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How Much Is Your Old Video Game System Worth?

Updated on February 02, 2016

Once upon a time you could count the number of gaming systems in existence on one hand. Now there are nearly two dozen systems, both current and vintage that lay buried in basements, attics and closets. Every five years or so, a new system awes a generation with its state of the art technology and graphics. This is good news for you 80s and 90s kids with those antiquated systems gathering dust. Today some are worth a decent penny! Time to cash it in.

What you need to know before you sell.

Not every gaming system is a jackpot. Some systems happen to sell better than others. Remember, sentimental value is not resale value. Dozens of listings go unsold because they are not marketed properly, have too high a price or simply don't have any remarkable accessories or titles.

There are several key things you should consider before listing your game system. First and foremost, does it work? A working system always sells better than a broken one. Second, what are you including with your system? Any cult accessories with your system, the Zapper with your original Nintendo for example? Third, games. How many titles do you have? The more the better, especially with older generation systems. Some games can felt hundreds, even thousands, of dollars just on their own. You never know what collectors are looking for. Finally, do you have any original documents, boxes, manuals or receipts that you can include? Finding a working system in its original box is a jackpot.

How to format your listing.

The style and type of listing will improve or reduce your chances for a successful sale. Here are a few tips:

1. Auction Style Auction style listings for vintage computers have a 95% success rate. A Buy-It-Now, even with a low price will actually hurt your chances of maximizing profit. Don't be greedy. Just be patient.

2. 3-7 Day Auction A quick sale is a good sale. Bidding stops after three days on average until the final hours.

3. Bullet Lists Short sweet and simple. Game systems sell really well on eBay Mobile. Write your listing with the tiny screen in mind. Avoid paragraphs. People don't read.

4. Pictures Pictures Pictures The more pictures you have the greater your chances of a sale! Every angle, plug, scratch and port.


Games VS. System

Video games are a different beast entirely. Some are worthless, others tens of thousands. Research each of your stockpiled games to see what has value and what doesn't. If you happen to have one that is prized, the value of your system just increased. Some collectors may only want the game. It is up to you to determine whether or not to part out your system and games or sell as a lot.

Atari 2600

Originally sold as the Atari VCS or Video Computer System, the Atari 2600 was renamed after its 2800 cousin was released. The system was one of the first to use game cartridges. The release of 'Space Invaders' sent the 2600 down the road to success, with nearly two million systems sold. The most successful game ever released for the system was Pac-Man with nearly seven million copies sold.

System Release Date: 1977
Number of Games: 565
Most Valuable Game: "Red Sea Crossing" - $13,800
Least Valuable Game: "Motorodeo" - $.01

System + Game Library
Mint Condition: Up to $900.00
Working Condition: Up to $500.00
*The larger the gaming library, the higher the system value.

System Only
Mint Condition: Up to $500.00
Working Condition: Up to $300.00
Broken: $75.00

Intellivision

When you think of Mattel, you don't really thing of video games. Well the toy giant did attempt to break into the video game boom of the 1970s with the Intellivision. Directly competing with Atari's 2600 system, the Intellivision enjoyed a successful run from 1979 to 1983. Three million units and 120 games later, the video game crash killed off the Intellivision and Mattel's entire electronic's division in 1983.

System Release: 1983
Number of Games: 125
Most Valuable Game: "Spiker Super Pro Volleyball" - $1,300.00
Least Valuable Game: "Starstrike" - $.99

System + Games Library
Mint Condition: Up to $650.00
Working Condition: Up to $300.00

System Only
Mint Condition: Up to $400.00
Working Condition: Up to $250.00
Broken: $35.00

Colecovision

One of the more powerful systems of the early 1980s, the Colecovision rivaled against the Atari 5200. Released in 1982, the system enjoyed only one successful year as the market begin to balloon to destruction in 1983. Sales would tank the following year. Officially discontinued in 1984, the unit did earn a cult following and ultimately two million units were sold.

System Release: 1982
Number of Games: 145
Most Valuable Game: "Kevtris" (Homebrew) - $210.00
Least Valuable Game: "Wizard of Wor" - $2.34

System + Game Library
Mint Condition: Up to $500.00
Working Condition: Up to $400.00

System Only
Mint Condition: Up to $300.00
Working Condition: Up to $250.00
Broken: $40.00

Nintendo Entertainment System

Declared by IGN as the single greatest video gaming system of all time, the original Nintendo won't be forgotten anytime soon. Launched in 1983, the NES revitalized the video game industry in the United States after the collapse of the Atari systems. Where the Atari tried to control all gaming development for its system, Nintendo launched the now standard third-party licensing program. This simple business model sent the NES into record sales. At its peak, Nintendo sales surpassed even home computer systems. The system had one achilles heel that nearly every owner had to face with at one point or another, the lock out flaw resulting in its blinking red light.

System Release: 1983
Number of Games: 817
Most Valuable Game: "Nintendo World Championship Gold" - $26,600.00
Least Valuable Game: "Kings of the Beach" - $2.50

System + Games Library
Mint Condition: Up to $2,600.00
Working Condition: Up to $900.00

System Only
Mint Condition: Up to $1,200.00
Working Condition: Up to $300.00
Broken: $50.00

Sega Master System

Sega declares war with Nintendo with the release of the Sega Master System in 1985 and one of the most famous rivalries of all time, Mario VS Sonic begins. The Hedgehog's home system and the NES traded blows in an epic tiebreaker race to immortality. Where the NES dominated the North American market, the Master System reigned supreme in Europe. The Sega Master System holds the title as longest running gaming system in history with it still dominating the market in Latin America, holding its own against the PlayStation 4.

System Release: 1985
Number of Games: 118
Most Valuable Game: "Sonic the Hedgehog (US Version) - $981.00
Least Valuable Game: "Pro Wrestling" - $1.65

System + Game Library
Mint Condition: Up to $1,100.00
Working Condition: Up to $800.00

System Only
Mint Condition: Up to $800.00
Working Condition: Up to $541.00

TurboGrafx-16

Released in the United States in 1987, the TurboGrafx-16 aka the NEC PC Engine ushered in the 16-bit era with a GPU capable of displaying 482 colors, a worldwide first. Despite this, the system failed to catch on in the US selling less than one million units. By contrast it was one of the most successful systems in Europe and Japan at the time.

System Release: 1987
Number of Games: 150
Most Valuable Game: "Magical Chase" - $1,500.00
Least Valuable Game: "Davis Cup Tennis" - $2.45

System + Game Library
Mint Condition: Up to $1,700.00
Working Condition: Up to $600.00

System Only
Mint Condition: Up to $500.00
Working Condition: Up to $200.00
Broken: $50.00

Sega Genesis (Sega MegaDrive)

To the Japanese it was the MegaDrive, to kids in the United States, it was the Genesis, the next chapter in the Nintendo VS Sega system war. The system's flagship game, the Sonic the Hedgehog series allow the Genesis to hold its own against Nintendo's Super Mario series. American sales topped eight million units.

System Release: 1988
Number of Games: 723
Most Valuable Game: Blockbuster World Championships II - $3,250.00
Least Valuable Game: NCAA Final Four Basketball - $00.85

System + Game Library
Mint Condition: Up to $7,600.00 (700+ Games)
Working Condition: Up to $781.00

System Only
Mint Condition: Up to $624.00
Working Condition: Up to $250.00
Broken: $100.00

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    • Catherine Stolfi profile image

      Catherine Stolfi 14 months ago from Long Island, NY

      I can't believe the older game systems are worth that much. I have a collection that I display in my gaming room and since most are non-functioning, they likely hold more sentimental value than actual value. This is good to know if I ever want to invest in fixing them up to working condition.

    • DrBill-WmL-Smith profile image

      William Leverne Smith 13 months ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you for this useful information. I've thrown away a lot of $$$ over the years, I see! Shame on me... ;-)

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