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mikey.shake

What's the deal with Mega Man?

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So, I posted on this elsewhere, but my wife gave me Mega Man (the original cart) for Valentine's Day. I'd never had it as a kid, or really even played it -- 2 and 3 were always more inviting to a kid without an NES who had to make due with limited playtime. Anyway, I had a good run later in the afternoon, and I ended up beating the game and (as a self-described "casual gamer") feeling pretty chuffed about it. I appreciated her gift, having put off buying it myself because of the high price tag it carries, so it was extra-satisfying to conquer. Also, to sorta "get my use out of" the actual cart, as I'm primarily an Everdrive user.

 

So then I got to wondering... why is it such a pricey cart?

 

I know the story. That it was initially a commercial dud in the US, but due to rentals and word-of-mouth it turned into a "sleeper hit" good enough to warrant a sequel in the developers' spare time at work. But surely if there were enough copies to rent, pass around, and generally talk about, why does it average $75 online (right now in February 2016, future historians) as opposed to Contra's $35 or even cult hits like River City Ransom's $25 or Clash At Demonhead's $15 price tags? Those must surely have had smaller print runs right?

 

Most sources say that Mega Man sold "enough" for Capcom to validate a sequel, so if it was good enough to be "on the fence", it couldn't have been a total disaster, or a super-low-pressing one-off rarity like Little Samson (or even some of the later Mega Man sequels), right?

 

OR... am I just misjudging how many there really are? Wouldn't they have pressed up another few batches after the sequels took off? Wikipedia mentions a September 1991 re-release (though I don't have the 9/91 issue of GamePro to verify!). How would one distinguish these from a "first pressing"? Online searches are turning up nothing for me.

 

Are those cited "good enough" sales that justified the sequel really the Japanese numbers bumping up the average and there *really was* a super-limited supply in the US? Or is it just one of those weird market quirks -- a perfect storm of "good story", "beloved franchise", and a dash of rarity? I suppose it DID spawn the whole Mega Man universe. Oooooh, and that cover art.

 

These are the things that keep me up at night, sorry. It's 5AM here now. This is just really food for discussion on the first Mega Man game.

 

Though, does anyone have any other thoughts on the "classic 6" NES games? I've tried some of the spin-off series and they weren't my thing - no real interest. Haven't gotten around to getting MM9 or MM10 yet though... I suppose those should be next on my list.

 

MegaMan-Edit.jpeg

Edited by mikey.shake
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I think it is demand over rarity. Mega Man 2 is a must for many collectors; like Contra, it is the first cart someone goes after when getting a Nes collection started. If you're going to have 2, you might as well have MM1 as well. Also many gamers have fond rental memories of it; as a kid all my friends loved that game. None of us owned it; we just rented it.

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I wouldn't be surprised if it was little more than the ebay effect. People see others are selling NES game X for 30 bucks, and some sod actually bought it, so it justifies the price in their mind so they say "Well, let's sell it for 35!", and everyone raises their price tag. Repeat for 10 years. Then of course you have the pawn shops that got a copy cheap somewhere and use ebay to determine their prices. I really need to start buying up NES games when I find them 10 bucks or less, before those start going up as well. ^^

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It's demand more than actual print run. Because it was well-loved, anyone who kept their childhood NES usually kept that game. Now factor in broken games, lost games, people getting into retro for the first time wanting the start of a favorite franchise, and more people want the game than are selling the game- so prices go up.

 

Final Fantasy 7 is a great example- it had high enough sales to warrant a greatest Hits printing, so there's plenty of copies out there. Despite that, it still garners a respectable $20-30 used. At point, it was $100. That's all pure demand- because PS2 and PS3 both run PS1 games, it's easy to collect for that system. So, when something triggers a demand spike- say, the release of a movie tied to the game- it can skyrocket prices for awhile.

 

The big difference with NES and PS1 is, NES is old enough that we're losing copies to age now. Unlike FF7, supply isn't likely to meet demand to push prices back down.

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You have an awesome wife!! :) I have to say the same that the high price is due to when it was released no one was really interested in it, once 2 and 3 were released later and that started a fanbase for the series then later on the prices started increasing. I got the first one back in 1990 and have had it since. 5 is going for a lot of bucks as well. These games in the series are 22 to nearly 30 years of age and they are highly sought after, not to mention high demand. Happy to have them in my collection. I have 7 for the Super Famicom as it's miles cheaper than the SNES cart. It's pushing $200 for a loose copy. 8 us not bad in price for the Playstation. For the Sarurn version it's getting extremely pricy as well.

 

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As with many things (and as others have stated) it boils down more to perceived value and demand as opposed to actual value. Plus the brand-name nature of it comes into play as well, it's the same reason many Mario and Zelda games still command high prices on eBay even if there are a zillion copies in the wild.

Edited by TPA5

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I think the price increase is two-fold: Demand and popularity.

 

As a kid, I remember renting Mega Man very early on. I loved the graphics and music, but I remember dying a lot and getting frustrated, so I never sought it out and bought it. A little later, my friend introduced me to Mega Man 2, and from that point on, I was a fan. First one I actually got was 3 when I was a kid, and then happened upon 2 and 5 in a bargain bin at a big box store later on when the store was clearing out all NES inventory and snagged them. Yes, I still have 2 and 5 CIB!

 

When I was in college in the early 2000's, I decided to start collecting more seriously. On my list was the rest of the Mega Man games I didn't have. After some hunting, I eventually filled out the rest of the NES collection at once after discovering a Play N Trade near my old job that had the missing games before prices went crazy. At that point (around 2007-08) I picked up Mega Man, Mega Man 4, and Mega Man 6 for like $60 total. I thought it was a lot back then, but I'm glad I got them! Man, I miss that place.

 

With all the YouTube personalities, gaming channels, and blogs/forums upping the awareness of these games, especially in the past few years, prices have spiked. Like it or not, these are considered antiques now. They are the "baseball cards" our dads wish they kept that they told us about. People wanting to relive that nostalgia will pay for it. Sucks for the collectors, though.

 

Another example of popularity and demand: the first three SMB games. I never thought I'd see the SMB games going for what they do now. I mean, everyone had those! Yes, they are classics, but none of them are rare by any means, but I still see them trading hands for $20+ now when they were relegated to the $0.99 bin at GameStop 10-15 years ago.

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Yeah put it this way.. when Megaman 2 came out, I mastered it within a month or so, and liked it enough that I wanted to buy MM1. I couldn't find it anywhere and this was in 1988.

 

I ended up renting it somewhere eventually but to this day I don't think I've ever seen it for sale in a store after I became aware of "Megaman".

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I agree with gorfcadet. Look at smb3. It was a huge hit and sold oodles of copies (and nintendos), yet it still goes for around 20 bucks. It's because it's a "classic" and one of those games that's on the "If you have the system, you must have this" list.

 

Two things drive value, Rarity and Demand. Basic economics. Megaman is such a storied and memorable brand that its value comes from people wanting it.

 

If everyone wanted "Play Action Football", I'm sure its used price on Amazon would be more than a penny too. ;)

Edited by Lendorien

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The Mega Man series on NES was one of the top franchises of one of the top 3rd party licensees. They had excellent graphics and even better music. The music is a huge nostalgia driver. Well loved in their time, they still hold a lot of demand today. The later games in the series weren't as big sellers, and some felt that they weren't as groundbreaking and became too formulaic, and so they didn't sell as much and are comparatively rare as well as in demand.

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