Retro Game Collecting – The Perils and the Pitfalls


Strap yourselves in, I need to vent….

Collecting. It’s something us humans do. Ever since we first saw something shiny and pretty sticking out of the ground thousands of years ago and wanted it for ourselves, we’ve collected, and wanted and desired that most fabled of things- “stuff”. Oh beautiful stuff, how we covert thee. We want more, and the more we get, the more we want, it’s a universal truth.
We all know collectors, whether it be your granddad’s stamp collection he insisted on showing you on a boring rainy day, when all you wanted to do was be at home playing Tekken, or Aunt Hilda’s creepy porcelain doll collection, you know the ones that you swear move when you’re not looking, everyone collects something, and, as you’re reading this, I assume you probably collect or are looking at collecting video games.
It’s a noble cause good sir, it’s my biggest passion and it’s more popular than ever, and herein lies the problem.
Now as we all know, supply and demand is a thing, they’re not making these old games anymore so the more of us who want them the higher the prices go, it’s as inevitable as the tides, but that in itself is not the problem. The problem, is fashion.
It’s fashionable to collect and be into retro, sitting in the coffee shop drinking free trade lentil coffee and discussing why Zelda (justan example kids!) is the best thing ever and how it speaks to you on a level you didn’t know you had, and how only you “get it”. I mean, you are only 17 years old but, man, you live it like you were there, and it’s ok, you’re happy to spend £££’s on a game because you have daddies trust fund, and you score maximum cool points for having it on your shelf. Then you wax lyrical about it and tell your friends and invite them round to worship at your alter of obscure Japanese games (coz it’s Japanese it must be better, right?) Now they want it too, and the prices go up and up and up.

Next are the fanboys, eurgh, is there anything worse? I post on Twitter a lot and am known for being a huge Sega fan, and I am, but do I ONLY like Sega? Do I think they have never done anything wrong? God no! I actually own more Nintendo consoles than Sega. If you collect and only like one company or franchise that’s fine, but don’t need to ram it down everyone’s throat. And don’t tell everyone they are wrong for not agreeing Square Enix are the saviours of the universe. Remember, “favourite” doesn’t mean “best”. Personally I want to play as much as possible and would never want to limit myself in that way. Nintendo isn’t better than Sega and Sega isn’t better then Sony and Sony isn’t better then Atari and so on.
There is no point collecting to make money, prices are higher than ever but with a lot of games reaching a point where most of us mere mortals can’t afford them, this isn’t sustainable and what happens with anything in this situation? Crash! Mark my words it will happen, maybe not this year, maybe not next but it will. When the hipsters get bored and move onto something else prices will fall. So monetary gain is no guarantee.
I see people get slated for liking an “uncool” game on Twitter, getting berated for not having that ultra rare Japanese limited edition game, only available on a Neo Geo and costs a months wages. If that is what makes those people happy, good luck to them, but that’s not what collecting is about, it’s what it means to you.
Now if your favourite game happens to be a rare expensive one that’s cool, and there are some games that I’d pay a lot more for than others. But those are probably different games to you, the world would be boring if we all liked the same stuff. Some of the best games ever made are cheap and common, for example, you can pick up the first Sonic on the megadrive for a few pounds and you’ll be hard pressed to find a better thing to play of an evening.
And this is the crux of the issue for me, WHY collect? Personally, I do it because games have been an ever present part of my life for 3 decades, the feeling of nostalgia playing a game I had as a kid transports me back to that time where I didn’t have a care in the world and tax was only something you paid on a monopoly board. I get to experience new worlds, do things I’ll never be able to do in real life, be whoever I want. It’s an intoxicating drug and I can’t get enough of it. Whatever reason you do it for, you need to remember this;
There is no such thing as a cool or uncool game, games are a creative art form, everything is subjective.
The price of a game means diddly squat, what is it worth to you?
We all like different stuff, no one’s opinion is right over anyone’s else, it’s an opinion not a fact.
It’s unlikely (not impossible, but unlikely) that owning every JRPG ever made is going to get you laid.
If you think about it, when you buy a game, who will be playing and enjoying it, you? Or that obnoxious Twitter bore? …..Exactly.
Collecting retro games is amazing, please do it, and enjoy it, but like everything in life, if it’s done without a genuine passion, and most importantly, love, it’s ultimately going to be an unfulfilling experience.
Phew, I feel better now!


Chris Thacker

Author: Chris

Freelance writer, Blogger, Youtuber Chris has dabbled around the industry for many years. having been published in two books, and with over 30+ years knowledge of gaming history, there are many obscure facts tucked away in his brain which have yet to be documented.

1 thought on “Retro Game Collecting – The Perils and the Pitfalls

  1. No boxes and disk will be worth the hours playing a good game (which admitelly are not worth much to begin with, but…). Don’t buy a game you won’t play, let those that will enjoy it have fun!

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