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WATA mess. Grading and sealing console games.

Grading and sealing console games with the Video Game Authority (WATA) can be a highly controversial topic, with both strong arguments for and against the practice. On one hand, grading games can provide a sense of authenticity and value to collectors, as it can confirm the rarity and condition of a particular game. On the other hand, however, grading can also be prone to fraud and can have negative psychological effects on collectors and gamers.

One major argument in favor of grading and sealing console games is that it can provide a sense of authenticity and value to collectors. By grading games, collectors can be assured that their game is genuine and has been evaluated by a professional organization for condition. This can be especially important for rare or valuable games, which can command high prices on the collectors’ market. However, even relatively common games can see inflated pricing such as the classic example of Super Mario Bros for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). A “9.8” graded copy of this very common NES game from the mid 80’s made headlines in late 2021 selling for a record 2 Million US Dollars causing many collectors to scratch their collective heads.

However, the practice of grading games is not without its flaws. One major concern is the potential for fraud. Some collectors may attempt to pass off counterfeit or altered games as genuine in order to obtain a higher grade and, in turn, a higher price. This can be difficult to detect, as even “experts” may not always be able to spot a fake game. This can lead to collectors paying exorbitant amounts of money for games that are not authentic, which can be a major disappointment and financial loss.

WATA graded reproduction listed on eBay

Fraud can also occur within the grading process itself. There have been instances where individuals or companies have bribed or otherwise influenced WATA graders in order to obtain higher grades for their games as well as WATA employees allegedly selling their own graded games at really high prices which is apparently against WATA’s policies. This undermines the integrity of the grading process and can lead to a lack of trust among collectors.

Another issue with grading console games is the psychological aspect of collecting. For some collectors, the pursuit of the “perfect” game can become all-consuming. This can lead to an unhealthy focus on grades and rarity, rather than on the enjoyment of playing the games themselves. Collectors may become obsessed with obtaining the highest possible grades for their games, leading to a never-ending cycle of buying and grading. This can be a major drain on both time and finances, and can take the fun out of collecting.

Additionally, grading and sealing console games can also create a hierarchy among collectors, with those who own graded games often viewed as more “serious” collectors. This can create a divide among collectors, with those who do not own graded games feeling like they are not part of the “elite” group. This can lead to feelings of inadequacy and exclusion, which can be harmful to both individuals and the collecting community as a whole.

Inflation of prices for relatively common games can also be a major issue in the collecting community. When a game is initially released, it may be priced at a certain level due to production costs and market demand. However, as the game becomes rarer and harder to find, its price can increase significantly on the secondary market. This can be especially true for popular or highly sought-after games. While this can be frustrating for collectors who missed out on the initial release and are now looking to purchase the game, it can also lead to speculation and hoarding, as individuals try to take advantage of the inflated prices.

Just this week, a console game enthusiast and vlogger Madlittlepixel reported on a reproduction copy of Castlevania Rondo of Blood for the PCEngine which was graded by WATA listed on eBay for several thousand dollars. The copy, sealed in a WATA graded case is clearly a PCEWorks reproduction and yet WATA still graded it as a legitimate copy. This seems like a pretty big error on WATA’s part and perhaps their practices should be evaluated. Additionally, the eBay seller sent a rudimentary “legal-eese” email to the vlogger demanding he remove all evidence of his defamation and libel from the Internet regarding the copy of  Castlevania Rondo of Blood listed on eBay or face legal action. Rightly so, the vlogger refused and the content continues for consumption. With light investigation, the same seller is selling other PCEWorks PCEngine reproductions as originals for over inflated prices in their eBay store. One of the games clearly has the PCEWorks logo on the disc.

Overall, while grading and sealing console games with WATA can provide a sense of authenticity and value to collectors, it is not without its drawbacks. The potential for fraud, both in the grading process and in the selling of games, and the negative psychological effects of collecting can be major concerns. Can we trust WATA after this? Did we ever trust WATA? WATA mess.

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Is Final Fantasy ever Final?

The popular and enduring Final Fantasy series of role-playing games has won the hearts of players all across the world. The series is renowned for its intricate plotlines, endearing characters, and cutting-edge gaming elements. Nevertheless, it appears that Final Fantasy is never truly “final,” despite the name. Whenever does Final Fantasy end?

Since the 1987 debut of the first Final Fantasy game, the franchise has produced a large number of prequels, spin-offs, and remakes. Every new game in the series has added to the general mythology while also introducing fresh characters, settings, and gameplay mechanics. Due to the series’ popularity, a multimedia franchise that features anime, movies, and other items has been developed.

The query, Is Final Fantasy ever final, still stands. The fact that each new game in the Final Fantasy series offers a stand-alone story is one of the reasons it has survived for so long. While several themes and characters have continued from one game to the next, it is not necessary to experience the series’ earlier titles in order to appreciate the new games. This enables the creators to continuously innovate and provide fresh concepts, keeping the series engaging for viewers.

The way that the Final Fantasy series has developed throughout the years is another element that has contributed to its continuing popularity. Although later iterations of the Final Fantasy series have included aspects of action, strategy, and even multiplayer gameplay, the original titles were essentially turn-based role-playing games. This variety has made the series appealing to a variety of players and kept things interesting for devoted fans.

The fact that Japanese culture is incorporated into the Final Fantasy series is one of its most intriguing features. Japanese mythology, folklore, and religion have always had a significant effect on the series, and many of the characters, settings, and creatures are based on Japanese cultural practices.

The kappa and the tengu, for instance, are two mythical beings that the series includes that are based on Japanese yokai. The characters in the anime frequently take their names and appearance cues from Japanese folklore and stories, while also being heavily influenced by Japanese mythology.

In addition to the mythological components, the series features a variety of Japanese-specific cultural allusions and themes. The idea of honor and responsibility is one such instance. This idea is frequently portrayed in the series through the interactions between the main characters and their allies. The value of honor and duty is a recurring motif in many Japanese cultural practices, and it gives the storylines in the series depth and complexity.

The emphasis on aesthetics and beauty is another characteristic of Japanese culture that is prevalent in the Final Fantasy series. Many of the places and characters in the series, which is renowned for its beautiful artwork and design, are influenced by traditional Japanese art and architecture. The series’ vivid colors, minute details, and symbolic iconography all contribute to its aesthetically appealing and engaging environment.

Japanese culture has always had a big impact on the Final Fantasy series. The series is a celebration of the rich cultural traditions of Japan, from its themes and aesthetics to its roots in Japanese mythology and folklore. Whenever does Final Fantasy end? The series is an enduring classic that will never truly be “finished” since with each new release, it develops and offers players new experiences.

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Retro game stock depleting in Japan?


Retro video games have seen a resurgence in popularity in recent years, leading to an increase in demand for vintage consoles and games, particularly in Japan where many of these products were originally released. However, there is a growing concern that the supply of these retro games may be depleted due to the increasing popularity of online auctions and the use of proxy services by foreign collectors. Is retro game stock depleting in Japan?

Online auction sites like Yahoo! Auctions Japan have made it easier for collectors to bid on and purchase rare and hard-to-find items from anywhere in the world, leading to a surge in demand for retro games and consoles, particularly from foreign collectors raising the question is retro game stock depleting in Japan? This trend is exacerbated by the use of proxy services, which allow foreign collectors to purchase items from online auctions and other retailers in Japan, even if they do not have a Japanese shipping address.

The depletion of retro game stock in Japan is a concern not only for collectors, but also for the preservation of video game history. Many of these vintage games and consoles are no longer being produced, making them irreplaceable once they are gone.

Japanese collectors in Japan also have their own set of concerns regarding the depletion of retro game stock. The increasing competition for these items from foreign collectors may make it more difficult and costly for them to obtain the games and consoles they are seeking. In addition, the use of proxy services by foreign collectors may make it harder for Japanese collectors to gauge the true value of an item, as the prices paid by foreign collectors may be artificially inflated due to the additional cost of using a proxy service.

In conclusion, the demand for retro games and consoles in Japan is being strained by the rising popularity of online auctions and the usage of proxy services by international collectors. Japanese collectors in the nation are concerned about this tendency because it could affect the preservation of video game history.


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Direct from Japan via proxy service

Proxy services like Buyee, Sendico, Zen Market, and Jauce offer a convenient way for individuals to purchase items from online retailers and auction sites in Japan, even if they do not have a local shipping address. These services act as a middleman, allowing users to bid on and purchase items from sites like Yahoo! Auctions Japan and Rakuten, and then have the items shipped to a location of their choosing.

One of the main benefits of using a proxy service to purchase items from Japan is the ability to access a wider range of products. Many online retailers and auction sites only ship within their own country, making it difficult for individuals living outside of Japan to purchase items from these sites. By using a proxy service, users can bypass these restrictions and purchase items from any site that ships to Japan.

The chance to benefit from cheaper rates is another benefit of proxy services. When compared to equivalent products sold in other countries, commodities on Japanese websites occasionally may be less expensive. By using a proxy service, users can benefit from these lower pricing and possibly save money when making purchases directly from Japan.

However, using proxy services to buy goods from Japan has certain disadvantages as well. The extra expense is one of the biggest disadvantages. Proxy services frequently demand a fee, which considerably raises the price of an item. Additionally, it might be expensive to export goods from Japan, especially if they are sent by air.

Sea mail is a much slower but far less expensive alternative to transporting goods by air. The drawback of using sea mail is that, depending on the destination, it may take many weeks or even months for the packages to arrive directly from Japan via proxy service. For customers who require their products earlier, this might not be the best choice.

Even those without a Japanese delivery address can buy goods from online shops and auction sites in Japan with the help of proxy services like Buyee, Sendico, Zen Market, and Jauce. These services have advantages, but they also have disadvantages, such as extra expenses and the possibility of pricey shipment. Before using a proxy service to buy something from Japan, users should examine the benefits and drawbacks, as well as their shipping alternatives.

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Two special blue Famicom disk development disks drop on Yahoo auctions last week.

  Last week, a special internal blue version of the mass produced yellow disks hit the Yahoo auction block. What is so special about the blue disks? Several games were released on blue disks. Well, these special disks are not the same blue disks we know and cherish in our collections. These blue disks do not have a sliding protection door. These blue disks do not have the giant magnetic warning graphic pressed on the center of the disk, they are near the opening of the disk like their yellow counterparts. These blue disks were internal to Nintendo and used for what are presumed to be golden master copies of FDS games. These disks are Famicom Disk development disks

The first blue disk to show up had “FMC MASTER DISK CARD” printed on the label. also printed on the label was “06-ULM-00-00” Presuming the ULM signifies the product ID BAN-ULM, this would be the master copy of Ultraman: Kaiju Empire’s Counterattack. And finally, a space for a hand written check sum for both sides of the disk. 

This particular disk sat at 10,500 yen for most of the 4 days it was up. However, 4:00 this morning (for me on the west coast of the United States), the bidding went pretty crazy. The disk ended up at 76,000 yen roughly $661 USD. As a side note, on Yahoo Auctions, if a bid is made before 5 mins left, the winning bid will add 3 minutes to the auction over and over whenever there is a last minute bid. Anything under 4 minutes (I think), it adds 8 minutes. Alternatively, if a bid is within seconds, I think the auction will end. I experienced this bidding on some Super Famicom game manuals. My high bid was 6000 yen and at the very last second, someone bid and my 6000 yen kicked in and won the auction. I am not really 100% positive on the time durations, however. Interesting note – the same seller also had a white developer disk for sale that ended up going for 38000 yen (about $330 USD). This is almost double what I paid for the white developer disk I bought last year on Ebay.

Famicom Disk development disks next to a normal yellow and blue disk


Mass Produced Yellow Disk Master or Dubbling disk Mass produced blue disk


The second blue disk from the Famicom Disk development disks is more of a mystery. Thanks to the GIGALEAK, we were able to see a massive dump of FMC Master disks pictures for most games. However, the second special blue disk has a different label. The label reads: “FMC DUBBING SAMPLE” The second line reads “01-ESC-00-00” Presuming this is Exciting Soccer, which, IMHO is not very exciting…luckily it is a rare disk! However, side B of this disk as a label with “金額確認用” or “Kingaku kakunin-yō” Translated to “for checking the amount of money” Could this be the contents of the fabled Green accounting disk after all? Thank you to Dio in the comments for pointing out that Seccond disk is not “kingaku kakunin yo” but “ryousan kakunin yo”.
量産確認用”ryousan kakunin yo” means “For Mass production confirmation”.
Thank you.I also watched the bidding happen on this auction this morning. Many times, at a minute to go, another bidder would bid up the disk. At one point, someone almost doubled going from 77000 yen to 130000 yen. 

Overall, I did not expect these Famicom Disk development disks to hit what they did. It does seem odd to me that after all of these years, two separate disks showed up relatively at the same time from two different sellers. It makes me wonder if we will see more of these master or Dubbing disks show up in the days or months to come. I havent seen a white developer disk since the eBay auction last year; time will tell. 

Lets hope whoever won these disks will report what they are!

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Repro FDS boxes – Make yourself a boxed collection!

When I first started collecting FDS games, I really didn’t contemplate how the game was sold or presented to the consumer. Obviously, it didn’t take too long to figure that out when my collection began to grow.

The price difference for a CIB copy of a game was and is significant and knowing I had a long journey of another 190 or so games to acquire, I decided to collect the games in the plastic cases and be done with it. Well, fast forward to now, I have every game in a plastic case and I kind of want the boxes and manuals.

I do have a few loose manuals from various bulk buys and finding the loose box WITH the correct label is next to impossible and would probably take a lifetime. So with me being me, I decided to make my own! Can’t be that hard, right?

First thing to do is determine the material. Seems to be 20 MIL mylar, slightly tinted and has a line pattern running about 40 degrees throughout. The exact material just doesn’t exist. Just going to “settle” for clear mylar. After all, these will be repro’s and they need to be different. The last thing I ever want is anything I make to be passed off as original to someone who isn’t aware of the small details. 

The first material I found that might have worked was actually 10x less expensive than anything else I found on the Internet. The thickness was correct and I was hoping it was rigid enough to work for this project. I ordered samples of three thicknesses they offer. Sadly, the material was really flimsy (think those plastic curtains in loading docks that hang in panels) and was definitely not going to work. Next choice was a 36×48 sheet of PETG. The material is marketed as face shields for the medical industry or windows on an outdoor porch. Turns out, the material is spot on for this project. There is also protective material on each side to protect the plastic during manufacturing.

Now the next obstacle is to fine tune the cut and score settings on my plotter. My first attempt with scores and cuts netted me having to finish the cuts by hand with an exacto blade. That was unfun. After many, MANY tests on scrap material, I dialed in the cuts and scores to work perfectly. 

To save on material, I am sheet feeding the plotter so I have to manually make “sheets” from the giant piece. I can cut two at a time and it really doesn’t take too long to make. They are very hand made but it is a labor of love.

Next was to determine how to make the grey sides and glue them together. My solution is to cut a strip of grey vinyl for the underside of the main flap on either side and REALLY strong double sided adhesive tape on top of that to attach to the back flap. 

I think they turned out really well. I am going to marry the manuals I have with the disks in their cases and offer the rest up for sale on the site.

I am also offering a repro proper label for the box (game specific) as well as a little diskun circle sticker to seal the box if desired. That part doesn’t make sense to me but I wanted to kick in some value added items.


Here is a finished box with Super Mario Brothers 2 next to an OEM box with Roger Rabbit. Has the manual and the disk in its case. Not a bad replacement if I do say so myself! These will be available on the site soon. They take a bit of time to make and I want to have several on hand available for collectors.


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Received my FDS development disk and what did I find?

In a recent article, I wrote about these 17 FDS development disks dropping on eBay. Well, today is the day that mine showed up in the mail! I have to say that there is quite a feeling of mystery surrounding this lot of disks. Where are they from? Are they the Sunsoft disks? Well, let me show you what is on mine.

The first thing I did was to make a RAW image of both sides and write a copy back to a spare disk to work with.

I popped the disk in on side B the first time so I received the expected ERR07, oops. Sliding in Side A, I am greeted with the generic Nintendo Legal notices.

After spinning for a bit, the Famicom is displaying:  “ゲームディスクヲ イレテクダサイ” or “Gamu disuku o irette kudasai” which translates into “Please insert the game disk”

Ok, so this is starting to feel like some sort of copy program. I pop in a copy of SMB2. The drive spins a bit and then this screen appears: ”ナマディスクヲクダサイ” or Nama disuku o kudasai” which reanslates into “Please insert raw (blank) disk”

This dance happens a total of 4 times for the one sided game to finish up with this screen: “オワリマッタ” or “Owarimatta” which translates to “The End”

Lastly, I popped in the copied disk and there it is!

So 1 of the 17 FDS development disks is an un named disk copy program. Using a special utility Developed by Chris Covell, I was able to determine there are 5 files on side A and none on side B. The writing date was originally 10-29-1986 and the maker or developer was a null value. 

Lets hope other collectors who bought these disks can determine what is on them and dump an image. If you have any information on this program or any insight on the other 16 disks, please drop me a message here.

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17 FDS development disks drop on eBay today, April 30th 2021

Earlier today, an eBay auction listing the 17 white FDS development disks dropped on the popular auction site. Several collectors snapped up a handful and within the hour, only two are remaining at a slightly higher price than originally listed. It is speculated, high level collectors communicated using back channels to snap up the disks that routinely fetch north of $400 USD each on Yahoo Auctions Japan. 

Sources speculate this is the infamous Sunsoft dump of 2009 FDS development disks. Originally, there were 19 disks in total with various prototypes including Aiden no Tsue, a step drill game and various development tools on these dumps.

A dump is a copy of the data on the media (the floppy disk) that can then be read on a computer or original Nintendo hardware using special tools or an emulator program.

Sources also say that this could be a totally different discovery of 17 FDS development disks with unknown data locked up for the last 25 years just waiting to be discovered by collectors. Alternatively, the disks could simply be blank. The few high level collectors I have been able to contact tell me they intend to dump the disks for the community before they are all locked up again for the next 25 years. We will follow up with an article hopefully showing the FDS community new dev tools or better yet, prototype games!

The Famicom Disk System (FDS) is a floppy disk based hardware add-on for the Nintendo Famicom based on the Mitsumi Quick Disk.  The Nintendo Famicom is the Japan local version of the Nintendo Entertainment System or NES here in the United States. The FDS never hit the US market and was short lived even in the original Japanese market. The FDS is popular to a small community of hard core collectors who strive to collect every game for the limited system.


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How do you hook up a Famicom Disk?

Good question. It is 2021 and connecting vintage game consoles is definitely not the same especially when theyre from another country! 

This will be a basic simple how to. Number one, you need a Famicom. They come in a few varieties. The original red and white Famicom, the grey top loader “AV” Famicom that looks just like its cousin, the NES. In all cases, you need the RAM adapter that goes with the Famicom Disk System disk drive. The RAM adapter sits in the Famicom like a cartridge would and the data from the floppy disk is loaded in to RAM. The cable from the RAM adapter plugs in to the back of the Famicom Disk System disk drive.

The power requirements are unique. You cannot plug in the power adapter that comes with the Famicom Disk System drive directly into the wall here in the United States. Japan uses 100v AC and we use 120v.

Two options: buy a stepdown transformer to use the original power adapter or a special power adapter to use with the Famicom Disk System. The Famicom Disk System disk drive will also run on 6 C cell batteries. The power demand and draw on the disk drive is very minimal and batteries are a very viable solution.