RF Generation.  The Classic and Modern Gaming Databases.RF Generation.  The Classic and Modern Gaming Databases.

Posted on Feb 28th 2022 at 01:00:00 PM by (GrayGhost81)
Posted under collecting, budget

Photo by MART PRODUCTION from Pexels

I replied to a tweet a few days ago from @gamesyouloved that went like this:

"if someone wants to start a retro game collection
what's the best way to do it?"

My reply:

"If I were starting now, I'd go for quality over quantity and buy like, one good game every paycheck or something."

I've been thinking about this tweet and its replies for a few days now, and I'd like to elaborate on it. Of course, to answer this question, there are so many variables to consider, and each person will have his or her own set of circumstances which will dictate what can be done. Note that the question is about collecting specifically, so while I'd naturally lean on emulation, this article will be about how I would build a physical collection from scratch today if I had to.

I have been imagining what it would be like if I owned no video games and wanted to start collecting again today, with all my knowledge and experience intact. The first thing I'd do is buy a copy of Dragon Warrior. Yes, this game's price has inflated like all others, but it can still be had for about ten bucks for a loose cart. I'd go ahead and build my collection around that, but I wouldn't approach it the way I did the first time around, where I needed to have the "classic" collection of NES (Contra, Punch-Out, Castlevania etc.). Instead, I think I'd hunt for bargains on some of the cheaper games that I know are good. Looking at pricecharting as I write this, there are still dozens, if not hundreds, of NES games that can be had for under $10, and some of them are great. I'm not a huge NES fan anymore really, so I'd probably grab 5-10 games and be done with it.

Having built a nice little NES library, I'd want to move on to the SNES. The first thing I'd do is grab the Super Mario World & Super Mario All-Stars combo cart. Seems you can get a copy for just under $30, and it's worth every penny. Unlike the NES, there isn't quite a glut of games under $10 for the SNES. I'd also have to drop approximately $20 to grab a copy of Tetris Attack for my wife. After that, my "must haves" are creeping into the 'once every paycheck' territory I mentioned in my reply tweet. Looks like Turtles in Time is going for about $60 and for my money way more fun than the last COD or FIFA at that price. However, unless you're independently wealthy, you can't load up on tons of games at prices like that, hence 'once every paycheck.'

It's been all Nintendo so far; I think I'd pick up a PlayStation 2 next. As some of the responders of the tweet noted, PS2 consoles are widely available and allow you play both PS1 and PS2 games. Now that we're into disc based systems, there are plenty of shovelware inexpensive quality titles on both systems. My splurges here are Metal Gear Solid for under $30 and Persona 3 FES which can be bought new at the time of this writing for about $35.

I'd love to talk about how cheap XBOX 360 collecting is, but I don't think it's considered retro yet. I like where I'm at with this collection. I'd actually buy most of my games online, as I do now. I used to love hunting specifically for games in brick and mortar stores, but honestly we all know that isn't what it used to be, and it doesn't really thrill me anymore.

With the base collection set as outlined above, I'd carefully consider each purchase after that. All the games I've bought so far in this imaginary scenario are ones I have played before. I have to admit, I kind of miss researching a game I haven't played to death before buying it. I feel like I haven't done that in a really long time. I'd definitely check out some new games I've never played rather than stockpiling ones I owned previously. The more I think about this scenario, the more I wish it was real.

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If I had to start over on cart based stuff, I would 100% just go with flash carts then maybe add some stuff (mostly Sega) as I found it for good prices. 

I see what some of the stuff I picked up years ago is going for now and think there's no way I would pay that price for that game in 2022.
I very much appreciate the topic as food for thought.  As most have said, I certainly couldn't afford to collect the way I used to these days, what with prices and availability just not being what they once were.  That being said, even though the market is very different, in some ways it is 'good' different; the aforementioned widespread emulation options, the glut of retro compilations, the proliferation of gaming conventions, the online options to connect fellow collectors, etc.  We are simply in a new era, and we have to invest time and treasure in new opportunities.

Were I to begin again, I think it would still be fun albeit with a great change of focus.  First and foremost, the important thing is to know why to collect in the first place; is it just to have lots of games to play?  Is it an interest in retro gaming history?  Is it a museum-like hunt for perfect condition items?  Is it a numbers game, to 'catch 'em all'?  The first step is to know the why, so as to inform the how.

I think I'd start with one modern and one retro system as primaries; say, the Switch and the Genesis, and branch out as money and opportunity provides.  I still occasionally find Genesis, NES, and even Atari games at Salvation Army and thrift stores.  Retro game conventions have continued to be delightful surprises of unexpected pick-ups (I couldn't believe I found a replacement VIC-20 at our last one!)  There are some quirky new routes to explore these days (say, collecting Evercade stuff, as each cart is already a collection of retro games.)  And it really, really helps to have friends/partners/competitors to make collecting a meta-game as well as just buying stuff.  Of course, more than a few of us have a new generation we are raising who are interesting in starting their own collections... Smiley

I don't see a problem with collecting in this era, only the challenge of changing how we look at things.  Video games (and collecting them) are still a blast for me and my family.
I know this is more of a "fun thought experiment" than a legitimate guide, but as an aspiring collector, I will keep this in mind. Thank you!
Yup buying a PS2 is the main advice I give to newcomers. Fairly cheap, plays two systems that still have super nice game available for cheap. There's also several retro compilation on there including Sega and Megaman. Once of have plenty of stuff play on there you can save for the more expensive stuff and not get discouraged!

That's what I'm doing right now: I buy 10$ Ps4 games have something to play while I'm getting money piled up for bug stuff on the Ps1 like Tron Bonne and the Personas
My advice would be to take a look at my sale thread on the forum and buy my stuff.
Let people know that you start collecting.
You won´t believe how many co-workers came up to me with something they found in their basement (things like WIIs, PS2s, PS1s, etc) and were happy giving it to me for (sometimes) free.
I'd probably keep going the way I always have. Buying things I enjoyed or wanted as a kid, snagging deals when I can, and buying a heavy hitter now and then when the opportunity comes up.

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