Every collector has their specific passion, or “sub-genre,” they gravitate more to than others. For me, this is one of the most amazing and engaging aspects of Star Wars collecting. There’s literally something for everyone to enjoy. No matter where your passion lies there’s always something to find. These different focuses all contain their own gems, and to help you out, I’m breaking down some great pieces to add to your collection if you don’t have them already. We’re going to kick things off with a look at the vast world of Star Wars video game memorabilia!
Collector’s purchase items for a variety of reasons. Some are completionists who need to have one of everything in a specific category, while others like to hunt for items that are unique or different from the norm. Regardless of how you do it, if your focus is on collecting Star Wars video game memorabilia, there are some items you should definitely have in your collection and out on display.
1. The Empire Strikes Back (Atari 2600)
If you’re going to collect Star Wars gaming merchandise, then Parker Bros.’ The Empire Strikes Back is a necessity. Technically speaking, this is where it all began. Shortly before the original trilogy concluded with Return of the Jedi, fans got their first taste of Star Wars gaming on the Atari 2600. The gaming industry may have still been in its infancy, but George Lucas and Lucasfilm Games (before they became LucasArts) saw the potential and desire in fans to experience the galaxy far, far away in the interactive format.
Empire Strikes Back was a simple game, a basic side-scrolling shooter, and gamers are tasked with defending Echo Base from invading Imperial AT-ATs in one of the most iconic battles of the Saga. It was the first step into a much larger world for the franchise and gave fans a hunger to interact more with their favorite characters and settings. Sure, if you were to pop it in and play through it now, you might not enjoy it as much, but many of us will hold on to it for collection purposes rather than actual play time.
The greatest thing about this piece, however, is that, despite its age and historical significance, it’s relatively easy to find on the cheap. A search through a local store that sells retro video games will likely result in you finding multiple copies of this game for around $4-5. While a mint and sealed copy of the game will be a tad more difficult to find, snagging a clean, working copy is still a great addition to your collection to showcase the franchise’s roots in gaming.
2. Star Wars Giga Pets
One of the great truisms in geek culture is that if something is popular or trending with audiences, the Star Wars license will soon attach to it. Pogs, playing cards, Mighty Beanz, miniature skateboards, and the recent string of mobile games all provide evidence of this fact. So it’s no surprise that during the 90s when Tamagotchi virtual pets were all the rage, a Star Wars version wasn’t far behind to give fans their own option on the craze.
The Star Wars Giga Pets (Tiger Electronics’ answer to Bandai’s Tamagotchi) hit in the later 90s around the Special Edition releases and gave people three options to choose from: a Rancor, Yoda, or R2-D2. Seems odd an Ewok wasn’t considered, but then again these weren’t exactly treated like pets. Rather than “raising” them, they’re presented more like mini-games you can play and mess around with.
This might account for the reason why they never really caught on. Aside from the Rancor, in which you could feed him whole people to make him happy, none of them were very enjoyable and lacked some of the appeal other virtual pets had. Regardless, these are still collectibles worth adding in to your gaming collection simply because of their uniqueness.
Sure, it’s a fad that didn’t pan out for the license, but in my experience, oftentimes those make the most interesting pieces in a collection. The nostalgia factor kicks in when on display, encouraging questions and discussions from visitors. This in turn gives you the chance to open up more about your collection and show off the wealth of Star Wars merchandising knowledge at your disposal. These Giga Pets are conversation starters and provide insight to the history of the license in the gaming industry, which are primary factors in finding interesting display items.
3. Star Wars Millennium Falcon CD-Rom Playset
Many Star Wars games seek to put the gamers in the experience and help them live through the action, but the Millennium Falcon CD-Rom Playset tried to do so literally by putting players “in” the cockpit of Han Solo’s iconic spaceship. The cockpit playset sits over the top of most standard computer keyboards and snaps into place. From there you take control of the Falcon and zoom off on various missions.
The entire idea is more of a gimmick than anything else, and the game itself isn’t what many would call, “fun.” However, this little piece of gaming history is worth hunting down and adding to your collection. It’s an interesting gaming experiment for the franchise, and it’s a pretty nifty crossover piece, managing to be both a game and toy collectible.
Let’s face it, most Star Wars collectors dip their hands in all variety of collectibles, and having an item that manages to fit into multiple areas of collecting is a boon. It gives you many things to talk about and can be displayed in a multitude of ways. This is especially true with this specific playset since its packaging is ideal for display, for those of you who prefer to keep things nice and neat in the box (like me). It has a large plastic “bubble” window that allows you to see the entire set, ooh and ahh over it, all while remaining sealed.
Additionally, while this came out nearly two decades ago, it’s fairly easy to find at a reasonable price. Dig around the vendor booths at any of your local conventions and you’re likely to find this for around $15-20. Even in the online shopping realm, if you search hard enough you’ll find a mint one for around the same price, and it’s totally worth it.
4. Darth Vader Wii Sensor Holder
In order to get the motion controls to work on the Wii, Nintendo included a motion sensor to go with the consoles. Gamers could affix the sensor to either the top or bottom of the television screens…but we’re Star Wars fans and something so plain simply won’t cut it. If we’re going to game, it’s going to be in style. Thus, we have the Darth Vader Wii Sensor Holder, for those fans who enjoy showing off their passion for gaming and Dark Lords of the Sith all at the same time.
I always thought this idea was kind of neat. While the Wii received some other Star Wars attention in the form of the snap-on lightsabers that attached to the Wii-motes, they weren’t always the most useful items. The Darth Vader sensor holder, however, was incredibly practical and looked great on your home entertainment setup. This isn’t a cheap plastic holder that feels flimsy. No, this is pretty much a high quality sculpture, cast out of a high density resin, meaning this thing is going to last and continue to look good for many years.
I love collectibles which can be easily displayed within the house without looking obtrusive or out of place. Having action figures hanging on the wall in your living room might seem a little off-putting to some, but a well-crafted sculpture on your entertainment center can mesh well with regular, non-geeky, decor in your household.
Perhaps best of all, if you’re one of the gamers who’ve upgraded to Nintendo’s Wii U, you can still use this bad boy for holding your sensor bar. Since the Wii U sensor bar is exactly the same, it’ll fit nice and neat in Darth Vader’s Lightsaber, which means it’ll continue to be a practical part of your collection for at least another few years (longer if you hoard your consoles like some of us do).
5. Limited Edition Star Wars Xbox 360
Sure, Star Wars accessories that go with your gaming console are cool, but you know what’s even better? An entire, officially licensed, Star Wars console. Revealed a few years ago at SDCC, fans instantly went nuts for this R2-D2 themed console, and with good reason. This wasn’t a simple decal or skin marking the console (as many special edition consoles tend to be), this was a full takeover of the Xbox 360.
The plastic casing was entirely redone to make it appear more like the iconic astromech, which even incorporates his telltale boops and whistles when you touch any of the face buttons. The controller is patterned after C-3PO (because you can’t have one droid without the other!), and the disc tray has “Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi. You’re My Only Hope” printed on the inside. In short, this is a very thorough Star Wars console that looks amazing.
From a purely gaming standpoint, you get a quality version of the Xbox 360, with an impressive sized hard drive. It’s a practical piece of hardware (even if you’re already onto the next generation) that also happens to be one of the better looking pieces of gaming memorabilia out there. Sure, there are various Star Wars “skins” or snap-on plates you can affix to virtually any console you can think of, but this is so much more than that. It can easily become the highlight of your Star Wars video game collection, as it’s great for displaying and looking amazing regardless of whether you’re actively using it or not.
Despite being a limited edition console, it’s still fairly easy to find one either online or on your local hunts, though it’s going to cost you quite a bit more than the other items I’ve discussed. I can honestly say, though, it’s well worth picking up and has been an integral part of my personal Star Wars gaming collection.
There are many other fine collectibles you can discover on the video game side of Star Wars collectibles that span throughout the decades. Undoubtedly you’ll want to track them down and add them to your collection as well. If you’re kicking off a new gaming focus, or simply want to add in some gems to your existing collection, these pieces will do nicely. They’re all excellent conversation starters, and they show off the various gaming trends throughout the decades.
Jordan Maison is an artist, writer, father, and avid Star Wars fan who tries to intersect all of those at every possible junction. To hear him talk about more nerdy things and his art, you can follow him on Twitter @JordanMaison or Cinelinx where he serves as editor in chief.