It was nearly three decades ago when the Sega Game Gear was first released in Japan in 1990, as it entered a handheld console space where Nintendo’s Game Boy was the most popular device. As such, the Game Gear has long been rendered obsolete by the likes of Sony’s PlayStation and Microsoft’s Xbox. But that didn’t stop one buyer from purchasing a copy of Sonic the Hedgehog 2, a title that was released in November 1992 for the Game Gear, in brand-new condition.
As first reported by Polygon, the peculiar purchase was first noted by NPD Group analyst Mat Piscatella, who specializes in U.S. video game sales and trends. According to Piscatella’s data, the brand-new copy of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 was sold by an unspecified retailer last month, though he pointed out in a series of tweets on Saturday that he has no information on who bought the copy of game, or where the person bought it from.
“Like, was it just buried in some back room the last twenty years?” Piscatella continued.
“Did it get lost underneath some retail fixture? Was it a twenty something year old pre-order? What was the reaction when that person who bought it saw it? So many questions I have.”
At the time of the original report, some social media users speculated that the copy of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 might have been sold as part of Toys R Us’ liquidation sale, which started on March 23. Polygon agreed with this theory, noting that retailers generally mean it when they say that “everything must go,” meaning a store’s display shelves would also go on sale. However, a subsequent update from Uproxx revealed more details about the mysterious sale, including the retailer who sold the item.
Replying to a tweet from Piscatella, where the analyst said he was going to ask around for a possible retailer and location, a Twitter user with the handle MihaelMELLO_K replied with a photo of a Sonic the Hedgehog 2 cartridge, still in its boxing and plastic wrapping. The Twitter user told Piscatella that it was his brother-in-law who made the purchase at Half-Price Books.
A look at the the packaging suggests that the cartridge was sold on February 7, and not in March, though Uproxx stressed that there are still many unanswered questions that remain, such as the reason why Half-Price would have held on to a brand-new copy of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 for the Sega Game Gear for more than two decades.
According to Game Rant, the Sega Game Gear did solidly in the handheld market during the few years it was sold by the gaming giant, selling a total of 10.62 million units. But even with the popularity of games such as Sonic the Hedgehog 2, the console was discontinued by Sega in 1997, with the dominant Nintendo Game Boy shipping 118.69 million units during its time in the market.