nkjfowa's Blog

Posted on May 15th 2011 at 07:50:53 PM by (nkjfowa)
Posted under Collecting, PSOne, ps1, playstation, Suikoden 2, Legend of Zelda

Good tidings fateful Game-philles and Master-sword enthusiasts, welcome to my first blog post ever. 

Game collecting can be quite an enjoyable hobby, with a nearly limitless expanse of games, undiscovered gems and rarities just waiting to be played and appreciated for their role in the larger advancement of the median as a whole at the time of release.  Like the wide-eyed awe from the English major experience the grand libraries of Oxford and Cambridge, so too is the game collector digging through Goodwill bins, and garage sales to finally find that rare historical gem.  However like most collecting hobbies it can be quite an expensive endeavor, particularly for serious PlayStation One collectors (such as myself), since that market is ballooning even despite the weakened economic state of the US.  With that stated alternate avenues and concessions must be made in order for one to have any hopes of complete their collection.  Even though I only began officially collecting games for about a year, I have made particular observations that some uninformed may find useful.  The main problem that I want to tackle today is coping with the often egregious price inflation currently on the market (with of course an emphasis on the PSOne price bubble phenomenon) understanding the inner workings of these market shifts and, planning accordingly to maximize the dollar of the collector community.

This interested me unofficially at the beginning of the year.  After almost a year of scouring my local area, expending all known sources accordingly, I finally made the move to the online nether-regions of eBay and Amazon.  While compiling my list of PSOne classics and gems that I was hotly anticipating I was confident that the price margin would be no larger than about $40 US dollars, or the highest price that I say for a particular PSOne game out in the wild (outside of the domestic, or online retail establishments).  Imagine my shock when I ventured on Amazon planning on scoping ten or so games for at the most $50, only to realize the futility of my preconceptions.  Not only was $40 considered a normal price point for most PSOne RPGs of merit, some products were as high as $150 (Suikoden II is and continues to be the bane of my existence ~-~).  Having done thorough research before hand on what exact titles I had plans on purchasing (the number staying consistently at 54 titles), and having around half those titles being of a RPG nature, makes for quite a hefty sum total at the end of the day.  So naturally I started asking questions of how I can get these at a discount.  Well to save from needless deliberation, no one in the history of the Internet has found out a solution to the problem.  Perhaps during the days in which markets were dictated locally, instead of globalization one may have had a chance at snagging these treasures from unsuspecting sellers.  However the truth of the matter is, the ones selling, have done their homework, and will follow the flow of the market.  And before anyone shots Objection! and refutes that flea markets, thrift stores, and auction lots are feasible options, these endeavors are of an undecidedly randomized nature, and differs irradically in terms of completeness and condition.  So for the sake of brevity we will not entertain this as a viable option.  The short answer to this conundrum:

You have no choice but to pay the price so save up your pennies peasantsthis may take awhile.

With the futility of chasing the value specter of the past out of the way, instead us collectors need to look forward.  The video game market, like almost all markets have a deprecating curve in value.  Most video games follow said curve at a consistent rate, however some show signs of exponential growth depending on certain attributes.  Growth may in some cases curb the rate of decline to 25% as opposed to 75%, or in rare cases increase the value beyond the initial market value.  The purpose of this series of entries is to take a laymans approach to identifying these attributes, and predicting these price curves to finally overcome the curse of inflation.  Only by preempting on these choice items will we be able to truly save money on the items we want, not being at the mercy of arbitrary Ebay lots or tyrannical sellers.  I claim to be no expert on the matter, and actually have little interest in economics, but I do have passion for my hobby (and I find saving money kind of fun).  My love for collecting means that I need to be able to sustain such a pricy past-time so that I can do this for years to come.  Join me in this exploration in addition to some other random gaming commentary/gushing/complaining.  I hope both I and my audience may learn from each other; and off course save money as well Wink

Until next time "Hira-SUGI!!"

And yes there is a story behind that name keep reading to find out!

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I have to disagree about flea markets/garage sales, etc not being viable options. I buy all my games locally, and very few have come from actual stores (retail or even thrift stores). While I agree its nearly impossible to go to a flea market looking for a specific game and finding it dirt cheap. All that is required to find expensive games for a bargain is patience and determination. Aside from current generation games, I pretty much stay below $5 per game, and I usually spend about $1 per game, and I've bought well over 3,000 games that way. And they're not all common, valueless games. I snagged a near mint condition CIB Snatcher for $4, Chrono Trigger for $5, FF7 a couple times for less than $5, and countless other CIB or loose rare/semi-rare games. Granted, I don't have anything super rare, but I stay hopeful that I'll find something like that someday.

But if you don't want to or can't do the garage sale thing, buying games from fellow collectors through sites/forums like this are also a great bet. They're generally very honest and price their games very fairly because they know prices on ebay are inflated anyway. And if you can grab a bunch of games from someone selling off their collection, they'll make even sweeter deals with you.
Thanks for the comment.  I totally understand the value of Flea Market/Garage Sales, I'm merely talking about it being useless for intentional buying.  And being close to the epicenter of Chicagoland means that all these outlets are quickly, and throughly consumed. 

But I didn't actually consider buying from other collectors.  While of course their are risks involved, I may try that (probably start small first). 
My best piece of advice is patience.  You never know when an uniformed seller will pop something up onto ebay.  For example, when I was really active in collecting Virtual Boy games, I found quite a few deals on BiN's that saved me around $50 off the standard going prices on some of the more uncommon Japanese games.

Also, flea markets require lots of patience and luck.  I realize that being in Chicagoland may mean you will have much more "competition", but you never know when someone will set up later and what stuff they may have.  I've been going to a few flea markets in my area for around 4 years now, and have yet to see Super Metroid, which sold many, many copies.  However, I've found a sealed copy of Waterworld and 4 copies of Conker's Bad Fur Day, both of which are considerably much rarer (not that BFD is that rare) than Super Metroid.

Once I settled down with the fact that I won't be finishing my long wishlist of games anytime soon, collecting became more fun.  I enjoy the hunt, and searching all my viable options (craigslist, flea markets, and sometimes online) is a great way for me to learn more about video games in general and to pass the time.

Also, NES_Rules' comment on buying/trading with fellow collectors is also very true.  Most of us here are great people, and all the people I've interacted with have been very honest.  Plus, it is always great to talk with someone who shares your interest and not just making the most profit they can online.
I'd actually question the problem with flea markets for collecting purposes. Going for a single game is usually impossible. going for a list of 50 or so makes for a decent haul depending on the area. Here in JerseyLand, flea markets are populated with people who don't speak English and don't know a darn thing about gaming. I found literally hundreds of games at rock bottom out in the wilds.
I echo the flea market/garage sale comments. I have found great deals over the years this way, but it really just make collecting more fun for me. It is an adventure where you never know what will be around the corner. Also these places are great because you can almost always bargain and get the prices reduced. Having cash and buying lots at sales means big savings.

I also recommend networking socially. Post a flyer at work/school, let everyone you know that you collect, and try to connect with other local collectors. I've had a lot of things just given to me because I asked.
@NeoMagic Warrior:

Which Flea Markets do you go to in Jersey?  I usually frequent Collingwood, and occasionally Englishtown.
Being aware of general prices for each system and some of the more common, but still valuable games makes going to pawn shops/thrift stores very worth while. As long as you can get a game for well under online market value, you can trade/sell it to help fund games you really want. I've found several $60-$80 games for $2 or less this way and have kept some and traded others for games I really wanted, but didnt want to pay online prices for.

And to echo what NES_Rules said forums like this one rock for buying from. I've gotten probably something close to a third of my collection from places like this, racketboy.com, nintendoage.com, gametz.com, etc. I've often found the sellers to be honest, priced competatively, take pride in their shipping, communicate well, do favors (such as hold items or let you pay in installments for big purchases), discount bulk sales, do partial trades, and just be happy that they know their games are going to someone who will appreciate them. Plus if you purchase from the same persons multiple times they usually toss in freebies or give amazing deals. Its really my favorite way of aquiring new games.
I find that Flea Markets/Garage sale are good if you don`t have a strict agenda. I enjoy them because of the unexpected surprises you can encounter. Like finding a complete Sega Saturn for peanuts when you were not even thinking of collecting for that system. Its the jumping on the opportunity when it presents itself. Sure you can find a lot of garbage and price goudgers (more and more of them here in Montrealand) but when you hit that gem that makes you stop and go holy S@#t!!. It's great.
@blcklblskt: Columbus, Berlin, Cowtown. Sometimes stray into the world of PA as well.

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