I was recently looking through my old emails trying to find a hotel booking confirmation from 2003 1, and in the process of doing so stumbled across lots of old orders for things I’d bought online. Most of them from companies that don’t exist any more. Many of them from Hong Kong. Some of them from Hong Kong companies that don’t exist any more.
Like this one from almost exactly 16 years ago:
Name: Bust A Move Pocket
Unit Price: HK$ 225.00
Amount: HK$ 225.00
Unit Price: HK$ 165.00
Amount: HK$ 165.00
Name: WonderSwan(translucent green)
Unit Price: HK$ 415.00
Amount: HK$ 415.00
Subtotal: HK$ 805.00
Shipping Cost: HK$ 0.00
Total: HK$ 805.00
That order from the very wonderful Bung. Ah, how we miss Bung. One of the casualties of Sony’s Hong Kong Hissy Fit, I think, which later claimed the other HK great, Lik Sang. Different times.
I ordered a lot from Bung and Lik Sang. Mainly Game Boy, NeoGeo Pocket and WonderSwan games and accessories, but the odd Dreamcast peripheral or console controller too. Back in the days when being hit for a trillion pound inport tax was unusual, and you were never quite sure what you’d ordered would 1) turn up, and 2) be anything like what you paid for.
Take the above order as an example. There are three things listed, the third one obviously being an actual WonderSwan (for around £30! Twas a bargain machine, that one). The first item on the order appears to be “Bust-A-Move Pocket”, although was actually the alternatively named version “Puzzle Bobble Mini” for the NeoGeo Pocket (another awesome handheld). The middle item? Who knows.
The email doesn’t contain any Chinese (or Japanese) characters – it’s literally just what is shown above. However, some deduction leads me to believe it’s actually a copy of “Tekken Card Fighters”:
I remember buying this at the same time as my WonderSwan, and indeed it was the only game I owned for it for quite a long time. It was totally incomprehensible for several reasons: it was all in Japanese, it was on an alien system, and I’d never played any sort of card battling game before aside from Top Trumps. Still, I loved it and somehow managed to figure it all out, eventually completing it.
Later Hong Kong imports would include both my Game Boy Advance and a Nintendo DS, but by 2006-ish, with both Bung and Lik Sang gone and most games then seeing worldwide release, I imported far less. I still pick up the odd game from Play Asia, and the likes of Deal Extreme provide occasion wacky Asian gaming gadgetry, but I kind of miss the import scene of the early 2000s.
- Because of course I was. ↩