Have you ever gone to a store to pick up a new video game that is supposedly in stock only to be told, "Sorry, we can't seem to find it?" Following the recent discovery of a sealed copy of Mario Kart 64 in a closing Toys R Us, we can only assume folks have been dealing with that exact disappointment for the past 20 years.
Over on Reddit, user RaspberryChainsaw has posted a picture of an "ancient relic" discovered under the bottom shelf of a closing Toys R Us. Said relic is a decidedly worse for wear, sealed copy of Mario Kart 64. Wipe off 20 years' worth of grime or simply peel off the plastic wrapping, and we assume the box and game inside will be in pristine condition.
It's always fun when folks make discoveries like this but, instead of sharing fond memories of gaming on the Nintendo 64 or similar stories of unexpected discovery, the comments section quickly evolved into a conversation about dealing with customers, store managers and the like. Then there are the unpleasant reminders that the dust on the packaging is likely older than many of the people who looked at the original post, and one poster decided to offer up the unsettling comment of "skin cells of a million children."
Mario Kart 64 first launched back in 1996, so it's definitely surprising to see something like this make an appearance all these years later. We can't help but wonder, did that particular Toys R Us never rearrange its floor plan and move shelves around? Also, wasn't it a policy at Toys R Us to have games behind a counter and force customers to bring up a slip of paper to claim said games? For a loose copy of an N64 game to wind up under a shelf is probably an interesting story in and of itself. You're welcome to come up with a quick piece of fanfic and include it in the comments below explaining how, exactly, this came to pass.
Thinking about Mario Kart 64 got us thinking about the year 1996, and what a year that was for gaming. Kotaku actually did a story back in 2012 looking at the Toys R Us Christmas catalog from that year, and it's something of a wonderful time capsule to behold.
The Nintendo 64 and Super Mario 64 are given a nice display, with the Sega Saturn, PlayStation, Sega Genesis, Nintendo 64, Game Boy and Game Gear all getting pages for their respective consoles and games. It's a pretty great trip down memory lane and a reminder that games back then sometimes cost upwards of $70. At least the consoles weren't overpriced!
The last page of the insert was for a promotion called "Strike Gold," which boasted Toys R Us exclusive gold versions of the N64 controller, the Game Boy, Tamagotchi and Giga Pet...What a time to be alive.