A short trip to the Netherlands for this awesome collection belonging to Michael. Some may know him from his Sega MikeyDrive blog (now renamed Mega Westgarth at http://megawestgarth.blogspot.co.uk), from his musings on Twitter (@MegaWestgarth) or from his articles in Geek Magazine.
The Mega Drive is the focal point of my collection. It served as my introduction to gaming and holds the greatest nostalgic value for me. I have a few of them, including a few Mega Drive IIs, but this one’s my favourite due to the hidden the hidden region switches I installed.
I’m very lucky to have the original model Mega CD to go with my original model Mega Drive. It only raises its dimensions vertically unlike the second model and I reckon it looks a lot cooler too. It has a much more prominent ‘retro’ look about it compared to its second model counterpart.
I managed to snag my Mega CD complete with its (tatty but intact) box, manuals, cables and the original games it came with. I think it was about £70 shipped from eBay. Puggsy, which is a favourite of mine, came later. I don’t play is as such as I’d like to, but I plan to expand my Mega CD game collection sometime in the near future.
I also get a lot of enjoyment out of my Super Nintendo and it perfectly complements the Mega Drive in terms of its looks as well as the gameplay experience it offers. I’m one of the many people that regard its controller the best around. This is my second SNES, bought off eBay for about £30 which isn’t the cheapest price around, but my original SNES abruptly stopped working and I was itching for a replacement.
Due to me never playing one as a child I didn’t have too much of an urge to get my hands on a NES, so it’s a relatively late edition to my collection. The first one I got for free from a family friend. The box in the background has another NES in it and I got the whole set, complete with game and Zapper for €25 from a fellow on a market stall selling ‘conventional’ antiques.
This one I got free from a retro gaming shop that was shutting down. They were giving away consoles that were supposedly faulty. I grabbed a bunch of different consoles and 75% worked just fine, including this little Master System II.
My younger brother and I got this as a present from our dad for Christmas soon after the PS2 came out. Most of my young teenage peers were getting PS2s, but I really wasn’t interested, I was quite happy with our N64 for years. I bought another later on from a friend for £10, however I only bought it for its RAM expansion pack!
I have four Game Gears and none of them work properly. I keep finding them from prices as low as €1 each so I keep getting them. It’s a shame though as I have the games pictured as well as the Game Gear version of Ristar, which is currently in storage somewhere.
The Japan only Bandai Wonderswan Color is actually part of my girlfriend’s collection of handhelds. She had wanted one for a while so when we saw this with the two games pictured (Puyo Puyo 2 and Chocobo no Fushigi na Dungeon) for about €40 we snapped it up. Both games are B&W, but the picture quality is nonetheless stunning.
My girlfriend always finds GameBoys for next-to-nothing prices and she likes to give them a good home. All of the European versions are there aside from the fabled backlit ‘AGS-101’ GBA SP. It’s Japanese exclusive GameBoy Light after that.
It seems these are more common at car boot sales than dial-up modems, so I have a quite a few of them. I mainly buy them because, in my experience, they do have quite limited lifespans. I have some boxes as well but they’re unfortunately in storage at the moment.
I got the Philips CD-I and everything else pictured at a Dutch car boot sale for a mere €10. I must say that the console alone weighs an absolute tonne! I was very lucky to get a bunch of games, controllers and a light gun, as well as the infamous game ‘Link: The Faces of Evil’. It even came with the video card expansion that was originally sold separately. The CD-I turns on, but unfortunately the discs don’t spin so I haven’t been able to play it.
This was the first console I bought when I decided to dive head first into the hobby due to wanting one really badly as a child. I’m in desperate need for some more games for it though, and it doesn’t get the attention it deserves.
I was on the lookout for the official Sega ‘Power Stick’ for the Mega Drive for some time before running into two at once at a car boot sale for about £2.50 each. They were dirty, but look and work just fine now. The other stick is my favourite, the ‘Mega Stick’ by Asiiware. It’s a lot more solid and sturdy than the other two as well as being smaller. A must have for the Mega Drive’s extensive range of arcade ports.
I love my Mega Drive games, I really do. Many of the games pictured are the same ones I grew up with and it’s only in my adult years that I filled in the gaps with games I remembered playing at friends’ houses or those advertised on telly. Of note is the complete copy of Sonic & Knuckles. It’s not terribly rare, but I’m happy to have a decent copy, especially considering its cardboard box.
Thankfully most Mega Drive games turn up with their boxes although I never pass up a cheap deal on a loose cartridge. That scruffy Japanese copy of Golden Axe only cost me £3 from a retro game shop in Leeds The Game Genie, S&K and Toejam & Earl are the copies I grew up with and everything else I’ve bought later.
Alien Soldier is definitely one of the more sought after titles for the Mega Drive and it wasn’t exaltedly cheap for me to buy either. It’s the spiritual successor to Gunstar Heroes, made by the same Japanese developer, Treasure. It’s an intense and brutal game and stands as the centrepiece of my collection.
I’ve been trying to build my collection of Japanese Mega Drive games for a cheaply as possible over the years partly due to their exoticism and also due to the fact that the Japanese seem to take very good care of their games. Each one is in fantastic condition including their manuals, which all contain cute little drawings of in full colour, very different to the rubbish manuals we got. The two games without English titles are Puyo Puyo and Puyo Puyo 2.
This copy of Sonic 3 is a prime example of why it’s worth investing in Japanese games. I bought this off a private seller online for £20, less than the price I’ve seen people asking for the PAL version, and look what it comes with, Japanese… things!
My small collection of Master System games. Most of these costs me no more than a few pounds each. It’s a very cheap console to collect for.
I pick up games for the NES when I see them at decent prices. Many people here in the Netherlands seem to think they’re literally worth their weight in gold, and some games I’ve bought are even in German, so I haven’t been buying many recently.
These are the tatty SNES boxes that have survived my childhood intact. I don’t aim for boxes with my SNES game collection, but it’s nice to have some around. Super Double Dragon and Total Carnage in particular entertained my brothers and I for years.
I’ve also seen a rise in the cost of SNES games locally as of late, but luckily most of the games pictured were bought some years ago, with none of them costing more than £10. A good proportion of these are the same ones from my childhood. Super Metroid, Donkey Kong Country and Pop’n TwinBee are my personal highlights.
Most of the boxed N64 games shown here were bought pre-owned during the tail-end of the N64’s life span. The three iD games were bought about a year for only £10. I’ve been fortunate in finding good yet cheap N64 games.
Again, most of these were bought when game shops were phasing out N64 games. The console has a fantastic selection of 3D platformers as well as many games by Rareware.
This particular collection really shows how my tastes changed as I moved from the fourth generation to the fifth. Back when I had a Playstation I would borrow games from everyone, and so my remaining collection has a lot of gaps in it, or at least I would think so. I still enjoy the majority of games pictured. See if you can spot the three copies of Time Crisis!
This Japanese copy of Street Fighter Zero 3 is something I’ve been holding onto for a a couple of years now. I bought from a young lad at a car boot sale that simply wanted rid of it. I bought it with a stack of Mega Drive games for what equated to something like £1.20 each. I’m not big on fighters, but it’s exoticism and excellent condition were hard to say no to. It’s full of more bits of Japanese… stuff!
I bought most of these a few years ago from a retro gaming shop that was closing down. They’re all tatty and covered with stickers, but I consider them a good, and cheap, starting point for a Dreamcast collection. I despise the awful boxes us Europeans got stuck with however.
I saw these going for €1 each at a Dutch flea market. Being a Dutch company, the Philips consoles and games aren’t so rare where I live. Saying that I still haven’t gotten around to sourcing a G7000 console to actually play these games on… Munchkin alone was worth it for it’s historical importance as a complete Pac-Man rip-off!
These are mostly part of my girlfriend’s collection, but a bunch of them are mine. I’m not a big Game Boy player but always find time for some Wario Land. Most of these are rebought copies of games I owned as a child. I traded them all in years ago for a Game Boy Advance. We’re quite happy with lose Game Boy games as they’re dead cheap and easy to store.
The few boxes we have for the Game Boy games. Pokemon Silver is the only one I’ve brought over from my childhood.
We’re very proud of our boxed Game Boy Advance games. I got the handheld hen it first came our and have loved it ever sine. Most of the games here are from my childhood, with most of the others being bought very recently from a newly opened Pawn Brokers where I live in the Netherlands. We bought about 30 games for Û2 each. And good ones too! They got their revenge by using extremely sticky price stickers…
My girlfriend buys loose GBA games as they turn up at car boot sales and flea markets. I’m pretty happy with the selection we have. Games like Zelda The Minish Cap and Wario Land 4 are future classics for sure. Bratz Babyz, not so much.
Q and A with Michael Westgarth
When did you become interested in video games and what was the first video game you played?
Michael: It’s difficult to remember precisely how and when it happened, but my earliest gaming memory is that of my little brother and I visiting our uncle who lived up in the north of England near Newcastle. As we entered his living room we saw him playing on his brand new Mega Drive playing through the half-pipe Sonic 2 special level. We were entranced. So that would be roughly the start of it, the early nineties when I was no more than four years old.
What was the first games console or computer you owned and how old were you?
Michael: We wanted a Mega Drive for the longest of time after playing at our uncle’s house, but it wasn’t until the mid nineties until we got a Mega Drive II when I was roughly seven or eight. However, my parents tell me that we did in fact have an unreliable Commodore 64 before then, but my memories of it are very vague.
What got you into collecting videogames, computers and consoles?
Michael: The jump from avid gamer to full blown collector came during my last year of university and about a year into my relationship with my girlfriend Emma, so about 2007. I used to talk to her quite often about my fond gaming memories as well as the consoles and games I never got to play. It was her that persuaded me to bite the bullet and get a Dreamcast, as I had wanted one since it was first released, and that’s when it all started. From there I read a lot online about retro gaming and have picked up extra bits and bobs since then.
Where do you source most of your retro purchases from (ebay, flea markets, car boots etc) ?
Michael: Flea markets and car boots. I have a long mental list of things I’m after and am lucky enough to have the patience to wait for them to find me. If there’s one game or console in particular that’s hard to come by then I’ll turn to online auctions and sellers, and have had much success doing so, but I do most of my hunting at the markets. It’s a thrilling treasure hunt and I enjoy talking to the people I buy games from and hearing the stories attached to something I pick up.
What is your most prized retrogaming possession and how much did it cost you?
Michael: My model 1 Mega Drive. It’s the same model my uncle had so it held it’s own nostalgic value separate to that of my own family’s Mega Drive II. It cost me only £10 and then I spent maybe £5 more to buy the components to region mod it. It may not be my rarest or most expensive purchase, but it stands tall aside my current generation consoles and I plan to hold onto it for many years to come.
What is your favourite console or computer?
Michael: It’s the Mega Drive. As can be seen in the photos, I do collect and very much enjoy games for other consoles, but the Mega Drive is where it all started and is the focus of my retro gaming and collecting. My own Mega Drive is region unlocked as well so I can be rid of the curse of PAL 50Hz gaming as well as having access to Japanese games.
Aside from its nostalgic value, I believe that the 16-bit era was the best for 2D platformers, which is my favourite genre of gaming, period. The Mega Drive may not have the graphical prowess of the SNES, but as a result Mega Drive games are more ‘rugged’ and ‘cool’. Additionally I think the Mega Drive outputs some really punchy sounds and music, really cool stuff. I love it.
Where do you want to go now with the collection?
Michael: I have space to worry about at the moment and unfortunately a good chunk of my collection is in storage so right now I need to get a bigger living space to enjoy what I have! But after that I want to dive into the world of Japanese exclusive Mega Drive games as well as fleshing out my SNES collection a bit more. A Sega Saturn is on the cards, but at this point I’m keeping that pandora’s box at arms length.
Have you any tips for budding retro games collectors?
Michael: When you start out be sure to buy what you want to buy, not what you think you should buy. I’ve spent many a pretty penny on retro games that are widely regarded as ‘classics’ only to find they don’t agree with me for whatever reason. Your collection is yours and yours alone so get the items you really want before trying something new.
Also, don’t fall into the trap of buying lots of rubbish games just because they’re cheap. Your shelves will fill up before you know it and you’ll then have to start making tough decisions that no retro gamer wants to make. Focus on what your collection means to you and stick to it. My rule of thumb when faced with a cheapo game known for its mediocrity is to ask yourself if you’ll really play the game more than once, if not then you can do without it.
Retro gaming is on the whole a relatively cheap hobby that is gaining popularity the world over. Not only can you revel in times past, but you can also learn a lot the history of gaming, a medium that is only going to grow in the future. If you have the space for it then I heartily recommend it!