Guides & tricks for
What its like to be a collector
Never too late to learn some new tricks or to refresh some old ones.
No matter if you´re hunting for retro games, collectors editions, limited releases or, whatever CIB. Generally, you should find your own way of collecting games, but maybe the following tricks and guides may help you.
The game collectors guide to save some money...
The life of a game collector is expensive, trust me.
It won’t be cheap, or at least, most of it. I don’t want to scare you off, but that’s the reality and the first lesson that every game collector has to learn. The good thing is that there are plenty of different consoles and thousands of games to collect. Start small, you can expand later. Furthermore, you don´t have to collect everything, so choosing a “main goal” and working towards it might be a wise choice. For example: If you want a complete set of Turbografx games, it makes no sense to spread your limited budget on multiple other consoles. This also applies vice versa, if you are a “Multi-Consolero” its no good idea to aim for a complete collection on all of them. In fact its all about managing your money. Who would have guessed that? *lol*
...the game collectors guide to spent some money
Timing is another important factor.
Indeed, you don’t have to buy every game right away. But keep one thing in mind. Rare games don’t get cheaper. It doesn’t matter if it’s a collectors edition, a limited edition or some old NES game in CIB. The price won’t drop. If your budget allows it, buy things when they are cheap. The best example are Limited Run Games. Don’t wait for them to show up on eBay. They probably will show up there for sure, but the prices skyrocket and you don’t want to pay some scalpers. In the long term, you save money if you buy things at the correct time.
But sometimes, there isn´t such a thing as “the right time”. The game “Snatcher” for the MegaCD costs roughly 400$ to 700$ on eBay. Don’t let me start with Shantae on the GBA or Mr. Gimmick. And with every passing year, the price is growing. Is it a good idea to buy it now? Hell no! But next year would be even worse… So if you want a rare game, you have to bite the bullet. On the other hand, it seems like a good investment though *lol*
The game collectors guide on repros
Repros are a double-edged sword.
Many gamers rather buy a repro than some rare, extremely expensive original. For my part, I despise repros from the bottom of my heart. Maybe I have to specify this a little bit more. Unlicenced repros. It happens every now and then that I stumble upon some games on eBay or some fleamarket, that shouldn´t exist. The English version of Clock Tower for the SNES, Mother 3 for the GBA or even the translated version of Shin Megami Tensei 1 & 2 for the SNES. They have never been officially translated, so why people are trying to sell those repros for 70$ is beyond me. As a game collector, I recognize a repro when I see one. But at least this type is easy to recognize. Much worse are repros of existing versions of a game. You don’t want to pay hundreds of dollars for a glorified pirate copy of “Eliminate Down” for the Sega Megadrive, do you?
Here are some indicators that help you recognize if you´re dealing with a repro:
First take a good look at the print stuff like the box art, cartridge labels, manuals and so on! Do you see pixels, is the quality way off or does the colors don´t seem right? If you are buying an NES game, take a look at the golden seal of approval! Is it golden and not just a yellow-brown mix?
Whats the collor of the cartridge? Neon yellow, green or pink… thats probably not an original color.
The next step would be to open the cartridge and look inside (I know, that’s not always possible). Are there original chips on the board or are there a lot of wires and cables (an indicator that something may be off). If you see something like a permanent marker stain, that´s a bad sign too. Everything looking a little bit homebrew? Again, that´s bad.
The third step is to check the plastic. Sometimes the plastic of the cartridge or the box feels… kinda cheap? It’s hard to explain but if it doesn’t feel like your other games, then something is probably wrong with it.
The last thing you can check ist the box of the game. Most Nintendo games have a box made of cardboard. Feel it, has it the right paperweight? Most repros don´t have the right thickness.
The right place to find your games
Getting rare games isn't impossible nowadays.
Check out some Classifieds Ads.
In Germany there a few sites like “eBay kleinanzeigen” or “shpock”. It worth checking them out regularly. The chances are pretty high that some people sell whole collections there, or at least, a few nice games. If you act fast you can make some huge bargains there.
Visit flea markets.
They are awesome and can be a real goldmine sometimes. Just don’t take it for granted that you always find good stuff every time. For every hidden treasure, you have another flea market without anything. But if you find something it’s pretty much a bargain. Rule number one is: never visit a flea market with empty pockets!
If you spot a rare game and the price is ridiculously low, you have to act fast. There is no time to go and get some money from the ATM. It happened to me several times that people snatched away some rare games right before my eyes because I had no money in my pocket at that moment. One time the seller even raised the price of a game because he realized how rare it was, all while I was on my way to the ATM… Thinks like that suck, so be prepared and always have some money with you. And don´t be ashamed to negotiate, thats a pretty big part of the fun.
Be friendly to your local gaming store owner.
That’s kinda obvious I guess? Well, you should be friendly to anyone, of course. But having a little chit chat with the favorite store owner or employee won’t hurt you, and maybe comes in handy later. If you’re remembered as the nice guy, the vendor will “maybe” go the extra mile and help you with your limited edition, that you´ve forgotten to preorder. If there is only one collector’s edition left in the shop, who is gonna get it? The rude person who never talked to the store-owner or the nice guy?
Visit some conventions, events, and markets.
Sometimes, there are special events for retro gaming or game collectors. In Germany, for example, there is a market called “Retro-Börse” which is a huge market only for gaming. It’s awesome and you see a lot of pretty rare stuff there. But keep in mind that you are dealing with professionals here. They know the prices of rare consoles, collectors editions, and retro games CIB. So don’t expect to make a huge bargain. Here you get good ware for (mostly) fair prices.
Join some Facebook groups.
I must admit that I’m not a huge facebook fan. But there are several game collectors groups there, even local ones. So if you are using Facebook often, then why not benefit from that? If Facebook fan wants to get rid of old games, that kind of group would be his first place to go.
Be active on Twitter.
Twitter is more my kind of social media. If you engage in the gaming community, the twitter algorithm will provide you more and more with tweets of that special “topic”. Keep your eyes open for giveaways, they are all over the place. And, by the way, the retro gaming community is super awesome there!