Product Highlight: NCAA College Basketball 2K3 for Nintendo GameCube

When an athlete doesn’t live up to the expected hype, their cards and memorabilia take a hit in price.  Its the natural law.  Unless that individual goes on to do something historically spectacular outside of their sport, prices will remain in the gutter.  But every now and then we’ll come across a crazy anomaly that defies this way of thinking.  Enter NCAA 2K3 College Basketball for the Nintendo GameCube.

I can imagine that in 2002 cards of Jay Williams carried some weight.  The Duke point guard was drafted second in the first round by the Chicago Bulls.  Right after the Houston Rockets drafted Yao Ming.  He did alright during his first year in the NBA, but nothing mind blowing.  In June of 2003, he suffered a severe motorcycle crash in Illinois.  He wasn’t wearing a helmet, didn’t have a license to drive a motorcycle in that state, and was in violation of the terms of his contract with the Bulls by riding a motorcycle to begin with.  Its safe to say that smarter decisions could have been made.  When he finally recuperated, attempts were made to get back into professional basketball.  None were that successful.  Jay Williams now works for ESPN as a college basketball analyst.

Today you can’t giveaway cards of Jay Williams.  The only cards that carry any real value are ones which have him teamed-up with stars like Michael Jordan, Yao Ming, or Kobe Bryant.  Trust me.  Collectors aren’t buying them for the Jay Williams part of the card.  In fact, they’re probably getting a good deal on a star relic and/or autograph.  Dual relics and/or autographs featuring stars and dud rookies tend not to sell for as much compared to if that star was pictured alone.

Its not uncommon for a popular rookie to be pictured on the cover of a video game.  Jay Williams received this honor with the release of NCAA 2K3 College Basketball in December, 2002.  The game was released for PlayStation 2, Xbox, and GameCube platforms.  Copies of this game for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox are readily available.  The GameCube version is a completely different story.  The general consensus is that Sega decided they didn’t want to release sports games for the Nintendo GameCube anymore.  NCAA 2K3 College Basketball just barely made it out.  What copies made it to the stores didn’t sell very well.  This led to the game becoming rare.

While copies of this game for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox can be bought for next to nothing, complete GameCube examples have been known to reach $200.  Although Jay Williams isn’t the driving factor, its interesting to see him attached to something that continues to sell for so much.

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Flashback Product of the Week: 1985 Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) Baseball

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Yep.  I’m off the reservation with this one.  By now you can clearly see this is not a box of baseball cards.  When Nintendo introduced the NES to the United States in 1985, Baseball was one of the first games you could play on it.  Despite not having an MLB license, Nintendo brought in actual Major League Baseball players to show off the game during the test market launch.  Many accredit Baseball as one of the main reasons why the NES was so successful, given the sport’s overall appeal.

Compared to baseball video games today, Baseball for the NES is basic.  Although there was no license, the initials of the teams are suppose to represent real teams from the Japanese Central League or American Major League.  Retro gaming is popular today.  NES collectors are willing to spend well into the hundreds of dollars for sealed games such as this.  Out of the box and used copies can easily be found for under $10.

While attending the National a few years ago, I remember seeing an autographed photo of Mike Tyson.  It wasn’t just any photograph though.  This was a screenshot from the NES game Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!!  That really caught my attention.

I would like to see more screenshots from classic sports video games worked into the sports memorabilia market.  Finding them in packs of cards would be even better.  Autographed cards featuring pixelated versions of your favorite players from the games you use to play would probably be a hit with collectors.  Heck, they don’t even need to be autographed.

Let us take this a step further.  What if you made a great play in a sports-based video game today, and could instantly order a trading card containing a shot of that play?  That would be sick.  Especially if they could get the athletes to sign them.  Perhaps even letting room on the card for the gamer to sign too.

We’ve seen cards and action figures come packaged with games, but I believe things could get even cooler.

Should Sports Cards Be In Video Games?

For years manufacturers have been trying to get more people interested in The Hobby.  One of the main demographics companies have been targeting is kids.  With all the high-tech toys out on the market, one of the last things many kids find interesting is sports cards.  Products such as Topps Attax and MLB Showdown are just a few of the many products companies have created to try and attract more kids to the industry, but it hasn’t really worked too well.  I highly doubt that even the Topps 3D venture will go far.  The last thing kids want to be treated like is kids.  This is why many of the kid friendly products don’t perform too well.  If I were “Hobby King” for the day you want to know what I’d do?  I’d try to incorporate sports cards into popular video games such as Madden and MLB The Show.  I’m not saying devote an entire portion of the game to cards, but slightly incorpate trading cards into the game.  For example, when reading the bio of your favorite player there could be a section that lists some of their key cards that have been made up to that point.  Since most of the popular entertainment systems have internet access, why not allow people to click on one of those key cards and provide them with more information.  Perhaps it could even point them in the right direction of where to purchase cards like that.  If a company really wanted to get involved with the gaming industry, maybe they could sponsor online events and the winners could obtain certain products.  Current manufacturers don’t seem to get very far when they try and do this stuff by themselves.  I think they need to see what people are interested in and try to incorporate themselves into that market.  What most manufacturers have done so far is the total opposite.  They try to create something slightly innovative and then hope people will come to them, when in reality it should be the other way around.

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