The Angry Gamer 07.22.04 – Anthological II: The Cheapening

A reader responded to my “Anthological” column last week, and had the following to say:

“Oh my you are greatly mistaken on your perception on Nintendo. Let me first ask you. Do you really think that the value of Joust or game like Pitfall Harry has the same value as a classic game like Super Mario or The Legend of Zelda. No fact is that Activision is not as good a company as Nintendo, a lot of people would rather play the Nintendo classics as opposed to the other complilations from capcom or activision. Also did you ever read the reports on the success of the Famicom series in Japan, those games sold well, not because of the game, but the packaging made it more of a collector’s item. Bottom line is that Nintendo is a company of quality and would rather release one version of the game to avoid cheapening of the product. Get your facts straight before you decide to write a column like this.”

First of all…I most certainly do think that the value of Joust or Pitfall! has the same value as any Mario or Zelda title. These were games that literally laid the groundwork for future hits. Without Pitfall!, no Mario. Without Adventure, no Zelda. I could go on and on about the laughable elements and grammatical errors of the letter, but the point is that the reader did bring up a an interesting thought: do anthology collections “cheapen” the games they contain? Personally, I think not. Every single one of the other companies’ collections has sold very well; many have “sequels” planned, like Midway Arcade Treasures 2 and Mega Man Anniversary Collection for the GBA. Some gamers may subcribe to the “old games aren’t as good as new games” theory, but we all know my opinion on that rubbish.

I stand my ground: Nintendo’s refusal to release compilations has nothing to do with quality or what gamers want. It’s strictly a business decision: charging more while giving less means more profits. If anything, not releasing an anthology is “cheapening” many of these games, especially since they’ve released most of them at least three times (Super Mario Bros. is a prime example). It’s still rather silly, because what gamer would pass up a Gamecube disc containing a stack of Mario or Metroid titles? The fact that a free collection (Legend of Zelda Collector’s Edition) sells upwards of $30 on eBay should’ve clued Nintendo in a long time ago. If a free disc with four games does that well, imagine what a $30 disc with ten or more games could do.