Remember those terrible cardboard boxes that Nintendo games used to come in, way back when? The company thankfully moved onto more civilised plastic cases in the GameCube era, but NES, SNES, N64, Virtual Boy, Game Boy and Game Boy Advance titles all came in easily-crushed cardboard packaging which, for modern collectors, means keeping a pricy title in pristine condition is hard work indeed.
If you somehow get a twisted sense of nostalgia from cardboard then you'll be pleased to learn that Retro-Bit's selection of "new" old games uses that very same material in its packaging. It has just launched four new compilation carts which showcase games from Data East and Jaleco, all for very reasonable prices.
The Data East All-Star collection for the NES contains Ring King, Bad Dudes, Side Pocket, BurgerTime and Buggy Popper, along with a set of BurgerTime stickers and two pin badges. The cartridge comes with a plastic sleeve which will keep it dust-free when it's not in use.
The three 16-bit carts are shaped so they will fit into any SNES console, regardless of where you happen to be in the world, and come with a full colour instruction sheet. Each one showcases a selection of vintage games; the Data East Classic Collection, for example, has Fighter’s History, Fighter’s History Mizoguchi, Magical Drop, Magical Drop 2 and Super Side Pocket, and comes with a Magical Drop sticker and some badges (there's a theme here - see if you can spot it).
The Joe & Mac Collection has just three games: Joe and Mac, Congo’s Caper and Joe and Mac 2: Lost in the Tropics. It also comes with a sticker and some badges. Finally, we have the Jaleco Brawler's Pack, which boasts four SNES fighters in the form of Rival Turf, Brawl Brothers, The Peace Keepers (all part of the Rushing Beat series in Japan) and the Street Fighter-style Tuff E Nuff (AKA: Dead Dance). Also included in the box are (you guessed it!) some stickers and badges.
Aside from the rather worrying health disclaimer on the back of the box which states that the carts contains materials known (in the state of California, at least) to cause cancer and reproductive problems, there's little way to find fault with these collections. True, the games featured may not be the very best in the NES and SNES libraries, but we had a blast reacquainting ourselves with the underrated Joe & Mac series, as well as discovering some other games that passed us by back in the day.
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The bonus extras are perhaps a little random, but they're cool all the same - and they certainly add value to what could have been bare-bones releases. We even felt like we were being transported back to the '90s as we tore the cellophane wrapping from those flimsy cardboard boxes; in Retro-Bit's eyes, that's perhaps mission accomplished.
Just heed the warning, OK?