Q&A: Star Wars Retro Game Runner and HasLab Tiers in Rain

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, May 19, 2024

1. Assuming that I am right in what I have heard, and that the Haslab cantina will have a 400 dollar basic version, and a 600 dollar deluxe, version, do they split the backers, or do both need 8000 backers?

A correction - the leaked post seems to be $399.99 and $499.99, but it was not launched, and as such, is not final. Maybe it will be $400 and $600, we don't know yet.

When Hasbro did its HeroQuest HasLab (that one succeeded, HeroScape did not), they had two tiers - the Core Tier and the Heroic Tier. They just had one number to reach, and odd are the unannounced, unconfirmed, still-a-rumor-but-we-saw-the-pictures Cantina would follow a similar pattern. If it's 14,000 playsets (I'm making a number up) they would most likely combine the two tiers to reach their factory minimum - if one set has more walls/tables/figures/whatever, the tooling investment for the meat of it should be split.

It's a pretty good idea to do this - some people might be price-sensitive, but my feeling is once you hit $400 your customers are going to be more likely to pay $500 for "awesome" rather than $400 for "pretty good." Anyone buying a Cantina at this point probably either has all the figures or is planning to backfill, as that is a massive amount of money to spend.



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2. Hey Adam! Your Q&A on retro gaming brought this to mind. Back in the mid 00's I really enjoyed the Jakks Pacific SW plug n play games. There were 9 SNES style games released (4 OT and 5 PT) built into plug n play controllers, as well as a couple other shooters built into weapons and a flying game built into a joystick.

Jakks also announced 4 "game keys" - small cartridges that would plug into certain of their plug n play controllers. Each had 2 games on them.

One game key consisted of re-releases of red leader and battle of Endor which had appeared on the OT controller. This game key was never released.

Another game key (with yoda's escape and turret defense) was released in bundles with the ROTS controllers.

The final two game keys also went unreleased. One (OT) had imperial gunner and escape from cloud city and the other (PT) had catamaran strike and coruscant fire patrol. (I just saw today that The roms for these 4 unreleased games made it into the wild in 2017 according to Reddit / YouTube).

In scouring eBay for these game keys 15 or more years ago, I bought a packaged catamaran strike / coruscant fire patrol game key. (Pics attached). I never opened it because I suspected then it might have been rare. But now I realize it must have been a packaging sample from the factory just before production was cancelled. (Or maybe it's a survivor from a mass ET cartridge grave in the desert - who knows).

2 questions:

(1) Is there a video game grading service like AFA for toys that you would recommend using for a find like this?

2) do you have a recommendation for a retro gaming platform where i could play the roms for the unreleased jakks pacific games?

Bonus third question - what the hell else is hiding in my sprawling collection that might be incredibly cool (or at least insanely rare) that I don't even realize I have????

I have to admit, I didn't know a lot about these specific games. Thanks for sharing! I don't have a lot of first-hand knowledge here, so here's the handy research.

People find a way to rip the ROMs out of anything. Someone got StarFox 2 pretty quickly after the Super NES classic came out, and McDonald's funded an all-new Game Boy Color game called Grimace's Birthday which can be played in a browser or through other means, if you know how. Perhaps there is an archive of them somewhere.

MAME devs have been working to play those games - as I've never played the originals, I don't know how accurate they are. For more on MAME, well, you've probably got MAME. Programmers are looking to get pretty much every game running in the name of preservation, you can play Nintendo's Game and Watch on your MiSTer, and you can run Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Arcade on an Analogue Pocket now. If you have the means, that is. For more fun on emulators and the early emulation scene, I highly recommend the excellent Retronauts Episode 609 podcast. It's got Zophar. If you know Zophar's Domain, this is a big deal. Also thoroughly interesting, Lu's Retro Source. If you're not on board with this kind of thing, I recommend reading up on it. Just a couple of weeks ago, word got out of a new clone DE10-Nano board, and that's exciting if it means anything to you. Those things got expensive since the pandemic when retro gaming stuff went from "getting a little more expensive" to "crazy."

While I can't vouch for grading, people do pay extreme amounts of money for graded games. Reddit has opinions and most stories on the topic I see tend to cite stuff graded by Wata and/or CGC Video Games. I hear mostly good things, and to reiterate I have not used either service myself. It might be worth reaching out to them to see if they do anything particularly special for this kind of product - I don't believe I've seen graded plug-and-play games before. This could be a good reason to do it.

As to your third question, we probably all have some weird stuff and don't even know it. I've got a few items I tripped over for cheap (free) that are a little hard to find but you wouldn't know what they are to look at them - sadly we never find out what these things are really worth until we sell them, and even then, it's a shot in the dark. Keep us posted with your story - heck, maybe start working on a video essay about it, I'd love to see it and I bet everybody else would too!  If each one of us write an article somewhere about something nobody else has seen, the internet would be a much more exciting place.





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I'm out of questions! Email me if you have one.

I'm also actually interested in something new. I've seen and mostly ignored Hot Wheels RacerVerse, which are basically Mario Kart vehicles with other properties. It kicked off with the standards like Disney, Pixar, Star Wars, and Marvel, as well as DC, but it's going more interesting places. I stumbled on Leia driving a Blockade Runner over the weekend and some research online showed they're doing Gremlins, Star Trek, DuckTales, Scooby-Doo, Trolls, Back to the Future, and Masters of the Universe. And it's Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan-era Toupee Shatner to boot. It's priced like kid stuff, but all of the stuff that brought us into toy collecting was, at one point, just kid stuff.

It's interesting because we haven't really seen the advent of a new, low-cost figural toy (or collectible) with lots of potential in quite some time. Heck, the last thing I remember seeing was Funko Force 2.0, which was later renamed Pop! Vinyl, and that was back when Funko's entire booth could fit in an average parking space or two. How times have changed! Mattel's new cars are kind of like some older Happy Meal toys (Fraggle Rock and Batman Returns come to mind), but at $6 are not exactly bargains. I do like them more than the Character Car and Carships we've been getting through - some are neat, but these seem to get the basic idea across a little bit better while being the cheapest way you can get a toy figure and vehicle outside the occasional LEGO polybag.

Also interesting, the Amazon and eBay prices are slightly above retail, and there aren't any cheap collections up for sale. Stores are mostly sold out of the most interesting characters, I saw solid pegs of just Inside Out Joy at one Walmart, and at another, nothin' but Darth Vader. This leads me to think there's a lot of kids and parents buying these, which could mean a collectible that basically went under the radar of most adult fans that's now in its second year. I don't think I'll be going all-out - I could give a rip about most things Disney - but any sci-fi or monsters they want to do, or Spider-Man if I can ever find one? Sure, why not?

Have you guys picked any of these up yet? If not, I just slotted in Leia to Figure of the Day next month so you can see my impressions beyond "this was so neat I wasted four paragraphs at the end of Q&A to tell you about it.

Also if anyone from Mattel is out there, unsolicited requests: Dino-Riders (although the Jurassic ones are fine, I'd like to see Rulons again). Adventure People Alpha Star was practically made to be a Hot Wheels car. I'd shell out for Major Matt Mason and a Barbie. Also I'm sure everybody has already asked for Rat Fink of Ed "Big Daddy" Roth fame. Please and thank you.

--Adam Pawlus

Got questions? Email me with Q&A in the subject line now! I'll answer your questions as soon as time (or facts) permit.



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Dino Riders

Would love to see some new dino riders too, since the secondary market is so high


Hey, how about some BIG JIM love, Mattel? Offer a BIG JIM camper and see if there are enough nostalgia bones to tickle with that brand.