It’s been a little while since I wrote anything about collecting. It’s not that I’ve stopped necessarily. In fact, I have plenty of material to share but my methods of collecting aren’t super interesting on the whole. I’ve had a few lucky finds nearby or wound up with some neat stuff by searching around on the usual websites. For me, it’s more about what I find over how.
There are dangers with every hobby, however, and game collecting has a metric ton of pitfalls to run into while trying to curate certain pieces at a quality one might like. There are questionable descriptions on eBay and Amazon, for example. Your version of “very good” might not be exactly what the person selling to you believes it to be. You may find that perfect listing for a complete-in-box copy of the game you were looking for- until you read the fine print that says “manual only”. Found a copy of some old Playstation game at your local thrift shop? You had better make sure to check the back of the disc unless you want to take the risk that it looks fresh off of a sanding belt.
My point is that there needs to be some attention to detail once you hit a point where you aren’t just generally collecting whatever you can find. As I’ve shown with some of my Atelier posts in the past, it can certainly be as simple as finding a copy of Mana Khemia when you dip into a retro store while on a day trip or hunting down a copy of the Premium Box of Atelier Rorona on Amazon to snatch up. All of my adventures collecting for the Atelier series have been pretty painless.
In contrast, collecting for Fire Emblem has been a nightmare.
Of course, I’m being a little hyperbolic here, but I’ve run into more difficulties trying to buff up my collection of the Nintendo property than I have all of my other online purchases combined. Everything from outright cancellations for no reason to being sent a tablet meant for someone else while my product was missing in action and even issues involving a monsoon (which is clearly understandable but unfortunate nonetheless). A few months ago, though, I found someone selling a copy of Fire Emblem for the Gameboy Advance at a fairly reasonable price. I took a quick look at the pictures and clicked to buy it immediately. I was going to manifest my good luck into this purchase. I kept looking at the tracking number over the next couple of weeks and it arrived a day or two early, to my excitement.
I opened the parcel, and the game’s box was a little beaten up- but I had seen that in the pictures. I pulled open the top of the box and slid the cartridge out. It looked a little strange- but I had seen that in the pictures. There was no manual, which I had known, so while I decided on how I was going to tackle finding that, I looked at the back of the box.
My face flushed. I felt my head shaking as I let out a deep sigh. Despite the boasts of this being a 100% authentic copy of the product, the packaging read like a mistranslated mess that was just a basic description of the game mechanics. After taking a moment to reconcile with the fact that this was another issue with my Fire Emblem collecting, I went back to look over the listing I had followed on eBay.
Even in the pictures, I could tell where I had gone wrong. Everything was as I had received, hackneyed translation and all. I had left a ‘Neutral’ rating for the transaction- everything was as shown in the ad and the product arrived on time but the game was certainly not an authentic Nintendo product. Like any great social media interaction, the seller immediately contacted me to change the feedback. I tried explaining myself and received a response still telling me that I was wrong- until I wrote out the description on the back of the box. Mind that I hadn’t even asked for my money back. Sure, I was entitled to it but the hassle felt like it wasn’t worth it and really, I just wanted people to know that this was not a legitimate claim. The seller immediately dropped the argument, apologizing for my dissatisfaction and tell me not to buy from them again.
It went without saying, but at least they were standing their ground.
So now I own this:
It’s not a substitute, though I would imagine it plays correctly on a system and functions as it should, but as a collector, I’m obviously disappointed. Thankfully, it didn’t set me back too much so for now, it’s more of a placeholder or maybe something to give a friend if they want to play through the game. Maybe this could act as a cautionary tale, too, even if it’s one that’s already tried-and-true.
Make sure you examine everything about the product you’re buying. While it would be nice if everyone were honest and well-meaning, it’s really up to you to make sure that what you’re getting is actually what you intended.