Deep-Pocketed Collectors Are Fueling A Retro Game Gold Rush

Nothing new for us. But rather interesting how nuts game collecting has gotten these days. Kohler always does a great job with these being an active collector himself.

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Just because it’s rare doesn’t mean it has value. But these people don’t understand that.

They give value to random rare items by encasing them in a box with a grade on it, selling them at an artificially inflated price to another collector. While this would be a laughable matter if all they did was buying and selling to each other (which they do once the game is in an acrylic coffin), other people want to profit off these gullible people to try and sell them things at silly prices. And this drives the overall market up, which means enthusiasts end up paying dozens for a game that should be worth pennies because it’s everywhere.

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I take my sub $10 games, thank you very much!

When you know toy, coin, magic and comic book collectors are into retro video games that’s when you realise that the game is up and the great deals are a thing of the past :slight_smile: We had a good run guys. It was fun while it lasted.

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“Professional whale hunters enter the game market looking for whales”

Reminds me of the fine art world where most of the people who buy up paintings don’t give a shit about them but use them to dodge tax or inflate the price of their existing collection all in the name of profit.

I do wonder if that boxer mentioned in that story really cared about Punch-Out being sealed, it was made out he was only interested because of nostalgia so why buy it at such a silly price? then again he himself is a comic book collector.

The surprising thing for me is we haven’t even seen the peak of this silliness and shit is already bananas.

If anything, this new gold rush has caused me to slow down and actually enjoy the games I have instead of rushing out to buy everything that’s not nailed down. As I get older I realize I dont want a giant collection of games that look good on a shelf, I’m happier with a curated collection of games I’ll actively play.

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I liked your post because I agree that putting something in a box with a grade on it doesn’t mean a ton to me. But I’ll be honest, I’m happy with this turn of events. Why? Because I spent a lot of money on my collection through the years and I’m happy that it will probably have value for a very long time. To me, it means that people value the history of this hobby in the same way comic book people and any other collectible market does. That’s a good thing.

I think the most interesting thing in the article is something I also encountered locally… that the guys running the stores and dealing in games right now often don’t know what makes certain games worth what they’re worth. It’s the same with systems, which we all know have quirks even in the lineage of a single console (1chip SNES for example). A lot of dealers are just completely unaware of that stuff.

The reality is videogames are collectible, and there are people who will spend a lot of money to collect them. Everyone reading this forum knows how to play them without the collecting part included. Be happy that whatever you do own is only going to increase in value for the most part.

EDIT! I should also note that what makes me a lot MORE upset in 2019 is the advent of like eight different collector’s editions of current games. That’s a lot more egregious that collectors buying retro games where rarity is almost always not at all artificially induced, except where jerky executives were concerned like Bernie Stolar…

“First, there was the sealed copy of Super Mario Bros. that sold on eBay for $30,000. This year, an earlier print of the game sold for $100,150.”

image https://media.tenor.com/images/fab97c645b855b814b69382d902d3995/tenor.gif

Rich guy to rich friend: “The graphics are so much crisper when the box is freshly opened.”

Rich friend, adjusts monocle :face_with_monocle: “oh absolutely! This composite image from my $100,000 copy looks absolutely smashing on my imax screen.”

Rich guy “what a capital experience”.

Friend “indeed.”

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This is me tbh, I’d already stopped buying really but this kind of thing just puts the nail in the coffin.

I wonder if this will really matter much to most of us. The comic book crowd is going after absolute Mint and Sealed games. I don’t expect to see this cause cart only copies of Duck Hunt/SMB to dramatically rise.

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In regards to the $100,000 SMB sale:

the widespread grading of comic books drove up the prices of ungraded “raw” comics too and made scalpers buy issues that they would have not otherwise targeted for grading, further shrinking or entirely eliminating the pool of issues available to the average joe. but only time will tell if this applies to games as relatively speaking the print runs are much, much higher across the board, the amount of truly rare games is small in comparison.

it will be interesting to see what happens when boxed games start getting restored and bootlegs become more prevalent and hard to separate from the real thing (both of which are inevitable), then the amount of graded copies for certain games will go through the roof. that or graded copies are all you can find for certain titles as sellers will want to maximise their profits by grading everything with perceived value.

i think videogames will continue on this trajectory with an ever expanding collectable market for a long time to come, it’s a very young industry in comparison to other established collectables with most of this stuff yet to really age and appreciate in value. it’s just the beginning…

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I imagine there is a market for graded Neo Geo AES games out there - even if they’re not sealed - just due to the high priced nature of it all.

Box game restoration has happened with black back games already as dishonest people were using black marker to restore NES black boxes.

As far as gold rush goes I feel that the currently gold rush can be found with limited physical print items more so than slabing games.

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I was actually going to use AES Metal Slug as a prime example of a game with such value that it has already seen near perfect bootlegs almost trip up the most experienced and knowledgeable collectors. Buying a graded copy may be the only way you can be assured of buying a legit copy in the very near future, let alone down the line.

And if we go the way of comic books then such restoration noticed after purchase will absolutely decimate the value of what you bought, even if it isn’t graded. Those will be the copies that paupers like me will be forced to buy as everything else will cost too much!

No doubt. It’s a shame that they are so brazenly targeted towards collectors above all else and many legit fans miss out on stuff they are passionate about as a result which is a damn shame. In future those are the exact titles that I expect a relatively higher amount of the print run to be graded as profit was the only motivation for the people that bought them in the first place.

Regarding bootlegs that look real Metal Slug AES is a great example. If you’re looking for another look to Sapphire for the PC Engine.

And if we go the way of comic books then such restoration noticed after purchase will absolutely decimate the value of what you bought, even if it isn’t graded. Those will be the copies that paupers like me will be forced to buy as everything else will cost too much!

Right now I don’t see it going that way. There are too few titles that have the rarity and recognition to cause price inflation across the board. I could be wrong.

No doubt. It’s a shame that they are so brazenly targeted towards collectors above all else and many legit fans miss out on stuff they are passionate about as a result which is a damn shame. In future, those are the exact titles that I expect a relatively higher amount of the print run to be graded as profit was the only motivation for the people that bought them in the first place.

Yeah, the price gouging in the limited stuff is definitely real. I bought R-Type Dimensions for the Switch for $35 from Strictly Limited. I see it listed on Ebay for $90-$120 now. I have noticed that a lot of the later Limited Run Games releases have gone down in price.

Also everything seems to be bootlegged these days. If a game is $5 or more you can find a bootleg on Ali Express.

People will always jump on stuff to try and make a profit. Look at Duck Tales physical. As soon as it was announced for delisting prices skyrocketed.

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Personally I have never cared about sealed games and the phenomenon addressed by the article is basically an explosion of the price for sealed games, sealed games in graded quality. And mostly we’re not talking about modern systems (for which MOQs are pretty high and most of the copies around are CIB-ish)

I’ve found prices on most of the systems I collect for to be pretty stable, or behaving the way I’d expect them to. So that’s cart-only for earlier systems and CIB for disc systems and modern handhelds.

I have noticed a huge increase in bootlegs. GBA games were bootlegged early, but these days at about the $20-25 mark NES, SNES, and N64 games become overwhelmingly bootleg. When I check eBay, I check US and Japan sellers only and have to spend a lot of time checking labels, looking for board pics, and ensuring there’s no weasel language in the listing.

I am a little curious – if I buy a bootleg cart that is listed as real (or using language like “OEM” or “After-Market”), and then file a complaint once I get it, will eBay refund me? Given that the item in question isn’t legal, I would assume they would. But I’m not sure.

This reminds me of thinking as a kid watching Antiques Roadshow that I’ll probably be on there when I’m like 70 valuing CIB games for people, explaining how to spot a counterfeit, etc

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All of us on this board will be in courtrooms defending people who bought fakes, brought in as expert witnesses.

*Law & Order sound effect*