Because coin collecting is popular all over the world, the Royal Canadian Mint is not the only one producing collectable coins. Some sought-after pieces come from an unexpected source, such as the South Pacific Island of Niue. The self-governing island state produces commemorative coins relating to various pop culture niches, including retro video games, such as Pac-Man, Tetris, and Sonic the Hedgehog.
Where Is Niue?
Also known as the “Rock of Polynesia,” Niue is one of the largest coral islands in the world. It has a population of about 1,600 living within its 1,000 square miles. It is located in the South Pacific approximately 1,500 northeast of New Zealand, within a triangle formed by Samoa, Tonga, and the Cook Islands.
What Is Special About Coins From Niue?
Niue is a very small island and because of their size the coins they design are actually minted at the New Zealand Mint. The currency they use as legal tender is the New Zealand dollar. The coins produced by the island do not go into circulation. Instead, they are produced as coins for sale for the purpose of collecting. For this reason, Niue produces commemorative coins with themes that are likely to appeal to collectors from overseas. One of these themes includes retro video games.
What Is the Appeal of Retro Video Games?
Video games in general have been popular for over 40 years now. Generally speaking, they allow for an escape from reality and the problems and stresses it presents. A video game allows you to create your own world in which you are not hampered by circumstances that you feel may be holding you back in real life, such as age, career or athleticism. In a video game, everyone starts at the same level. The benefits you gain over the course of the game are earned through determination and skill alone.
While the association between video games and the young persists, about half of all people over the age of 50 play video games. This was the original gamer generation, and while they may appreciate the technological advancements that have taken place in gaming over the intervening decades, they feel nostalgia for the video games they started out playing in their youth. Similarly, younger generations of gamers appreciate the older platforms that set the stage for those that would follow.
What Originally Made These Retro Video Games Popular?
Pac-Man was not the first video game, but it did solidify the video game as an enduring form of entertainment. Despite concerns raised about it at the time, Pac-Man was different from its predecessors in that it was based on a premise that was essentially non-violent. The goal is not to destroy one’s enemies, merely to incapacitate them long enough to achieve one’s objective. In 2020, the Niue released a Pac-Man coin commemorating its 40th anniversary, depicting the Pac-Man character cheerfully evading a pursuing ghost.
Tetris was developed in the former Soviet Union, and a 2021 anniversary Niue commemorative coin recreates distinctive Russian minarets from the start screen of the original game. Tetris is one of the few truly abstract video games, based on a simple puzzle premise that could nevertheless only exist in a computer. While the gameplay is simple, success is not easy. Tetris is so engaging that some addiction specialists have used it as a replacement for drugs or alcohol.
The 30th-anniversary Sonic the Hedgehog coin from Niue depicts the title character in a confident stance. Amongst video games, Sonic was a trailblazer in character design, graphic quality, and storytelling. Sonic also has a rudimentary environmental message about saving woodland creatures from a technocrat bent on destroying green spaces.
Convenient Coin Collecting
You don’t have to travel all the way to Niue to find these commemorative coins for sale. They are available at Colonial Acres.