🕹️Thumb Punks 07.22.21: The Truth Behind the $1.56 Million Dollar Game


Happy Thursday! Welcome to a bumper edition of Thumb Punks! We missed last week, so have a fabulous fortnight of news, articles, videos, and games to catch up on. We’ll return to our regularly scheduled programming next week!

As an added bonus, I’ve written about gritty sci-fi Metroidvania Aliens: Infestation for HG101. They’ve also announced that their guide to Beat-Em-Ups is due out next month, and you may recognize a certain contributor!

Thanks for reading!

Benjamin @ Thumb Punks

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Under the Hammer Bros.: The Legend of Zelda auction we covered in the last newsletter ended at a mind-boggling $870,000. Not to be outdone, two days later a copy of Super Mario 64 sold for an astronomical $1.56 Million! The latter, a sealed version of the game, was graded at 9.8.

She Ain’t Heavy: New footage of the canceled Mother 64 game has been uploaded to the internet. It was ripped from a 1998 corporate Nintendo CD-ROM that was rescued from eBay for a not-unsubstantial $357.

Chip Off The Old Block: Stone cold classic Chip’s Challenge is being released for the SNES and Sega Genesis. The 1989 puzzle game can be preordered for $24.99 for a cart or $49.99 complete in box.

Y2K: Video Game Esoterica have unearthed a motherboard thought to be for canceled console the SNK Millennium. While no games or game dev tools have been found on the board, it’s certainly an interesting find.

Pure id: A demo of id Software’s Super Mario Bros. 3 for DOS has been donated to the Strong National Museum of Play by an anonymous source. It was coded in 1990 by the company and submitted to Nintendo. Unfortunately, it was vetoed by the big N, but formed the basis of the Commander Keen series. It includes an unseen level 10-4 and, although it hasn’t been released into the wild, is promised to be playable at a public exhibition “soon”.

Super Koopa: The world record for a speedrun has been broken by Crescendo – while he was blindfolded. It took 40 hours to get the time of 11 minutes and 55 seconds, but remains an astonishing achievement. In other world record news,  Linda Guillory has set a new bar by collecting 1,599 LCD gaming systems and 2,430 playable gaming systems.

Mushroom for Improvement: 1986’s animated Super Mario Bros. movie is being remastered by fans in fabulous 4K. While unfinished, it’s already looking pretty swish.

The word that Nintendo REMOVED from Zelda games (Thomas Game Docs, 12 minutes)

… and, it’s not what you think!

PS2 GAMES We Never Got! (MetalJesusRocks, 15 minutes)

Detailing the hidden gems and, frankly, just plain odd games that never made it to North America.

Games that are Better than We Remember (Game Sack, 25 minutes)

Taking off the rose-tinted glasses, Joe looks at titles that have genuinely improved with age, including the Legend of Zelda II. Wait, what?

Pokemon Mini: Secrets of Nintendo's Smallest Console (Stop Skeletons from Fighting, 20 minutes)

The Pokemon Mini is a handheld console similar to a VMU and only the size of a Game Boy screen. Despite being almost unknown, it has 10 solid games on it and a surprisingly large fan community creating games for it today.

Mayhem In Monsterland - The C64's "Perfect" Game (Kim Justice, 27 minutes)

Late in the C64’s life, a game received (possibly the first) 100% for the system in a gaming mag. Was it genuinely great, or was it the last gasp of a dying format? In truth, a little bit of both, but Mayhem in Monsterland is a top-tier title that challenges many 16-bit pretenders.

Collectors are as confused as you are about that $1.56M Super Mario 64 sale (ArsTechnica, 26 minutes)

As prices of retro games escalate (10x, by some estimates), ArsTechnica look at why they’re swelling at such an alarming rate. Spoiler: it’s not pretty.

Iru! (HG101, 3 minutes)

Love Lovecraft? You’re in for a treat with Iru!, a barely known PS1 horror game. And now is the best time to play it, as an English patch has just been released.

The mystery of Grand Theft Auto San Andreas' mass grave (Eurogamer, 11 minutes)

17 years in the making, Eurogamer try to unpick one of gaming’s biggest mysteries after receiving an anonymous email.

Chex Quest is the best thing to ever be put into a cereal box (Destructoid, 7 minutes)

Destructoid discuss the merits of Chex Quest, a game given away with boxes of cereal in the 90s. How does it hold up?

Ambermoon (Amiga/Linux/Mac/Pi4/Windows, $FREE)

Initially released in 1993 for the Amiga, Thalion Software’s CRPG has been remade for modern systems and made open-source, to boot.

Bean Versus The Animator (Amiga, $5.00)

A mouse-based shooter with more than a hint of the Terminator 2 arcade game. Bang bang!

Ad Cosmos Ex Terra (Amiga, $FREE)

We’re cheating a bit here, as this is a compilation of 3 previously released games, but with updates. Pick of the bunch is Lumberjack, a game that will feel familiar to players of Timberman, but maybe even better.

Raven (MSX, $FREE)

An entry into the MSX Dev 2021 competition, Raven is an arcade platformer with cartoony visuals and bags of charm.

Quiz Time: In Alex Kidd, what’s the name of the currency he collects?

Answer at the end of this email!

  • Ex-Factor 5 developer Salvatrix has shared concept art and video for the company’s cancel Superman game

  • Piko Interactive are putting out carts of the previously unreleased Tinhead and Iron Commando for the SNES, Exploding Fist for the NES, and 40 Winks for the N64. Preorders are open now

  • Pixelheart are reissuing F-Zero for the SNES too, but all 500 copies were snapped up in a blink of an eye

  • The ‘Renovation Collection 1’, featuring 12 games by Renovation and Telnet, is coming out for the Evercade VS! Preorders open later this year, in time for an early-2022 release

  • The three next SNES games for the Switch Online are Claymates, Jelly Boy, and Bombuzal

  • 84, a secret, previously members-only Nintendo Cafe will open to the public soon

  • There are new Sega Genesis-themed sneaker coming out. Fantastic or fugly? You decide

  • Anyone tried PiePacker? It’s an online service that lets you play retro games with friends, like a legal FightCade

Could you share this email? Forwarding it to just one retro gaming friend helps us keep this newsletter free. Send it to 10, and we’ll love you forever.

Quiz Answer: Baums.

Thanks to Leslie for the question! Have a better one? Send it over and we’ll put it in a future edition!