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XISMZERO Feb 14, 2017 (edited Feb 14, 2017)

I've been apart of the VGM community for about 13 years now and to this day, I cannot understand why anything import or domestic Donkey Kong soundtrack related sells for hundreds of dollars. Those of us who've seen these come and go for hundreds know from then to now the countless examples of stupid money dropped on these.

Here's one for the books: a rarer seen Nintendo Power Supplies/Catalog exclusive on YJA for 85,000 yen or $743 -- its opening bid.

I know some of you are sick of seeing these DK related auction posts but this just makes me want to bang my head against a wall. Why?! Not only is this, among all other releases, missing the coveted Mine Theme, but it's, well, a CD selling for almost $1k.

Who can do it? Who can explain the hi-$$$ Donkey Kong soundtrack phenomenon? I also get pretty hurt thinking about the poor saps who unloaded discs at Book Off because man, they're making a killing off 'em.

Here's a papersleeve version of DKC3 at $80 (I once had the jewel case one myself) http://page11.auctions.yahoo.co.jp/jp/a … n201168011

Super DK OSV (not the Jungle Fantasy pressing) at expected $160
http://page23.auctions.yahoo.co.jp/jp/a … o173150409

The_Paladin Feb 14, 2017

Well, that's where some of the high ebay prices it fetches are coming from.  Japanese buyers are now grabbing up the US release in hope of making huge profit on YJA, even though it's the "cheaper" alternative to the Japanese printing.

Jodo Kast Feb 15, 2017

Looking back, I see that the SNES game DKC 2 came out in 11/95 and DKC 3 came out in 11/96. By 1995, my interest in video games was future oriented, and towards the N64 only. So I never played those two SNES games and they have no nostalgic value to me. Even the original DKC, which was released in 11/94, and which I played frequently, has little nostalgic value. They were just nice looking games at the time (not anymore - I checked out DKC 2 and 3 and they look BAD, along with all prerendered SNES games, save Rendering Ranger, which looks like a PlayStation game) that had decent soundtracks.

Just using pure logic, consider this: since the DKC albums command higher prices than Super Mario World, Legend of Zelda Sound & Drama, Super Metroid Sound in Action and Dracula Best 2 (which contains the Castlevania IV soundtrack) then somehow, the DKC series is more nostalgic in the minds of gamers than games that were released during the stronger years of the SNES. Who on Earth was salivating for DKC 2 and DKC 3 when the N64 was on the horizon?

As an example, why does the Super Metroid album not command drastically higher prices than the DKC albums? Does this mean that less people played Super Metroid than DKC and regard it as having inferior music? Or was the Super Metroid album overprinted, thus resulting in prices that barely squeak past $100 and not properly past $1000? In the same vein, why does Dracula Best 2 not regularly go for well past $10,000? Does Castlevania IV not musically kick the shit out of DKC?

I'm stumped, perplexed, boggled and stupefied as to why any DKC album sells for anything beyond $75. Those albums must've been severely under printed, or the DKC games are regarded as VASTLY superior to the likes of Super Mario World, Zelda 3: A Link to the Past, Super Metroid and Castlevania IV.

Ashley Winchester Feb 15, 2017 (edited Feb 15, 2017)

Jodo Kast wrote:

As an example, why does the Super Metroid album not command drastically higher prices than the DKC albums?

I absolutely adore SM's music, but no, Sound in Action has major problems (in my opinion) and that's what will keep me from buying it unless someone would practically give it to me in an insanely good deal.

That said, DKC2 has a problem as well in the form of one major omission that everyone's sick of me bringing up. No, that's not the only great track on the album, but yes, it would make me think twice about buying this, especially at these prices.

XISMZERO Feb 16, 2017

Super Metroid Sound In Action was the laziest release of the Nintendo/Sony series with Yoshiyuki Ito, Masumi Ito's arrangements being forgetful compared to what they've done for others and mostly KOEI. They didn't even have any session musicians for the arranges, either, which has made their works like Royal Blood amazing.

However, I still see it asking for around or higher than what Zelda Sound & Drama asks for even though Zelda is a much wider known, beloved Nintendo property.

The DK thing really escapes me: seems to be related to the simple fact that, at some point, the marketplace or resellers have coveted these and since anything DK equates to collectible and expensive for no real reason. I don't think it has much to do with quality of music/compositions or the like.

vert1 Feb 18, 2017 (edited Feb 21, 2017)

I guess people feel their collection is incomplete without one of the best soundtracks on the SNES. I personally don't care to have it as a display item, nor do I feel compelled to listen to its music in one sitting to purchase the cd at such a high price either.

What would it take for the soundtrack to get a reprint?

Ashley Winchester Feb 18, 2017

vert1 wrote:

What would it take for the soundtrack to get a reprint?

Given this is Nintendo we're talking about? The third impact ;P

Crash Feb 19, 2017 (edited Feb 19, 2017)

I attribute this to market forces, with both sides of the supply/demand equation potentially driven by different things,

On the demand side, I think some of it may be due to a tendency for a "rare" or expensive item to increase in price because of a collector's mentality. Some collectors are interested in an item simply because it is expensive, under the logic that if it is expensive, it must be good, and can only increase in price. For these people, ever-escalating prices are just further proof that an item is awesome, and no price is too much to pay. A great example of this is tulipomania, where tulip prices rose exponentially due to speculation, then crashed spectacularly. I wonder if we'll get a good test of this when the Goemon CD box set is released. With these CDs becoming more widely available, how will this affect the prices of the originals?

Another component on the demand side is popularity of a particular collecting hobby. As a hobby becomes trendy, more people become interested in it, and many are looking for "instant awesome". They don't want to fool around the experience of filtering through the drek, and are just looking for the "best" or the "hidden gems". As others respond with their favorites, a list begins to be formed which summarizes the community's favorites, which causes demand for these particular titles to skyrocket. Since these lists can persist forever on the internet, the demand can be constantly refreshed as more people enter the hobby, but the supply dwindles as those people who have the title are unwilling to sell it.  This can be countered by re-releases, though for older releases, this is generally unlikely. Even if there is a re-release, some collectors will tout their original release as being superior for whatever reason.

Others can be driven by a focus on completionism, whereby the last few items needed to complete a set become ridiculously expensive, especially if print runs were low. A great example of this is the US TurboGrafx catalog. There are somewhere around 150 titles for it, but the print runs of the last few games were very low. Because the catalog is so small, trying to get a complete set seems like an attainable goal, and is a popular target for collectors. However, current market prices for complete copies of Legend of Hero Tonma are over $600; Bonk 3 CD, Super Air Zonk, and Dynastic Hero can be over $1,000; and a complete copy of Magical Chase on eBay right now has bids exceeding $5,000. Moonraiser sold his loose copy of Magical Chase for almost $1,500 a few weeks ago. If people lose interest in this goal or this hobby, the prices can decline,

On the supply side, large price increases may be driven by a reseller's mentality. When something already has a low supply, some people can try to "corner the market" by buying up every copy they can and holding on to it to resell it later at inflated prices. For recent examples, see the NES Classic console and the early days of amiibo. This can be countered by the producer releasing more copies, which eventually happened with amiibo. If it is out of production, that is obviously less likely to happen. Going back to Magical Chase, I remember reading a thread from 2001 or so which was describing someone buying up every single copy that came on eBay. At the time the thread was written, that person had already bought at least 20 copies, at prices in the $100 range. If he held on to them until now and unloaded them, he could make quite the score.

In any case, prices can rise and fall drastically at a moment's notice. Back when I first started buying VGM CDs, copies of Dracula New Classic were topping $1,000 on eBay (and YJA prices were several hundred dollars, as people were buying them on YJA to resell them on eBay). Now, you can get pristine copies for under 5000 yen.

Rrolack Feb 19, 2017

The collector's mentality is certainly one factor.  Despite Goemon being reprinted, I'm still going to be on the lookout for the originals - though not until I see how the market shakes out.  I'm expecting that some discount to today's prices will materialize.

On the topic of completionism: my sense was that VGM was somewhat immune to this.  That is to say, because there isn't really a notion of a "complete set" in VGM, there would be less people trying to "collect 'em all" than with NES carts, for example.  Though I could certainly be wrong.

It does seem like there are many albums which are expensive for reasons that aren't clear.  I can kind of understand that DKC2 is a popular soundtrack, and it's expensive because people like the music.  But let's take Sweet Home as another example.  I've never heard anyone say they love the music from that game, but the arrange soundtrack costs $250.  Other arranges from that same album series are much cheaper.  Why the disparity?  No idea...

It's interesting to hear that the price of Dracula New Classic shot up to $1000.

XISMZERO Feb 20, 2017

Rrolack wrote:

It's interesting to hear that the price of Dracula New Classic shot up to $1000.

There's a story floating around here that's merged into mythical proportions of someone who paid $1k during the peak season of this album's resurgence (around early 2000s). Even after that story, I've never really seen one sold at auction for near $100, complete. I do remember seeing complete copies of New Classic on various Japanese marketplaces for a measly equivalent $50 only a few years back.

In short, it's really never about the music. It's about the dubiousness of the collector's market. Donkey Kong properties have always been especially, utterly mysterious right up there with Goemon. In both cases, many of their releases were fantastically bastardized which furthers the inane nature of their fetchings.

jb Feb 20, 2017

The $1000 Dracula New Age album was mid-90s, around '96 or '98, and on eBay. It was a few years before I started seriously collecting or investing but I did see it and it was oft-referenced.

Crash Feb 20, 2017

One of the former denizens of STC (and founder of Cloud's Villa), Cloud V, sold his copy of Dracula New Classic on eBay in 1999 or 2000, and I seem to recall it ended up going for between $1,200-1,500. This was back when almost no one could buy things from YJA, middlemen were few and far-between, and there was no VGMdb or other definitive source of what game music albums existed. Very little was known about this album at the time, and I don't think many people in the US had even heard about it. I think that the people on this site and other sites at the time (Slightly Dark, Chudah's Corner, Cloud's Villa, RPGFan, etc.) have really helped to build out the knowledge of VGM in the English-speaking world over the years, so it is much rarer to get an album that is a true surprise anymore.

As for DKC, I have never played the game, and haven't listened to the music, so I can't give an opinion on its quality. I will say that I have listened to Super Metroid: Sound in Action, and have absolutely no desire to listen to it again. In my mind, the best Nintendo albums are Game Music Graffiti (and its component albums), Super Mario Land, the Toy Music albums. SMB 3 Akihabara Electric Circus, and Kirby's Adventure. All are pre-1995 arranged albums. The arranged tracks on these albums just have a certain magic to them.

The_Paladin Feb 20, 2017

As comprehensive as it is, I think I still have a couple albums that aren't on the site, though nothing I think many people would be interested in.

Jodo Kast Feb 21, 2017 (edited Feb 21, 2017 by Adam Corn)

The guy that paid around $1500 ($1525 as I recall) for the Dracula New Classic from Cloud V was Darkfact, in 2000. I recall he posted here about the purchase, justifying why he spent so much. It was through Cloud V that I was finally able to hear the album, since he provided me with a CD-R.

I found out about Dracula New Classic through the-place.com, in 1999. They accepted special requests and they posted a large list of albums which they would not look for, even if you asked. Of course, DNC was on that list. Back then, I had learned enough to know that Dracula = Castlevania, so I started looking on ebay for it. There was a listing (factory sealed), and the current bid was at $4,555. That was March or April of 2000.

jb Feb 21, 2017

Jodo Kast wrote:

The guy that paid around $1500 ($1525 as I recall) for the Dracula New Classic from Cloud V was Darkfact (real name = [redacted]), in 2000.

Your account seems accurate but I don't think it's appropriate to call people out by real names, nor do I really think it serves any purpose or enhances your recollection of the event(s). Many of us have bought and sold to and from each other over the years, others have met, so it's no collective secret but if people wanted their real names exposed they'd use them. Especially if it's someone who is no longer active here and hasn't been for over 15 years. I know I wouldn't want it happening to me.

Adam Corn Feb 21, 2017

I went ahead and edited Jodo's post to remove the name. I assume no one has a problem with that.

Jodo Kast Feb 22, 2017

jb wrote:

Your account seems accurate but I don't think it's appropriate to call people out by real names, nor do I really think it serves any purpose or enhances your recollection of the event(s). Many of us have bought and sold to and from each other over the years, others have met, so it's no collective secret but if people wanted their real names exposed they'd use them. Especially if it's someone who is no longer active here and hasn't been for over 15 years. I know I wouldn't want it happening to me.

My reasoning was that since it was so far in the past, stating a real name would be ok. I didn't remember it, btw. I had to go to my folder of "internet stuff", which contains pages of printed historical information from this site and some emails.

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