Why retro gamers shouldn’t let this happen
These are just my opinions and I know this will rub some people up the wrong way but if you follow my Twitter or Instagram accounts you will no doubt be aware of my growing anger, yes irritation has grown to anger now, at the idiotic and ever inflated pricing of retro gaming items on auction sites. I would say this has been a recent phenomenon but I’m not so sure. Ever since articles started appearing in newspapers and on TV about the potential goldmine we all have in our lofts (attics to our American cousins) there have been progressively less items for sale at car boot sales, table top sales and jumble sales and more evidence of loft clear outs appearing on certain well known auction sites instead.
The capitalist in me wants to say “well done for finding a source of income, good luck with your sale” but the retro gamer in me wants to scream in frustration at the over-inflated prices people are expecting from their freshly looted loft space.
Car boot sales have now become places where a legitimate booter will get virtually mugged and have their car stripped of anything with a joypad within seconds of arriving by traders that queue to peer, one hand on brow, through your windows as you pull up. Familiar cries of “any records or mobile phones mate?” have now been replaced with “any vintage consoles or computers?” and you can be sure that the box of stuff you sell them will be on a well known auction site before the weekend is out.
“But if people are willing to pay it, then what’s the problem?” I hear some of you say. My argument against that is quite simple. An individual with inflated prices in his listings is not a problem in its own right, they can be ignored. But soon this will be seen by others, usually (but not always) profiteers and not enthusiasts with any real knowledge of what its actually worth and they will raise their prices accordingly. This becomes exaggerated when newcomers to the hobby think that these prices are normal and actually pay them or worse still, sell their own items for that same inflated price. A vicious circle of price hiking is soon in play and examples of the conclusion of this can be seen below. Potentially if left unchecked this will restrict retro gaming to only the most wealthy amongst us and I for one enjoy the inclusiveness of the retro gaming community and wish it to stay that way.
Click on images to enlarge
The rise of the video game ‘grader’
Another twist to this worrying turn of events is the relatively new phenomenon of video games ‘graders’. These are self appointed ‘authorities’ (a lot of quote marks going on here I know) who will put your game in a plastic case, maybe even filled with an inert gas (I made that up), presumably never to be opened again and to preserve its fictitious 85 or 90 grade. This seemingly then gives unscrupulous sellers even more reason to hike their prices still higher and examples of graded games auctions can be seen below:
Click on images to enlarge
No-one minds anyone making a profit or selling truly rare items for high prices. But there is a difference between this and taking anything with Mario or Link in the title, calling them R@RE and adding a few noughts to the price just because they are deemed to be ‘in vogue’.
Sick of seeing my hobby slowly destroyed by profiteers I have decided to start a hashtag campaign (#retroripoffs) to try and alert newcomers to the growing danger of deliberately overpriced games. If you feel strongly that profiteering should be driven out of retro gaming for good then simply share details of offending auctions you see with us on Twitter or Facebook and don’t forget to include the hashtag #retroripoffs.
Please only report the obvious ripoffs, we are not trying to stop people making a profit or a living from selling games, just alerting others less knowledgeable to unscrupulous pricing.