We visited Korea to try to find one of the most exotic and mysterious N64 consoles Nintendo ever released. Join us on our hunt!
The Back Story
The N64 Hyundai Comboy was only released in South-Korea due to a trade embargo held against Japan until 1998. This means at the time of the N64’s release in 1996 Nintendo had no distributing rights in Korea. So they used the company “Hyundai” to make a kind of shadow release of the console and in the process had to give it a different name.
However, the import ban was lifted shortly after the release and all further N64’s sold after that in Korea were the normal Japanese version with a selection of Korean language games. This insanely short market appearance makes this console incredibly rare.
After getting in touch with some locals and a little bit of sight seeing the first thing we realized was that this country is incredibly expensive for our European standards. So we ended up asking around how to get local food and we ended up eating these Dragonball Style Rice cakes with fish inside all the time.
Finding one - Good Luck!
We had no idea how hard it was going to be to even find a single N64 console, no matter which version. Retro gear is not nearly as common here as in Japan. In the end we got a tip from a bunch of girls at the beach. They told us where to find the "nerd" areas of Seoul. Thanks for the tip Ladies!
We ended up finding the place after a while. It was very remote and we had to walk into a basement of a used electronics market. We could not believe our eyes how many consoles they had stacked there. Jackpot!
It took forever to search for it in the massive stacks of consoles they had in that basement. The image does not even tell the full story, there were literally 10 times as many consoles there. A collectors dream! No hint on the N64 Comboy though, only the not so rare Japanese versions...until we looked more closely. And there it was - Right in front of us!
What belongs to Korea stays in Korea?
Naturally we were really exited to find it and somehow thought we would just take it with us. But unfortunately luck was only on our side for a few minutes. The seller turned out to be a true Korean patriot and explained he would never sell it to us. He was a nice guy but ultimately he told us that there is a lot of pride connected to the Comboy in Korea and owning one as a Korean Collector is a big thing. We had now idea...
He knew everything about its rarity and let us know that this console will never leave the country, leaving us with the option to take a Japanese one. In our frustration we offered 1000 Dollars for the console without even looking at it (That was our highest price anyway) - He said no faster than we can smash A-Buttons. So in the end we had to leave the market with out the legendary “Hyundai Comboy 64”
Sure we were disappointed but sometimes you win and sometimes you loose. Every collector knows this hard rule by heart. We could say that the trip was pointless but to be quite honest the console did not bother us in the slightest anymore after traveling in this wonderful country.
Korea was a blast and we spent the 8 following days traveling. Even the CV team did not bother playing any games (Okay that was a lie, we actually went into almost every arcade)
After returning back home empty handed but full of memories one of our friends in France and long term Korea traveler heard about our adventure and contacted us. He said that he has one he brought back almost a decade ago. And it even included the red controller!!! As far as we know this was the only controller color released there and the box has yet to be discovered (if it even exists)
So we can proudly present these nice pictures to you now. Can't believe we really got lucky with this console after all. One of the few ones out there. Enjoy!
You can check out more details of all our Hyundai Comboy variations in our database: