Retro game prices getting crazy – is our pastime in jeopardy?

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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.

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Look at how many have sold. Workbench disks? £2.50 more like. Get a copy off a fellow retro gaming mate and save your money.

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Its got Zelda on it look. Quick, remortgage your home and buy it. Your kids won’t mind not eating for a week.

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It’s not restricted to Nintendo either, here’s an Amiga CDTV title. Thanks to @miggybaz for the tip-off.

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The list of shame goes on and on…

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..and on…

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…and on…

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You get the picture.

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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:

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#retroripoffs have gone worldwide, here’s a ‘graded’ boxed cart from Australia. Thanks AusRetroGamer for the tip-off.

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One of my favourites is this unboxed ‘sealed’ ET cart. You work it out, I can’t.

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Taking it to the max is this Yoshi’s Story. £3,500 anyone? Anyone? No thought not.

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Anyone else noticed how the ‘authority’ grade most everything at 85. Did they get any other stickers printed?

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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’.

#retroripoffs

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.

Author: Ant Harper

Father, Husband, website developer, avid gamer since the mid-70s and collector of just about anything video game related. 8-Bit microcomputer and Sinclair specialist with a huge Sinclair related collection of his own. Blogs about retro gaming here but occasionally elsewhere when people ask. Bored of Mario and never much liked Zelda. Performs quirkafleegs for cold hard cash. Often found destroying ice crowns in the Lands of Midnight. Remembers: Lunar Lander. Plays: Steel Battalion, Gears of War

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35 Comments

  1. People are pricing things like idiots, but are they selling? No.

  2. This is very true. Of all the auction items shown in this article, I didn’t see a single one sell for its original listed price. A lot of these sellers are just ‘trying it on’ but there is still a danger that prolonged price hiking will drive up prices across the board.

  3. I think the majority of people into collecting games will realise the prices are too expensive and avoid these like the plague (with the exception of Super Turrican, which I’ve seen go for ridiculous prices unboxed) the “resealing” in security boxes that didn’t exist when the games originally came out is a bit worrying, as is the official “grading” service. There was a story that surfaced on Twitter last week from China of a huge haul of sealed Nintendo consoles and games that was bought bulk in the 80s/90s including sealed Super Mario 3 carts, then locked away in a warehouse until found by relatives, that sold on eBay for a huge amount. I did think at the time that the sheer quantity of goodies seemed a bit suspect.
    I don’t think it will change the price of Our hobby, we all have our sources and know what sells, how much and what we’re prepared to pay. If anything, the inflated prices will drive new collectors away!

  4. I sold that Turrican CD game at auction for over 100 quid (starting price 99p), it really is worth that much, or almost that much!

  5. Absolutely no doubt it is. Some games are worth a lot of money, but the ones that you see in this article are actually not all that rare at all despite all the claims to the contrary. Even games that are rare also need to be desirable to be worth serious money, this is what people seem to misunderstand about market value. And good on you for starting the auction at a decent price, it just goes to show that the market should dictate what games sell for not greedy resellers! :)

  6. Ant,

    I can’t stress how much I agree with you on this. The current trend of something being worth loads of money because it’s “retro” is ridiculous, and has brought all sorts of unsavoury and greedy people out of the woodwork.

    The fact is that just because a game is over ten years old, doesn’t mean that it’s suddenly worth a shed load of money, I’ve lost count of the number of games I’ve seen listed as “rare” just because they’re not PS2 games.

    In my opinion, the sooner this retro fad is over, the better it’ll be for those of us who actually enjoy the hobby.

  7. I understand your complaint but as with any thing old that is new again it will come at a price from those who had the forsight to hang on to such thing. Retro gaming is no different from comic books, toys, baseball cards ect… As long as someone pays an outrageous amount for something people will continue to charge that price. IMHO retro gaming needs a legit pricing guide for reference and to control the issue with pricing. Rare is still rare and should be worth something. Again just like any collecting hobby the fun is the hunt and finding that rare gem, sometimes for a steal and sometimes not but atleast you can find it.

  8. I think you miss my point. I agree completely that anything that is genuinely rare is going to be worth more. My point covers the fact that sellers are taking anything old (rare or not) and calling them rare in order to make a quick buck.

  9. once again though the blame is put on the seller. It is the buyer who is continuing to pay these over inflated prices and in doing so is maintaining the higher price. If no one is willing to pay such a price then in time that price will come down.I personally think the real problem here is the crazed collector that will pay any price to complete a collection. If someone looks at current pricing the majority of games are 10 and under there really aren’t that many real money makers out there in the scheme of things. As to the problem of high priced non rare games I say buyer beware, do your homework before jumping on ebay and who knows if you keep up with the realistic prices of some games you just might luck into some great deals now and again.It just seems to me that I here a lot of moaning about the fact that you can’t get these games for pennies on the dollar anymore but that is what happens when interest in something starts to really spike.Just remember what goes up must come down, so give it some time.

  10. I agree on this article 100%. Im getting so sick of all overpriced games now that it’s not fun to collect and I am loosing interest.
    I hate the grading stuff it’s only for making money, ANYONE can put a sealed game in a plastic case!!

  11. at the end of the day they are only worth what you want to pay for them. but agreed there are some people out there that price them at stupid prices and quite often there are people who have no idea what they have and either price them way to high or at a bargin price. i have a small collection of sealed games mostly ps2 rpgs but what i find is that people who have vga/ukgraders sealed games for sell there pricers are always 3-400% more then than they are worth and are wildly priced all over the place.

  12. As a collector, and player.. yes.. I play my games.. of the NES, I’m sick of all these reselling roaches who run around all day in thrift stores only to place them on the internet for resell. Let’s not forget, these retro games stores are also doing this. Paying thrift store prices for commons, and triple charging for them in their store, thus holding the entire stock ransom from people who would actually use them.

    I really want this hype to come to a f’n hault soon because most of these people doing this have zero appreciation for the hobby. They’re just parasites inflating what most of us are passionate about.

    Also, if these twits are going to charge ebay prices -which all of them do where I live-, then I may as well use eBay because otherwise I will be wasting gas, time, and energy hunting things down locally. Why bother leaving my house then? Click BIN, wait a week. Presto. I found it easier than searching in town.

    I’m fed up with this nonsense. So annoyed. I really hope all of these retro shops go out of business. They give people 40% of the value, and charge the inflation. They are the real parasites. Boycott retro shops. Force them out of business.

    So mad. >.< BLARGH!

  13. Still happening, even in Australia, already the home of overly inflated video game prices (Australia may as well be on the moon when it comes to shipping/postage costs and retail pricing, and availability of the games themselves, not to mention that Australia Post seems to damage and even lose more parcels than they actually send, tracked or not).

    Apparently Mega Man X1 (PAL) is worth upwards of A$300 on eBay, cartridge alone (I recently lost a bid for a loose X cartridge (my maximum bid was already ridiculous at $218), which went as far as $270 at the end of the auction – no doubt it was a “retro” game store who will now put it straight back on eBay for $300+ in order to make a profit). Oh wait, it has Mega Man in the title, and it’s on Super Nintendo… double whammy (let me guess, in five years, Mega Man X7, X8 and Command Mission (and the two NTSC-only Collections which of course evaded the PAL territory as is common with so many games) will skyrocket to $100+ second hand when PS2 becomes “retro” as well).

    EB Games have been in on the act for ages, Cash Converters are now jumping up the prices on everything pre-PS2 (in fact, they refuse to take PS2 and Xbox games outright, yet they sell GameCube games for ridiculous prices, even when the have the same game on another platform), even the Salvation Army and Savers charity stores are a ripoff for that matter! They have no problems selling video tapes, DVDs, PC games, cassettes and records for 50 cents to $1 each, but a GameCube game – of course it’s $12 and not the $1 that was on the PC game next to it; it’s got the Nintendo logo on it after all! Nintendo tax is what I call it, when multi-platform games cost more on a Nintendo console over any other console (PC games are always the cheapest in this category, with PS2/Xbox being similarly priced but costing between $1-5 more, with Nintendo always being the most expensive, usually no less than $10 each regardless of the game). NES consoles (just the loose console, maybe with one controller and the cables if lucky) are currently hovering around the $120 mark when Cash Converters have one – they were about $10-$20 five years ago, same with Super Nintendo and Nintendo 64 as well.

  14. Poignant article. All markets are prone to unreasoned frenzy; but bringing in synthetic elements like ‘grading’, takes the piss, no matter the grading body’s reputation. To see an example of how a grading body’s influence (and how easy it is to con them), one has to look no further than the vintage Star Wars collecting community; something close to many retro gamers I imagine. Last year it transpired that a toy trader had been buying loose vintage figures, and reassembling the packaging with mint bubbles and cards (had been going on for years). These were then graded by the AFA; and obviously with that endorsement, sold as the genuine articles, namely mint on card. Such figures go for non trivial sums,

    This demonstrates how ‘grading’ granted such a ‘stroke’ impunity (for the years it lasted). Had it not been slipped in a thread that a job lot of accessories needed to reassemble figures was sold to said trader, nobody would ever have known.

    Graders are rentiers (rent seeking and non productive) who artificiality inflate items; you’ve better off with caveat emptor, and your own research.

  15. I seriously hope the market will crash. I was recently looking for old consoles with the original box and private sellers quote stupid prices. One woman wanted $400 for her NES which I thought was factory sealed. She told me it wasn’t and informed me if it was sealed it would go for $800. Then she wanted $95 for each of her Mario games because she had the boxes for that too. She told me the boxes and manuals make all the difference as if she was some “expert”. Sure, stuff like that increases the value by a few dollars but not by hundreds. You cant even reason with these people. After some talk she went down to $240 but I told her just to forget it.

    Another clown wanted $180 for his NES and one wanted $150 for their Super Nintendo. These people get so upset when you give them realistic offers but what’s their appraisal source? You guessed it, EBay. Its funny because they accuse you of lowballing them while having the guts saying stuff like “I know you know the real prices this stuff goes for because you probably checked Ebay”. Then when you tell them the overpriced items on there have zero bids and are not selling they just throw some nonsense how they pulled up a sellers list trying to prove you wrong. Gee you mean some odd idiot out there in internet world really overpaid and got swindled because they had no idea what they were buying? You don’t say! I usually just tell them to buzz off and post on their precious EBay. Go ahead and pay some site a fee, wait months if not years, demand an extra $30-$50 shipping and then pray the dummy buyer doesn’t receive it damaged in the mail which will result asking for a refund.

    Retro gaming stores are a hit and miss. Some are reasonable, most are not. They offer better prices in the right range but still stay high. The only thing I hate about them is they wont give you a deal. We all know they buy their stuff next to nothing and ask double to make a profit. But if you’re seriously haggling over a few dollars it destroys my interest. They don’t even think long term as a business. If I buy something off you for $10 less than what you want guess what I’m going to do with that extra $10? Probably buy more of your wares. In fact it would encourage me to become a regular customer. But no. Instead it makes for sense for them to rip you off one time.

    From what I’ve learned the best you can do is keep shopping around. Eventually you’ll find someone who wants to get rid of their stuff ASAP. If you do it online watch out for the sharks who do this for a living. Snatch up a good deal if someone posts low before they do. Oh and don’t be surprised if the sharks start emailing you because after all you become their competition. You would be surprised how many emails I’ve gotten from collectors trying to give me an overpriced “good deal” to silence my posts so they can go back to flooding the boards offering pennies when I am willing to pay someone dollars.

  16. I agree wholeheartedly with every word my friend. And pray for the day the market comes crashing down on all the vultures, giving us back our pastime.

  17. By the way if you want a good laugh check out the Storage Wars episode where one of them finds a loose NES-001 and almost has a heart attack saying its worth $15,000. Then when he goes to a store watch the sudden shock on his face when the clerk tells him not only is it just a regular generic NES but its only worth $10 when they plug it in and find out it doesn’t even work.

    People watch these shows and go ape when they hear storage hunters say “That’s a 100 dollar bill!” or something not realizing that A) Value is different than what someone is willing to pay.
    B) Ever notice how these people own stores pilled with junk they simply cant sell?

    I pray for the day Nintendo does exactly what Atari and Sega have done. Make a retro console preloaded with 70+ original games and a cartridge slot to insert any loose games you may have. That’s the day of reckoning for these wannabe collectors who will get stuck trying to sell a console with Mario/duck hunt for the same price as a flashback console.

    Anyways good article!

  18. I remember seeing one where I think it was Brandon who found a loose 2600 and some carts in a bin exclaiming the console was worth $250 (or thereabouts as far as I remember). These fools and the TV programs they appear in are half the reason all these eBay vultures are thinking they can charge £10000 for a VGA graded sealed copy of Majoras Mask. Actually you don’t want me to get started on the VGA… grrr.

  19. Great article, insightful comments.

    My friend and I that used to have a lot of fun chasing down vintage games locally have been saying similar things for the past few years. I don’t know if I’ve even bought a retro game in the past year or two.

    It’s awful that it’s even infiltrated the brick & mortar stores as well. My friend and I used to visit a local shop where the owner had the ‘eBay pricing’ mentality that’s been mentioned. Any time I tried to haggle, he told me to check eBay and that his prices were fair…of course we aren’t talking completed and sold listings here. I recall when I first got a 32x I was interested in a few games, but wasn’t going to pay $30 for Knuckles Chaotix. He refused to haggle, even if I purchased other games, and I wondered aloud how many local people could conceivably be coming in interested in those titles? Of course they were still in the case a few years later when I visited again (and long after I’d picked up Knuckles for around $10 elsewhere).

    I’m not really sure how these shops stay in business. On eBay, of course, there’s no overhead outside of storage, and loose games don’t take up much space. So on the internet these games can sit stagnant at ridiculous prices until the end of time. The real tragedy of it is that when a game actually does go up for auction at a reasonable starting price, the ending price is artificially inflated because the ‘free market’ ceases to exist when the only other avenue is Buy it Now listings with prices through the roof.

    That’s just how those profiteer type of people are though, they’ll turn away an interested customer wishing to haggle for a fair price when these items have a higher alleged ‘value’. They’d rather park the game in a glass case until it’s sun faded and dust crusted, perpetually thinking that the next person through the door is prepared to pay any price imaginable for such a ‘rare treasure’. It’s probably why so many of those retro/vintage shops look more like a hoarder house crashed into a commercial zone.

    The good news is with emulation and flash carts (for us original hardware purists), we can actually still play rare retro games and prototypes and translated titles that never got domestic releases. But owning sought-after originals is no longer feasible for many of us.

  20. I am sick of a number of things that surround retro-anything, that is the numbers of people who are clearly in a monetary position to profiteer from markets that work to inflate prices and peoples expectations. For example, I have seen someone listing a retro PC with original poly no outer, no power supply but they did test it and it works and were expecting £50 for it. Days after the auction, the same seller under a different user name was selling a power supply for … you guessed it, the very retro PC that was sold in a previous auction.

    I have seen auctions list things as ULTRA RARE and VERY RARE and have to say sorry people but your average retro games console / games PC / PC was manufactured in industrial quantities and therefore it is not rare.

    Since the Apple Zero came to light and sold at auction for 1/3rd of a million or so I heard, it was a large amount for what was the first series of apple computers that WAS HAND BUILT as in they made the boards by etching them, soldered components and built boxes for the equipment which is completely different to factory based production lines…

    I am finding it frustrating at present because I am being persistently outbid on eBay, I recently read up about sniper tools after I was outbid by a sniper tool and the sniper got the item cheaper than my bid, so it seems that profiteers are now using these tools because they provide the ability to buy off unsuspecting sellers who are cheating eBay and I have noticed several pricing strategies and over a 2 year period of watching and looking at retro devices, I can see profiteers using these tools, relisting items under a buy now button with a overly inflated price yet have under other accounts items listed, same equipment, different arrangement and flooring or kitchen / coffee / dining table shots 😉 so in english, over a long enough period of time, you can find what I prefer to call “Retrolls” [Retro Trolls all rolled in to one] established on several auction sites and using as many accounts and some now have links to facebook pages.

    I had a long phone conversation with the eBay customer services about the wowes I was going through and the complexity of the problem of bidders and sellers and resellers and more. The first and most important hurdle to tackle IMHO is the problem of sniper bidding tools and the human element needs a better chance of a fair crack at the bidding, problem is that people fail to understand why sniper tools are bad all around, if you eliminate these tools then you tackle the problem of retro pricing hikes, it is that simple, the problem is, just incase it escapes peoples notice is that a capitalist with the moolar [money] using more than one tool can “Steal” a bid at a very low price and then reprice the goods at 500% or more profit, as I have witnessed.

    One of the last auctions I bid on was for a retro computer, I bid £35 for it yet a sniper was able to snap it up for £21. After having an eBay customer service agent look in to the sale and cross reference the bidding that came in the final minute of the auction, the exact pattern of bidding activity that I predicted happened and despite eBays confirmation that my £35 bid was accepted, it opened the can of worms that I expected.

    The one agent I spoke with agreed that this was a problem that eBay was aware of and that previous attempts to thwart this problem was causing more complaints than it cured and I had to point out that it was obviously effective then because all those complaints, if they looked over their logs, would find that they were sniper tool operators and you gave them all a few rough weeks, severe dent in their operations and earnings.

  21. Retro gaming reminds me a lot of people who collect vinyl records. The difference here is that retro games are not being reproduced. Some would argue “You can get those same games on the Virtual Console!” but the problem with that argument is the digital product not only fails in comparison to its original counterpart, but it does not accommodate those who are looking for something physical to collect and display.

  22. That’s why I stopped buying retro games. The most expensive I bought was Megaman 5 on Gameboy for £55, three years ago. Since, I stopped as I realised it wasn’t worth it, even if you’re nostalgic of these games. Emulators are just fine, don’t waste your money anymore with these thieves, and save your money for something else instead :-)

  23. All you guys complaining about the high prices act like you should get stuff for nearly nothing. Get a grip. If you don’t like the price of something then move on. I’m a picker and would never pay retail for a game (once or twice earlier because it wanted something). It’s awesome to find a deal that allows me to take a trophy and sell the stuff that I’ve already got. That’s how I grow my collection. But some people have more money and they pay whatever. Just remember, they will suck it when the crash happens. VGA sucks!

  24. I’m kind of new to collecting and was completely frustrated by the fact that many of the games I want to relive cost just as much as a PS4 game. I absolutely hate seeing the term “rare” attached to any of these items. Ok, I’ll admit that there may be a few rare titles that should go for a bit more than others, but for the most part it is just people trying to make money. Though there is nothing wrong with making money, over inflating prices on something simply because people are willing to pay for it (sometimes) distorts the actual value of the item. I do feel that I am being taken advantage of to a certain extent. These games are not being priced due to their “rareness” rather they are being priced based on what people are willing to pay for them. I know that this is just my ranting and complaining, but imagine my surprise when I woke up one day and decided that I was going to start reclaiming a portion of my past just to find out that even that has been infiltrated by the greedy resellers. What makes me even more frustrated is the fact that these resellers are going around to all of the garage/yard sales (or car boot sales) and swap meets and buying all of the consoles and games for what would be considered “normal” prices and then turning around and reselling them for a 200% (or more) mark-up. Anyways, I’m still not going to buy a Retron console. My collection will not grow nearly as fast as I would have hoped, but I have decided to go slow and see if I can wait this out. I can only pray that this is a bubble that will burst when consumers (especially those who were there when these systems came out) finally remember that millions upon millions of these things were sold and they do not classify as being Rare!

  25. I genuinely couldn’t agree more. And furthermore, I’d just like to say how I feel for collectors who are just getting into this now, it must be so frustrating. Thankfully (for me anyway!) I am one of the lucky ones who started collecting way back and got most of their stuff before this boom even started.

  26. I Collect led handhelds and LCD handheld games.You can guess how it might be more important to have the console than the game emulated.Things are now getting costly and stupid.
    Rare and vintage is on every bloody listing.Soon ps4 games will be listed with rare and vintage.I hate these words.
    I can still get bargains.There are still normal human beings clearing out thier loft and if careful I can get a terrific bargain but a few years ago,apart from game and watch everything else was cheap.Now if you look at say,Tiger LCDs,sellers are sometimes listing for £70.Crazy.

  27. I’m glad I started collecting in the 80’s and bought most of the games I wanted when they were still new.

    I’m not sure I feel bad about the way it is. I felt the same way when I started getting into comic collecting, there were tons of comics I wanted from the 70’s and 80’s, but I knew I couldn’t afford them and that’s just the way it was.

    I wouldn’t get into collecting as an alternative to stock markets or for monetary gain and if these new gamers want to just play these games there are more than enough ways to do it on the cheap.

    The big 3:
    01. (cheap) $0 – Download emulators and roms off the internet
    02. (mid-level AKA totally legal) $5-$8 per game – PSN, XBL, Virtual Console, Steam, and more.
    03. (higher-level) buy Flashcarts and used console – EverDrives for Genesis, NES, SNES, GBA, GG, and more.

  28. Good article. I’m in the process of building a collection of older consoles and games that I previously missed the first time around. When I’m done playing them, I hope to sell the entire collection for a modest profit (as I only buy when I can get real bargains for good stuff still in the original boxes). Hopefully the bubble won’t bust by then, but if it does, I guess I’ll just have to keep it all and keep collecting : )

  29. sadly those retro gaming stores should be museums because how much sales could they possibly make?
    It’s more fun to go in and look. I’ve bought some old games from these stores before but to play them.
    My collection is special because they are mostly the same cartridges and consoles I owned and played with as a kid so it feels nostalgic to me to see that same Pitfall cartridge load up that I bonded with my sister over 32 years ago or the very same Zelda cartridge and NES system my mom took me out of school to get in 1989. It’s hard to let go of them. I put a few games at a garage sale recently and one kid asked if I had any nintendo games. I said I have alot and you can’t have them! One guy bought an atari game saying I’ve always wanted to play this. Now that made me feel better.

  30. The problem is Ebay,ebay and the “trending” at prices guide are to blame,if you list something these days it will tell you what it’s trending at price is,this while good for the folk who do not really know what the worth is of their item,it’s also a bad thing because the trending prices are based on the higher tier of any item,so someone clearing out their loft may end up thinking huh this is work hundreds and instead of putting it to auction and letting it go fairly,they might be tempted to do a buy now ono,the problem is also with Ebay due to the trends and ways in which people buy and sell,the mark ups on fees and shipping fees and import taxes and paypal fees.

    Personally,i have not found it impossible to own most of what i wanted however …. i am on the look out for a segacd/megacd console model 1,i used to own one years ago and i simply will not pay £300 for one and i won’t accept a model 2 and i do not want a multimega or cdx,the prices of these model ones have went through the roof over the last few months,i have actually watched them jump over £100 quid in value,the japan ones are hitting a grand and in the usa,no one liked or looked after sega consoles so even a sega genesis is hitting £100+ and then £45 shipping and then £25/£30 in import taxes.

    I am sad about the whole thing and angry,i am willing to take a megacd pal but i want it boxed but it’s now out of the question,i then decided i would take unboxed but now hitting £200 for a very old cd based system on it’s last legs,fuck that,i own two saturns and a dreamcast and know all about repairs and problems,i also helped my bro get a usa cdx and repaired it’s failing drive lens and a sware i will never open another multimega cdx,nightmare !

    it’s sickening and over the last few years i have got to know the scalpers on ebay and avoid them.

  31. The entire scene is a gong show. I’m here to just say it as it is.

    I really don’t like what retro gaming has become. AT ALL!

    It’s nothing more than a pageantry. I miss the days where only the true gamers did it, now its’ all about status,
    views, who has what, and boasting.

    Youtube is a disaster. Most people on there just push content based on latest finds. Garage sales, thrift stores, and the
    ever classic… the box in a basement at grandmas house! Is it really that important to film yourself in front of a wall of
    games? Do you really need that outside approval to justify your hoarding habits?

    I often suspect most of that is staged. Hey, street cred is important out there. Even more when it’s faked.

    The markets are even worse. If any one is familiar with the comic book boom of the 90’s, you’ll know where I’m going with this.
    Ebay is so speculative, that it’s not even fun to collect. Scalpers, price hikers and shill bids are the norm.

    Every game is being classified as *RARE*, and the prices are climbing to absurdity. Game stores are also using online
    prices as the standard, so one goes there looking for deals, only to be hit with the same Buy It Now price. It’s like, why
    even go out of your way to shop locally? I’ve bought some stuff from those stores, and sure… they can be nice people, but
    it doesn’t mean I’m going to waste my time. Stay home, hit BIN, done. It will be mailed to my door.

    Even local online ads, garage sales, and flea markets are filled with online price expectations. The wild is dry.

    A game I bought for $60.00 two years ago is now going for $200.00… what the hell?

    It’s like we are defined by our possessions alone. It’s a sickness in society.This whole scene just glorifies hoarding,
    and frankly, I’m sick of it. I’m sick of the bragging, the competition, and the scene as a whole. I have my stuff to play
    in my spare time, but the gaming scene is a joke. The people are a joke, and it pisses me off to no end that something
    I’ve been doing since the beginning of time has been turned in to a popularity contest.

    God, I almost don’t want to wear gamer shirts, or hats because of it.

    End rant.

  32. So here we are in 2017, almost 3+ years after this article was written and things are now even more insane.
    The new biggest insane thing to hit the retro market is this, The Empty Box.
    Yes, why sell your boxed snes for £50 (a few years ago) when now you can sell your unboxed snes for £60, the empty box for £30-£40, and the polys for £20.Mental.
    There is a ahole on ebay selling a snes box for something like £39, with the ad stating no polys. Yet, in a separate ad he has the polys for £20.

    One of THE biggest aholes on ebay for Amiga stuff is selling A1200 empty boxes for £39 for a tatty box, and get this, £85 for a decent box. I didn’t pay even £70 for my A1200 way back before the Amiga retro scene went batshit insane. Back then, around 2001, I paid just £20 for a boxed Amiga 500, and £35 for a A600. The A1200 even had a 1220 Accelerator card in it with 4Mb ram.
    Today, you could put the words Commodore and Amiga on a empty bean can and it would sell for £50. The Amiga “Scene” is rabid and mental.
    There are some bargains to be found. Many Atari 2600 games, Intellivision games, Colecovision games are well priced. Some even come boxed for less than a tenner. Spectrum, Amstrad, and C64 tape games can be had for a price of a coffee. Even the machines themselves can be had for a bargain, more so if you buy them unboxed.

  33. Had a good time reading all these comments, I started my collection years ago and got a lot for cheap. I was at a car boot sale today and had a huge shock, I saw 3 sellers with price stickers on all there games and accessories. I looked through the snes and ps1&2 games that 1 of the sellers was selling and the games were the same price as EVIL BAY. I asked the man who was selling could he do a deal and he said “I’ve researched all these games and they are the cheapest around”. I feel sorry for anyone now who starts a collection because the prices are stupidly high anywhere you look, if you think a car boot is different and can find a bargain then think again 9/10 you will find they are all traders. EVIL BAY is high priced and it’s even harder to find a bargain there. The only place you can really find a bargain is in a charity shop and those occasions will be rare because everyone else has the same idea. The market won’t crash because everyone wants original, you can get raspberry pi, mame, jamma boards, and modded Xbox with 1000s of games on, these have been introduced and the market is still strong. I blame The traders, they have made game collecting miserable for genuine collectors.

  34. So sad and so true. I am an old school gamer (I remember when Atari’s Night Driver showed up at the pinball hall….I was hooked).
    Since then I have bought almost every console released and a few computers (and once ran an Atari BBS).
    Now that I have more free time I thought it would be great to find a few old consoles that I no longer own and get them up and running. I was shocked to see what these things are selling for.
    I remember years ago picking up a used Saturn and Dreamcast at a pawn shop for $20 each. Now they are hundreds of dollars and the games are even worse. Is it any wonder people use emulators for most consoles now?

    An interesting trend I have noticed in my city is that used game stores are vanishing. What was once a great place to find affordable games is now a shop where EVERYTHING is the Holy Grail and is priced beyond stupid. The end result is zero inventory moving and people wanting more for what they trade in. It’s a recipe for closure because “that’s the price on Ebay”….well no one is buying at those prices honey. Big headlines like the latest Atari 2700 sale makes everything think they are going to get rich from one sale so everything is overpriced.

    Eventually the bubble has to burst because these systems and games are aging and time is not their friend. Thrift stores and garage sales are your best bet now for finding anything, but they are usually ransacked by people with dollar signs in their eyes instead of gaming memories. Either way I won’t support the crooks on Ebay, Amazon or anywhere else that overcharges for hardware or games that may be dead in a few months. Over $100 for Atari ET? Wow.

  35. This is still a problem… and it will remain a problem because of profiteering. It’s a one way street because it is a self-perpetuating industry, a closed-circle market. Buy a game in order to list it for slightly more… sell it to someone who does the same… it’s a bubble and the only people who lose are those trying to PLAY these games.

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