Game Collecting

It wasn’t long ago that people would look at you a bit strange if you mentioned that you collected video games and consoles.  We just live in a world where things aren’t accepted easily.  But what is the real difference between that and collecting coins or sports cards?  Not a whole lot, we just each have our own interests.  On my drive back from Ohio over Easter weekend, I had the chance to listen to the latest Retronauts podcast.  It was an excellent episode from Pax East concerning video game collecting and it really got me thinking.  This is becoming a more mainstream idea.  What we have seen just this year proves that the art of video game collecting is becoming huge.  This year alone we’ve seen games such as Stadium Events and Air Raid go for extremely high prices on eBay (we’re talking 13 to 40 thousand).  The popularity is rising.

So how does one collect games?

First off let me say that if you have an interest in collecting games, then you should consider the type of collection you want.  This makes it easier later on when you look at your shelves of awesomeness.  Basically, are you fine with just collecting carts and disc cases?  Or do you like the idea of owning the original boxes, instructions, cases, and all that groovy stuff?  The cost of owning completes or partial completes goes up a lot more, but it’s something you should consider.  When I decided to start collecting games a few years ago, I wanted complete, or as complete as I could get, games.  I didn’t want stray cartridges or discs lying around.  It really pays off to make this decision early as I can look at my collection and be proud of it instead of upset over the inconsistencies.  If it doesn’t matter to you, all the same, just enjoy yourself.

With that said…

Well there are many ways to go about it and it has become much easier now than ever before.  As mentioned on Retronauts, thrift stores can be a great source of classic games.  You can make a complete day out of it if you have a lot of stores to hit up.  Plan a day, grab a friend, get away from the computer, and have some fun.  It can turn out to be magical!  I say bring a friend because I think that actually makes the experience better… as long as you aren’t competing with your friend.  But if you have a friend who likes to treasure hunt for other things, then take them along.  It’ll be a good time.

Treasure hunting at thrift stores can be a bit tricky though because they tend to stash things in obscene places.  And even worse, they can really put some insane prices on things that just aren’t worth it.  If you are searching for games, depending on the format, perhaps look in the VHS/DVD section.  They may have just stashed them there because they didn’t know where else to put them.  Check out the cassettes/CD section also, you just never know.  Remember, these aren’t stores dedicated to gaming, so the chances that game related things will be stashed in strange places is highly probable.

Another good piece of advice when thrift store hunting is to either have knowledge in what things are worth, or if you have a smartphone, hop on eBay and see what they are averaging at.  You just may come across an amazing deal to add to your collection or you may find something that is completely overpriced.  Be smart!

Oh eBay, how I love thee.

eBay has really made the art of game collecting very simple.  It doesn’t have that thrill of the hunt factor that thrift store hunting does, but it is a great place to find about any game you would want.  Simply log in, search for a game, and more than likely you are going to find what you are looking for with the choice factor (completes, carts, boxes, etc.)  While eBay doesn’t exactly have that treasure hunting factor, it still offers some excitement. You never know what results you will find one day to the next.  And then you get to dig through all those results, figuring out what you want, debating prices, it can be an enjoyable task (or annoying depending on your perspective).

I will say this, please pay special attention to the description and feedback ratings.  You don’t want to purchase a game out of haste only to find out that it isn’t in the shape you thought it was when it arrives at your door.  Also, pay close to attention to the pictures.  Look over them to make sure there aren’t any stickers, rips, or other anomalies that may make it a bad purchase for you.  Good game sellers on eBay will usually take quite a few pictures to show everything so you know what you’re getting.  They know what us collectors look for and want, and most likely a lot of them are collectors as well.  So you see, eBay has its own adventure.

eBay has also done some interesting things for the collecting community.  It has essentially labeled the prices of what these things should be worth.  What’s the best way to know how much something is worth?  By seeing how much people will pay for it. That’s why I said above that eBay is good to check when you’re out hunting in the real world.  Perhaps you stumble across a game that is priced at $30, when you can find it averaging out on eBay for $10.  You never know.  Then there’s the opposite effect.  Maybe you find a game priced at $20, and you find it going on eBay for $60!  Have cool, will travel.

I happily admit, I love collecting old and new games, and even classic consoles or tech (if you can’t tell from some of my write-ups).  I don’t hit up the thrift stores often anymore, but it is something that I would like to get back in to doing.  Mostly I just settle for the likes of eBay or even Amazon on rare occasions.  The internet has completely opened up the world of collecting.

Why do we collect?  I think it’s just something that’s fun.  Whether for historical reasons, or for nostalgic purposes, we each have our own personal reasons. But it isn’t like I sit around and collect games all the time.  This is something that happens almost in a spur of the moment type thing and as a collector, I’m sure you have or will come across this.  You’re sitting around doing something and that urge hits you.  You have the urge to collect!  It’s just plain fun and exciting.  So go forth my fellow collectors, go forth and rock your collection.


One Response to “Game Collecting”

  1. Guinavere Says:

    rock on

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