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The recent explosion in prices across the retro gaming market is well documented, but that doesn’t stop the headlines from popping eyes. Case in point: a Famicom copy of the original Legend of Zelda sold for ¥453,000 (~$4000), price inflated due to the fact that the cartridge’s label contains the logo for Charumera brand ramen.

While this summation might draw eyes, it does bury the lead a bit. The Charumera cartridges were part of a special promotional giveaway handled by both Nintendo and Charumera that gave out 1,500 copies of a Famicom and the game in Japan. (The Famicom given out in such giveaways also contained a special label, for the record.) The journey to document the Charumera Zelda cartridges is fascinating in and of itself, but a long string of rumors about version differences was proven moot when analysis revealed that the game is exactly the same as the other retail releases. Think of it like those Nintendo World Championships carts that have wildly different prices depending on their color. The price is due to a novel detail about the item rather than any substantive differences.


Left: Original copy of The Legend of Zelda | Right: Charumera version of The Legend of Zelda


Then again, depending on who you ask, retro collecting is all about novelty once you get to a certain point. The cart has been shown to be sold online previously for $1,500 in 2016 and even lower in other auctions and at brick-and-mortar stores in Japan. It appears that Charumera Zelda is the latest victim of retro collector price inflation. At least it’s easy to find a way to play the original.



Via: Kotaku


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Written by Amelia Fruzzetti

A writer and Nintendo fan based in Seattle, Washington. When not working for NinWire, she can be found eating pasta, writing stories, and wondering about when Mother 3 is finally going to get an official localization.