[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Nintendo Scratch-Off Cards

June 7th, 2010 by Benj Edwards

Double Dragon Nintendo Game Packs Scatch-Off Game Card Front - 1989He soon landed with an embarrassing splash.

This Double Dragon scratch-off game card came from a pack of Topps “Nintendo Game Pack” cards that I bought, likely in a drugstore, circa 1989. Of all the cards in the pack, this one remains unscratched for whatever reason. Perhaps I wanted to preserve the mystery and potential of a single unscratched scratch-off card. After all, the cards become worthless and ugly after you impart jaggy scratch lines all over those silver little pads.

Double Dragon Nintendo Game Packs Scatch-Off Game Card Back - 1989

The reason Nintendo and the scratch-off concept share the same milieu is that each card presents the owner with a game of sorts. Once you scratch a pad, you reveal a graphical symbol that determines your fate depending on the directions printed on the back of the card. In this case, you need “1 arrow and 2 kicks or 3 elbows or 4 punches” to win. I’m not sure how many variations of the symbols Topps printed under those silver pads, but I hope there was more than one. Otherwise, if you had multiple copies of the same card, the “game” might have unfolded in exactly the same way if you scratched the same pads.

Nintendo Game Packs cards featured Super Mario Bros., Punch-Out!!, and The Legend of Zelda as well, although those were too irresistible for me to not scratch off, so none survive in tact in my collection.

A number of websites examine these cards in more detail. This one has scans of all the cards in the series. Another one features photos of the stickers that came with each pack of cards — I remember plastering those all over my walls as a kid. I may have a couple of the uglier stickers left un-peeled somewhere. If I ever find them, I’ll probably just burn them as an offering to Hgnagg, the God of Nostalgia.

[ From Topps Nintendo Game Packs Trading Cards, circa 1989 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: Did you collect trading cards as a kid? What kind(s)?

8 Responses to “[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Nintendo Scratch-Off Cards”

  1. TheSaintOfPain Says:

    I had the full set of these as a kid, but I scratched them all off, and won absolutely nothing. =P I also collected regular baseball cards, as well as Garbage Pail Kids cards, Voltron cards/sticker books, and even had nearly the full set of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cards. …I think I’m heading off to eBay now…

  2. zikzak Says:

    I collected Trading Card when I was a kid, actually every kid did.
    I remember I had several album, Cobra, HE Man, Bioman, Garbage Pail Kids etc.
    Then I was older I played Magic the gathering and Netrunner.

    Unfortunately when you’re a kid these albums doesn’t live long.

  3. RC Says:

    I collected just about every kind of card out there during the 80s and early 90s: sports, Marvel, Batman, GI Joe, etc. However, I remember not wanting these Nintendo scratch off cards. I thought they were like lottery tickets but you didn’t win anything and the cards were worthless if you scratched them.

  4. Eagles409 Says:

    I collected garbage pail kids in the 80s. I forget how many sets of those there were, I think I gave up around series 5. I also remember having a bunch of Pacman cards, or were they stickers. I remember one looked like a report card on how well I played pacman and you could fill it out yourself.

  5. Zoyous Says:

    I collected NFL cards for a while… found a bunch of them recently. Just barely missed the rookie Bo Jackson by a season.

    Slightly off-topic, but this reminded me of a cool paper (American) football game I used to play. It was a pad of paper that showed the field, and you used a felt-tip pen with transparent ink that would reveal previously invisible player positions and events during the play. It probably was around in the early-mid 80s. I remember being skeptical of it at first, but really enjoying it when I played it.

  6. John Holmes Says:

    This is a way to settle disputes, like who’s turn it is to mow the lawn !

  7. Cody Says:

    I collected garbage pail kids too! They went on for many, many series, far longer than my own childhood. I used to buy them at the “local deli” which was a thing of the past before even my mid-teenage years; replaced by supermarket chains which didn’t sell this kind of thing (of small packets of mixed lollies, either).

    I also collected Ghostbuster movie series. They disappeared just before I could finish building my set, which ended up with lots of phone calls and me begging my parents to drive me around to buy literally the last few BOXES of them left in the corners of the city.

    I did get my set. I had lots of sets. What happened to them? I have no idea, like all of my childhood artefacts they all just disappeared one day. Luckily if I was so compelled I could pick up someone else’s set on eBay, but I don’t feel like it.

    What sucked is that I wrapped them all in elastic bands, which really destroys them over time. If I had a more concerned parent, they would have given me a box to store them in so I could resell them in near-mint condition at a later date. Instead, what I was doing was just wasting time and money, right?


  8. John S Says:

    I’m currently working on programming a digital version of the Zelda scratch-off card game, but cannot find accurate data on the ratio of symbols beneath the silver. I found a few pre-scratched cards on ebay, but not the whole set. I am also unsure if every card was identical or random. Is there any chance you could dig out your set of pre-scratched cards and email me images to help finish my project? Many thanks.

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