A Thrift Store Out-Of-Body Experience

Reddit member Benzona was making his same typical thrift store rounds looking for retro games when, out of nowhere, he stumbles upon that once-in-a-decade find we all wish for:

I’m walking past the electronics shelves when I spot a TurboVision. I thought it was odd but maybe, just maybe, there’s the TurboExpress system that this pairs with somewhere nearby. I think, heck, even if there was one I’m sure it’s long gone by now.  I kept looking and — to my utter amazement — I spot it.  A TurboExpress box!

As a huge TurboGrafx-16 fan, I know how hard it is to find this NEC hardware in the wild.  Only 1.5M of these portables were sold and most, by now, are parked firmly in the hands of collectors. Of those buyers, only a fraction bought the TurboVision accessory which plugged into it and let you watch basic television via antenna.  Both pieces of hardware are very expensive these days due to their rarity and a recent increase in demand.  These two items alone would cost between $300-$400 in their condition if the gaming hardware is, indeed, in that box.

At this point my hands are literally shaking. I’ve heard of people describing this feeling but I was convinced this couldn’t possibly be happening to me. I slowly open the box, eyes squinting in fear, and inside is a pristine TurboExpress complete with the instructions and in the plastic still! The system looks brand new! At this point I’m thinking I don’t care what the price is, it’s mine no matter what…

Surely Goodwill is teasing him and it’ll carry a hefty pricetag, right?

As I turn the box on its side, there it is…just $1.99! I nearly fainted. For $2.98 I got a like new TurboExpress CIB with a Turbo Vision! If you hold the screen to the sunlight and glint it off there, you won’t find a single scratch. I looked everywhere for games, but that was the extent of my luck this time.

Un. Real.


The TurboExpress CIB. Absolutely wonderful shape with just a tiny blemish at the top corner. How does this even survive the dropoff and handling at the thrift shop in such good condition?

The view of the inside.  Wonderful!

The view of the inside. Wonderful!

The TurboVision...can you still watch Seinfeld on that thing?!

The TurboVision…can you still watch Seinfeld on that thing?!

Thank you to Benzona for granting me permission to re-publish his story for Jinja Bobot.

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About John Blanco

John Blanco is an avid game collector and loves to write about his hobby as much as he participates in it. He run the Denver Retro Gamers Facebook group in Denver, Colorado, and coordinates swap-style meetups with dozens of other collectors every couple of months.

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