One of the most annoying things about collecting and playing vintage games is the cost. While a great many classic carts are available at cheap prices on the second-hand market, the most desirable examples are rising in value all of the time, which means many people simply don't bother with physical games and either buy them digitally or (gasp!) emulate them instead.
However, over the past few years, we've seen another option appear in the form of officially-licenced reproductions. These range from compilations to 'replica' releases of certain high-value games. Recently, we've seen the likes of The Return of Double Dragon (AKA: Super Double Dragon, a rather strange release which has been found to be incompatible with original SNES consoles), R-Type III, Majyuuou and entries in the Kunio-Kun series get re-releases which, in terms of looks, are almost identical to the originals. In the case of Retro-Bit's R-Type collection, the game even comes with exclusive goodies that make the replica version desirable in its own right.
For collectors, this situation presents something of a conundrum. The value of vintage games is often based on the fact that they are authentic originals; these 'new' versions are cheaper, and won't be seen as 'true' editions by many. However, for those who simply want to play these esteemed releases, they're a godsend, as there's little chance many of us would be able to afford the prices being asked for the original versions.
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Of course, while these versions are official and legal, there's a growing market for cheap pirate 'repros' of classic games. Chinese online stores are bursting with fake copies of high-profile retro collectables, many of which come with professionally-printed case inlays and instruction manuals. While it's currently easy to spot such fakes, it stands to reason that methods will improve over time to the point where it may become impossible to tell them apart – and that's bad news for collectors.
While official reproductions are all above board, you could argue that in the eyes of hardcore collectors – many of which will have invested a considerable sum of cash in tracking down authentic originals – they're just as irksome as the low-rent pirate copies; in fact, you could say they're worse, as they reduce the value of original copies by giving interestest players a valid way of owning high-value retro collectables.
Let us know what you think about this approach by leaving a comment and voting in the poll below.
What's your opinion of official reproduction games? (139 votes)
I think they're great, as they bring these titles to a wider audience
I think they're bad, as they reduce the value of the original games
I'm not likely to buy them, but I can see the benefit
I don't have an opinion either way
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