Cover & Contents
Alright, this is the second Electronics Boutique catalog I've scanned and at least two more should be on the way in 2011.
This is from the spring of 1991 which is slightly before the couple of years I worked there.
I'd claim this was some grand plan to take a tour of 20 years ago but it's a complete coincidence that I found three catalogs from 1991 last month.
I can't plan stuff like that ahead of time well anyway.
These first couple of pages are kinda rough. Stick around, they get better.
So what you'll notice missing from the table of contents is the Super Nintendo which was a couple months away from being released. There are no preorder offers because, well, preorders just weren't common in 1991. I'm sure that seems totally absurd to anyone who got into gaming after the 16-bit generation. That was the reality of the time, neither stores nor game companies had the preorder thing figured out yet.
Sorry again about how these first few pages look.
Anyway, I didn't get into the Neo Geo because I wasn't rich.
I don't know if the Neo Geo was actually carried in-store, I can say for sure we didn't have it at the location I worked at in 1992.
Of course other locations might have carried it, unlike modern Gamestops, each Electronics Boutique location was not identical.
Until now I did not know that the Neo Geo had a $30 memory card. I thought the Sega CD was the first system to use an external memory card (please no emails about the FDS).
Nintendo Entertainment System
Despite being in the 16-bit generation, the venerable NES had some great new games out that kept it alive for a while.
1991 was the last year with a lot of good NES releases.
Sure there were a few classics in 1992 but after the Super Nintendo launch it was down to a mere trickle.
I wonder why there are no Wii bundles with four controllers? Doesn't that seem like a totally logical bundle?
1991 was also a great year for the Game Boy. Games were just pouring out by now - sure that meant plenty of bad ones got out but many classics were released around this time too.
That original Game Boy box-art might be the best Nintendo ever did.
Ah, the hip pack... the worst fashion accessory ever made. Still, it's not nearly as lame as a pair of Crocs.
There will be a chess and Mickey Mouse game on the 3DS too, heck maybe they'll kill two birds with one stone. Even though chess in no way benefits from 3D you just know they'll force it. Although I find the 3DS intriguing I'm also skeptical about all the gimmicky unnecessary 3D overuse it will invite.
It's 1991, cassettes are on the decline but what to do with all those cassette storage boxes? That's it! Stuff some foam in them and re-brand them as Game Boy cases!
The Illuminator was also available for Sega Genesis, Nintendo, and the TurboGrafx-16?! That's either a misprint or the dumbest product idea of 1991.
My last Electonics Boutique catalog scan was used on an article talking about how game prices are lower now then they were historically. Although that can't really be argued with, it is noteworthy that after being out less than two years the Sega Genesis was selling for only $180 with a pack-in game. After four years the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Nintendo Wii all retail for more. Even after adjusting for inflation this was a better deal than current generation consoles were at the two year mark.
Strider was easily the most over-hyped game for the Genesis. I remember all the glowing preview coverage it received only to think it was inferior to the NES version when I finally played it. The controls are awful and the flicker is even worse. By contrast, Castle of Illusion was better in ever single way but didn't receive a ton of coverage because it was written-off as a "kid's game".
I really regret not buying an Arcade Power Stick, it looks like a great controller. I've seen some used ones but have weird hang-ups about playing a used controller. I think I'm some kind of germophobic, maybe I shouldn't admit that on the internet. Is it irrational to be afraid to touch a used controller? I used to play arcade games for hours and it never once bugged me, what the heck happened to my brain since then?
Oh yeah where was I? Right, Sega Genesis joysticks. On the flip side, I have no regrets about not buying the Thunderstick. Also, what an odd place to put Klax.
Geez, just one lonely TurboGrafx-16 page. My memory must be bad because I thought it was doing better at this point and didn't fall off the earth until after the Super Nintendo hit the shelves. Ninja Spirit was just as good (or better) than anything on the Genesis at the time. If only it could have managed a few more games of that caliber...
This page features two games that were still high sellers when I left Electronics Boutique in 1996 - Links and Microsoft Flight Simulator. Well, the upgraded versions that were released a couple years later at least. Microsoft would eventually buy the Links franchise but discontinue it in 2003. They've kept the Flight Simulator line alive though.
The Print Shop was first released in 1984 and is still available today. Word processor templates and online card creation sites largely made this former software icon obsolete.
I think Microsoft Works is still available in some form or another today. I'd say OpenOffice and Google Docs made it obsolete but I don't think that's the case. I think it's a matter of Microsoft not wanting to give away a cheap/free word processor anymore so they've stopped promoting Works.
$90 for a mouse - yeah that was about the going rate 20 years ago.
PC Hardware & Accessories
Back in my day we didn't have no fancy "USB" joysticks. We had to crack open our PC, possibly voiding the warranty, and install a card to use a joystick. And even then the joysticks we had to choose from were all overpriced, awful, and hard to configure. Yet we were grateful and thought this was all a miracle of technology.
PC Everything Else
If I thought the TurboGrafx-16 got the shaft it's nothing compared to the Game Gear and Lynx which didn't even earn a full page. Like the Neo Geo, the Lynx was not at the location I worked at in 1992. We might have had a couple games hidden in a clearance bin but nothing more.
Hey look at that, so much for my "no preorders in 1991" theory. Well, maybe not... the Game Gear was released in the US in April 1991 which is when this catalog was published. Whew, vindication.