Ever Thought of Collecting Videogames?
Pictured left - Not my collection.
I've been collecting videogames for about three years now - Some times I've had more time, money and physical space to invest in my video game collection, other times I've had less. But in this lens, I'll explain some of the tips and tricks I've learned over the years to help you complete your collection.
Ebay Is Your Friend
(For used stuff)
Ebay is a great resource for getting used games. For the more common games, it is typically quite easy to find a selection of complete and game-only packages, and for the rarest games, you're going to need to have some some deeper pockets and more patience.
I've found that sellers on eBay are quite trustworthy, and in the instances where I've had problems. They've either sent me another free copy or sent another one after returning the one that didn't work; but that's the exception, rather than the rule.
In the end, eBay is great for getting used games for your collection. However, if you're going to want retro games in new condition, then you're going to need to be willing to spend a really big penny on your collection.
Amazon Is Also Your Friend
(For New Stuff)
Another great resource for getting a large collection is Amazon, particularly if your collection is current gen. Brand new games vary in price, depending on how recently they've been released and how good/popular they are.
One aspect to take into account when comparing amazon to eBay is that Amazon is much more reliable in terms of stock and price so things tend to stay constant while eBay has varied prices and stock depend on whether people are selling it when you are looking for it.
Knowledge is Power
It all boils down to knowing how much something costs. If you're selling a game, you price it based on what you think it's worth. Simple, isn't it? Well, as a buyer this is interesting to know. When buying retro games, I consider the eBay price to be the benchmark price. This is the omniscient price - the price placed when you consider supply and demand. There is plenty of information regarding the rarity and quality of games online, so games are priced as they should be.
However, when you go to independent game sellers, they don't know the real price of games too well, which means that they migh overprice something or underprice it. For example - the most common game on the NES is Super Mario Bros / Duck Hunt. This game would go for under Â£3 (under $5) online. However, someone that doesn't know much about the market would charge over Â£10 for it because these games are classics and a must-have. On the other hand, the opposite might also happen. They might price a rare cult classic low because it's not well known or because they think it's garbage.
Always Keep An Eye Out
Make sure that you are always on the lookout for deals. They come when you least expect it - a sudden spike in supply, a lack of interest etc. If you really want an expensive game, it's best to keep an eye out for deals and trends. If you see the price increasing, get it as soon as possible. If you see it fluctuating, wait and stalk it until you get the best price, or just keep an eye out for it and take note of its 'default' price.
Buying In Person
Then there's always the option of getting the stuff yourself from a real-life shop (yes, those still exist!) It really depends on the kind of game you want to buy and where you live, but I'll give you a short run-down of what can be generally applied to all shops.
When dealing with games from the current generation, you probably won't have much of a problem finding stuff except in a few instances. You have plenty of access to brand new games, as well as plenty of places where you can find used games for a cheaper price. You can of course go to gaming shops, but you can also find current gen-games at supermarkets, department stores and more. So getting these games in shops isn't really hard to do.
On the other hand, the retro game market is really restricted to online shops. To find a brick and mortar shop that sells these games, you probably need to go really to the middle of nowhere or restrict yourself to boot sales. They're also a type of store that doesn't make much money mostly because there isn't much supply and the people buying aren't willing to spend a lot of money on these old games. Also from my own experience, boot sales and flea markets tend to be restricted to PS2 and NDS games - not much of a variety, so my suggestion is to have a chat with some people you might know that have games in their basement gathering dust and offer them some money for it. They'll be glad to get rid of something they don't use and give it to someone who will use it.
However, when you get the chance and stumble upon a store that sells retro games, give it a browse and get something. You never know when will be the next time.