Nostalgic Phase: N64
I go through these phases where I try to acquire things that I once had – or always wanted to have – in the past. Even if I got rid of those things for a good reason, even if I felt like parting with them was the right thing to do, I sometimes regret having let those things go. This is probably why – although I will always aspire to be one – I will probably never truly be a so-called minimalist.
My current obsession is rebuilding a Nintendo 64 collection from scratch. When I was 16, I got my first real job as a cashier at Kmart. Soon, I was “promoted” to working in the electronics department – a dream come true for a nerdy high school student. As part of my job I got to become familiar with TVs, VCRs, video game consoles, stereos, and other fun gadgets. My little brother had mowed lawns and helped out on paper routes to save up for a PlayStation (PS1). When the N64 came out, I knew I wanted one. Working at Kmart allowed me to save up and buy one with my employee discount.
Over the years I built quite the collection – controllers, accessories, at least a few dozen games. I had all the essentials like Goldeneye 007, StarFox 64, and Mario Kart 64. The crown jewel of my collection, though, was the collector's edition of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. I was still working at Kmart at the time, and you could only purchase the special edition cart by pre-ordering it. I'm pretty sure they cost more than the regular editions, because it was just too expensive for me to justify pre-ordering one. Our store received a certain amount of these carts to distribute to those who had pre-ordered them and we kept them locked away so they wouldn't be sold along with the regular stock. After a time, there was still one special edition cart left that nobody had claimed. My manager agreed to let me purchase it. It scanned at the register for the same price as the regular edition! And not only did it come with a special shiny box and gold cartridge, it included a t-shirt and a CD with a few music tracks from the game! I kept that shirt for years until it was threadbare. Don't remember what I did with the CD – probably sold it or donated it.
I often regret having given my entire original collection away about 10 years ago, though it went to someone who I know appreciates it at least as much as I did, if not more so. I had even kept all of the original boxes. It was really something.
So I reached out to an acquaintance I knew might have a N64 console lying around that he might be willing to part with. He agreed to ship it to me for $20. So I got a console with power and A/V cables. It was missing the memory expansion slot cover, but it DID come with the expansion pak already installed. The console is definitely in used condition, but I cleaned it up and ordered a replacement memory expansion cover on eBay.
I also ordered 2 knock-off controllers and a memory pak so I can save games. Original controllers in good condition are not cheap, but I'll eventually pick some up.
As of the time I write this, I still don't have any games, so I'm not even sure if the console works! But I found a good deal on Tetrisphere – one of my personal favs – and that should arrive in the mail tomorrow. I also found a good deal on a bundle of wrestling games, including WCW/NWO Revenge, which was another favorite of mine that I played pretty regularly back in the day.
I'm not sure how deep I'll get into this, because N64 gear is highly collectible and desirable these days, and I'm finding it difficult to justify spending what most sellers are asking! But if I keep my eyes open I'm sure I can snag some good deals here and there.
But we'll see how long this latest nostalgic phase of mine lasts. What usually happens is I end up losing interest or being reminded of the reasons I decided to get rid of whatever things I thought were so important for me to acquire again, and I eventually sell or donate them all over again. But at least for now, I'm enjoying the challenge of building a modest collection again and rediscovering some great games I haven't played in a decade or so.