Sunday, September 9, 2012

Meet the collectors - #2 - Fabrice Heilig

After starting Meet the collectors in Australia, we now move swiftly to France, where we meet the second collector in our series: Fabrice Heilig.

Fabrice will introduce himself, and share his wonderful collection of vintage Nintendo toys and games with us, which he has on display in a real museum-style room.

Fabrice's collection room

"Hello. My name is Fabrice. I am 36 years old and live in France, in the beautiful Alsace region. I have been working for 15 years now at a company that manufactures industrial water meters."

"Twelve years ago I started collecting video games and after three years I started focussing on the Nintendo universe."

Fabrice during his trip to Japan, in front of an old Nintendo building in Kyoto

"At first, I did not know at all that Nintendo had such an extensive past. The starting point of my collection was searching flea markets for the things that excited me during my childhood; like the NES and SNES consoles."

"But I became more interested in the Nintendo brand itself, and started looking - almost like a detective - for information about how they had started making video games. I discovered that there was much more before that: that Nintendo had produced card games, toys, etc. That was when my collection really started!"

"I looked for people who were also interested in this topic, but I did not find many. I was lucky to find one particular person: none other than Florent Gorges, author of The History of Nintendo, and one of the greatest Nintendo historians in the world."

"Florent enlightened me a lot on the subject, which I appreciated very much. He also made me discover Japan and various historical Nintendo sites, during a superb trip over there in 2010."

"The goal of my collection is not to collect everything. I am not very interested in having the same console in ten different colors. I find it more interesting to discover the whole range of products from Nintendo's history, from their foundation until today."

"I am not looking for any specific pieces to add to my collection. I would love to find one of the cast iron or wooden print blocks, used to print Hanafuda cards. But I believe this may be impossible. I don't even know if any of these still exist."

"Some of the favorite items from my collection are the old Nintendo card games."

Cabinet filled with a wide range of Nintendo card games

"I also like the Nintendo Love Tester. It is quite original, and - in the Japanese context of its time - was not just a simple toy, but also an item that brought Japanese men and women closer together."

"One item from my collection stands out in particular for me: the rare Nintendo Sample. It is a catalogue used by Nintendo's salesmen to show the range of different cards that could be ordered from them."

Page from the Nintendo sample book

"In the past two years, my collecting has slowed down. It requires a lot of time and money, and because of the strong yen, buying from Japan has become much more expensive. But I have not lost my interest in the world of Nintendo at all; I am still as passionate about it as before."

Fabrice in front of the Nintendo headquarters in Kyoto

Thanks for the tour, Fabrice! It is a great collection that is beautifully displayed. Your room is rightly called a museum.

[UPDATE 2021] After nine years it was time to revisit Fabrice and check out his dedicated building that he built for his collection.

If you also collect Nintendo toys and games, no matter how large or small your collection is, if you have been at it for years or just started recently, we would love to hear from you. If you want to show your collection and tell us about it, please get in touch.


  1. Wow! That is an impressive collection! Thanks for sharing it. I see you have some of the Sono Game series, I would love to find some of them. You have some very interesting things there, especially the shipping box for the N&B Blocks, the Sharp XG-115 and the Nintendo Sampler book. Fantastic!

  2. Thank you :),
    some are actually quite difficult to find

  3. Awesome collection. Seems like a Nintendo museum could see the light in France before Japan...!