Guide: An easy way to start a quality based games collection

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Since the eighty’s the game industry has grown exponentially. Because of this there are a shit-load of games around.  The real question, however, is ‘are all of them good?’ No, far from it. So what do you  do when you start collecting games? Buy good games of course! I’m going to talk about the collecting of “good” games. I know “good” games are relative to taste, but there are franchises, genres, consoles, and developers that mostly have games worth collecting and others that don’t. With this mini guide, I’m going to show you what sort of items are worth collecting.

One thing you want on all the games you are collecting is that it is mint.

What are mint games?

Mint games are what make a collection. They are games that are in a near perfect state. Near perfect state means: all manuals and inserts are included, a CD with close to no scratches, and of course the original box. So you want to go for mint only, this is not a real problem for games that are in DVD boxes but pretty much all the games on Nintendo systems before the Gamecube are in fragile cardboard boxes. This is a general problem, because a great load of good games were spawned on retro-Nintendo hardware.   Most of the good Nintendo games are pretty hard to get in mint condition, even if they were produced in mass numbers. This is because of the box deteriorating or the loss of manuals and inserts.

An example of a mint game

An example of a mint game

Here’s the situation at the moment. We are now in the seventh generation of consoles, that means in theory that there are games from six previous generations that you can collect. This is something I don’t advise for the new collector. The reason you shouldn’t collect games from so many generations is that it is not worth it. Instead, I suggest you keep it to the generations after the video game crash of 1983 (NES generations and above). The reason for this is that the only worthwhile games before that time were arcade games, so unless you are willing to buy and build arcade cabinets, don’t bother.

Where do I start?

What I advise is that you start with the consoles that are one generation older than the ones that are currently popular. So anything that is PS2, XBOX, Gamecube and older. Games that are older than this generation are generally not available in major stores, so don’t worry about finding them in your GameStop’s.  Also, the sixth generation has some very good games (especially the ps2).  It is also the cheapest generation to collect.

Getting good games in stores for a sixth generation system is pretty much luck if they are older than a year, but I have had a lot of luck finding good collectible games in stores that are retail only, so always keep an eye out for games in stores, even if you least expect to find good games there. If you are serious about collecting sixth generation games you shouldn’t limit yourself to stores that deal in new games alone, they are unpredictable and unreliable. For all your gaming collectible needs you want to look at stores that deal in used games, and even that should not be your primary source of gaming goodness.

The primary places you will want to check out are Ebay, flea markets, and game forums buy and sell; especially the kind that are smaller and based on a theme (like all shooters).  What you want to do is make a list. You also should scout forums, review sites, sites with lists of games, and places specialized in retro games. You want to look at games you want and you want to write those on paper. By doing this you know what you are getting. And its a handy list for when you go to flea markets.


What you want to do is ignore any tags like: rare, mint, and anything similar. If you want to know if a game is rare then Google it, or check this site Digital Press. Only trust yourself for the research part and always make sure you know what you are getting. A few questions to ask might be is the game complete? ‘Is it in good shape?  Is it an import?  All these questions should be asked if they are not stated in the post. Check the shipping price and always make sure it is shipped registered or signed. You don’t want to wait for a game, only to find out it has been lost in the mail. I advise limiting yourself to auctions; of course if you see a game that is 10 dollars and you just like the game, then go for it. But the auctions are where it is at. “Buy it now” options are mostly overpriced. Ebay is where you will probably find the most “mint” games.

Flea markets:

I love flea markets. Since all the soccer moms are there, selling the old shit they had in the attic from when their kids were still at home, it makes for an awesome place to get games cheap. At a flea market there is a lot of variety; from the NES(even some Atari games) all the way to PS2.  The only problem with flea markets is that finding games in mint condition and are complete (meaning they have their original boxes, inserts and manuals) are not too common but if you do find them, which I have a few times, you can pick them up for a reasonable price. Markets are the place to stumble upon amazing finds. I have found games worth upwards of $100 that I got for a fraction of the price.

The flea market is also a very good place for consoles. I picked up my PS2 for forty dollars (translated from euros), and I have found N64 consoles for under ten dollars. So my advice is to go to your closest flea market. Try going to a flea market every month and don’t fret if you have an unsuccessful visit to one. It’s the point that you visit regularly and what ever you do always be a dick and try and get some discount; especially if you buy more that one item.

Game forums:

Games forums are a premium source of rare and collectible games. The reason is that most of the sellers are not out for profit, they might just not enjoy a game anymore, need money, or have simply completed it. The forums are not the cheapest, but they are one of the best places to get reasonably priced games. The problem with forums is that most of them require you to sign in, and some of them only let you in to the classifieds if you have enough posts. This can be a good thing because then you actually have to learn something. It can be annoying sometimes though, especially if you see a good deal but you can’t act on it right away. What you want to do is find some forums, sign up, get a feel for what they offer and act accordingly. The best forums to look at are the forums that are specialized in a specific genre, franchise, or console.

What do I look for?

There are a couple of consoles that have very good games and lend themselves to new collectors.

The first is the Sega Dreamcast. It has a lot of games that are worth picking up and are always a good addition to any collection. You want to pickup any fighters, RPG’s, or shooters(the Gradius kind known as schmups). One thing about the Dreamcast, though,  is that a lot of the good games are Japanese. This might scare you at first but these are mostly easy to understand after a while; unless they have a story, in which case don’t bother.

The PS2 slim version

The PS2 "slim" version

The best bet as I already mentioned is collecting PS2 games. The library for this console is so expansive that you really need to look at review sites to find the good games, or a list of rares to find those niche games. The PS2 has a game for every genre around. The most collectible ones are RPG’s. Look out for games that are made by any of the following companies: Atlus, Capcom, Konami, Clover Studios, Square Enix, or SNK. If you have a little bit of knowledge of the industry you will recognize that these are all Japanese, and most of them are major companies. Just keep an eye on games with these logos on it since they are nearly guaranteed to be good.  Some of the games from these companies were produced in limited amounts, especially if they are made by Atlus. Most games that are successful require reprints. The trap you want to avoid is buying games marked: greatest hits, or platinum. These are generally reprints, worth less, and are ugly.

I suggest you start with these kinds of systems and go older over time. You could go for Playstation One games, which also has a bunch of good games on it. The PS1 can be more expensive because of the rarer games, but are still reasonable. I wouldn’t seek out Nintendo games until you are comfortable with your collecting knowledge, skills, or are wealthy enough to afford collecting for Nintendo systems, as this section of collectibles tend to be the most expensive. The consoles you want to stay away from are Sega Saturn and the PC Engine/Turbografx. Some people say that this is madness but the truth is that these systems are the hardest systems to collect for, and need a lot of research and money to find the games that are worth it.

I hope this guide helps you, if you have questions comment below and I will answer them.

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