Your Uncle Who Worked At Nintendo Still Had To Pay For His Games

Illustration for article titled Your Uncle Who Worked At Nintendo Still Had To Pay For His Games
Total RecallTotal RecallTotal Recall is a look back at the history of video games through their characters, franchises, developers and trends.

Even if someone’s uncle really did work at Nintendo, guess what: he probably didn’t get that kid down the street a copy of Mario for free.

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Chris Bieniek from Video Game Ephemera has got hold of some 1991 “Employee Purchase Order” paperwork from Nintendo of America, which shows how workers were able to buy their games directly from Nintendo, and how much it cost them.

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Zelda and Metroid, for example, cost an NoA employee $14. Final Fantasy, however, was more than double that at $30, while the newer Super Mario Bros. III was $34. That’s around $60 in 2018 money.

Bizarrely, Nintendo Power cost $3.50 in 1991 money, which is both insane, and also testament to the place magazines once held in people’s budgeting.

One last thing: perhaps as a credible origin story for the “uncle who works at Nintendo” thing, the language from the bottom of the paperwork seems to know that employees would be using this ordering system for friends and family, with the only restriction placed on purchases being that a NoA employee had to be the one ordering and picking the item up.

Illustration for article titled Your Uncle Who Worked At Nintendo Still Had To Pay For His Games
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Total Recall is a look back at the history of video games through their characters, franchises, developers and trends.

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Luke Plunkett is a Senior Editor based in Canberra, Australia. He has written a book on cosplay, designed a game about airplanes, and also runs cosplay.kotaku.com.

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DISCUSSION

Every time someone growls about current-gen games costing USD 60, I think back to the copy of Chrono Trigger my parents picked up for me on launch day; I believe it cost $80 in 1995, and this would’ve been at a PX on a military post (where initial cost is not lower, but tax is generally waived on most purchases).

USD 60 is still a good chunk of change even today, but it’s important to keep costs in perspective—particularly when it comes to gaming.