The long road to full sets - a Sega collection story
December 6th, 2023 • By Faith Johnson
For Jonathon McNeill, or Jonverine-Supersega as he’s known on Instagram, his gaming life started with two Disney games. “My gaming life started back in the late 90s when I received my first two Mega Drive titles, Aladdin and Lion King.” He explains. “My brother had always had gaming stuff in the house, such as Spectrum and Gameboy, but these were the first bits I was able to call my own. From there on my love of gaming grew and in my early teens, I was given a PS2. This is one of my most liked consoles with Simpsons Hit and Run and TimeSplitters 2 being favourites of mine.”
Things changed around seven years ago when Jonathon caught the collecting bug. “It was in 2016 when I started to collect properly. This involved just picking up anything that interested me when I was out shopping with my wife. From there my collection grew from a handful of PS1/2, Game Boy and Mega Drive games to pretty much collecting for everything."
"It was in 2018 when I'd amassed a sizeable Dreamcast collection and decided to focus on that to see if I could actually achieve a complete collection of games for it. After about eight months I completed the set and this really kickstarted my buzz for completing ‘collections’. From here on I would go on to complete Master System, Mega Drive and Mega CD collections.”
Jonathan tells us about his love for Sega. “For me, Sega is my childhood in a nutshell, hearing the Sega startup sound followed by the Spinball theme is bliss. As for what makes me want to collect full sets that is a difficult one, I suppose deep down it's part of my personality that when I start something I have to finish it. When I was around 300 deep into my Mega Drive collection I knew I had to collect the rest, plus there is something to love about being able to sit in my games room and see them all displayed neatly together.”
There are many highlights in his collection, and Jonathon gives a few examples. “My top three highlights have been completing my first full set of Dreamcast, the last game being MoHo. Adding Surf Ninja on Game Gear, it’s the rarest piece in my collection. This is a very peculiar title with information about its PAL origins sparse and is one of only around eight copies known to exist. It was a case of the right place and the right time to add it. A collector from Taiwan posted on a Facebook gaming group and we got chatting. He sent me loads of photos and amongst the hundred or so photos I spotted Surf Ninja. I knew this would be my only chance and half an hour later the deal was done."
"My most recent highlight was completing the Mega CD set with the addition of Syndicate, which is also the most expensive title I’ve bought. Over the last few years, my love for Mega CD has really grown and it has become my favourite console. Although the library isn't very big when compared with others such as Mega Drive, it's been by far the hardest to collect with the top five or six titles all going for over £400 these days.”
For all the fun Jonathon has in tracking down games for his collections, there are some challenges along the way. “The biggest challenge for anyone thinking about starting to build a collection now is cost. The price of games has risen significantly in the past few years which impacts the financial burden of collecting."
It's not just the increasing prices that cause collectors headaches as Jonathon explains. "In terms of collecting full sets outside of the costs, the biggest difficulty is rarity. Often the first 75% of a collection is fairly achievable, but then it gets very difficult and requires a lot of searching and luck. Over the years I’ve made many friends within the gaming community internationally and they've helped me massively over the years with my collecting. And that's probably my best advice, make contacts anywhere and everywhere. Also, don’t feel pressure with collecting it's a marathon, not a sprint.”
When asked why gamers are still interested in collecting old games Jonathon feels it’s about keeping memories alive. “People still collect because of nostalgia, it reminds them of their childhood. Some people collect for preservation purposes, they like to keep alive the hobby and community and preserve it for future generations, which is great as without it things would be lost to time.”
But what about the items that he is still searching for? “There are certain things I’m still searching for, but there are three main things. Power Drive for the Game Gear, sadly I don't think I'll ever achieve this one unless someone somewhere out there can help me. ECCO Jr for the Megadrive, an Australian exclusive, and the final few spine cards to finish my Mega CD set.”
We asked Jonathon about his plans for collecting in the future. “Going forward I’m not sure where my collecting will take me. Sadly I don’t currently have the room or space to add much more, otherwise, I’d probably try and go for the Saturn collection to finish all the Sega consoles. For now, I will just pick up PS2 stuff here and there and continue collecting N64 cartridges. I’m at 55% of the N64 cartridge set so may look to finish that off.”
We asked Jonathon to sum up his thoughts on his gaming life and collecting in general. “I love the nostalgia and being able to relive my youth. Being able to share the experiences with new people. Seeing the smiles on my nephew's face when they try out a new Mega Drive title he hasn't played yet is priceless. Also to keep the hobby going by preserving them. I don’t see myself ever selling up unless it was a real emergency for cash and if I did would be to somebody who would look after them as much as I have rather than look for a quick buck.”
Mage Games thanks Jonathon for his time chatting with us and sending great photos of his collection. You can follow Jonathon on his Instagram account.
Game journalist and historian. I write about games in books, magazines and online. Sega, especially Sonic, is my favourite.
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