Many years ago, some wise penny-pincher at Nintendo decided that shipping games in flimsy cardboard boxes was a sound business decision, and as a result, NES, Game Boy, SNES and even N64 owners had to endure packaging that was annoyingly delicate when compared to that seen on rival systems, like the Sega Mega Drive and NEC PC Engine.
The end result is that the secondary market is flooded with loose Nintendo carts, thanks to the fact that, over the decades, countless boxes have been relegated to the rubbish bin. At Nintendo Life Towers, we understand this sorry situation; while we have a selection of boxed SNES titles, we also possess a shoebox (usually kept well out of view) crammed with loose carts. Before you angrily brandish your pitchfork, we must add that the games were purchased second-hand in 'loose' condition; we were not responsible for the destruction of any of the boxes or instructions ourselves. We're not animals.
This sorry situation clearly impacts a lot of people, because Book4Games has been established to deal with the issue. It is producing a series of "precision game storage" options that allow you to keep your carts neat and tidy on the shelf, even if you don't own the original packaging.
We were sent samples of the SNES version, which holds four carts and comes in two flavours: North American SNES and European SNES / Japanese Super Famicom. Each also comes with a sheet of stickers so you can categorise the 'book' – for example, there's the letter 'C' taken from Capcom's logo, so you could potentially use one solely for Capcom's games. This is pretty vital as, once the 'book' is closed, there's no way of knowing what carts are contained within.
With the solid cardboard construction and sturdy foam padding inside, Book4Games' "Precision Game Storage" certainly feels like a premium product – and so it should, it starts from $24, which is a lot of cash to pay for something which only holds four cartridges. If you've got a sizeable collection, like us, then you're doing to need to part with a lot of moolah to get it all tidied up and organised.
Given the size of each "Precision Game Storage" book, it's a shame that space for six carts wasn't included, because it could have been done (although the foam inside would have arguably have been less robust). Oh, and while it's possible to use the North American version to store European or Japanese carts, it doesn't work both ways – because North American games are wider in size, you can't fit two of them in the European/Japanese version of the book. Curses.
As much as we like this unique take on loose cart storage, we do wonder exactly who is going to buy these. Anyone who considers themselves to be something of a connoisseur when it comes to retro gaming will surely stick to buying fully-boxed titles, while those who prefer to take the 'loose' cart route are more likely to be watching the pennies, and will see nothing untoward about simply shoving their games in a cardboard box when they're done playing.
Still, it's nice to have options – and we have to admit that these look a lot nicer sitting on a shelf than a battered Nike shoebox. Each to their own, we suppose.
Thanks to Play-Asia for sending the samples used in this feature.
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