Passion can make the impossible a reality. In "Nintendo Quest," best friends Rob McCallum and Jay Bartlett embark on a road trip to find all 678 officially licensed Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) games. Considering the rarity of some of these titles, this adventure was going to feature plenty of highs and lows.
"Nintendo Quest" is a road trip documentary -- debuting Tuesday-- that's born out of obsession. "The real message of the movie is go out and have an adventure. Get off the couch, go out there and hunt," McCallum said in an interview with International Business Times.
Other than mapping out their search, the duo could not purchase any games online. McCallum and Bartlett did not know what games would be available at each shop during their journey. It was as much about luck as it was having the money needed to purchase the games. "It was a real-life treasure hunt. Of the 50-plus stores we visited over 30 days, only two knew we were coming. It was complete luck of the draw," McCallum said.
Even if a store had what Bartlett needed, it was not guaranteed to lead to a transaction. "Put yourself in Jay's position. He sees a game he needs, but maybe it's priced a little high. Does he pass it up -- knowing he may not see it again -- or shell out a couple extra bucks so he can cross it off the list?"
There were many duplicates found throughout the trip, but the real intrigue involved many "holy grails" that have made for some interesting articles about how much a collector would spend on a video game.
Most famous among these games is "Stadium Events," developed by Bandai. Only 2,000 games were manufactured while only 200 were sold to consumers before being recalled by Nintendo. As such, complete versions of the game can lead to bidding wars. Most recently, a factory sealed "Stadium Events" sold for $35,100 in January 2015. A few stores catered to the collector crowd, but these rare games usually came with hefty price tags.
Through the course of "Nintendo Quest," it becomes clear it's just as much about the community and the people who grew up playing the NES and video games in general. Even the crew began collecting NES titles, McCallum said. "The fabric of these games is certainly woven into us, very much like this journey became a game for Jay. This journey is going to stick with him forever. The guy who left town is different from the guy who came back home," McCallum said.
McCallum is busy working on his next documentaries covering "He-Man," game box art and his own road trip in search of his mother. With the successful Kickstarter campaign, "Nintendo Quest" will become an 8-bit video game in 2016.