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1996 Toys R Us ad reminds us PS1 and N64 games were stupidly expensive

Imogen Donovan

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1996 Toys R Us ad reminds us PS1 and N64 games were stupidly expensive

Featured Image Credit: Toys R Us, PlayStation

The cost of video games is a contentious one as development budgets rise, inflation spirals and the predictions of a recession in 2023 become more and more prevalent. If you're about to scratch your head and say something along the lines of "it wasn't like this back in my day," pause. This advert for PlayStation 1 and Nintendo 64 games, published in 1996, shows that it certainly was.

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We're well-acquainted with Strauss Zelnick's comments (who is the CEO of Take-Two Interactive) about the $70 price tag on new-gen games. But, other titans are hopping off that fence and potentially starting an industry standard. Ubisoft confirmed that its triple-A offerings will set the player back $70 in an interview in late 2022, and Microsoft followed suit to say that titles like Forza Motorsport, Redfall and Starfield will cost $69.99 on all platforms.

There is good news though. Starfield will be available through Xbox Game Pass when it launches in the first half of this year. Check out the trailer below!

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Alas and alack - at least it's not 1996 any more. This advert from a Toys R Us magazine shows games like Super Mario 64 for $59.99, Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire for $69.99 and DOOM 64 for $74.99. On the other side of the spread, PS1 classics like Twisted Metal 2 sold for $39.99, Need for Speed II for $49.99, and the Die Hard Trilogy for $54.99. Take a look:

"Most people made like $5/hr back then. To pay [for] a $60 game you’d need to work 12 hours. Sheesh no wonder my parents didn’t buy them for us. We did rent a lot though," said Reddit user MarcMuffin. "My friends and I all coordinated our birthday/Christmas gifts for games we all wanted, and we’d just swap amongst ourselves to cover as much ground as possible," added JerHat.

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Obviously, $20 or $30 was a lot more money back in the 1990s than it is today, and we do have many more options for playing games like subscription services. One thing is for sure though. "Shoutout to all the parents who bought us games and did so much for us," praised InfernalBiryani. Amazing username too.

Topics: Retro Gaming, PlayStation, Nintendo

Imogen Donovan
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