My New Hobby: Retro Video Game Collecting

Nothing like nostalgia.

I’ve been collecting retro video games for about the past nine months and decided to share about it.

My new hobby began last June when I was a graduate student. There are two reasons that kick started my hobby of retro video games.

First I enjoyed playing these games as a kid. I was fortunate to inherit the original Nintendo and Super Nintendo consoles from my older brother.

Second, during my time as a graduate student, I didn’t have many options for entertainment. Searching for something to do, I discovered during one of my study breaks a store that sold old video games and consoles.  One day I decided to check it out a nearby store, A Gamer’s Paradise.

Upon entering the store I instantly had the feeling of nostalgia. Seeing all the old games brought back a lot good memories playing games such as Ice Hockey and Super Bomberman . Although I enjoyed my first visit, I didn’t see anything in particular at the time.

My favorite SNES game as a kid.
My favorite SNES game as a kid.

The following weeks I returned a few times to see if they had new inventory. During one of those visits I saw Final Fantasy II for sale and bought it on a whim. A few weeks when I flew back home for vacation later I popped it in the console and played it for a few hours.

Game does not include ugly floral decor.
Game does not include ugly floral decor.

After buying the item this ignited my interest ignited for these games. I searched on the internet over the next six months looking for sales. Yet I didn’t have much luck finding items for decent prices.

Then reality finally hit me… This is expensive.

What happens if you get into this hobby.
What happens if you get into this hobby.

For example, the game Earthbound is currently selling for about $180. That’s only for the cartridge by the way. The most I’ve paid for a game thus far is $55 for Secret of Mana.

There’s many theories out there for why the prices are ridiculously expensive right now. However, I’m going with the law of supply and demand.

One article I found explained this well. An article by Patrick O’Rourke for writes about the industry and why re-sellers are charging high prices. He writes that people who played these games as kids are buying them as adults now. Thus, there’s a market and people (both buyers and sellers) willing to pay/charge a premium for these items.

O’Rourke is not the only one who has commented about the price of this hobby. If you search the internet you’ll find others who’ve written about the subject and/or have the same complaint Patrick describes in his article.

Part of what drives the industry is the nostalgia. I won’t deny it, there’s nothing like popping in a cartridge of SNES Contra III: Alien Wars.

It’s a bummer that it’s so expensive as I would like to commit more to this hobby.

For now, I’m keeping myself in check. I primarily look to buy accessories and any deals if I can find them. For example, I bought a used knock-off controller for less than $10. This way I don’t wear out the originals as fast.

To be clear, I’m not a true collector. I don’t want every game ever made. Other than the games that everyone wants, I really only want the ones I played as a kid. (The one exception are role-playing games, as I’m a huge fan of the genre. However, even the choices of those games will be limited.)

It’s no fun to window shop, but it’ll do for now.


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