Who would win: Final Fantasy VIII vs 2000 Toyota Echo

In 1999, Squaresoft promoted the release of Final Fantasy VIII by giving away a 2000 Toyota Echo to one lucky winner who pre-ordered the game at participating retailers.

An ad for Final Fantasy VIII and the 2000 Toyota Echo. "Pre-order Final Fantasy VIII and enter to win a fantastic ride!" The fine print says winners will be notified in September 1999.
This ad was featured in a lot of magazines, but this particular scan comes from PSM, Issue 24 (August 1999), p.17.

Alex Jaffe from Insert Credit asked me if it is known who won the car. I don’t know, but 25 years later, that Toyota is probably not doing too great if it hasn’t already been scrapped. Meanwhile, Final Fantasy VIII keeps getting better and better.

Which raises the question: Which is more valuable today: Final Fantasy VIII or the 2000 Toyota Echo?

What were they worth in 1999?

Based on the ad, we will assume that the 2000 Toyota Echo given away was the four-door sedan model, despite the fine print saying “Actual prize vehicle may vary.”

ItemRetail price in 1999Retail price, adjusted for inflation (September 1999–January 2024)
Final Fantasy VIII$59.99[source]$110.20
2000 Toyota Echo$11,945[source]$21,941.88

When they were first released, the 2000 Toyota Echo was 199x more valuable than a single copy of Final Fantasy VIII! This may seem like an unfair comparison until you remember that the average American owned at least 200 copies of Final Fantasy VIII in 1999.

What are they worth today?

We’re going to compare the average price for a sealed, graded first-edition PlayStation 1 copy of Final Fantasy VIII (according to PriceCharting) to the Kelley Blue Book value of a 2000 Toyota Echo, both as of February 25, 2024.

ItemValue in 2024Change in value (not adjusted for inflation)
Final Fantasy VIII$987.45[source]1646.02%
2000 Toyota Echo$2,438[source]-79.59%

In 2024, the 2000 Toyota Echo is still worth about 2.47x the value of a mint-condition, collectible copy of Final Fantasy VIII. However, as you can see, Final Fantasy VIII has SIGNIFICANTLY increased in value, while the 2000 Toyota Echo’s value is plummeting. They are closer now than they have ever been.

If you bought both of these in 1999, the car would still be worth more. But Final Fantasy VIII is an purchase that will last a lifetime.