A while back, Retrovolve’s Josh pointed out that your fond memories of cheap old video games are probably inaccurate. He compiled a list of N64 MSRPs, and the prices he found are kind of terrifying.
It’d be easy to pretend that this phenomenon began with the N64, that Nintendo’s last cartridge console was the beginning of the end. However, a look back through the pages of GamePro reveals that prices for Super Nintendo games were just as high, if not higher.
Metal Marines – $74.95 (Source: GamePro #55)
NBA Jam – $74.95 (Source: GamePro #56)
The Death and Return of Superman – $69.99 (Source: GamePro #61)
Fatal Fury 2 – $69.99 (Source: GamePro #61)
Mario’s Time Machine – $69.95 (Source: GamePro #55)
P.T.O. – $69.95 (Source: GamePro #49)
Shaq Fu – $69.95 (Source: GamePro #64)
EVO: Search for Eden – $67.95 (Source: GamePro #49)
Beauty and the Beast – $64.99 (Source: GamePro #61)
Dungeon Master – $64.96 (Source: GamePro #48)
Rabbit Rampage – $64.95 (Source: GamePro #56)
Super Alfred Chicken – $64.95 (Source: GamePro #56)
Alien 3 – $59.95 (Source: GamePro #48)
T2: The Arcade Game – $59.95 (Source: GamePro #55)
What gets me is that people weren’t just shelling out tons of money for classics; they were paying for games with names like “Super Alfred Chicken.” I remember a few of these games being flat-out terrible, and even the best titles probably weren’t worth seventy 1994-dollars.
To be fair, there were ways to game that didn’t involve spending a small fortune. Blockbuster’s rental prices were pretty reasonable, and clip-out coupons were once a gaming magazine staple.
Still, it’s hard not to feel sticker shock when looking back at old MSRPs. I have no shortage of nostalgia, but I’ll take GOG, Steam sales, and PlayStation Plus over these prices any day.