Monday, December 6, 2010

A little prose on being a collector

This is a repost from an old blog that ProtoScott and I started a while back.  I thought it would work well here since people actually read this blog. Enjoy!

Being a Nintendo collector, despite being big heaps of fun, is not easy.  Where I live, there are four stores that specialize in old/used video games. Three of these are part of a local franchise business, while the fourth is a separate entity. These stores are great and, for the most part, the employees are very helpful. Case in point; I was scouring the city hoping to find a copy of F-Zero X for the N64 – quite honestly it’s one of the best futuristic racing games ever, and certainly the best on that particular console. The employee helping me at the time checked all of their locations in the city, but ended up having it shipped from Indianapolis. Now, we’re talking about a $5 game here. I’m pretty sure that they spent more on the shipping than I paid for it. That’s customer service (cyber shout out to McVan’s Video Games).

This isn’t the case for every game though. Anyone who has ever looked into purchasing an old cartridge knows that games can range from $0.50 to hundreds of dollars. For the most part, when I go and buy an old game (usually for the NES or SNES) I’m going to spend around $10 per game on average. That isn’t to say I haven’t made a few impulse buys. Just the other day, I spent $30 on Final Fantasy II. Was it worth it? Totally. If you are a gamer and you are getting into the retro systems, be prepared to spend a good chunk of money. For the most part, a store that specializes in old games will know the rarity and street value for just about every cartridge they have. You could find an online store ( for example) and usually the same game will be about the same price.

But that’s boring. Going into a store and just picking up the game you want doesn’t supply any fun. It’s like grocery shopping; you know what you are going to buy before you even go in, so there aren’t any surprises. However, just recently, I had an experience that had the potential to be very joyous for my consoles.

I like to browse the local Craigslist ads just to see if anyone is selling old systems for cheap. I happened to find a guy that was selling his entire NES collection, which included: The NES system, an Advantage controller, a 3rd party controller, light gun, and 11 games. If you were to buy everything he was selling from a dealer it would cost somewhere around the $170 range. He was selling this collection for $65. Unfortunately, the timing was off. By the time I could have arranged a time to buy it from him, he would have moved to a different state. But this occurrence gave me that rush that one feels when they find a veritable gold mine in what someone else considers trash.

There are a lot of people in this world who don’t put any value in video games. Sure, they have a few lying around in their closet, but they’d much rather get rid of them and make a few bucks than spend a few moments on the internet to find out what they are actually worth. This is where collectors like ProtoScott, Heavily Armed Timo, willtaculer, and myself have fun. Sometimes, you can find rare games with street values of $20+ in someone’s garage sale for a buck. It feels like stealing, but it’s the good kind of stealing. The only downside is that these treasures are few and far between. Most people know that they can take their games to a dealer and get cash, so stumbling across those cheap and rare games has become difficult, if not near impossible. But that’s not to say it isn’t possible to find one man’s trash that is your plastic treasure. Keep your eyes open and you never know what you’ll find. Also, if you are selling your games, my email is I also take donations.


  1. This reminds me of when ProtoScott and myself found a copy of Earthbound at the Disc Replay for $75. The clerk who took it out of the case saw the price tag and said "Oh, a rare one!" We died a little bit on the inside.

  2. I am currently contemplating spending over a hundred dollars so i can play Mega Man the Wily Wars, a compilation of 3 mega man games I already own. I am not a very smart collector sometimes.

  3. I say go for it Proto... I wouldn't blame you.