Note: This is a bit of a long read and I should shorten it but I like what I wrote!
I have always had an appreciation for all of the games I played and enjoyed growing up. As time passed and new consoles were released, I always wanted the latest and greatest gaming experiences like any kid desired, but at the same time I also enjoyed going back and playing my older games too. Most kids had to give up their old systems and games in order to afford whatever was brand new, but lucky me I never had to give up any of my old games.
Through the passage of time I was able to slowly add new interesting games from various consoles as I was able to find and buy them building up a nice little collection. My NES collection in particular was always the most impressive primarily because carts hardly cost anything back then and I could have so many. So my family would buy games for me they found at pawn shops and yard sales. I added a few games from nearby game stores. I added a small handful of games purchased from eBay that I knew I always wanted to have. With just a minor amount of effort and over a long period of time I ended up with a very solid collection of around 250 NES games.
Fast forward to 2013. Recently married my wife and I decided we wanted to buy a house, and along with that came the opportunity to have the space to get my cartridge games out of boxes and storage totes and put them in proper shelving and on display for the very first time. This was a very proud moment for me. I had flirted with diving hard into collecting NES games a few times, but that moment of seeing my entire collection in plain sight really inspired me. Half-heartedly I always figured I would complete the NES game collection but this time it felt different. I was ready. Full steam ahead, I am going to finish this NES cart collection.
Needless to say, it wasn’t easy. I figured I was at least halfway to a full set when really I was only a third of the way through at best. In 2013, vintage video game prices in particular were really taking off and NES was at the top of the food chain. I had a few high-end games but I was missing nearly all of the most expensive titles. So I made a plan. I decided to aim for only licensed NES games to start. I researched cart prices. I targeted wholesale game lots on eBay. I made a Craigslist wanted ad. I signed up to online collecting communities and buy/sell/trade groups. I hit every used game store within 40 miles looking for deals. I spent a ton of money. I resold doubles. I also had a small number of unbelievable finds that I still marvel at today. All in all, it took me almost two years, and in May 2015 I bought my last NES licensed game to complete the set. Well, every licensed game except for Stadium Events, but I’m happy without it!
Of course, a collection like this is never truly done. I’m still on the lookout for missing and interesting pieces. I have over half of the unlicensed carts, several PAL exclusive carts, a few repro carts, some homebrew games, a multicart, and even a number of tough to find screw variants. I’ve also really been into Famicom exclusive games and I already have a nice sizable collection. So there is always something out there to look for and I know that I will never quite get every NES game out there. But I have enough to keep me busy.
One of the things I have decided as an NES cart collector is that I want to have clean games that load the first time every time. I’m sure anyone who has spent any amount of time with an NES has had to deal with the dreaded blinking light issue. Therefore I took the time during NES collecting to deep clean every NES cart in my collection. I even clean the doubles that I sell. That has probably been the biggest time sink of them all and even though I never truly get caught up I can confidently say that every licensed NES cart in my collection has been professionally cleaned by me. Now, if I’m going to spend all that time scrubbing years of filth off the pin connectors, peeling off old rental and price stickers, and using numerous chemicals to remove permanent marker stains, I should take it one step further and at least try out all the games, right? Well, of course I have done that too. I have played every single NES licensed game that I own … many of them for only 5 minutes. I have discovered many gems of the library that way, but I know deep down that’s not quite enough. I’ve been playing video games since I was 5 years old and I can do better than just pop in a game and put it back on the shelf to collect dust.
A great memory of my childhood revolved around one particular summer off from school. Back then a kid had what seemed liked an infinite amount of free time, and I decided that summer that I was going to make a list of my favorite games, put them in some kind of preferential order, and spend all my time completing games off of that list one by one. From what I remember it was really quite the list and I wish I still had a copy of it. I believe I had listed over 100 games and I had it taped up to the wall next to my TV. I had plenty of time though and I had beaten all of these games before so I was certain I would be able to finish this project no problem. And I did complete every game on that list, only it took me 18 months before I was finished! After I finished the last game on my list, Earthbound, I distinctly recall feeling both pride in a great accomplishment and great sadness that this little slice of my childhood had come to an end. It was completely worth it though! I haven’t ever done anything like this since then, until now.
Putting all of this together makes for the perfect recipe for the purpose of this personal project of mine and this website. I have all of the games close in hand, I still love playing these old games whether new experiences or familiar, and I’ve done something similar before. So I am going to start from square one and take on the NES library one game at a time. But unlike my childhood list, I have no illusions of this being a brief endeavor. It won’t surprise me at all if I’m still plugging away at this in 2025. I have the desire, I have the skill, and I have the actual carts. Hopefully with a family, career, and myriad other obligations and interests I have the time. But I have a plan. And I’m ready.
In summary, I’m just a guy with a deep appreciation for 8-bit games and enough skill to be able to pull off such a monumental task!
Thanks for joining me! Now go play some NES games!