• Cartridge Crazy

Retro Game Collecting, Pt. 1 - A Primer

Updated: Jan 30, 2019

Hi there! If you're reading this then I think it's a safe assumption that you have at least some small amount of interest in collecting the games, systems, and peripherals of yesteryear. If you're new to our little past time then 'Welcome!' and may God have mercy on your soul! Haha! If you're already a collector then it's a pleasure to make your acquaintance! Retro game collecting can be a thrilling hobby for even the most casual collectors. The excitement of tracking down a rare title, the rush of haggling for a great deal, and the pride and fulfillment of seeing your collection step ever closer to completion can fill your weeks, months, and years with endless adventures.

But be warned! Retro collecting can be an exhausting as well as very costly hobby. The price point for entry is affordable for any kind of retro fan. Even the youngest of fans scraping together their monthly allowances (are allowances still a thing?) and chore money can put together some inspiring collections.

Nintendo Campus Challenge 1991 - Her modest exterior belies her extreme rarity.

But for the truly committed collectors compiling a complete catalog of titles can cost tens to even hundreds of thousands of dollars! Case in point, any nitpicking NES enthusiast would not consider their collection complete without a copy of the Nintendo Campus Challenge 1991. Yours for only the low, low price of $20,000!

If the ever present threat of financial insolvency didn't frighten you away, then you still have the throngs of scammers, swindlers, and con artists looking to dupe you out of your hard earned cash to worry about. Looking for a copy of Pokemon Ruby or Sapphire for the GameBoy Advance? You better read up on how to spot a fake cartridge before you're out $50 for what is at best a functional reproduction or at worst a very costly doorstop. To be fair, some people make a living crafting high quality reproduction and custom games. A friend of mine found a custom Dragon Warrior I-V SNES cart at a show a couple years back and was very satisfied with his purchase. However, the fact remains that the rising popularity of retro game collecting has made it a prime target for illicit activity.

But don't let me scare you away from what is, in my opinion, a very enjoyable and fulfilling past time. Your first foray into retro game collecting brings with it many a daunting task but like any talent or skill all it takes is a little education, practice, and refinement to go from a passing interest to a full blown passion. So, what do you say? Are you still interested? Great!

Over the next several posts I intend to pass on some critical pieces of retro collecting wisdom that I had to learn the hard way in order to make your entry into this noble endeavor as smooth and as pleasurable as possible. Some of this information will seem like common sense to many of you, but believe me when I say that there are occasions when even a seasoned collector can lose themselves in their pursuits and throw all caution and reason to the wind. It's happened to me, and it can definitely happen to you. But the more you employ these basic tips the more they become second nature.

Be sure to come back for our next entry in the series: Retro Game Collecting, pt 2 - Three Questions For The Would-be Collector.

Until next time, gamerguys and gals!


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