Saturday 13 September 2008

Lucky Dime Caper Limited Edition Boxed Set

The Lucky Dime Caper Limited Edition Boxed Set is one of those items every Master System collector wants, or if they are lucky enough to own it then it is likely to be one of their favourite items. This is the only set of it's kind for the Master System (a very similar set was released for the Mega Drive for Ecco The Dolphin, that will be featured in a later article). The first thing that strikes you when you come into contact with this set is the size of the thing! The outer box measures 330mm x 250mm x 70mm. The next thing you notice is that it's a really high quality item, made from thick textured card, that feels expensive (unlike most of today's thin glossy cardboard video game sets).

I seem to remember seeing the set in the shops priced at £49.99 but I cannot find any evidence to back this up (Can anyone else remember or does anyone have an advert or news piece showing it's release?). I have a magazine listing it for sale for £14.99 in one of the many game shop adverts of the time.

The imprinted Sega logo at the top of the box is a really nice touch

The Lucky Dime Caper set contains the Master System video game, an audio cassette featuring an assortment of Disney songs and a Lucky Dime Caper T-shirt. The box opens out into two halves with the aid of a small black cotton tab at the top. The hinge is at the bottom end of the box (It's wise to take great caution when handling one of these as I can imagine a careless hand could damage the joins or inner sections).

Within the main box there are 3 removable card sections that hold the contents (see below). The two smaller sections which hold the game and cassette are both constructed from the same thick card as the outer box. The larger section which holds the T-shirt is made from a much thinner card (which is quite easy to damage).

The Audio cassette, titled 'Donald Duck's Disney Selection', has 4 popular Disney tracks on each side. See the full cassette insert here and here.

Side A)
I Wan'na Be Like You
When I See An Elephant Fly
Best Of Friends
He's A Tramp

Side B)
The Bare Neccessities
Everybody Wants To Be A Cat
Cruella De Vil

This cassette was produces by Pickwick and the spine says 'Sega 1', which suggests there are more.. I know for sure there is a Jungle Book Sega cassette, as it is advertised as coming free with the game in magazines from the time.

The 100% cotton T-shirt included in the set comes in a sealed plastic bag (sealed with two pieces of red tape, see below). The label shows it is made by 'Mickey Magic' but does not show sizes (If anybody has an opened Lucky Dime Caper T-shirt please can you let me know the size and provide a good folded out photo of it).

Let me know if you have an open one as this one will remain sealed forever.

The game itself is almost identical to the very common usual release, except for a simple sticker covering the bar code advising 'Not To Be Sold Separately'.

One more item which comes with this set, and as far as I am aware it is the only place it can be found, is a Land Of Illusion double sided poster/ games catalogue. Much like the outer sticker of the box set the poster also states 'Master System II'. One side is simply an advert for Land of Illusion (priced at £29.99) and the other side is a games catalogue featuring games priced £9.99 and £14.99. The poster is twice the size of the usual Master System game pack in posters.

Click here to see a close up of the reverse

The Lucky Dime Caper Limited Edition Boxed Set doesn't show up very often on ebay, so when it does it will fetch between £60 and £100 (Unless it is poorly listed, incomplete or damaged). It is worth picking up any of the component parts if you see them separate as you may be able to piece together a full set if you're lucky. I purchased my set for £70 from another collector, he had bought it off ebay for £20 (He caught it when it was first listed and offered the seller £20 buy it now).

The price sticker says £9.99 (I wish)

A few years back a company called Telegames had brand new sealed LDC boxed sets for sale in their online shop. I believe they had about 20 originally and sold them for between £50 and £80 each (Please let me know if you have more accurate information). The Telegames sets were shrink wrapped and also had plastic strapping around the box (see above). I'm unsure if this strapping is original from Sega as I have bought a Mega Drive game from Telegames with the same plastic strapping. This doesn't stop me wanting it though!!

Look out for my future articles on the Mega Drive Limited Edition boxed set and other Sega sets. If you have information or pictures of other Sega box sets then please let me know.

Saturday 6 September 2008

Portuguese Purple Releases

One of my favourite set of games to collect for the Master System is the Portuguese Purple releases (or 'Portuguese Purples' as they have become known). They are a later release much like the usual 'Classic' re-releases found in the rest of Europe. The games seem to be a complete mish mash of older and newer games including a couple of Tec Toy exclusives (at least a Hack and a multi cart, see below). The cover art, manual art and cartridge stickers seem random at first but there is some pattern to it as you will see later.

The games are very easy to spot due to there striking purple covers and in some cases very different box art. The cases, cartridges and Manuals are from Tec Toy (Brazilian) this must be because both countries speak Portuguese. Perhaps Tec Toy had some surplus stock? even so it's still strange that Portugal should produce these purple covers exclusively.

Note that the each spine has the proper logo of the game
title (and a picture) unlike most other releases of the same
game. (Road Rash and Jurassic Park are missing from
the picture as I don't have them yet.)

There were a total of 15 confirmed Portuguese Purples released (listed below) and a Purple boxed Master System III (Tec Toy's name for a Master System II). If you have any of these then please post your list on this link (This is to try and track if any are more or less common).

Asterix and the Great Rescue
Bart Vs The Space Mutants
Cheese Catastrophe
Desert Speedtrap
Game Box Serie Esportes (Great Volley, Super Futebol II and Wimbledon)
Indiana Jones e a Ultima Cruzada
Jurassic Park
The Jungle Book
The Lion king
My Hero
Road Rash
Sapo Xule: S.O.S. Lagoa Poluida (Tec Toy hack of Astro Warrior)
Sonic Spinball
Spiderman: Return of the Sinister Six
Taz in Escape From Mars*

*The back of the Purple console box reveals a 16th game, Taz in Escape for Mars, that has not yet been discovered (as far as i know) . Taz in Escape from Mars was only released in Brazil in 1996, which is a full year after Cheese Catastrophe so perhaps it simply just missed the boat for when these games came out. Below are the best pictures I can find of the Portuguese Master System III (please let me know if you have better ones).

Taz in Escape from Mars circled on the back
of the Portuguese Master System III box.

Most of the Portuguese Purples share the same main cover art as the Tec Toy versions. In some cases this actually differs quite a lot from the European art work as can be seen below with The Lion King and Bart Vs The Space Mutants. Note that the Portuguese's Bart logo has been (almost) copied from the European version.

Euro, Tec Toy and Portuguese.

Portuguese Bart Vs the Space Mutants has a standard Tec Toy manual and cartridge (in fact all but 2 of the Portuguese games have standard Tec Toy cartridge stickers). The Lion Kings manual is quite different, the cover is copied from the European box art and the inside has been edited (For example all mention of the Master System Super Compact has been removed). Interestingly the manuals are actually manufactured by Tec Toy as they all have the usual Tec Toy numbered sticker on the inside back cover.

Euro, Tec Toy and Portuguese.

Nearly all of the Portuguese games have exclusive manuals, Most interesting of which is the manual for Spiderman: Return of the sinister Six which has the art work from Spiderman Vs. The Kingpin, see below.

Below are some more examples of Purple games and there European cover art style manuals. Note that the Indiana Jones manual uses the alternative (U.S. Gold at the top) Euro cover.

My two favourite Portuguese Purples are My Hero and Transbot. They don't seem to fit into this set of much newer games and the cover designers obviously noticed this. So the cover art is totally redesigned, to the point where My Hero is unrecognisable. The titles/ logos have also been updated from the standard older text to bright colourful modern looking fonts. The games look that good that you could almost say its false advertising, at least the old Sega art didn't get your hopes up.

Euro, Tec Toy (Nuclear Creature and Gang's Fighter)
and Portuguese

As you can see, for these 2 games, they went with the Euro titles. This also meant different cartridge stickers, these are the only 2 Portuguese games not to have standard Tec Toy cartridge stickers.

Euro, Tec Toy and Portuguese

The manuals have retained the old style Euro/ US Sega box art. Both Portuguese and Tec Toy manuals appear to be exact copies of box covers.

Euro, Tec Toy and Portuguese

Portuguese Purples sold in Spain?

It appears that some of the Purple releases were sent over the boarder to Spain. Did they over produce the Purples? Or was it just one shop that had branches in both countries? So far I have found 2 Portuguese Purples in Spain. Each has had translated text stuck to the back of the box, see below.

This is actually stuck on the outer plastic in both cases.

They also each contain a 4 page Spanish translated manual along with the standard Portuguese manual. I also have a loose Spanish Sonic manual which came inside the Portuguese Jungle Book. If you have any Spanish manuals or even translations stuck to your game boxes let me know!

Most of the Portuguese Purples can be picked up for under £15, some can even be found for as little as £5 (usually Transbot and My Hero). Games like Sonic Spinball, Cheese Catastrophe and Spiderman: Return of The Sinister Six you may need to pay a bit more but anything over £25 is too much. Taz in Escape From Mars has still yet to show itself so when (If) it does it may fetch a much higher amount. The boxed Portuguese Purple SMS III is also likely to be worth more than usual as I only know of one in collectors hands so far. If anyone has any magazines that reference these releases or anything else they feel relevant then please let me know.

Wednesday 27 August 2008

Collector's Treasure - Alex's Collection

The reason I created this site is to provide help and information to Sega collectors so it's only right to show off some of the amazing Sega collections out there.'s first featured collector is 28 year old Alex from Germany. We discuss how he started out, what he enjoys about collecting and a few tips for new collectors. The photo's can be enlarged by clicking them..

Alex's shelving packed full of Sega treasure..

SegaCollect: How long have you been collecting for the Master System?

Alex: In 2006 I discovered my old master system again. Then I started playing my old games a bit and I really enjoyed it. Then in march 2007 when I finished playing all my master system games I looked on ebay for more games. After that, I discovered and I read about some rare sms games and I looked for them. I bought more games and read about cool accessories and then started collecting.

More treasure!

Alex's Sega Mega-Tech Cab

SC: Wow, that's an amazing collection to have after just 18 months! What do you like most about the Master System and what is good about collecting for it?

A: The things I like the most are that there is always new Master System stuff being discovered by collectors. For example a photo of an SMS II version of Home alone, A Moonwalker Blister Pack including a VHS tape, Weinachtsset SMSII Pack, Italian lion king, Argentinean Master System stuff. Also I like collecting for the SMS because there is a great collector scene with friendly collectors.

Some nice boxed hardware and a selection of German
Master System marketing booklets and stickers.

SC: Where do you buy or find your Master System items (Online, shops or fairs)?

A: I live in a rural part of Germany so It is very difficult to find anything at all for the Master System in this area. Apart from my first System and games I have only found about 2 games in my area the rest has had to be online.

A complete German Master System rental suitcase.

SC: What has been your most expensive purchase and do you regret paying so much?

A: When I started collecting I noticed that there is actually a 'Brazil only' Sonic game - Sonic Blast. Since I am a really big Sonic fan I decided that I must have that game, but I couldn't’t find it anywhere. So, when I finally saw it for £60 I just bought it! Later I noticed that it can be easily found for £20, therefore I still regret buying it for £60.

Brazilian TecToy items including that slightly expensive
Sonic Blast (Iv'e seen it sell for higher Alex)

SC: What has been your best bargain or best find?

A: I guess that is my Korean 'Aladdin Boy' and 'Gam*Boy II' which I got each with a Korean game for £30 shipped.

Alex's Korean Samsung consoles. Top: Gam*Boy,
bottom left: Gam*Boy II and bottom right: Aladdin Boy

SC: Those are some great bargains! (I would hate to reveal how much I paid for a Gam*Boy). What is your favourite item in your collection so far?

A: That would be my boxed complete SG Commander control pad, I nearly needed one year to find it.

Left: Alex's fave - a European boxed SG Commander.
Right: Japanese 'Hori' SG Commander.

SC: What are your favourite areas of collecting? (i.e. Complete Euro or US sets, Strange variations, Boxed hardware...)

A: My favourite area of collecting is the Korean market, but I also like collecting Tec Toy variations, boxed hardware and other rare games and stuff. I don’t aim to have a complete set.

A great selection of very hard to find Korean
games (and even harder to find Taiwanese)

SC: What 3 items do you need/ want most in your collection (Your holy Grails)?

A: My holy grails are a red F-16 Fighter pre-release card, a Portuguese purple Taz in Escape From Mars and any boxed Korean SMS console.

Some Portuguese purple games
(one of my own favorite sets of games to collect)

SC: Do you play Master System games much or mainly collect?

A: I do both, although I haven't played all the Master System games I own so far. Also there are some crappy games that I don’t like and which I will never play again, but on the Master System, there are enough good games so I have enough to play. I play about 3 hours per week.

SC: That sounds like me also, I wish I had more time for playing. Which is your favourite Master System game?

A: Wonder Boy III

A full and complete set of the known early German releases
including Light Phaser and console.

SC: Do you have any advice for people looking to start a games collection?

A: When you start collecting you shouldn't’t rush into it and buy everything for daft prices,
You should be patient. You can find nearly everything at a good price if you watch ebay and other places constantly.

Complete German, French and English versions of Ultima IV, very impressive.

Many thanks to Alex for showing and speaking about his Master System collection. If you have a Sega collection you would like to show and discuss then please let me know.

Saturday 16 August 2008

The Sega Collect News - August 2008

Welcome to the first edition of 'The Sega Collect News'. This is going to be a monthly feature which rounds up the Sega collecting news of the month. Actually just Master System related news, perhaps in the future other Sega platforms can be included if somebody with a keen interest in that area would like to help out. Please feel free to contact me with any Sega collecting news you feel will be relevant and interesting.

New Master System for 2008

Tec Toy are releasing yet another new Master System in Brazil this year, this time with a newly designed top half. The last few Tec Toy Master System's have had dummy cartridge slots and built in games only but based on the old Master System II style shell (as the rest of the world know it). Now they totally removed the slot area so there is no confusion at all with this model that there isn't a cartridge slot. As with the 2007 model 131 games are going to be built in, although not exactly the same line up, click this link for a full list of the games. The suggested price is R$239.00 (about US $150.00 or £75.00).

Another game cover variation.

Sega8bit forum member Motopaolo has posted this picture of his Italian version of The Lion King (Il Re Leone) which up until now has not been noted before on either sega8bit or SMSPower. It was this time last year that the Italian version of The Jungle Book was tracked down by a Swedish collector which I later bought from him, this is also the only one I know of so far. Unlike The Jungle Book this variation shown above is different in more than just the translation. As you can see it is missing the usual 'Action' flash in the top left corner, also the bottom section of the front is black on all other versions. The other main difference to note is the logo on the spine section, all other versions have the logo in a red box.

Nice Spanish SMS II 'slip covers'.

This month has brought quite a few Master System items to my attention that I have not previously seen, above is one of the nicer ones. Sega8bit forum member Martinlaw has posted some pictures of the above Master System II slip cover on this thread. The one in the pictures is owned by a Spanish collector. Also note that there is another similar slip cover shown on that thread, this time showing Alex Kidd as the built in game instead of Sonic. Martinlaw is now putting together a complete list of Master System boxes, so if you have one that isn't listed please add it to his list here.

A complete Master System collection for sale.

Well known, long time collector Anagrama is selling off his amazing Sega collection on ebay. Currently his Master System games are up for grabs, these are being listed individually and alphabetically. See here for G to R. Still to come among his Master System games are Smurfs 2 and all the Tec Toy exclusives, so keep your eyes open for those..

Another Smurfs 2.

To finish off this months news its the type of ebay auction all collectors hope to find. Krooper13 from sega8bit forum had his smurfs 2 radar turned up to 11 it seems as he spotted the one in the above auction. It is cartridge only but he managed to talk the seller into parting with it for 10 euros!

Tuesday 5 August 2008

German variations. Part 1 - Software.

Early German releases.

When the Master System was born Sega products were distributed in the UK by Mastertronic, In the US it was Tonka and Germany had Ariolasoft. Ariolasoft was a developer, publisher and distributor of video games. As well as the Master System they also released games for the ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64 and Amiga.

There are no exclusive German releases for the Master System (Although the card version of Great Soccer is extremely rare outside of Germany). The early Ariolasoft releases are interesting to collect as the packaging, manual and cartridge or card are all exclusive to Germany. See below for the German cartridge and card stickers.

Most German releases have identical looking front covers to other Euro and US releases, but a few actually have the translation 'Die Mega Cartridge' or 'Die Sega Card', This makes them easier to spot in an online auction. As well as German translated text, Ariolasoft even had it's own product code on the box spine, all known German specific spine numbers are shown in the picture and list below. Also noted is the instances in which 'Die' instead of 'The' is used on the cover.

????? Marksman Shooting/ Trap Shooting/ Safari Hunt ('Der Sega Light Phaser' pack in only?)
41001 Choplifter
41002 Fantasy Zone
41003 TransBot (card)
41004 My hero (card)
41005 F-16 Fighter (card)
41006 World Grand Prix
41007 Black Belt
41008 Action Fighter
41009 Pro Wrestling
41010 Super Tennis (card) - 'Die Sega Card'
41011 Astro Warrior/Pit-Pot
41012 The Ninja - 'Die Mega Cartridge'
41013 Alex Kidd in Miracle World - 'Die Mega Cartridge'
41018 Great Soccer (card)
41021 Spy vs. Spy (card) - 'Die Sega Card'
41022 Bank Panic (card) - 'Die Sega Card'

(click to enlarge)

As you can see some numbers are missing and a few games you would expect to see are not present. This doesn't mean they do not exist, just that none of our online collecting community have found any of them yet. Possible German releases include Wonder Boy, Secret Command, Enduro Racer and any other 1986 0r 87 releases. Ghost House and Teddy Boy are both surprisingly missing from the list but these two are exceptions as they were released in Germany packaged in US boxes with poor quality German manuals, shown below along with F16-Fighter which is another common one to find in a US box with poor German manual (despite an actual German version existing).

As well as the part numbers mentioned above a couple more games have been found in Germany with standard Euro (multi language) packaging but with an Ariolasoft sticker (see below) containing a German part number, 41023 - Quartet and 41027 - Great Volleyball, please contact me if you know of any others.

There are some other details to note about the early German packaged games; Unlike all the other German versions Spy Vs Spy and Bank Panic have German only translated titles on the manual cover (Spion Gegen Spion and Bank-Raub). Another minor difference maybe worth mentioning is that The Ninja has an incorrect font on the box spine, see below for comparison.

Correct top/ Incorrect bottom

Perhaps the strangest difference is with the cover of Pro Wrestling. The German version has a re-drawn picture - Or perhaps this was the original and everyone else got a re-drawn version? Was Ariolasoft sent the wrong image? or an early prototype cover which they copied? Was the usual version too life-like?! (Germans are very sensitive about violence in games). One can only speculate, see below and make your own mind up..

Left Euro and US/ Right German

Below is my complete collection of the known early German packaged releases. This set took me around 12 months to complete at a cost of between £5 and £12 per game including postage. There may be more out there, I would be very pleased to here about them.

please note that Hang On does not have a German specific box as it was a pack in with 'Das Sega Master System'. An early Ariolasoft booklet does actually depict an unusual box for Hang On, see below.

This actual fully boxed version was bought in 2006 in a bulk German ebay auction (which also contained the booklet above, a fully boxed German system and 12 other games for under £100) by a collector from Manchester, England. He later sold it on its own in 2007 to another collector in Australia for £300. This is perhaps one of the most sought after Master System collectibles. As can be seen from the pictures below it is not actually German.

The rear box text differs from all other known
versions and reads more like a pre-production
or sample version (click to enlarge)

The manual and card itself are also different.

Later German releases.

After the Ariolasoft years there were still some semi translated variations released in Germany. 1988 was the year of the RPG: Phantasy Star, Miracle Warriors, Lord of the Sword, Golvellius and Y's were all released. Each of these came with an extra translated manual in Germany but retained the all English packaging. Slightly later released RPG's such as Spellcaster (1989) and Golden Axe Warrior (1990) also received translated German manuals. See below for some of the ones I have collected.

I would say that the German RPG manuals are slightly harder/ more expensive to collect than other German Master System games, perhaps mainly due to RPG generally commanding a higher price than other genres. One thing to bare in mind if you try to collect these is that it is only the manual that is different.

Another notable RPG with a German variation is Ultima IV, quite different in that there is no (that I know of?) German instruction manual. Instead this time there were two additional books, The History of Britannia and The Book of Mystic Wisdom. English versions of these books are blue, French are pink and below are the German yellow ones.

These books are very difficult to find in any of the 3 languages, the main reason for this is that the books do not actually fit inside the case and were originally shrink wrapped to the back of the box (One of the books has the games bar code stuck on it). Not only this but it is also thought that not all copies of Ultima IV came with the books (perhaps just the first production run?).

Other European language variations to track down are not exclusive to Germany but I will add them onto this article anyway. Olympic Gold released in 1992 as a Barcelona '92 Olympics tie in was available as a 'limited edition' in some countries (I can confirm Spain, France, Britain and Germany). The limited edition versions had a different cover with a yellow circle on the front and the back of the cover advising (in the particular language) that it was limited and that it also contained a 'souvenir booklet'. The game description on the back cover is translated and the spine has a specific part number 27030 - xx (Germany being 27030 - 18). The full cover souvenir booklet is also in the specific language, see below. Please note that the manual is standard multi language for all Euro releases.

Winter Olympics (Lillehammer '94) was also released in translated European limited editions. As with Olympic Gold these came with souvenir booklets, specific covers and part numbers (Germany had 29015 - 18). Once again the manual is multi language. This game included the flag of the country in the top right which I think is a nice touch (and makes finding them easier on ebay if the photo isn't clear).

Lastly came World Cup USA 94. Once again with the limited edition releases the box is translated (German part number 29028 - 18) and the country flags were included in the top right. This time though it is the manual that has been translated and the souvenir 'wall chart' (in this case) that is generic (I do not yet have the German specific manual for this game). In my opinion this is harder to track down than the other two limited edition sports games.

To finish off this article here are perhaps the two easiest to find German variations, 'Das Dschungelbuch' (27069 - 18) and Der Konig Der Lowen (27081 - 18). With these two it is only the covers that are specific to the country and there are no additional extras other than the standard multi language manual. Any collector looking to branch out into variations should be able to find at least the German and French versions of The Jungle Book and The Lion King quite easily on ebay and for roughly the same price as the multi language versions (apart from higher postage if you are not local to the country).

Please feel free to contact me if you have or know of any other German specific versions of Master System games I have missed. Part 2 of this article will feature German Sega Master System hardware and accessories.