I've been cruising around eBay the last few days, and most of my time has been spent perusing the price of games by a now defunct company called "Working Designs."
This little gem of an outfit was responsible for three or four of the only truly good games every produced for the Sega CD. Anyone who was ever silly enough to buy that overpriced system, (yes... yes I did) will know what I'm talking about:
* Lunar: the Silver Star
* Lunar: Eternal Blue
* Popfull Mail
Well, in addition to making kick ass games, this company simply did everything right from a gamer's perspective. They included tonnes of extras in the packaging, they utilized hardware potential like full-motion video where it was useful, not where it was gimmicky, (yes Digital Pictures, I'm pointing at you.) And most importantly, they ported over tonnes of great Japanese RPG's against all advice, when no-one else dared take the risk. (a role now played less skillfully, but at least played by Atlus)
There were some hiccups with Working Designs' business approach. Kick ass packaging extras cost coin, and WD games never came cheap. They also suffered from a number of delays, largely due to WD's insistence on quality over expediency. (Yes Electronic Arts, UBISoft, you both suck balls)
Being a smaller outfit than many of the growth-mad behemoths today, WD's approach to development oozed collaborativeness. And not just between production managers and designers, but including the sound folks, the animators, the testers, etc. Everyone seems to have been given a great deal of opportunity to contribute to the creative aspect of WD games. The finished products were never overly flashy, or sporting groundbreaking graphics... but they were well-told stories, and how level of attention was always immediately evident.
This holds true even today, apparently. I placed a bid for the Playstation remake of the Lunar: Silver Star, (originally for the Sega CD) and confident that my $55 bid, (at least the cost of the game when released) would hold through to the end, was found with my mouth open as a couple of last minute battlers came in driving the price up to over $100 in the final 3 minutes.
Today, a greater shock caught my as a cope of "Dragon Force" for the Sega Saturn easily went for the asking price of $223.46(CAD).
The seller of both of these games, is claiming to be the writer/producer from WD, Victor Ireland, and is offering to autograph each item he sells, so this, I thought, must have been boosting up the price a bit, but not by much it turns out, as my search for the same titles from different sellers is seeing them go for similar prices.
As retro-gamers begin to develop as a strong subset of the gaming community, I think we'll begin to see more old classics fetch astonishing prices on eBay.
Makes me wish I'd kept all the old boxes for my NES titles!