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.

Saturday 2 August 2008

Les Schtroumpfs & Les Schtroumpfs Autour Du Monde

When discussing collecting for the Master System there is always one topic that keeps coming back, Smurfs, or to be more exact Smurfs 2 (Les Schtroumpfs Autour Du Monde). The online collecting community didn't even know it existed until March 2000 and to date still comparatively few copies have been discovered. My aim with this article is to put together all the information I know about Smurfs 1 and 2.

Les Schtroumpfs aka The Smurfs aka Smurfs 1.

Smurfs 1 is a fairly generic but decent platformer, Sega Power gave it 71%. The game is very linear, just go from the beginning of each level to end in order to progress. Attack by jumping on enemy's and run by pressing button 1. You get the option of three levels of difficulty and the option of turning the music off. You can collect stars, 5 per level, doing so will give you a bonus level.You also need to locate keys in order to free the Smurf prisoners. It is well worth trying if you enjoy 8 bit platform games but don't be expecting Miracle World or Castle of Illusion quality.

Euro version on the left and Tec Toy (Brazilian) version on the right.

Smurfs 1 was released in Europe in 1994 (1995 in Brazil) which is quite late in the Master System's life, as with most late releases on the system it is uncommon.

There are actually 2 variations of Smurfs 1 in Europe, they are only minor variations though (just on the back cover as shown in the picture below). A recent online poll shows the bottom one to be slightly harder to find.

Both European versions of Smurfs 1 came with a poster (see below) which advertised Walibi Schtroumpf Theme Park and included a voucher entitling one free entry when accompanied by one full paying person. I may have been unlucky but I bought 7 copies of Smurfs 1 before getting a poster.



For the hardcore collectors who like everything 100% complete there is also a Smurfs registration card included with the European versions as well..

You should be able to buy the European Smurfs 1 on ebay for between about £5 to £15+ depending on condition and completeness. The Brazilian Tec Toy version maybe slightly more if that appears on ebay (around £20 complete).

There are also 'blister packs' of the European Smurfs 1 but so far I have only known 2 Master System versions to have been seen (one was badly damaged). The blister packaging also contains a Smurfs figure, and not all packs have the same figure. Below is a picture of the more common Mega Drive Smurfs blister with figure (A Master System smurfs blister picture will be included shortly).

(Mega Drive Smurfs blister pack)

Les Schtroumpfs Autour Du Monde aka The smurfs Travel the World aka Smurfs 2.

For many Master System collectors Smurfs 2 represents their holy grail, the pinnacle of the collection. This was the very last Master System game released in Europe (1996), well I say released, there does not seem to be any official mention of it magazines and it certainly wasn't on the shelves in most local video game shops of the day. It is the only Euro game that I do not yet own despite bidding on many Smurfs 2 ebay auctions.

The very first time the Master System version of Smurfs 2 came to the attention of the online collecting community was when Mikko Heinonen from Finland posted a message on a News Group on the 26th March 2000. His message described how he had noticed an unusual game for the Master System whilst on holiday in the Czech Republic, the release date of 1996 had caught his eye. He purchased 2, one to keep and one to trade for EUR 0.50 each. On returning home he could not find any information online about the game he had bought.

Mikko received a lot of interest from collectors and so asked his fiancee, whom was currently working in Prague, to buy anymore she could find. She found 5 - 8 more copies of Smurfs 2 which were promptly sold/ traded onto collectors.

The interest online continued and when Mikko's brother went on holiday to the Czech Republic at the end of the year (2000/01) he asked him to look out for more Smurfs 2's and buy them. Mikko's brother found a further 20 copies of Smurfs 2 but only bought half, stating that the other 10 were in 'really poor physical condition'.

The last time Mikko looked for Smurfs 2 in Prague (early 2002) he could not find anymore. Mikko posted his full story on SMSPower forums on September 29 2004 in response to speculation about how many were actually found in Prague orignally.

Since these initial finds, Smurfs 2 has started to appear on ebay, but only very occasionally. Perhaps only 2 or 3 previously unknown copies go up for auction annually, mainly from sellers in the Czech Republic. There have been some appear in Germany, France and Italy as well. Psychofox, A member of sega8bit forum managed to find one 'in the wild' for just under £2 whilst on holiday in Prague in September 2006 (see pic below).

A proud looking Psychofox

The members of sega8bit forum have attempted to maintain a tracking list of most of the known Smurfs 2 to have appeared on the Internet.

Due to its apparent scarcity Smurfs 2 regularly commands a high price with most copies selling for between £150 and £300 (again depending on condition). The poster that comes with Smurfs 2 is actually a Game Gear poster (shown below) and is blank on the reverse.

It is also worth noting that there wasn't a Tec Toy release of Smurfs 2. It is quite surprising as the Master System was still going strong in Brazil at that point and in fact the last Tec Toy game to be released on cartridge was in 1998. Below is a mock up I made (for April fools day on the forum) of what a Tec Toy Smurfs 2 may have looked like had it been released.

This year, in fact just last month, another great discovery in the Master System community was made, a prototype of Smurfs 2. Uncovered by Bock of SMSPower and originally owned by the developer of the game. For more information on that find and the data differences from the retail version click here.

'Take a rare game and make it rarer'