Original Post

I could have put this in the Noteworthy Auctions thread, but decided this is an odd enough item to give it its own thread. Check out this auction…

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1&item=8235316091&ssPageName=STRK:MEWA:IT

In the past 4-5 years, this is only the second hard shell case I have seen like this on Ebay. It’s made by a company called Travel Master and it’s clearly for the virtual Boy. Aside form not having the VB sticker on it, it looks EXACTLY like the Blockbuster case. Only, it appears that the usual VB sticker wouldn’t even fit. I’d venture to guess that they probably made the Blockbuster ones as well. Does anyone have any more info on these things? I wouldn’t think they would have been produced for the open market, but I could be wrong. Maybe they were another one of those items that didn’t quite make it to the shelf before the VB was pulled off. I decided I wanted it, so I bid/won the auction. I could use another case for one of my extra units anyway. I’ll post some close-up pictures as soon as I get it in the mail.

-Bill

58 Replies

Well, I must admit that my friend’s memory hasn’t shown itself to be the greatest in the past (if he ever reads this thread, hopefully he won’t take it personally, since I think he can readily admit that his memory isn’t the best at all times). Thus, there is still a possibility that he didn’t get the case at a Toys R Us that used to be in the Indiana Mall. Nevertheless, that is what he remembers and holds to to this day, so I have to post that as his response. Also, he doesn’t remember any box or cover around the case when he got it; it was just the case. Actually, when he was telling me about how he got the case, he did throw out the possibility that he got it at Blockbuster, before he then concluded that he got it at Toys R Us at the mall. So maybe it was among the other Virtual Boy hard cases at Blockbuster when Blockbuster put out all of their VB items for sale.

That Jaguar case is, indeed, very nice.

Not really relevant, but here’s a few more Blockbuster Rental cases (notice that the N64 one uses what appears to be the same sticker dimensions as the VB case):

  • This reply was modified 9 years, 6 months ago by VirtualJockey.
Attachments:

Benjamin Stevens wrote:
Well, I must admit that my friend’s memory hasn’t shown itself to be the greatest in the past (if he ever reads this thread, hopefully he won’t take it personally, since I think he can readily admit that his memory isn’t the best at all times). Thus, there is still a possibility that he didn’t get the case at a Toys R Us that used to be in the Indiana Mall. Nevertheless, that is what he remembers and holds to to this day, so I have to post that as his response. Also, he doesn’t remember any box or cover around the case when he got it; it was just the case. Actually, when he was telling me about how he got the case, he did throw out the possibility that he got it at Blockbuster, before he then concluded that he got it at Toys R Us at the mall. So maybe it was among the other Virtual Boy hard cases at Blockbuster when Blockbuster put out all of their VB items for sale.

That Jaguar case is, indeed, very nice.

Well, for a non VB collector it would be difficult to expect someone to remember a single and insignificant purchase made some 17 years ago.
Now mind you, “TravelMaster” was the house brand name for the Southern Case Manufacturing company. As you probably know by now, they manufactured suitcases for sears retail locations, hardcases for classic consoles in the 80s, had their own line of TravelMaster Camera cases and licensed game hardcases for rental shops in the late 80s and 90s, and definitely had licensed cases in the 90s exclusively for Blockbuster locations.
The VB TravelMaster case is an enigma to me. While the early console cases such as NES and Megadrive had a generic TravelMaster logo, Consoles as early as the Sega Genesis had a custom sticker or art to represent the company’s logo on the lid of the case. At first I was really hoping to find out that these “TravelMaster” branded cases were exclusive to a specific small shop, such as radio-shack/LA-Tronics Etc. The problem is that before they supplied the common “Blockbuster cases” they have had a very mixed history of selling both licensed and unlicensed cases to who knows where?
Where, when and why these video game cases show up as TravelMaster branded hasn’t been well documented since most other Game collectors for say Sega Genesis couldn’t care less about a 3rd-party hard case in the big picture of Genesis collecting. I can almost guarantee that if you search “Vintage Hard Case” in the Video Games category on eBay today that you’ll find at least one if not multiple Southern Case rental cases for non-VB consoles. Luckily for us VB collectors, the top foam is unique on the VB travelmaster case (meaning that you can’t buy a Jaguar travelmaster and swap the blockbuster foam into it without collectors noticing that it’s a fake). Each console had it’s own unique custom faom for the large bottom portion of the case as well as the top. The Travel Master Virtual boy cases DO NOT have a cut out portion for a VB instruction sticker seen on the blockbuster cases.

For now we know who made the cases, we know that the TravelMaster VB case came before the Blockbuster VB case (in which the blockbuster case was a reproduction mold of the Travelmaster VB case), and we know from a few tiny accounts that TravelMaster branded console rental cases have been found for non VB consoles at small rental shops.
My educated guess is that if you can find an early to mid 90s rental store merchandising catalog that you’ll find your answer there. Did you friend get it at TRU?

#3: Toys R Us? I strongly doubt it. This is a strange case that falls in line with a sub-category of rental items.

#2 Blockbuster? Highly unlikely, Nintendo put their back into pushing VB at Blockbuster before the VB even launched. BB was well prepared for the VB launch with Nintendo’s dime behind the scenes. (Can’t forget the Let’s see 3-D sweepstakes). The VB labeled cases were funded by the Big N, Southern Case didn’t ship generic rental cases to BB.

#1. People have reported purchasing consoles during the 90s with *strange* TravelMaster Branded hardcases at small rental shops. Since none of the sources mentioned VB, I’ll just have to roll with the belief that these travel master cases without pretty N64, Virtual Boy, Sega or Atari Jaguar logos were sold to these small shops at affordable budget prices.

My guess is your buddy bought his console used from a small local rental shop for pennies on the dollar before or after noticing that local big name stores were selling games brand new on clearance for $3.99 and consoles for $19.99.

I really can’t think of a rarer 3rd party VB accessory than this particular hard case, this case makes the “Promo” Mosaic JPN VB Adapter taps look like child’s play.

From eBay statistics Id say it goes in this order from least rare to most rare:

5. Blockbuster hard case
4. Loose Performance soft case
3. Mosaic promo JPN tap
4. *Boxed* Performance soft case
5. TravelMaster Hard Case

In the above post I did mean to order the rarity as 54321.

For kicks I’ll note ALL the VB accessories from least rare to most (Since I need to post this edit anyway).
If you feel differently, feel free to correct it with reason. I have included boxed vs unboxed for the unique items.

1. loose ac adaptor (not really a VB item?)
2. Loose tap (JPN)
3. Loose eye-shade
4. Loose tap (USA)
5. NIB AC Adaptor Tap (JPN)
6. NIB US AC Adaptor Set (USA)
7. Blockbuster Hard case
8. Stereo Headphones
9. NIB Eye-shade
10. loose Performance adaptor
11. NIB Headphones.
12. Loose Performance soft case
13. Boxed Performance adaptor.
14. NIB AC Adaptor Set (Mexico)
15. Mosaic promo JPN tap
16. *Boxed* Performance soft case
17. TravelMaster Hard Case

It’s not exactly a list of monetary value, but can you die-hard VB collectors agree with the rarity?

If I ran PVB, assuming the same RARITY list, I’d label them as such 1 to 5:

1-. loose ac adaptor (not really a VB item?)
1. Loose tap (JPN)
1. Loose eye-shade
1. Loose tap (USA)
2. NIB AC Adaptor Tap (JPN)
2. NIB US AC Adaptor Set (USA)
2+. Blockbuster Hard case
3-. loose Performance adaptor
3-. loose Stereo Headphones
3. NIB Stereo Headphones
3. NIB Eye-shade
3. Loose Performance soft case
4. Boxed Performance adaptor
5. NIB AC Adaptor Set (Mexico)
5. Mosaic promo JPN tap
5+. NIB Performance soft case
5++. TravelMaster Hard Case

With such a handful of very rare VB accessories, I think the VB accessories need the same 1/10 rarity rating that games themselves get. Rarity does not mean value, but is worth noting.

With 100+ Blockbuster hard cases showing up a year, and maybe 6 boxed performance ACs? 1 Boxed performance soft-case for every 30 soft-cases posted a year?
The realistic attainability of a few of these rare items is simply ridiculous for those that wish to buy them. 3 Virtual Bowling carts show up for every 1 Travel Master case. While desirability may be different, it simply doesn’t change rarity itself.

VirtualJockey wrote:

1. loose ac adaptor (not really a VB item?)
2. Loose tap (JPN)
3. Loose eye-shade
4. Loose tap (USA)
5. NIB AC Adaptor Tap (JPN)
6. NIB US AC Adaptor Set (USA)
7. Blockbuster Hard case
8. Stereo Headphones
9. NIB Eye-shade
10. loose Performance adaptor
11. NIB Headphones.
12. Loose Performance soft case
13. Boxed Performance adaptor.
14. NIB AC Adaptor Set (Mexico)
15. Mosaic promo JPN tap
16. *Boxed* Performance soft case
17. TravelMaster Hard Case

It’s not exactly a list of monetary value, but can you die-hard VB collectors agree with the rarity?

I’ve only been following Virtual Boy on Ebay for 9 months so far, but in that amount of time, I can definitely say that the above list pretty accurately reflects the last 9 months. Travel Master definitely belongs in the number 1, since I never actually got to see one in that time period until it was already removed. I only ever saw 1 boxed performance soft case in that amount of time, which I purchased. I thought I saw 1 Mosaic promo JPN tap in that amount of time, but when I bought it I found that the Japanese seller was simply using a picture of the promo tap to sell his regular taps, which frustrated me a bit. I have probably seen a couple sealed adapter sets from Mexico and a couple boxed Performance adapters in that amount of time. After that, things do start to increase a bit from there. Although, I think I’ve seen more loose Performance soft cases in the last nine months than NIB headphones. After that, the other items become so much more numerous that I’d have a hard time determining which ones I’ve seen more of as compared to the others.

Well, my package should arrive tomorrow. The fun is… I’m *not* certain that it’s a TravelMaster at all. I saw a picture of an open case, and took a gamble. I have a good eye, and this case will be a TravelMaster unless the below photograph is photoshopped. Luck is a calculated mix of timing and patience.
Success or Failure, I’ll post pics tomorrow.

If she’s a TravelMaster, she’ll be available for sale or trade.

I picked up a mosaic demo tap the other week 🙂
I had the same thing as Benjamin, but, as a regular customer I insisted he send me a demo tap and he did.

He has none left now, I already checked.

  • This reply was modified 9 years, 6 months ago by L___E___T.

My package arrived today. 🙂

Attachments:

On a strange note, both the 1st & 2nd TravelMaster case I purchased were bundled with high serial number consoles included. In the first case, I purchased it without the console because I thought why bother with a console that couldn’t possibly be in the serial range that was bundled with a case from a rental shop? The second case came with a serial around 519k (highest serial registered on this site is 629k). The more I learn about this case, the more curious it becomes. For the record, both my cases came from sellers that didn’t know what they had.

Benjamin, what serial is your friend’s console? Maybe these cases really WERE INDEED sold during the downfall? I really expected the included consoles to have a serial far less than 100k when a rental shop would have had incentive to…rent them. I’ll dig through my records and see if I can find the serial number of the console I passed up that was with my first TravelMaster case. All I remember was that it was high, and I denounced it from inclusion with my deal for the case based on the serial. If your friend’s serial is 500k plus, maybe these things were sold at Toys R Us in the end game? I find it very confusing to get not one but two rare “rental?” cases with high serial consoles when no rental shop would have been renting them at that time. Was this case retail afterall?

I mean, whenever I buy a Blockbuster rental case with a bundled console, I always get a blockbuster rental era serial number. If these cases were rentals, you’d think not only would they have low serials, but VERY low serial. Instead, my two have had high serials. Maybe Sothern case was unloading overstock when the VB failed, thus didn’t have case lids left over with the warning sticker and case lid with Nintendo’s VB sticker that they wouldn’t have legally been allowed to sell?

The console that came with my newest case was DOA, Glitchy right screen and dead left. He seemed very nice in his responses, and I feel that he didn’t know the functional status of the console.

He said he bought it NEW! His auction included a travel master case. The guy seems really nice and has had great communication, so I asked him if he remembered where he bought the case. We’ll have to wait and see. He bought the console new and judging the serial number he bought it during the VB downfall. So he bought a new non-rental console and has this case?

I’m awaiting a reply, but I’m feeling like no logic can be applied to late VB sales and marketing.Between my seller’s reply and Benjamin Steven’s friend, this ungodly pre-clone of the late Blockbuster case may have been a retail item in the end game when you and I weren’t exactly buying VB stuff!

I definitely don’t think that my friend would have gotten his Travel Master case at a small rental store. I don’t even know of any small rental stores around town that would fit the bill, and I do know my friend’s shopping habits pretty good, so I would trust his recollection of buying the system in a Travel Master case at a Toys R Us during the end of the VB’s time in retail stores over the possibility of him buying it at some local rental store.

I should be going over to my friend’s house this Thursday again for a gaming session. I’ll try to remember to take a look at his Virtual Boy again and write down the serial number for you.

Nice case find, by the way.

Benjamin Stevens wrote:
I should be going over to my friend’s house this Thursday again for a gaming session. I’ll try to remember to take a look at his Virtual Boy again and write down the serial number for you.

Nice case find, by the way.

Thanks man. The seller responded to me and said he purchased the VB unit NIB at an Electronics Expo in Chicago, but doesn’t remember where he bought the case. He mentioned that he might have purchased it years later? Oh well, still more mystery.

Okay. I’m back from my friend’s house and found out that the serial number on his Virtual Boy was torn off, definitely before the system and case were purchased used. Thus, I can’t provide the serial number for the unit, unfortunately.

However, there was an additional detail noticed that could shed some more light on the origin of this Travel Master case. The system and case also included a VB instruction manual, and on the manual there is a piece of tape with writing on it that says “full retail value of game will be charged if instructions are not returned,” and this is the system’s instructions mind you.

The only place other than the toy store that used to be in the Indiana Mall, from where my friend thought it may have been purchased, was Blockbuster. Given the fact that this sticker largely shows that the system was, in fact, a rental system at one time, I would have to conclude that Blockbuster did, indeed, have some Travel Master hard cases along with the Virtual Boy hard cases and put them out for sale when all the Virtual Boy stuff was being sold. I also found out that my friend’s brother was actually the one who purchased the system with Travel Master case for my friend, and he also verified that he either bought it at the toy store that used to be in the Indiana Mall or Blockbuster, no other option. So I’d have to go with the notion that this was a Blockbuster purchase.

To me it makes absolute sense that these would be Blockbuster cases that were either earlier than the officially badged ones, or later when the licensing deal ran out perhaps.

Maybe there was a run that just weren’t badged up due to a maufacturing guff-up.
Has anyone asked TravelMaster? Do they still trade?

L___E___T wrote:
To me it makes absolute sense that these would be Blockbuster cases that were either earlier than the officially badged ones, or later when the licensing deal ran out perhaps.

Maybe there was a run that just weren’t badged up due to a maufacturing guff-up.
Has anyone asked TravelMaster? Do they still trade?

Southern case folded a long time ago. Although the owner of Southern Case (Andy Dembick) is 69 or 70 years old, believed to be alive and kicking, and currently is president of Fusion Tech Inc. It’s a Nano-technology company that makes lubricants and cleaning agents. Fusion Tech is located in the same town where Southern Case once flourished, Raleigh NC.

I highly doubt you’d find any answers or valuable info about a rare sub-version of an already exclusive 17 year old product when questions are poised to and reported back by a senior citizen.

would make for an exhilarating answer though right? 🙂

If anyone needs a Travel master case for their collection :), I can help. I’d rather trade it at this point to other VB stuff I don’t have :)..or maybe the Travel Master + cash, if it’s a really cool item. But, if anyone wants to talk about it..please PM me.

-Eric

 

Write a reply

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.