Retro Game Collecting in the Margins


Inspired by reclaiming a bunch of my old retro games from my parents’ house, I decided to dip my toe back into the world of retro game collecting. While I never had any motivations to build a massive library filled with complete collections of games, I did have a very specific criteria in mind so that I don’t fall down the rabbit hole. So far, the process of collecting has moved rather slowly.

To-date, I’ve added a total of three games to my collection since I reentered the market:

Tetris (NES) – $10

Probably best known in its Gameboy form, the NES version is one that I still played a lot of growing up. Its tried-and-true block dropping mechanics are here in their original form, as well as the game’s iconic soundtrack. Yes, it’s not the rarer or better Tengen version that features 2-player versus, but this one is still a fun game in is own right and a treasure from my childhood.

Baseball Simulator 1.000 (SNES) – $5

Not exactly a gem from its time, but Baseball Simulator 1.000 was a novel mix of Baseball with NBA Jam style special moves. Pitchers could throw hard-to-hit pitches that corkscrewed towards the plate, baserunners could run at lightning speeds, while hitters could launch the ball out of the park with a moonshot. This was a fun one from my childhood that wasn’t a big hit to my bank account at $5, though some may argue that I could have gotten it for even less.

Shaq-Fu (SNES) – $10

Yes, it’s awful. I bought this game well aware of that fact. However, as a big fan of Shaquille O’Neal and fighting games, the novelty factor of owning this weird slice of 90s video game and fighting game history was too hard to ignore at $10. With the new Shaq-Fu game out too, there’s an opportunity for me to create content relating to the Shaq-Fu series.

Even after numerous trips to retro game stores, garage sales, and regularly checking out what’s available online, this is all I have to show for my efforts. With my criteria being as tight as it is, it doesn’t leave me much room to grow.

As a refresher, here was my criteria when I last spoke on the matter:

  • Games that I loved in my past
  • Games I never got around to that I always wanted to try
  • Games that are so legendarily good/bad that I want to try them out
  • Games that I cannot play on a modern platform (ie. remasters, digital re-releases, NES/SNES Classic)
  • Games that I think would work well for video content
  • Games I will actually play and not keep as an artifact on the shelf

And here are some of the realities that make my approach tough:

  • I’m fortunate enough to have a lot of the games I remember fondly in some shape or form. Whether it’s the original cartridges or discs, or through mini systems like the NES/SNES Classic, or rereleases for more modern platforms, I still have most of what has made my gaming life a joy so far. In cases where I have compilations or ports on more modern hardware, I don’t see the need in most cases for me to double-dip on the original.
  • Good games from the past are hard to find. More people are either holding onto their copies, making the after market tough to navigate.

  • Good video games from the past have done a much better job of holding monetary value, as retro gaming stores and other sellers know that they can get more money from people willing to pay a premium. That boxed copy of Mega Man X3 pictured above at a whopping $899.99 CAD? That was gone within a week of me seeing it for the first time. Even games that aren’t quite as rare, such as Final Fantasy III, can still go for $100+ without the box or manual. I’m not willing to break the bank for this venture.

It would be nice if the market was balanced in such a way that I could round out my collection in a faster, more convenient manner, but this is capitalism at work. I’ll continue to peruse my channels, picking my spots on opportunities that make sense for me.

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2 thoughts on “Retro Game Collecting in the Margins

  1. Rachel August 10, 2018 / 7:00 AM

    Someday, when I have money, this is exactly what I’d love to do, lol.

  2. pyroseu September 4, 2018 / 9:16 AM

    Shaq Fu, now there is a classic!

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