Is THIS the Rarest Thing I Own?

31 01 2012

So there I was browsing a Hard Off when something in one of their display cases caught my eye.  I approached one of the guys working there and directed him to the case, and said I would like to purchase said product.  The fellow looked at me and said that what I wanted was only a display unit and didn’t work.  None the less, I told him I wanted it and they sold it to me for the sum of Y1050 ($13.75).  When I got to the car I examined the box it was in… in big letters on the back was printed CLUB NINTENDO.  Whatever this thing was, dummy unit or not, it was cool looking; and I had never seen one quite like it.  I even googled it from my iPhone and came up with scant information.  Here’s what I’m talking about:

The first picture taken in the store's parking lot. You can see my pink VW van on the right.

Now, some 16 hours later I know a lot more about my find.  This is a Club Nintendo limited edition GameBoy Micro faceplate that was offered in 2006.  It was released as part of Nintendo’s 20 years of Mario celebration.  The general public was able to breeze into a store and pick up a GameBoy Micro that was designed to look like  controller number 1 on a Nintendo Famicom (Famicom controllers were hard wired and not detachable like NES controllers).  Club Nintendo members were able to spend the equivalent of Y10,000 ($130) to get this “Platinum Prize” which looks like a Famicom controller number 2, thus the Roman numeral II in the upper left hand corner.  The number 2 Famicom controller also had a built in mic and volume control, which is also represented in this design.

Controller I and II GameBoy Micro Faceplates

 

Thing is, Nintendo had some serious supply problems and this Famicom Controller II Faceplate was going over like it was the greatest thing since sliced bread.  The end result was Nintendo canceling the majority of pre-orders and very few of these actually making into the hands of fans.  I’ve seen Super Robot Wars limited faceplates (also offered by Club Nintendo), as well as Pokemon Center and Mother 3 faceplates, but this was the first time I’ve seen this.  A Yahoo! Auction search comes up with nothing, as does eBay.  There’s a little information out there from when it was released, but not much.  It’s a little sad to think that a removable faceplate for a handheld game machine is the rarest thing I have… I do have games and systems that are very expensive (a complete copy of Gimmick! for Famicom and a Sega branded WonderMega, for example) but this may be the hardest to get hardware I own.  And to answer your question, no, I’m not taking it out of the box.  It’s never been opened.


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