“WTF, you bought Action 52?”
“Yeah,” I said laughing. “I’m stupid.” I don't regret it because I love playing NES and I love my collection but God, I wish it weren't so bad.
For those of you who look back on the beloved NES with fond childhood memories of playing some of the best games the system had to offer which consequently double as some of the best video games ever made, you may not even have the Action 52 on your radar. Unless you were an aficionado of game releases in the late 80’s and early 90’s or were fortunately wealthy, then you may not have even heard of the Action 52 at all. In fact, you may only know it because years later you now collect NES games and only know of Action 52 by way of lists that have the game on it as a rare and expensive collector’s piece. To me that’s exactly what it is. A piece to a collection.
It’s also a piece of shit.
Actually, it’s a whole shit. A piece of shit implies that it is a small amount of some bigger shit while in reality this thing is the big shit from whence smaller and more agile pieces of shit come. The cartridge has room for 52 games on it. I say room for because of the multiple revisions of the cart, I don’t know for sure if any has all 52 games working. On the copy I just bought, two games don’t work. So that’s 50 games. Either way, 100% of them are less fun than watching your parents die.
The cart released at a whopping $199. Four times more than a typical title but justified by the fact that there were more games on it than just one. There were FIFTY-FUCKING-TWO games on it. Turns out though, there were no real games on it but instead fifty-ish failed attempts of someone trying their hardest to emulate what a video game might look like if developed by a school of fish with cocks for fins. Seriously, it’s really, really bad.
You don’t need to take it from me. James Rolfe’s Angry Video Game Nerd character goes into great length and detail about each entry on the cartridge. I suggest starting there if you want to put the shit circus into perspective. But hopefully, with or without that video, you get the idea. It is not a quality NES game or set of games by any means.
Because the cartridge is rare (and I only collect loose cartridges) I have come to terms that there are games in the NES library I will likely never see in person. Stadium Events is the obvious big one but games like Little Samson, Flintstones Surprise at Dino Peak, and even the slutty Panesian games will probably never grace my shelves. While Action 52 is not really on the same price level as those it’s still a rare enough title that I assumed I would only see through glass cases or in YouTube videos and never possess. That was true until last week.
I went to a local game store that I discovered this past February. It’s in an old house and is owned by a guy I knew from another local game store. I walk in, say my hello’s, and make my way over to the case where all the good stuff is stashed. Before I can even take in what I’m looking at, the owner pulls a clear cartridge out from the case and sits it out on top in front of me.
“I have this Action 52 in. I’d do $150 on it. I dropped it and there’s a small crack here across the back.” The sticker says $249.99. I’m aware that is roughly the going rate on the game.
I look at it. At first I’m internally like, “Holy! Wow! Balls! An Action 52!” But then I’m surprised at what I’m thinking. “$150 isn’t bad.” Shut up voices in my head.
I survey the damage and the cart comes apart a lot easier than it should and there is a crack across the back but the plastic isn’t separated, it’s just cosmetic. Man, that’s a great price but I just don’t think I can pony up the dough. I really don’t see myself spending that kind of money on a single game especially one that’s made of shits and barfs.
I end up walking out of there with a few lower priced NES games I didn’t have and went home. I couldn’t stop thinking about it though. I may never see another Action 52 in my life. And by the next time I see one, I bet my bottom ass it won’t be priced at $150. As soon as I get home, almost an hour away, I email the owner and ask if I could combine it with Willow for $150 if I make the trip back up more worthwhile. Yeah, I asked to combine it with a $10 game to get a deal. My haggle skills are weak. But he agreed and told me to come on back whenever I got a chance, he would save those for me.
I get back to the store and notice he’s running a buy two-get-one free deal. If I’m already going to spend $150 on a crap game I might as well go all out. I walk in and he has Action 52 and Willow on the counter ready for me. I thank him for that and walk on over to the case anyway to peer in to see what I can blow more money on. I see Power Blade. A game that is good and is not cheap usually. He has $59.99 on it.
“You firm on that Power Blade?”
“I’d do $50,” he says, pulling it out.
“Cool. I want to maximize the deal so..”
He cuts me off. “Yeah, let’s find you another $50 game.” This guy is awesome. He’s reading my mind. Boner engaged.
Mario's Time Machine for NES is right beside it, also with a $59.99 sticker on it. “I’d do $50 on this too.”
Deal. He rings me up with the original stickers on everything.
$249.99 + $59.99 + $59.99
Then he grabs Willow. “And this will be free.” He adds $9.99 to the receipt.
I just grin. I was going to leave Willow here but hey, free.
He does the math and applies the discount. A savings of roughly $180. What was originally just me buying a shit-heap-52 turned into getting some really good deals on some mid-level to higher-end priced games for the collection at a really good price. I’m happy.
Got home, put in Action 52. It worked! Faulty capacitors be damned! I poked around in a few games and played an obligatory ten minutes of Cheetahmen. Alright! On the shelf you go, you gross thing! The next time me and some buddies decide to get a good laugh in over some beers and Nintendo, I’m pulling it back out. It’s so bad it’s hilarious.
Then I played Power Blade all night long because that game is a bunch of titties.
What’s the most you’ve ever spent on a game in your collection?