budget myself during thrift store and yard sale outings. I griped about being unable to get the console, but Jackie came to my rescue and offered to get it for me. I protested, but she insisted, citing the incredible coincidence of just having mentioned it not even a half hour earlier as some sort of divine intervention.

Kissing Jackie, I thanked her dearly and finally walked away with the second-model Wii.

If you’re curious, the Wii Family Edition differs from the original model in that its face text is oriented 90 degrees clockwise, indicating that the console is to be laid on its side rather than stood up like its predecessor. Additionally, the console lacks GameCube support, and therefore has no slots for controllers or memory cards. Where there are doors to cover those on the original model, there is instead a flat, smooth panel on the second model. Now you know, and you can look out for a Wii Family Edition next time you’re out and about!

Saturday, July 27th, 2019

Finally, the real reason July was so awesome: New Jersey Gamer Con in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

For the first time, I decided to visit this convention with Jackie in tow to see what it was like. Typically I only visit a specific set of conventions each year, but I was cajoled into checking this one out because the Super Beard Bros., favorite YouTubers of mine, announced they would be there. I had the extra cash to spare, and Jackie had grown to love the Bros. as well, so we made our plans and headed off to New Jersey on this windy Saturday morning. We’d stay overnight at my cousin Ashley’s apartment, saving us the trouble of finding and paying for a hotel (thank you, Ashley!), and then revisit the convention on Sunday as well.

Saturday began with a bang. We arrived at the convention and hit the dealer floor immediately. Jackie fled from me a few times to peruse the art dealers’ goods while I made it my destiny to buy as many games as I could without breaking my checking account into pieces.

Firstly, I wandered over to a vendor selling Super Famicom games for only $2 apiece, so I grabbed Crayon Shin-chan: Arashi o Yobu Enjia game I had actually wanted for a while.

I met back up with Jackie and we walked over to a booth selling a very dusty selection of PlayStation games. From this vendor, I grabbed Gran Turismo for $5.

For whatever reason, before checking out more booths, I went back to the same vendor who was selling the $2 Super Famicom games. I noticed they also had a good selection of Super Nintendo and PlayStation games, so I bundled together a complete Greatest Hits (green label) copy of Rayman for PlayStation and a copy of The 7th Saga for SNES for $21. [Editor’s Note: Noone should ever be forced to pay money for The 7th Saga.]

Funnily, the vendor originally asked for $25, to which I agreed, but as he was bagging the games for me, he said, “What did I say? $20?”

Being honest, I said, “$25,” and a stranger to my left laughed and said, “Why did you do that? You could have gotten it cheaper!”

The vendor waved him off and said, “It was my mistake. Consider this a reward for your honesty. Let’s do $21.”

Don’t be dishonest when game hunting.

Hitting up another vendor, I noticed a complete copy of F-1 Race for Game Boy that included the Four Player Adapter. I bundled it with something else, a game I’d been looking to get for a while, a complete copy of Lemmings for—you guessed it—Game Gear. It’s a minor collecting goal of mine to own Lemmings for every single platform on which it has ever appeared. For these two items, I paid $22, not too shabby.

Moving on, I decided to punish myself, because I bought a boxed copy of Bubsy in Claws Encounters of the Furred Kind for Genesis next. It had no manual, but I actually had gotten the manual about two years prior from a friend and had held onto it. Unfortunately, owning a complete collection for any console also means owning its, shall we say, less-than-stellar titles. For $12, I was somewhat happy to take the boisterous bobcat home with me.

What could possibly go wrong?

Swinging around a corner, I met up with Jackie again, as she had separated from me briefly to look at more art. She pointed out a complete copy of Shadow of the Colossus for PlayStation 2 that was marked at only $10, so I sought to procure it for myself. Asking the vendor to do $8 was no mistake, as she said yes and gave me the game without incident. Thanks for keeping a sharp eye out, Jackie!

We separated again while I snagged a couple of NES games hanging out in a vendor’s bin: Monster Party (which I had been actively looking for), Legendary Wings, and Urban ChampionFor the triad of lovely games, I paid only $18, which made my heart sing.

When I met back up with Jackie, she was stuffing some games in her bag, except for one, which she handed to me. I looked down to see a complete copy of Sly 2: Band of Thieves.

“What’s this now?” I said, smiling.

“You don’t have Sly 2 yet, so I bought it for you!” Jackie said enthusiastically.

“Honey…you didn’t have to do that for me!”

“I know! But I wanted to! It’s one of my favorites. Now we can play it together!”

I kissed and hugged Jackie and stuffed the game into my own bag. I thanked her numerous times as we walked to our next destination, which was a panel featuring Jirard Khalil, otherwise known as The Completionist, who is also one third of the Super Beard Bros.

I didn’t take any photos of the panel, but I can confirm that it was a blast. Jirard had created a sadistic and challenging Super Mario Maker 2 level specifically for the convention and was allowing people to try to beat it within five lives. The first to do so would be given a brand-new Nintendo Switch. Unfortunately nobody was able to do it, so Jirard awarded the prize to the person who got the farthest. I wanted to play, but was admittedly slightly too timid to raise my hand. Plus, I already own a Nintendo Switch, so I wanted to give someone else a chance to own one if perhaps they didn’t already.

After the panel, Jackie and I headed to another vendor who was selling more NES games stacked in small towers on their table. I decided to grab a few titles here that I needed, Commando and To the Earth, and I paid $7 total.

The game collector in his natural habitat, looking through common NES games.

After that, Jackie and I decided to check out their arcade section, and we got lost in playing round after round of Mario Bros. together.

Jackie decided to take photos of me after she died by fireball for the nineteenth time.

I made up my mind to save the rest of my money for better deals tomorrow. As always, I maintain that the final day of a convention will always be the best for spending, since many vendors will discount their merchandise heavily to avoid having to pack it up and bring it on home.

To cap out the night, Jackie and I first visited a panel that was listed in the schedule as “The Comedy Central Roast of Crash Bandicoot.”

It was actually incredibly funny and well put together.

Other than the titular orange mascot, the panel consisted of Pac-Man, Dr. Eggman, Solid Snake, and PaRappa the Rapper, and the whole thing was emceed by the goat from Goat Simulator. An interesting choice.

Right after that panel, Jackie and I sidled into the unexpectedly crowded “Guess the Video Game Box Art” panel, where the panelists were giving out random prizes to audience members who guessed correctly. Some of those prizes were games, so I raised my hand for a couple of them.

Finally, I was chosen when I raised my hand to identify Awesome Possum… Kicks Dr. Machino’s Butt for Genesis. The panelists were extra impressed that I recited the full title. I went up to claim my prize, which was a game! I walked back to my seat with Little Nicky for Game Boy Color.

Later on in the game, the box art they were showing started getting more obscure, but that didn’t stop me. During a round where nobody at all raised a single hand, I shot mine up into the air to identify Vice: Project Doom for NES.

My prize the second time around was a sealed Star Wars combo board-and-card game. I like Star Wars and I do also collect board games, but to a much lesser extent. I wasn’t too thrilled, but I sat down and accepted my prize with at least minimal satisfaction.

At the end of the game, people began to get up and leave, but the man and woman sitting in front of Jackie and me turned around to congratulate me on knowing the box art to Awesome Possum.

“Why do you know that game?” the man said, laughing.

“Because I suck, I guess!” I said playfully.

“Well, good guess on the second one, too. That’s a more awesome grab than mine,” he said, gesturing toward the board game. He had won a prize himself much earlier in the game, a complete Sega Saturn copy of NFL Quarterback Club 97.

Hearing his compliment on the board game, and also wanting more Saturn games in my collection, I practically instinctively said, “Wanna trade?”

Dumbfounded, he stared at me. “Seriously? You’d do that?”

“Yeah, man! I could use another Saturn game and you like the board game, so why not?”

He shook my hand and thanked me, and we traded, and I added yet another game to my collection. He introduced himself to me as Hunter, so I figured I’d shout him out here. Thanks, dude!

That was enough for one day. Jackie and I retired to my cousin’s place and waited for the next day to finish up our shopping.

Sunday, July 28th, 2019

Day two of New Jersey Gamer Con, the final day. Jackie and I woke up early enough to make it to the convention in time to meet with Jirard at his table while he was there signing autographs. We didn’t need his signature, though; just a picture would suffice, and so he did us the service.

As a completionist myself, I love everything this man stands for.

With that photograph out of the way, it was time to grab even more games. Jackie and I ventured over to a booth that had some Game Gear games in tubs.

“Do I dare add even more Game Gear games to my collection this month?” I asked Jackie.

Yes,” she responded stoically.

So I did. For $10 total, I added to my haul a copy of Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse and a PAL copy of Deep Duck Trouble Starring Donald Duck, since it was not released in North America. Remember, kids! The Game Gear is region free! Import away!

From a vendor on the other side of the convention who was mostly selling action figures and toys, I purchased a Game Boy copy of Lock ‘n’ Chase for $2. Jackie grabbed a couple of 3DS games for herself and bundled them together for a cheaper price with my assistance.

Finally, I came across a vendor who was selling a complete-in-box Milton Bradley Microvision along with three games: Connect Four (which was CIB), Star Trek: Phaser Strike, and Block Buster.

For the uninitiated, the Microvision was the very first handheld videogame console, and although it was primitive, it was revolutionary for its time and set the stage for others to follow. I had been wanting one for a while and could now add one to my collection. But how much did this guy want for it?

I inquired about the Microvision, and the dude said he was definitely trying to sell it together with the three games and not separate them. He said $55, but I said I would be unable to do more than $40, as it was all I had left on me at the time. He was unwilling to meet me there, and instead said $45 was the lowest he could ask for. Jackie came to the rescue again, offering to pick up the remaining balance for me. I kissed her yet again and agreed to the vendor’s $45 price, adding the historic Microvision to my ever-growing collection of videogames.

With all of our money spent, we visited a final panel at the expo, the Super Beard Bros. panel. Brett was not present, but Jirard and Alex were. Their panel was unusual, as it was a Super Smash Bros. Ultimate tournament, but with a catch. Players could pick whomever they desired, but their fighter would be controlled by a CPU in an all-out computers-only battle. The computer victor’s agent would be given an NES Classic Edition. It was an interesting and intense panel, despite its unusual content.

At the end of the panel, Jackie and I also got to take a photo with Alex Faciane, another third of the Bros.

I live to one day achieve the amount of chillness this man exudes.

And thus, our visit to New Jersey Gamer Con came to an end and we drove back to Long Island. We resolved to return again next year, as it was enough of a success to warrant a new yearly ritual! Perhaps I’ll also ask the guys to join us next year. It was too short-notice for them all to make sure they’d be free this time around.

The month in review:

I can’t believe just how many things I was able to get this July. I’ve been collecting for eleven years, but I’ve never gotten so much all in a single month. I’ve come close, but this took the cake by a lot.

Also, can you believe how many freakin’ manuals I got? That’s insane. I barely ever find manuals, and then suddenly, there were tons.

New Jersey Gamer Con was also a blast to attend. Getting to meet Jirard and Alex in person was such a treat, and being able to spend the weekend with Jackie was an even better time. Thanks, honey, for supporting my hobby and helping me scope out deals, and thank you for always being there for me when I pine over the things I can’t afford. You’re truly amazing.

Join me again when we talk about August, where I visit yet another convention with my friends and get a rare treat for the Saturn.  Until then, thank you for reading all the way to the end of this installment of This Yard Has Saled!

Anchors aweigh!

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About the Contributor


Since 2018

Matt has been playing videogames since he first handled a Sega Genesis controller (and subsequently a Super Nintendo controller) in 1996, but now his life has spiraled out of control and he's a videogame collector and historian. Gaming is a gigantic part of his life, and trust me, he makes sure everyone knows it.

4 Comments

  1. Your bargaining skills are downright heroic. I don’t think I’ve ever just said “Hey, will you take X for this?” my entire life. If there’s no price, I usually just leave it.

    1. Thank you! Yeah, looking back on it, it was even more of a jerk move than I thought at the time. I never even got to hear about my offer. What if he had said yes!? 🙁

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