Limited Run Game Star Wars Nintendo and GameBoy Reissues on Kenner-Style Packaging

By Adam Pawlus — Monday, June 24, 2019

If you're a toy collector of a certain age, the 1978-1985 black and silver Kenner line look is a holy thing.  You saw it on action figures, vehicles, coloring books, and all sorts of toys (as "collectibles" were not really a thing) when you were a kid, and also at subsequent flea markets, garage sales, and guys named Ron's garages.

This look was out of vogue by 1991 when LucasFilm Games and JVC teamed up for Star Wars for the NES in 1991 and the GameBoy in 1992.  Star Wars was barely making a blip on the cultural radar with a few video games, some hollow figures from Dakin, and a small publishing program at what primitive humans of that era referred to as "book stores," some of which sold video games out of the back.   This game was not necessarily a gem of its era, but it sold well on the strength of the license and of the hope that it would be great.

For those of you who missed out in the 1991 and 1992 era, or the reissues later, or the reissues of the reissues, you've got one more chance on June 28 (assuming you don't buy the originals off of eBay for about ten bucks a pop first.) announced a reissue on Twitter and unlike most game cartridge reissues getting lavish foil boxes with posters and extras in the box, the adaptation of the 1977 movie will be sold on a cardback like an old action figure.


It's certainly curious as video games in the USA were typically sold in boxes or some sort of snapper case or jewel case.   These are also the first times that the game cartridges will be sold in a blue color - all previous official releases of these games came in grey cartridges.

"But I don't have the old hardware!" you say. "What should I do?"

These reissues are a lot like what Rhino Records kicked off for vinyl records - if you have the old equipment, you're all set.  If you're an audiophile, there's a video game equivalent just for you.  Modders have taken old NES and GameBoy systems to add HDMI and S-Video mods to the consoles and backlights to the portables through various means.  You can add a backlit LCD screen to a GameBoy Advance and GameBoy Color now, too.   Of course, there's also the Super GameBoy.

A company out of China made the GB Boy Colour, a shockingly cheap fully backlit portable with an adequate screen for about $30-$40.  It seemingly plays most if not all GameBoy and GameBoy Color cartridges.  I got a blue one... it's pretty good.

For you NES fanatics, there's a high-end console called the Analogue NT and Analogue NT Mini which are both currently out of production. They're fantastic - but they're worth more than your toy budget for the year since they're not making them.

Another company makes a very good HDMI-ready off-the-shelf console called the RetroUSB AVS, which I just happen to have on my desk. It's great, and plays your old games with your old controllers on your new TV with minimal visible lag.   I've been enjoying the heck out of mine, as it also plays Famicom games, which is handy because Konami's The Goonies from Japan is currently in English and also worthless on eBay.

Hyperkin also makes a number of clone consoles with varying degrees of compatibility that run most game console cartridges from the 1980s and early 1990s.  It's also worth noting development on the NES continues, with superb games like Nebs n' Debs and Micro Mages hitting the market.  (And I'm still waiting for my NES cartrdge of Micro Mages to ship, but I digress.

If you want to play your GameBoy games on your TV, I would recommend grabbing the old Super GameBoy or Super GameBoy 2 adapters and something like the Analogue Super NT.  I also keep a modded GameBoy Advance at my desk with a backlit screen for all my old video game needs.

If all of this seems silly to you, it basically follows the same strategy as record companies in the 1990s.   Your childhood is available again, for a price - and sometimes that price is lower than the orignial item, and sometimes it's higher.   Whatever it may be, it's being joined by a Playstation 4 reissue of the Playstation 2 game Bounty Hunter, but that's not an old 8-bit or 16-bit game console so you do you there.