Brett Weiss, Lead Video Game Cataloger
Chiller – 83008
To paraphrase Michael Jackson, “Cause this is Chiller, Chiller night.” Chiller is indeed a thrilling horror romp, complete with a graveyard, a haunted house, and a rack room where people are being tortured. While it’s based on the 1986 Exidy arcade game, the cart was not licensed by Nintendo, and it’s easy to see why as it’s a bit on the gruesome side. Using the control pad or the NES Zapper light gun, players shoot zombies and talismans, the latter of which cause the dead to come back to life. In addition to being unusually horrifying for an NES game, it is very hard to find, especially factory sealed and in near-mint condition like the copy we’re offering.
Harlem Globetrotters – 17005
When I was around 10 or 11 years old, my parents took us to see the Harlem Globetrotters at the Tarrant County Convention Center (which is in Fort Worth, just a few miles from Heritage Auctions’ world headquarters). I was mesmerized by the antics of the Clown Princess of Basketball as they did crazy dunks, sunk half-court shots, threw seemingly impossible passes, and in general put on an amazing show for the crowd. The NES Harlem Globetrotters game we’re offering incorporates several of their crazy tricks, including the ability to trip the referees (!) and pull down their pants (!!). The whimsical box art does a great job capturing the playful nature of the team, and it looks amazing on the gorgeous copy we’ve got in our Signature sale.
Trog Marquee Art
I write books about video games, and one of the most enjoyable aspects of this is discovering hidden gems for various consoles. One of my all-time favorite discoveries is Trog!, an incredibly entertaining game for the Nintendo Entertainment System. Players guide a cartoonish dinosaur around a series of 50 mazes, collecting eggs while avoiding cavemen, fire, tar pits, and other obstacles. The game is a port of the 1990 Bally/Midway arcade cult classic, and we couldn’t be more excited to offer preliminary art for the coin-op cabinet’s marquee. It was illustrated by Jack Haeger, whose work here reminds us of the great Matt Groening.
Pocky & Rocky
Couch co-op was king during the 8- and 16-bit eras of gaming, and Pocky & Rocky was perfect for a two-player match. This overhead-view free-roaming shooter puts players in the role of a girl named Pocky or a goblin named Rocky Raccoon as they work their way through six levels of play, firing away (in eight different directions) at snakes, zombies, and other enemies. Despite the game’s cute graphics, it plays like a hardcore shooter and is very hard to beat. It’s hard to find as well—there are only four sealed copies on Wata’s March 2023 pop report, and the copy we’re offering is the highest-graded of these.
Evan Masingill, Consignment Director, Video Games
This amazing, complete copy of Atlantis II is the game that excites me the most from our Signature Auction. This is the first video game specially designed for a gaming tournament – eight years before the Nintendo World Championships! Longtime Atari fans understand the exceedingly high rarity of Atlantis II; it never had a retail release, and you could only obtain it by qualifying for the tie-breaking round of Imagic’s “Defend Atlantis” contest. Imagic reused the retail Atlantis game packaging and affixed a simple “Atlantis II” label to the box to denote this special edition. The game itself is a more challenging version with altered scoring increments.
This complete set shows the chronology of one contestant’s journey from beginning to end. It includes the contestant’s original Atlantis game used in the tournament, official Imagic letters, and the holy grail Atlantis II game.
Castlevania fans should be excited about this one! For years, most collectors seeking a sealed copy of the Genesis exclusive Castlevania: Bloodlines had to settle for later cardboard box Majesco reprints. The Majesco releases are beautiful in their own right, but the original “Made in Japan” copies with their plastic clamshell cases have long remained an elusive grail. As luck would have it, this Signature Auction features the highest-graded clamshell release of Bloodlines out of just three sealed examples known to exist!
Now, this is beautiful! If we’re talking favorite video games, EarthBound is a close second to Chrono Trigger in my own list of cherished games. EarthBound has a huge cult following among gamers, and it’s easy to see why. This quirky, first-party Nintendo RPG was not a hit upon release, but its charming characters, unconventional setting, music, story, etc., resonated with the lucky few who played it back in the day. It was one of just four SNES games in the US to utilize an oversized box, which housed an official Nintendo Player’s Guide in every copy.
I’m sure this incredible rarity turned the heads of many collectors when they saw our catalog! The black box NES set is home to some of Nintendo’s most historically significant games. From the origins of Super Mario Bros. to Duck Hunt to an arcade port of Donkey Kong, Nintendo’s 1985-1987 black box lineup is legendary. With their iconic pixel art, beautiful uniform box design, and extreme rarity, these are among the most coveted NES collectibles. Donkey Kong made its NES debut in 1986, three years after its Japanese release as a Famicom launch title. To date, sealed copies of Donkey Kong remain in the single digits, with this being the first hangtab copy and the second overall example we’ve offered at auction. All eyes will be on this stellar early Nintendo release.
Cierra Caballero, Associate Video Game Specialist
ClayFighter: Sculptor’s Cut
To think: the game I loved as a kid is here in a Signature Auction! I grew up playing a ton of fighting games, but none of them compared to this “bonkers” title, ClayFighter! With the Claymation style and dark comedic edge, you can bet the Sculptor’s Cut was on my letter to Sumo Santa. We only rented the game from Blockbuster a few times, but the Sculptor’s Cut blew my mind! There were a ton of new characters to play; my favorites of the new cast were Earthworm Jim, whose games I owned and loved, and the gigantic, dismembered hand, High Five. I found it hilarious, plus it reminded me of Thing from The Addams Family if Thing was a Kaiju monster. I’m 63 1/3 percent sure that many fellow fans will do any number of “dumb combos” to get a hold of this masterpiece! “LET’S GET READY TO CRUMBLE!”
Street Fighter II’: Special Champion Edition
When I was a kid, my sisters made the mistake of giving me their Sega Genesis. It gave me time to hone my skills on Street Fighter II’: Special Champion Edition. I put hours into practicing as Chun-Li, sometimes blue Chun-Li vs. pink Chun-Li. In my mind, this was the coolest thing ever! I realize now how lucky I was to have this as my first Street Fighter game as fan-favorites Sagat, M. Bison, Vega, and Balrog were playable for the first time. The Street Fighter franchise is such an iconic IP in the fighting genre it’s no wonder it has spurred movie and TV adaptations and of course the most unforgettable reference in 1993’s film City Hunter, where Jackie Chan dressed as Chun-Li, my favorite character in the series. This scene became my favorite Street Fighter reference of all time!
If you know who Melvin Ferd Junko III is, then this is the game for you! Tromaville’s beloved Toxie is an underrated superhero in every respect, so seeing Toxic Crusaders here in our Signature Auction has me over-the-moon! Leaping from the animated series, Toxie must save his friends Junkyard, Headbanger, Major Disaster, and Nozone and mop up those pesky polluters! This Troma-rific beat-‘em-up brawler beautifully mixed my favorite genres, comedy and fighting. Plus, many will remember Lloyd Kaufman’s appearance on the Angry Video Game Nerd YouTube Channel where he plays many of The Toxic Avenger games, including this beauty! This is only the beginning: Lloyd Kaufman’s Toxie will return in the reboot of The Toxic Avenger starring Peter Dinklage, so my fellow Troma-niacs will definitely not “waste” time bidding on this lot!
View all games in the 2023 April 20 – 22 Video Games Signature® Auction #7307 and tell us about your favorite titles in the comments.