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WATA's Definitive Black Box Variant Guide

Jan 10 at 7:01:18 PM
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K.Thrower (120)
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(Kenny Boy) < Master Higgins >
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Hi Everybody!

Are you signed up for the Wata newsletter?  If you were, you may have gotten our latest issue which includes our comprehensive guide to the NES Black Boxes.  If you didn't, then sign up today to get the hottest new tips and tricks, straight from the pros!

In short, this inaugural article and guide is a labor of the last few years of research I've compiled through collecting, perusing thousands of ebay listings, and most importantly through much help from members of the community like Braveheart, the VGHF and countless others who have helped to tackle this puzzle known as the "Black Box", you know who you are.  I have added much of my own findings to an already great foundation to bring you the most comprehensive list of Black Box variants to-date that has ever been published.  Figuring out what came from first to last took lots of plotting across the NES library, so the scope reaches well beyond just 30 Nintendo published titles.  

This guide is by no means complete, as it only deals with the box variants.  Cart/Manuals/Posters often have some overlap between boxes, so those listing are predictable, but not as easily set in stone for a definitive match.  Eventually we can provide lists for these items as well, but for now let's start at the beginning.  If you can understand NES Black Box variants, then the rest of video game variants are downhill from there.  We hope this will spark more discoveries and a filling in of the blanks of what has been penned into the spreadsheet, as I no doubt am sure someone out there has something we have yet to document.  With nearly 200 variants listed over 30 titles, we can't wait to see what is found next.
‚Äč
Check this one out and let us know what you think.  Have something we don’t?  Questions?  Comments?  Concerns?  Corrections?  Let us know, we’re always open to community feedback.  Cheers, -Kenneth

The Article:
https://www.watagames.com/learn/blog/post/black-box-nes-vari...

PDF Version:
https://wordpress.watagames.com/learn/blog/post/wp-content/u...

Excel Spreadsheet:
https://wordpress.watagames.com/learn/blog/post/wp-content/u...

Our Blog (further reading with more to come):
https://www.watagames.com/learn/blog/post/

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Ready for adventure!
www.watagames.com...


Edited: 01/10/2019 at 07:31 PM by K.Thrower

Jan 10 at 7:03:01 PM
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K.Thrower (120)
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(Kenny Boy) < Master Higgins >
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Super Mario Bros. Box chronology (sample for the lazy):







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Ready for adventure!
www.watagames.com...

Jan 10 at 8:01:01 PM
DefaultGen (26)
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(Tyler Wilkin) < Ridley Wrangler >
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I dream of a world where all video games are this well documented.

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Listen to the  Collector's Quest Podcast 
Episode #117: Collector's Quiz

Jan 10 at 8:02:44 PM
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MrWunderful (288)
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(Corey ) < Wiz's Mom >
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Damn Ken, great resource.

Jan 10 at 8:36:51 PM
Maertens29 (60)
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< Lolo Lord >
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Fantastic. I've been manually tracking things like this in my head but didn't actually know the years to place the variations. This info is wonderful.

Edit: link to me to the newsletter sign up. You've made a fan of me.

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I'm looking for a mint, factory sealed Dragon Ball Advanced for gameboy advance, let me know!


Edited: 01/10/2019 at 09:30 PM by Maertens29

Jan 10 at 8:48:53 PM
TheBiRD (78)
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(Eric 007-373-5963) < Kraid Killer >
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Speechless! Wow

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Looking for SNeS : NHL 95-96 all 3 sealed mint. Trade or $$ ! Help me complete my sealed set (I've Nhlpa93, nhl94, nhl97 and nhl98)

My SELLING Thread <------------------------------------------------------CLICK THERE 

Jan 10 at 9:00:58 PM
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jonebone (545)
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(Collector Extraordinaire) < Luigi >
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Killer write up, nice work guys!

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WTB CIB MINT Games: NES - SNES - N64 - Sega Genesis - Turbografx 16
Last Beat: West of Loathing (Switch)
Now Playing: Overcooked 2 (Switch) / Spider-Man (PS4)
My eBay 10% off on NintendoAge! 
https://www.ebay.com/sch/jonebone...=

Jan 10 at 9:02:55 PM
The Count (106)
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(Grant X.) < Lolo Lord >
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Good stuff here, duder. The hobby has needed this for a while. Thank you!

Jan 10 at 9:08:32 PM
Maertens29 (60)
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< Lolo Lord >
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I really hope knowledge like this becomes more widespread. I dream of a day where not every circle seal Mario Bros is "RARE 1ST PRINT".

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I'm looking for a mint, factory sealed Dragon Ball Advanced for gameboy advance, let me know!

Jan 10 at 9:18:25 PM
austin532 (82)
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(Mike ) < El Ripper >
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The OCD is real. I give this two thumbs way up.

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My Ultimate 100% CIB NES Collector's Guide
http://nintendoage.com/forum/mess...

Jan 10 at 9:26:37 PM
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Gloves (104)
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(Douglas Glover) < Master Higgins >
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Really cool! You aaaaaalmost got me subbed to a newsletter there! Sneaky buggers.

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Jan 10 at 10:05:13 PM
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K.Thrower (120)
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(Kenny Boy) < Master Higgins >
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Originally posted by: Gloves

Really cool! You aaaaaalmost got me subbed to a newsletter there! Sneaky buggers.
What else are you going to fill your days with?  Our newsletter=all killer, no filler

 

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Ready for adventure!
www.watagames.com...

Jan 10 at 10:15:03 PM
ExplodedHamster (176)
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(Joe Dirt) < King Solomon >
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Haha holy shit, that is amazing. Keep up the good work, guys!

Jan 10 at 11:24:30 PM
1upped (39)
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(A S) < Meka Chicken >
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A long overdue, in depth BB article. So many questions answered and great for the world of collectors. Thank you  !

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Are you clever enough to unravel the mystery of Clu Clu land?

Jan 10 at 11:31:22 PM
hybrid (45)
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(jeff .) < Lolo Lord >
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Nice article Remember there's always ones that don't fit quite right

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Jan 11 at 2:47:57 AM
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Foochie776 (238)
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(Obi Wan Kenobi) < Bowser >
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I'm amazed, great work guys!!!!

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May the force be with you.

Jan 11 at 6:57:56 AM
AtariJay (0)
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(jbob h) < Meka Chicken >
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Impressive

Jan 11 at 8:08:48 AM
Speedy_NES (155)
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(< Pieter >) < Kraid Killer >
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Very cool article, impressive timeline details. Thanks a lot for sharing with the community!

I'll throw a first question into this discussion thread: how did the "star" box code version (#11) get linked to promotional giveaways?

Speaking of giveaways, another question to the community: would boxes with "Nintendo Promotional Offer" be considered a separate release/variant? Might be interesting to track which black box titles, if any, have been found with this label on them (since, IIRC, only first-party games and accessories have been found with these promotional labels).

I have a SMB Oval SOQ TM with star code, by the way, which I suppose would be box variation #12 (or #10/12 in the timeline)? I can snap a picture later if needed.

Jan 11 at 8:18:07 AM
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Bronty (65)
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(Dan M) < Bonk >
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Well done guys

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WTB Cdn sealed black boxes, sealed Cdn first party titles.    I.e. the "mattel" Cdn boxes with both french and english.   Mainly black boxes, zelda, link, and tyson, but let me know what you have.    I am interested in anything I don't already have!


Jan 11 at 10:00:53 AM
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fsped09 (232)
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(( nes-city.com )) < King Solomon >
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Awesome! Now we can all stop bugging Erik!

Jan 11 at 10:06:32 AM
BreaKBeatZ (58)
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< Lolo Lord >
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Awesome! How do I sign up for the newsletter?

Jan 11 at 10:25:54 AM
superNESman (102)
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(Deniz "Alpo The Great" Kahn) < Bowser >
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Originally posted by: BreaKBeatZ

Awesome! How do I sign up for the newsletter?

https://www.watagames.com/learn/n...

Just enter your email at the link above and you're signed up! Or you can create a Wata Games account and check the "newsletter" box:

https://www.watagames.com/join...
 

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Jan 11 at 11:01:48 AM
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NintendoTwizer (171)
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(Aaron N) < King Solomon >
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Great work, really some in-depth research and nicely laid out. A really nice variant guide!

Jan 11 at 11:08:56 AM
BreaKBeatZ (58)
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< Lolo Lord >
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Originally posted by: superNESman
 
Originally posted by: BreaKBeatZ

Awesome! How do I sign up for the newsletter?

https://www.watagames.com/learn/newsletter

Just enter your email at the link above and you're signed up! Or you can create a Wata Games account and check the "newsletter" box:

https://www.watagames.com/join
 
Thanks, I just signed up!

 

Jan 11 at 3:35:38 PM
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K.Thrower (120)
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(Kenny Boy) < Master Higgins >
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Originally posted by: Speedy_NES

Very cool article, impressive timeline details. Thanks a lot for sharing with the community!

I'll throw a first question into this discussion thread: how did the "star" box code version (#11) get linked to promotional giveaways?

Speaking of giveaways, another question to the community: would boxes with "Nintendo Promotional Offer" be considered a separate release/variant? Might be interesting to track which black box titles, if any, have been found with this label on them (since, IIRC, only first-party games and accessories have been found with these promotional labels).

I have a SMB Oval SOQ TM with star code, by the way, which I suppose would be box variation #12 (or #10/12 in the timeline)? I can snap a picture later if needed.
There is an old thread here where Braveheart noted the games that had stars on the flaps, and the general consensus was they were used for promotional giveaways since they are all first party games and Nintendo Power had several venues through the super power club and other promotions to get some of these titles.  This was most likely a bookkeeping mark to keep track of standard retail vs. promo games, or even possibly a "Not for resale" marking of sorts.  

As for the SMB Oval TM star, yes, please post pics!  Anyone who finds new entries, please post clear front and back box shots, and in the star flap cases, a shot of the flap with the seal type visible.  Iirc, SMB2 also has a Oval TM star flap, where most of the other will have an Oval R, so it is likely most of these were produced during the March/April 1990 seal changeover date.

 

-------------------------
Ready for adventure!
www.watagames.com...