The King of RareSo, you're a fan of Rare are you? Perhaps you have some of their games? Maybe you even have a bit of tat from promotional heydays the shopkeeper gave you out of pity. Well, if you're defining yourself as a fan of Rare, then Amir "IOnEI Falcon" is a downright stalker, hiding off in the bushes with a camera and a telling gaze. Perhaps that's a little dramatic, but we're not exaggerating when we say that Amir is devoted.
With literally hundreds of pieces of Rare merchandise and promotional offerings in his possession, he's rightfully earned the title 'King of Rare' - something that even building a website dedicated to the developer has yet to earn us. Still, if you can't beat them, join them. We're such fans of Rare that we're vicariously fans of Amir as well and as such we've taken some time aside to pin him down and tell us where he lives ... er, I mean stage a little interview involving his ever-expanding collection of the finest Rare gear.
Join Lerako as he speaks to Amir about all of his wonderful items and his love of Rare. Check out the pics below and look on with envious yearning.
1. Your collection is absolutely massive! Can you tell us how many Rare items you've collected in total and where you've stored them all?
Haha, thanks! Yeah, it is a little out of hand these days. Last I counted I have around 400 or so different items from posters and standees to a Killer Instinct paper clip holder and a MagSec 4 model gun that was used at a E3 by one of the Joanna Dark cosplay girls. I somehow manage to fit it all into two separate closets. Nothing is on display unfortunately and that is mainly why it can fit into just two. Maybe someday I will have enough room and if my wife permits it to put it all out.
2. What was the first Rare game you ever played? Did it spark your interest in collecting Rare merch or did that come later?
The first Rare game I ever played was Donkey Kong Country for the SNES. It didn’t spark my interest in collecting then. I was a bit too young to worry about keeping things factory sealed and asking the store keepers if I could take home the signs on display at that time but I was always a neat child and kept it as complete box set, haha! I really didn’t start collecting until 9 years ago or so. I had a passion for all Rare games long before that time and had all their games for every system at this point. I really cherished these games and wanted to have some form of them to keep forever so I started trying to find factory sealed copies of the games. From starting to search for games, my world was opened to all the different promo and merch items there were for my favorite games and for me, nothing is cooler than an awesome standee or poster of your favorite game.
3. There's certainly a lot of rare wares, what would you consider your most prized possession of the lot to be, and how did you go about collecting it?
Hmm ... my most prized possession would have to be the GoldenEye 007 standee. For one, GoldenEye 007 is the game that really brought the Rare name to heart. I poured hours upon hours into that game as all of us did and was just in awe from it. So the game itself means a lot and then with how hard it seems to come by. Before I had acquired it I had only seen one other and it was in that famous picture of Mark Edmonds and Duncan Botwood with them standing next to it. Well, I scoured the internet for anyone else that had one. After back and forth between many people who knew someone who knew someone I finally found a contact that had the standee. It took a lot of investigative work on my part to finally find someone so it was pretty satisfying when it finally made it to my place in the states all the way from the UK. 4. Can you tell us any interesting stories or humorous experiences you'd had in the process of adding to your growing collection?
I don't have any humorous stories I believe but for me it is always interesting randomly meeting old Rare employees on eBay or some other collecting site. I will have won an item from one of them and in a message exchange back and forth will see a familiar name and just go out on a limb and ask, “Do you happen to be so and so that worked at Rare?”. Every time it blows my mind when they respond with the answer yes. 5. What is your favorite title by Rare? How much swag have you nabbed for it?
Favorite Rare title ... that would be a tossup between GE, PD and DKC but I will have to pick GE just because what it meant to me for those years. I actually do not have a lot of swag for it compared to some of the other Rare titles. Over the years I have noticed a lot more promotional items were distributed through the UK for GoldenEye so I don’t have too many displays for it being in the US. I luckily somehow got hold of a couple prototype Goldeneye 007 posters and promotional items that never went into production which bumped the GE swag count up a bit. 6. Is there anything woefully missing from your collection that you'd like to have, or is there a specific item that you'd like to have more of?
Haha, so many things! I couldn’t just pinpoint one. The thing with collecting merch and promotional items is there are just so many of them out there. At least once a week I will see several things I didn’t even know existed. Did you know there is a Conker’s Bad Fur Day whoopee cushion!? Haha, so random!
7. We've talked about the rarest of the bunch, but what is the oddest item in your collection?
The oddest item in the collection would have to go to the Conker’s Bad Fur Day condom or the Fulgore mask. I mean, how many games get a condom with the main characters face on the front of it. They aren’t too hard to find as thousands of them were passed out at 4 universities in the States but definitely a cool item. And the Fulgore mask is just pretty intense. It goes around your whole head and has this creepy fake hair on the back for his pony tail ... haha! 8. Do you have any tips for Rare fans starting their own collection? Words of advice or encouragement?
I have found over the years that the coolest items always come from some dedication and patience. From making a 6 hour trip after finding a random craigslist listing to weeks of email back and forth to missing out on an eBay listing and having the item resurface after a year of it never being seen again, some time and patience is required for sure. And everyone starts small. The first piece of my collection when I started was a factory sealed Jet Force Gemini. From there if you put in the time it can grow exponentially. Lastly I would say always have fun! With collecting anything it seems as though it is only worth it if it is fun. The second you start to get frustrated or are not enjoying the items you are acquiring, take a break. 9. Would you like to say anything to Rare, aside from telling them to buy you a new garage to store their things?
Haha, besides that hmm ... I think they already hear enough from me as I bother Mr. Loveday at least once a day on Twitter, haha! But yeah, just that I am a huge fan and always will be. Your games mean a ton to me, probably an unhealthy amount but everyone is passionate about something right? I just so happen to be extremely passionate about everything related to Rare.
Thanks for allowing us an interview with you, we'll let you get back to ogling that cut-out of Joanna Dark, Falcon.
No, thank you! I am honored to have been interviewed by Rare Gamer and look forward to your next Top 5 write up!