Gaming History 101

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Bang For Your Buck

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Video games are similar to several other hobbies, like comic books, that have two different worlds: collectors and players.  Players, like comic book readers, are more concerned with the content rather than the value or potential value as items become old and/or rare.  Collectors, in any form, are always concerned with several aspects like condition, completeness and rarity.  In the case of retro gaming, the two worlds collide quite often, especially because plenty of rare games are also known for their amazing content.  Fortunately digital downloads and re-releases have assisted in making former high-cost classics like Final Fantasy VII and Phantasy Star IV cheap and easy to get your hands on.

Personally I am not much of a collector, despite the fact that I do have a decent collection, because I’m more interested in the game itself.  My copy of Snatcher is not worth what others fetch on eBay – it has a large rental sticker all over it that someone attempted to remove (and failed) not to mention it had several surface scratches before I resurfaced it – but the game plays in my Sega CD nonetheless and I enjoyed it as much as any other gamer.  Other than the games I bought new, many of the expensive games I have acquired don’t have cases, instructions or even labels.  Although rare, there are even a few games that were so badly beaten they wouldn’t play but I was able to resurface or create backups because there was no copy protection on the console (I do not perform permanent hardware mods or install mod chips).  I am a player and I’m not shelling out $150 for Snatcher.  I want the largest amount of quality games I can get and my budget is limited, therefore I get what I can.

No matter how rough a game is (assuming it’s playable) or what format you get it in, there are always going to be minimum and maximum points at which to purchase games.  It’s just not reasonable that you will ever find a copy of Snatcher for $20.  When you’re out and about, it’s important not to get taken advantage of because like all collectible items, video games can suffer heavy mark-ups from those cashing in on the misinformed.  Your best bet is to get a price guide, especially when you want to check if that copy of Final Fight Guy on SNES really is appropriately priced at $30.  It’s also fun to look back at the classics and discover what games from the past became gems of the present.  In addition you may discover that you own some of the top dollar products out there and cash in if times are tough.  These higher value titles are also good trade value – I recently traded my second 32x console, which I thought was broken but just had the wrong AC adaptor, for most of the cost of a Turbografx-16 at a brick & mortar shop near me.  It’s like the stock market, you want to consistently keep up with the trends so as to make the most out of your dollar.

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Written by Fred Rojas

January 12, 2012 at 12:06 pm

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