Super Nintendo Launch
I really wanted to do some kind of 20th anniversary feature on the Super Nintendo but couldn't come up with anything that won't be done on a thousand other sites.
There will be no shortage of "Top 10 Games/Soundtracks/Accessories/etc" pieces on the interweb.
Instead let's look at the small, but respectable, launch library as it was marketed to 1991 gamers.
$199.99 is a great launch price for a system, even in 1991 dollars. After adjusting for inflation it's still $170 cheaper than the PlayStation 3 at launch.
And now for another installment of "I'm feeling too lazy to check Wikipedia" - these two Final Fantasy games aren't really Final Fantasy games. They are from another Square series but were re-branded when they were brought to America. I want to say one of them is actually related to The Secret of Mana in some way.
The other hand-helds
I forget if I told this story already somewhere on this site but we hooked-up a Game Gear TV tuner in the store once. This had to be late 1992 to early 1993. We couldn't get a single station to come in. It's not like this was out in the stick either, a regular TV antenna at that time would have received more than a dozen stations.
TurboGrafx-16 and Neo Geo
I know it's pathetic but the TurboGrafx-16 is my favorite 16-bit system. It probably is due more to my non-conformist attitude than the quality of the system. This selection is a great example of why I shouldn't like this system. Yet here I am utterly convinced that it's the best system of the early 90s. What is wrong with me?
I'm pretty sure I mentioned this in the spring 1991 catalog post but I don't remember selling Neo Geo games at Electronics Boutique. I started working there in the fall of 1992 so I suspect that they dropped it early that year because even after a system was discontinued it was a while before it was off the shelves.
Time to earn a little hate mail - I probably looked at an Earl Weaver Baseball box 100 times and still have no clue who he is.
I assume he was a baseball coach, but maybe he was a player, or a player turned coach like I think Tommy LaRussa was, or maybe he was just an announcer.
I don't care about baseball enough to even Google it.
Speaking of Google and baseball... I have a Google news alert for the phrase "Cubs eliminated from playoff contention because that's when I know it's safe to start listening to sports radio again. No delusional Cubs fans interrupting football talk with their fantasies about how the perennial losers are breaking their make-believe curse this year.
One of the fun parts (for me at least) of looking at these catalogs is trying to find out what happened to all these productivity software vendors. Between Microsoft and the internet most of them were out of business before the end of the decade. What happened to the technology and people behind them is often quite interesting. For example - you've probably never heard of ViruCide but the author went on to start GoDaddy.
I remember a time when Norton Utilities was something you actually wanted because it addressed shortcomings in DOS and Windows. Eventually Microsoft would make every useful thing Norton obsolete or part of the OS. Now whenever you buy a new PC you spend hours trying to figure out how to remove all the Norton &%#* that comes pre-installed. I could make a strong case for classifying the most current version as a virus.
I try to not make fun of too many things in these catalogs. I scan them because I enjoy looking at them and assume there are other weirdos who do too. Most of my memories of these items are positive and I try to reflect that. However, there's no way to say anything nice about the computer hardware prices at the time. It's not like we thought they were good prices back then, we knew we were getting fleeced. Case in point, $319.99 for a black and white handheld scanner. How about $29.99 for a mouse you wouldn't take for free today. Although I would really like to have the box for that mouse.