Like video games, computer games are coming into their own as bona fide collectibles, similar to comic books, trading cards, and action figures. We’ve got a number of classics in our June 15 PC Video Games Showcase Auction, including such titles as Age of Empires, Call of Duty, and World of Warcraft, but I thought it would be fun to focus here on five media tie-in titles that might get overlooked.
These games may be forgotten by many players today, but the IPs they are based on are nothing short of iconic, and they make for fantastic collector’s items. As icing on the electronic cake, thanks to cool cover art they are perfect for display in any pop culture fan’s game room, library, or office.
Batman: The Caped Crusader (1988)
This wasn’t the first Batman computer/video game—that honor belongs to Ocean Software’s Batman from 1986—but it did beat Batman: The Video Game for the NES to the market by a year. The Penguin is back, and he’s set up shop as an umbrella merchant. But can he and his robotic penguins be trusted? Of course not! Then, the Joker kidnaps Robin, and it’s up to the Caped Crusader to rescue his partner in crime fighting. As Batman, players punch, kick, and throw Batarangs at baddies. There are plenty of puzzles to solve as well, and the action plays out like a comic book.
Blade Runner (1998)
Westwood Studios didn’t get the rights to use Harrison Ford’s image for this game, but there’s no mistaking the distinctive Blade Runner title font as part of the gorgeous box art. Rather than simply cashing in by cranking out a quickie action game, the developer created an immersive and deep point-and-click adventure that garnered numerous accolades, including Best Adventure Game of the Year 1998 by the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences. Further, they created an original story that is inspired by—but not strictly based on—the events in the 1982 sci-fi film (which, of course, was adapted from Philip K. Dick’s novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?).
Die Hard (1989)
Directed by John McTeirnan and featuring Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, Alexander Godunov, and Bonnie Bedelia, Die Hard is one of those movies that lives on in the pop culture consciousness. Not only is it an intense action film with a heart (we love the rapport between John McClane and Al Powell), it also generated sequels, memes (yes, it is a Christmas movie!), merchandise, and more, including a computer game from Activision. The player’s job in this action title is to rescue his wife and stop Hans Gruber from blowing up the building. Said building—the Nakoma Plaza—is shown as a towering inferno on the box, making for a striking display piece.
The Flintstones: Spellasoarus Quarry (1995)
Meet the Flintstones and have a yabba dabba do time with this educational PC game! Young gamers can make their spelling skills rock-solid by guiding a flying pterodactyl over swamps, rubble, and gravel, trying to catch the correct letters to spell the word a narrator asks for. The game won a Parents’ Choice Honor Award and garnered a five-star review from CompuServe Magazine. Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm are pictured on the box, spelling out BOOK. “Edutainment” titles are hit-and-miss here at Heritage in terms of how often they cross our desks, and The Flintstones remains a popular IP, so we have no doubt that this lot will attract significant bidder interest.
Star Wars: Dark Forces (1995)
I’m a console gamer first and foremost, but back in the ‘90s, I did some computer gaming. I even learned to type correctly by playing Mario Teaches Typing! Prior to that, it was all hunt-and-peck all the time. I also played such popular first-person shooters as Doom and Star Wars: Dark Forces, games that were perfect for controlling with a computer mouse. In Dark Forces, the player must join the Rebel Alliance’s covert operations division in order to infiltrate the Empire and defeat the Imperial Forces. I’m cheating a little on the theme with this entry as Star Wars: Dark Forces is no mere media tie-in—it’s a bona fide classic in its own right!