Jusco 30th Anniversary N64 – When Luck Prevails

Sometimes luck just seems to be on my side – actually it’s quite often now that I think about it. But in this case, even I have to say that my luck was extraordinarily good. 😀

I was doing my once a fortnight manic/obsessive search through the used places, and not much was coming up, until…. I head into CompOff (HardOff, but mainly focused on computers) and I see this Nintendo 64. Not knowing too much about N64s, I think to myself that the colour of this one seems a little different, and also that Jusco 30th anniversary symbol must mean it’s not overly common – yes, I was that naive!


So, I decide to ask the shop attendant to have a closer look (it was in a cabinet). Yes, the controller felt good, and yes, the condition was great (including the manual), but I was still undecided – sad to say that is no joke either. Did I want to pay the $25 (Yes, $25 measly dollars!!)? I seriously had no idea what I was looking at, and as I already own a pile of N64s I just wasn’t sure if I should bother. 😮


Finally, I thought why not spend the $25 and I buy it – how much could I loose right? The guy asks if I want a bag, and I say “na it’ll be fine”. I carry it out wondering if the Jusco 30th anniversary mark actually means anything, and throw it into the back of the car – not on the back seat of the car mind you, in the hatch! For those of you that don’t know $25 is an insanely good deal for one of these rare N64s, but stupid me had no idea…

*Bellow you can see the Jusco 30th markings on the box:
n64-jusco-version jusco-clear-grey-n64

Completely oblivious to what was sitting in the back of the car, my family and I do some shopping. Everything we buy gets put on top of it in the back. I am sure some of you Nintendo 64 collectors out there are thinking that Hollo does not deserve this rare piece of gaming history – can’t say that I’d disagree with you honestly. Luckily I didn’t do any damage to the box or the console itself you’ll be happy to know – I’d hate to have the N64 police at my door!

*Bellow is the Jusco (in katakana) stamp on the instructions – definitely look for this if you’re in the market for one of these:

So, it seems that I am now the owner of one of the rarest N64s made. Of course, I didn’t know this until I also posted on Aussie Arcade to ask the guys if they knew any info about it. My mouth hung open like a total fool when Frank (AA member) gave me an approx value of the thing – had to slap myself pretty damn hard.

For those of you (like me earlier) who have no idea what this is, why $25 is an amazing deal, and why CompOff obviously didn’t know what they had, I guess now is the time I should fill you in. Basically the Jusco 30th Anniversary edition Nintendo 64 is a Japanese exclusive console that was released only for Jusco stores in Japan. They are very scarce, and there are many (maybe an understatement there) searching for this particular version.



The value of these things has jumped in recent years, but loose ones can sell for approximately $400 at the time of writing. Boxed and complete sets can sell for $650 plus! Now you might have an idea how stupid I was with this thing. I had no idea about what this was, and as the HardOff group usually knows what they have, I kind of just trusted the pricing – even though it was slightly cheaper than you might find clean boxed N64s.

*While I was taking pictures of this one I decided to snap a pic of the other boxed N64s I have in my collection. Amazingly this Jusco one is by far in the best condition!


I am not just lucky to find this particular machine, but also to actually buy it when I didn’t have any stinking idea what it was! Seriously, I am ashamed I didn’t know what it was. To quote Frank “Hollo, I don’t even collect for the N64 and even I knew that was a Jusco 30th Anniversary LE!”. That pretty much sums it up – dumb luck strikes again. 😀

Nintendo Famicom Watch – Timeless?

First off, sorry about the ‘timeless’ bit in the title. The older I get the lamer I get. 😀


So…. A Famicom watch? No it doesn’t play games, no it doesn’t attract women in droves due to it’s super styling, but yes, it will raise your geekiness by at least a factor of 2!

I hadn’t seen one of these before, and I haven’t done a heap of research about it yet, but what I do know is that this is an official Nintendo product produced by BanPresto, and also that it was part of a collection of many. Anything else is pretty much a mystery at the moment.

This particular one is unused (as you might be able to tell due to the protective strip still being present), and based off images I found on-line it is unfortunately missing an outer box.


I can kind of tell why this particular one was never used… It’s one ugly little machine! Still, there must have been some cool otaku (oxymoron? I think not!) somewhere with one of these, roaming around wearing it with a huge amount of pride.

I got this for about the equivalent of $20, and I’m not sure if I got a good deal or not, but it’s different and that’s good enough for me. 😀


If any one can point me in the direction to gain some more information about it, I’d love to hear from you. *Click on the thumbnails bellow to enlarge*

famicom-watch-nib nintendo-famicom-watch

Tomy Retro Handhelds – LCD, What LCD?

The 70s were great weren’t they? The movies, the hair cuts, the clothes, the music…. Ahh those were the days. Games may have required huge amounts of imagination to suspend disbelief, but once suspended, games were nothing short of amazing (may have gone too far with the ‘amazing’ bit, but you get the picture).

So what do we have here then? Just the closest thing to real sports that Tomy had to offer, that’s what! Tomy Black Racer, and Tomy Basketball. 😀



The Tomy Black Racer (cool name hey?) was released in 1978 to critical acclaim (not sure if there really was critical acclaim by the way), and even though it says “Digital” on the front of it, I don’t think there is much in way of digital internals….

Basically, there are just multiple tapes inside that simulate the road whizzing by, and by changing the gears you make the tapes move either quickly or slowly, thus giving the effect of breakneck speeds (breakneck speeds might be going to far, but it makes for good reading right?).

Although the forward movement of the car is simulated, the track doesn’t exactly have many corners simulated, but you need to steer left and right to avoid the other cars.



*pictured bellow*
I believe that this game may have been the first handheld game to break censorship rules by the simulating enormous amounts of blood when you crash (this could be my supreme 70s child imagination kicking in though). 😀


You will see on the bottom left of the machine there is a lap counter (bit strange considering that you drive in a straight line, but what can you do hey?). The aim is to complete the largest distance in the time allocated. Crashing merely takes up precious time.

And no (before anyone asks), there isn’t force feedback on this bad boy.


Bellow are the instructions. Gotta love the early Japanese manuals. 🙂



Next up we have a Basketball sim that paved the way to classics like NBA Jam (don’t take my word on that one though) – Tomy Basketball. 😀

The interesting thing about this one is that the players do not actually run around, which in many ways gives this game more similarity to Netball instead of Basketball (imagination was/is useful). You basically just pass, defend, and shoot.


The LEDs represent the ball, and you score just like you would in real life (by pressing a button). The crowd screams during tight points, the cheer leaders are blistering hot during the half-time show, and the ref isn’t always fair (imagination working overtime once again), making this the ultimate in handheld basketball!



I’m not actually sure when this one was released, but it definitely sports superior technology than that of the Black Racer. If any of you guys know when this came out, please fill me in so I can add it to the post.



Although it may look like I am poking fun at these two machines, they really are quite fun to play. I would say my pick of the two would be Black Racer, but that’s purely because I’m not a huge basketball fan. Definitely recommended picking them up if you’re into collecting handhelds.

Mandai – Massive Japanese Retro Store!

Mandai is a pretty big chain of stores here in Japan. They specialise in almost everything retro, used, or quirky in some way. The only trouble with these stores is that the prices vary dramatically, and to get a good deal it can be rare. Still, I have bought some very nice items from this place in the past, but on this trip it was not to be.

It’s always a good sign of an interesting store when there is a giant robot out the front right?


And it’s even better (as a sign of a place I want to go into) when the giant robot is sporting a game controller as a belt buckle. 😀


The range this place carries is nothing short of amazing, but the stock doesn’t seem to rotate all that often unfortunately – mainly due to the prices. Don’t get me wrong, the prices are quite fair on average, but they’re just not the usual jaw-droppingly cheap that a game hoarder becomes accustomed to here in Japan.

This item bellow is something I hadn’t seen before. Maybe Sean from the Famicom blog can shed some more light on it. It is a Karaoke unit for the Famicom of all things. I would love to hear the 8-bit renditions of 80s J-Pop that would come with it! I was very tempted to pick this up, and in all honesty I might go back and grab it if anyone can fill me in on it.


A few N64s for the taking. 😀


There is so much here that getting everything in a single shot is pretty much impossible. Bellow we have a few pics of the Super Famicom sections.





As you can probable tell this far into the post, this particular shop is large, very large, but the pictures really do not give the size away. Even when there in person, the front door of the shop opens up to almost a Tardis like experience. The first thing you notice is a massive Pachinko/Pachislo parlour, then the place opens out into a myriad a colours and sounds in an almost seizure inducing mess.

Some Saturn,Dreamcast, NeoGeo, and VirtualBoy stuff.



Here we have one of the isles. This one has a fair bit of the N64 stuff, and some more Super Famicom carts.


Sorry for the blurry picture on this one guys. As I have mentioned before, taking pictures in Japanese stores isn’t looked on too kindly, so I had to rush around to get these pictures. Unfortunately this means that the Famicom carts ended up being a bit on the blurry side. 🙁


OK enough of the games for a second…. Like I mentioned above, this place is massive, and stocks so many different things that you will never get through the lot in one go – that is not an exaggeration! I usually get into complete meltdown after about 50% exploration. Bellow I have taken some random pictures of stuff that I thought would suit fellow geeks. 😀

A life sized Yoda! Yes, I understand that Yoda is not real, but if he were, this is how big he’d be. 😀


Hentai section for all that is cute, fury, tentacle-like, or a combination of all three. 😀


Yes, Godzilla is in fact smaller than DarthVader – always knew this was the case.


I was not expecting to find Coneheads toys!


And finally we have the Megadrive section on the left and game books/tutorial on the right. The picture bellow that is an area of the PS2 section that would fit into the frame. I kid you not, that would be less than 20% of what’s there for PS2!



Just looking through these pictures makes me realise just how much game gear I have missed! I missed the GameCube, Handhelds, any current Gen machines and games, plus so many other interesting sections of the store. This place is amazing to walk through for any serious Otaku, but I would definitely recommend going on a weekday if possible – people just add to the claustrophobic feeling of the place.

Since when does Taito = Rubbish?

This past weekend I did the right thing and spent time with the family. We decided to head out and go for a drive into the mountains. The mountain roads in Japan are great fun to drive on for me, very picturesque for the wife, and something different for the kids. 😀

Driving through this tiny little town, out of the corner of my eye, I catch what seems to be a discarded arcade cab. After debating with the wife to turn around for 30 seconds or so, we turn off the main road and head back in the general direction. Initially I thought I might have been imaging things (dreaming of arcades and gaming while trying to be a good family man), but then there it was! An early Taito cab! It was well and truly beat up, and due to the location very difficult to actually get a closer look, but to find it there was just plain weird.

To give you an idea of just how weird this location was, I took two pictures. Picture one shows the right hand side of the car (rice fields and dirt), and picture two shows the left hand side (Taito and rubbish). Both these pictures were taken in exactly the same spot though.

Picture 1:


Picture 2:


As you can see by those pictures this thing truly was in a strange place. It looked as if it had been there for years…. Sad sad times indeed. Yet another classic arcade cab bites the dust…. 🙁

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