Friday, July 6, 2018

Nostalgia Bomb! - Topps Nintendo Game Packs

What were they?
Nintendo Game Packs (with Top Secret Tips!) were a series of scratch-off trading cards and sticker packs released by Topps for 25¢ apiece. Inside each wax-wrapped pack you would find three scratch-off cards and two stickers, as well as a stick of bubble gum!

Topps Nintendo Game Packs (1989) - image courtesy of Toys'n'Stuff YouTube Channel

There were 93 cards to collect in all. 60 of those were the scratch-off or "game" cards, which could be broken out into groups of 10 based on 6 different Nintendo games: Super Mario Bros., Super Mario. Bros. 2, The Legend of Zelda, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, Double Dragon, and Punch-Out!! The other 33 cards were the stickers, which portrayed character portraits from all sorts of different Nintendo games and had printed tips and tricks on the back, not necessarily related to the actual sticker on the front.

A sticker card featuing Abobo from Double Dragon - image courtesy of

When were they available?
They were released in 1989. Topps would release a yearly series of sports cards, which would include the usual culprits of baseball, football, and hockey. They would also release non-sports sets each year that would be based on different movie and cartoon franchises, which included the Nintendo set. '89 would also see sets for Back to the Future Part II, Batman (1989), Batman (1966), Ghostbusters II, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ('89 cartoon show), and Stupid Smile Stickers, which were essentially parody cards making fun of the popular "smiley face" stickers at that time.

A full box of Topps Nintendo Game Packs

What about today?

Although Nintendo would go on to have different trading card sets over the years based on many of their popular franchises, like The Legend of Zelda and most recently amiibo trading cards for the Animal Crossing series, this was the only Topps set they would ever release.

It is worth noting that Topps also released a set of Nintendo Tattoos around the same time. They are considered much more rare than the Game Packs and I can honestly say I don't recall ever seeing them when I was a kid.

Topps Nintendo Tattoos, also circa 1989

Why do I remember them?

I was a big card collector back when I was a kid. It was completely hooked in 1990 on the first Marvel Universe trading card series by Impel (later Skybox), but I cut my teeth on these Nintendo Game Packs.

Although I have all of my old Marvel cards I unfortunately don't have any of my old Nintendo cards left today. I think it was because they were made somewhat disposable. Each of the scratch-off cards were a game and once they were scratched I considered them used up and the sticker cards would make their way into a sticker binder I kept (which is long since gone). It wasn't until the next year I'd clue in on collecting cards.

A Zelda scratch-off game card - image courtesy of

You see them a lot these days, though. They're typically easy to find on eBay or in different niche stores. You'll also find a lot of videos on YouTube of people either displaying their collections or showing off opening old packs that are still sealed.

I haven't gone so far in my enjoyment of these cards to get the set myself. I have checked out the prices on eBay now and then, but I never pull the trigger. It's fun to queue up YouTube now and again, however, and watch some videos on Topps Nintendo Game Packs and reminisce.

I hope you enjoyed,