How a Ramen Brand's Promotional Sticker Turned an Old Video Game Into a Collector's Grail
While the world patiently awaits the next installment in the "Legend of Zelda" franchise, which today was pushed back to next year (ugh), we're going to look back on another noteworthy release in one of Nintendo's keystone intellectual properties.
In 1986, Nintendo teamed up with the ramen brand Myojo Charumera to make 1,500 co-branded cartridges of the original "Legend of Zelda" game, which would be given out to the winners of a giveaway.
One of those cartridges, called the Charmer Zelda no Densestsu, recently surfaced on a Yahoo Japan auction and sold for $3,966.
— Kotaku (@Kotaku) December 21, 2021
As Games Radar pointed out, there's nothing special about this version of the game. There's no extra level, no extra weapon or outfit to put on our hero, Link. It's just that it has this Myojo Charumera ramen label on it.
This copy of Legend of Zelda for Famicom Disk System, which was a promo from instant ramen maker Charumera, sold for ¥453,000 ($4000 USD) after 118 bids on Yahoo Auctions last night. pic.twitter.com/zGWYI8LvfN
— Alex Kraus (JOB HUNTING in Japan, see pin) (@alexfkraus) December 21, 2021
"...The cartridge itself isn't even custom-branded," Games Radar wrote. "Nintendo and Charumera just slapped a different sticker on the thing for the giveaway, but it shows how much the value of a limited edition thing can appreciate in certain communities regardless of its intrinsic value or even subjective coolness."
So, if anyone ever starts to doubt the value of a good sticker or label as a promotional product, you can point them to this story and say that just having a ramen brand sticker on an old video game cartridge bumped its value up astronomically.
If that isn't an argument for co-branding—and for stickers as promotional products—we don't know what is.