People seem to view past generations of gaming with nostalgia-tinted glasses, and I’ve encountered a fair share of forum chatters around the Internet who seem to remember games being a lot less expensive than they actually were.
So I did some research (to be more accurate, I forced Retrovolve’s Mandi to do some research for me) and dug up MSRP (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price) information for a slew of N64 titles for comparison. These prices come from various issues of GamePro, which listed MSRP prices alongside their game reviews.
Here’s what I found:
Killer Instinct Gold – $79.99 (Source: GamePro #101)
Turok: Dinosaur Hunter – $79.99 (Source: GamePro #103)
Star Fox 64 – $79.95 (Source: GamePro #106)
Multi Racing Championship – $79.95 (Source: GamePro #108)
Turok 2 – $69.99 (Source: GamePro #113)
GoldenEye 007 – $69.95 (Source: GamePro #108)
Tetrisphere – $69.95 (Source: GamePro #108)
Duke Nukem 64 – $69.95 (Source: GamePro #111)
Bomberman 64 – $69.95 (Source: GamePro #111)
Blast Corps – $69.95 (Source: GamePro #104)
Super Mario 64 – $66.99 (Source: GamePro #97)
Wave Race 64 – $64.95 (Source: GamePro #99)
S.C.A.R.S. – $59.95 (Source: GamePro #113)
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was a bit harder to track down, so I had to turn to the following Funcoland ad, which lists the price at $59.95. I haven’t been able to verify an official MSRP on this yet, but I’ll update this if I’m able to find a source.
And keep in mind that this was 1990s money, so it doesn’t even take into account almost two decades of inflation.
So the next time a bunch of forum geezers try to argue with you about the golden era when new video games cost $30, you can link this article to prove them wrong. Because there’s nothing quite like the glorious satisfaction of proving someone wrong on the Internet.
Update: I managed to find MSRP info for Ocarina of Time (after several hours of searching for it), and, as promised, I wanted to provide an update. According to GamePro #124, the original MSRP was $59.99.
This is only 4 cents higher than the FuncoLand price, so it’s safe to assume most major retailers sold the game for around this same price.
Now, I seem to remember the game costing $80, and I’ve heard others recall similar stories, but there’s no real way to confirm this unless we dig up some ancient receipts. The official MSRP seems to be $59.99 though, and until I can find some evidence to the contrary, I’m going to have to accept that perhaps my memory isn’t as great as I’d like to think it is.