Boss Battle: Nostalgia and Greed vs Reality

OK..so every collector out there has had this conversation…here it’s between myself and “X”.

Me: so you said you have an nes and games?
X: yeah i dont think it works though..
Me: ok, so what are you asking for it?
X: well i know their worth like $200…so.. $100
Me: …uh ok…what about the games then?
X: i’d have to check ebay…I just read online a guy sold ET for $10,000…so if I guessed I have mario 3, mach rider, captain skyhawk, rad racer and zelda so does $250 sound good? The zelda is the gold cart so im pretty sure its rare.
Me: …

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How many times have you had this or a similar conversation? It’s a common problem with retro gaming and dealing with people where their perceived idea of the value and the reality are greatly different.

There is a lot of nostalgia around these old games, I often hear “I loved this game as a kid” and when I ask what they want the prices can be mind boggling. Sure I know that not everyone knows their way around pricecharting.com so they aren’t aware of the standard going rate of things and can see it as a lowball offer when you offer $5 for their childhood treasure.

The fact to collectors, just to get the harshness out of the way early…is that there’s only a few truly rare games on each retro game library due to unavailability, limited production, store specific (ie: Flintstones: dinasour peak) or end of the system releases (little samson). These are things a person looking at their treasured copy of mario 3 does not factor in. They don’t care there was 20 million copies sold, so they want what they feel the inherant value to them is.

Yes this is frustrating…i’m not a major fan of most resellers but at least they are fairly realistic on the prices depending on where they source pricing from. This brings me to my next point….

GREEDY BASTARDS!!  The people who know retro games are “in” right now and have done a 5 second search on ebay to find the highest price and adamantly argue this is the accepted price. We’ve all been there, you get a price, pull up ebay on your phone, sort by highest price and low and behold it’s the same price they just gave you.

Greed can be a big factor in this game unfortunately, some people who don’t care about the games themselves and have no nostalgic connection to them know their popular and it becomes a “I have it, you want it…so pay me” scenario. I generally just walk away from these despite what I might be giving up. Sure it sucks to pass up games you need or uncommon titles but it’s not worth over paying unless that’s your thing, in which case knock yourself out! Just not my thing.

The reality is as collectors there’s a nostalgic value attached to our stuff, but we also know the price of things. We know things like what the average SOLD price on ebay is and we set limits and budgets accordingly, but this is not always a reality.
Going into a retail outlet I expect to see higher end ebay prices…that’s fine, but when I’m at a swap meet nobody wants to hear that all your common games are “individually priced” or worse “I need to look it up”…this is about the time I’m moving along to the next booth…because.. yes! There are people just looking to get rid of these things and the prices match this.

I had a reseller look me in the eyes and say top gun on the nes was not only a rare game but well worth the $20 they were asking…a guy I see on the regular hooked me up for $5 making a buck or two on the actual $3.99 listing…(but hey the guys trying to make a living) Sometimes carrying on until the next deal can be the better thing to do…always remember most of these titles sold into the millions of copies so unless you’re hunting an action 52 or panic restaraunt you’re going to find a copy of what you’re after at a better price.

So to sum up…nostalgia and greed can be a major roadblock in your quest for games but sometimes you just gotta remember what Kenny Rodgers said “know when to hold em, know when to fold em, know when to walk away”.

Best of luck in the wild to my fellow hunters!

Just for fun:

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