The numbers are eye-popping and mind-boggling. The human brain struggles to comprehend their enormity: Over 11,000 video games without a single duplicate copy. Over 25 years to collect the sum. Over 260 photos taken of the Guinness World Records event to verify the collection, back when it was 400 titles smaller. There are 21 consoles represented by complete North American sets of released games, along with 14 more systems categorized as being “near-complete” sets, then many more with partial sets.
But perhaps the most incredible, unbelievable-at-first number is this: $1.00. That was the beginning bid for the online auction of this unique, once-in-a-lifetime collection of games (although it is important to note that there is a reserve price not yet met). Game Gavel, a games-specializing auction site, is hosting the listing page. The collector himself is Michael Thommason, who wrote many personal notes to accompany the webpage, including this assuring message for the would-be discouraged:
“Although I am selling this collection, please do not misunderstand and come to the conclusion that I am leaving the hobby. That is definitely not the case. I love games and they are pivotal part of my identity. I will continue to champion them. I will continue to write for periodicals and publish books, teach my college gaming classes, occasionally partake in competitive gaming, operate GDG’s Homebrew Heaven, publish new games and gaming products, write business plans, make appearances on television, film and radio, manage retail gaming stores, help with trade shows, work as a consultant for third parties, et cetera.
I simply have an immediate family and extended family that have needs that need to be addressed. While I do not wish to part with these games, I have responsibilities that I have made to others and this action is how I will help meet them. No worries, I’ve sold my collection many times in the past and still managed to capture Guinness’ attention, and it is entirely possible that I may again.”
Perhaps amazingly, at press time the current bid still stands at only $2,200, which represents a value of about 20 cents per game. Then again, at the moment the auction still has ten days remaining — plenty of time for an ambitious collector to make a serious move on a truly unique purchase. After all, someone has to meet the reserve… and it could be anyone.
Special thanks to gaming historian (and friend!) Cat Despira for the tip.
Eric Bailey blogs at NintendoLegend.com, where he is reviewing every American-released NES video game. He also serves as Editor-In-Chief of retro gaming features site 1MoreCastle.com, and can be followed on Twitter @Nintendo_Legend.