Gaming History 101

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I Never Thought I’d Say This: GameStop is Good for the Retro Gamer Market

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This article is NOT a paid advertisement of any kind and we are receiving NOTHING from GameStop.  It is an opinion piece.  If you do not like GameStop or have vowed not to shop there, please do not take this as an encouragement to change your mind, screw ’em.  It’s merely an article about how the author has found some good prices there lately.

yoshis_island_screenshot_3The title says it all.  As of late prices on retro games and consoles have skyrocketed.  It’s not just trends, either, because the modern day releases have just as adverse an effect on the hot titles of yesteryear as the fact that the Super Nintendo generation is now entering its 30s.  Couple that with the fact that the market has started to dry up with collecting and hoarding – and I assure you I’m criticizing neither –  that retro retailers are raising prices left and right.  These shop owners track price charting, eBay, Amazon, and retro sites to keep up with a market in constant flux and are the first to put a premium on whatever item may come to pass.  This is what they are supposed to do and I commend it because without these shop owners staying in business, the market for carts will diminish significantly.  Then there’s GameStop, the powerhouse used video game chain that will buy all your games for pennies on the dollar and sell them back to you for ten times what they gave you.  It’s easy to hate GameStop, but their reach and pool for grabbing used titles is unrivaled and as of late the non-collector gamer in me has been continually impressed by the retro selection.  In short, if you’re looking for a game to play and you’re not that worried about condition, GameStop is often the best deal in town.  Not only that, but currently if you spend over $25, you get free shipping, and all games are covered by a brief warranty to assure the game works when you get it.  This is significant because GameStop often has multiple copies of a game so they can swap out non-working titles for you, whereas most sellers online only have one copy of the game and even if they will refund your money, you still have to hunt for another good deal.  These factors are why I’m actually digging buying retro from GameStop.

Have you gone over and looked at the retro section lately?  I had not until Google searches for certain used games kept throwing me GameStop’s way and eventually the prices were too good for me to overlook.   Let me give you some examples:

  • eternal_darkness_boxSuper Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island (SNES) – Ah the sequel that time forgot.  Not only is Yoshi’s Island an impressive showing of what the Super FX2 chip could do without polygons, it’s also a rare title today.  You’ll find plenty in the wild, but at a premium price.  Collectors aside, there’s no good way to play this game on any console other than an SNES as it never went to Virtual Console, the one other port on Gameboy Advance is plagued by effects issues and framerate drops (this was worsened by the Virtual Console re-release of the GBA port), and due to the Super FX2 chip it doesn’t even play in a flash cart.  Sure there’s emulation, but most of the time I want to play the definitive version on the actual hardware, so I have to buy the cart.  If you look online the prices on eBay and Amazon start around $40 (with shipping) for cart only with damaged label and often “as is” condition, meaning that if it doesn’t save that’s not the sellers problem.  GameStop has it for $29.99, which goes down to $26.99 if you’re part of their rewards program.
  • Shenmue II (Xbox) – Shenmue is a game series I don’t get the mass appeal of.  I tried it (click on the link to see the whole playthrough and my review), but it just fell short for me.  We did get the sequel, which originally released on Dreamcast in Japan, but it’s only on the Xbox and since the announcement of Shenmue III has jumped a bit in price.  Heck, the Xbox version even comes with a second disc DVD that allows you to watch the plot of the first game in an edited video.  If you want to get the game and the video, however, it’s gonna cost you a bit more.  While the game is typically around $20 disc only, often you have to get closer to $25 or $30 to get the second disc.  GameStop’s price is $14.99 ($13.49) and I got the DVD and even the case (case is not guaranteed).
  • Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem (GameCube) – I used to scour the used store for a copy of this game.  Not only is it a great horror title on GameCube, but it’s the only universally loved game that Silicon Knights ever released.  Okay, there’s also the first Blood Omen, but still.  It’s never been that expensive, usually migrating from $15-$25, but as of late both Amazon and eBay seem to have bumped it up to more like $35-$40.  Sometimes I see a disc only copy for about $25 randomly, but GameStop has a set price of $25 ($22.49).
  • There are even sales.  Right now a flash sale has discounts on Star Fox 64 ($12.99/11.69), Final Fantasy VII ($9.99/$8.99), Conker: Live and Reloaded ($17.99/$16.19), and even Metal Gear Solid for $3.99/$3.59.  That’s just some of the many popular games you can nab on the cheap.

So as I said, it’s not that GameStop is the end all be all. Far from it, the company has some serious issues and treats none of these games with much care, which is why collectors should steer clear.  On the other hand, if you just need a game to go back an play for nostalgia and you’d like a price that isn’t reflective of someone giving up a coveted part of their collection, GameStop can be an answer.  Just something worth taking a look at if you haven’t already.

Written by Fred Rojas

January 27, 2017 at 11:00 am

Posted in Blog

2 Responses

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  1. I think I’d rather just emulate instead of giving Gamestop any more of my patronage. The mom and pop places are fewer and further but they’re much better.


    January 28, 2017 at 8:31 am

  2. Oh how I loathe the word “nostalgia”. Is that truly the only reason to replay an older title? Well, in that case you never truly liked it.


    January 28, 2017 at 9:04 pm

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