Nintendojo Toy Box: Nintendo DSi Promo Keychain and Magnet

A couple of oddities from the launch of Nintendo’s previous handheld!

By Robert Marrujo. Posted 01/13/2015 09:00 Comment on this     ShareThis

I’ve touched on this a little in previous Toy Box installments, but I’m a sucker for promotional video game items. Whether it’s a giveaway or even a piece of marketing like a cardboard display, I want it for my collection. One of my favorites is a special box that Rockstar sent out to retailers prior to the release of L.A. Noir. It was made to look like the top of a detective’s desk, and inside were t-shirts, lanyards, and brochures intended to promote the game. There’s something special about promo collectibles like that. They’re generally not made in large numbers or for resale, immediately making the items scarce from the second they hit the street. Promo items also tend to lean towards being a bit unusual.

The Nintendo DSi key chain and magnet we’re highlighting in this edition of Toy Box are perfect examples of being “unusual.” As the images show, Nintendo took the home screen interface icons from its DSi handheld and used them for the individual tiles of the magnet, and molded them into the charms for the key chain. The market for “DSi interface icons” merchandise is decidedly nonexistent, so it’s only during system launches when oddball pieces like these are produced. The key chain and magnet featured here were both given away by Nintendo reps at different events and retail outlets, making their availability limited to the confines of digital marketplaces.

As disappointingly unavailable as most promo goods become, its their limited nature that makes them so appealing to collectors to begin with. Some folks take interest in promo collectibles for their value, of course; just peruse eBay or Amazon for a few minutes and bemoan the ludicrous asking prices that some sellers want for a simple button or pamphlet. If a big payday is someone’s goal, who am I to judge, but for myself, promos are more important than being mere cash cows. To me, they’re sort of like time capsules for when a game was new. I tend to compare stumbling upon a promo item to something like finding an original Citizen Kane or Star Wars movie poster, where the novelty comes from knowing that the things somehow avoided being tossed into a trash can like so many others.

Toys and t-shirts are intentionally created to be held on to for a while, whereas a standee or sticker sheet is finite by design. That’s why, when I run across a video game display in a GameStop or Target that I know is destined for the dumps, I take a moment to stop and ask if I can have it. Like I said, they’re pockets of time. People can look back at promo goods and remember when they saw them in a store, or the night they waited in line in the cold for a midnight launch. Some of it is just cool, of course, and not necessarily charged with warm, fuzzy memories, but a lot of it is a cool reminder of yesterday that can’t be replaced.

That, or I just have an affinity for junk!

In any event, promo goods are a part of the fine world of video game collectibles, and something that we’ll continue to explore here on Nintendojo. Any particular goods that you’ve gotten hold of over the years that you’d like to talk about? Anyone fortunate enough to have one of the NES box and cartridge mockups of Mega Man 9? Sound off in the comments!

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