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Chronicling the Schizophrenic ramblings of an individual too freaking stubborn to use emulators and has a passionate desire to collect and play all sorts of retro games and consoles.
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Retro Console Collecting - Part III (Expanding the Collection)

Posted 6th November 2010 at 09:12 AM by Schizo

Hello there, once again it looks like you've managed to click the wrong link. Either that or you're actually reading some of this drivel. In which case you've probably already hit the back button on your browser already (or for the really extreme, alt+F4), but for those brave adventurous souls, I'm going to continue on with Part III of my series on retro console collecting.

In case you missed the last two installments (and just why did you do that, hmmmm?), you can check them out here:

Part 1
Part 2

Okay, now that you're sufficiently caught up, I'm going to discuss some of the methods by which I'm going about expanding the collection.

Now, collecting retro consoles and games can be as easy, or as difficult as you want it to be. Do you only care if the games work, even if they are beat to hell/missing labels/discolored, or do you want something that is near mint...or even still factory sealed? Do you want just the game/system itself, or do you want to have all the extras, such as the boxes and instruction manuals? Do you want to get game titles that were common as dirt, or do you want something so limited that only 26 copies are known to exist like this bad boy pictured below:

The point is, you can make this as easy or as hard on yourself as you want it to be.

I set the following guidelines for how I would expand my collection:

  • Games and systems must be in playable condition. Anything more than light scuffing on a disc is unacceptable.
  • All games must be Complete In Box (that is, game + instructions + box).
  • Game boxes, manuals, and cartridges must be in a minimum of good condition (i.e. slight bends and creases in the boxes and manuals are acceptable...but nothing that has ripped labels/missing pages, etc)
  • Scarlett Johansson would instantly feel an uncontrollable urge to rip off all her clothes and immediately jump me in the presence of such a collection (still waiting on that one)
  • Rarity is not a giant factor in picking up games, as this collection is meant to be played. That said, if there are multiple variants on a console or game, I'll be more receptive to the rarer variant.
  • Factory sealed in box is a waste of money, I want to play this stuff!
Luckily, I had a nice head start on the CIB portion. Due to my anal-retentive nature, I had kept all the boxes and instruction manuals from my games as a kid. Currently they are in storage up in the garage at my parents' house (thanks mom and dad for not throwing those out!).

So I started making a list of systems and games that I wanted to get. Boy did that get out of control quickly. I'll delve a bit more into that in later installments.

So, now I'd set my guidelines, made a list, checked it twice, disposed of the body of the dead hooker in my trunk, and brushed my teeth. I was ready to start expanding the collection!

So where to start? Well, the obvious first choice was ebay. Ebay is a great place to find collectible stuff...problem is, every other collector around the world is on ebay as well. It is possible to find some good deals here and there, but most of the people on ebay know the value of the items being sold (even if the seller has no clue!), so it is difficult to find a gem on ebay.

Ebay: great selection, good place to find rare variants, but be prepared to bid against all the other collectors.

The second good place to check out - the local gaming store! Now, I'm not talking about your chains like Gamestop, as they only cater to the latest generation of consoles. However, I'm lucky enough to have a gaming store here in Buffalo that buys/sells just about anything video game related. The upshot is that they are super friendly, you get the immediate satisfaction of buying a game that day and taking it home with you, and a nice feeling that you're helping support local businesses. However, selection is limited (even moreso for CIB examples!), and the prices tend to be a bit higher than what you can get on ebay.

Local store: immediate gratification & great staff, however tends to be a bit pricey and you're at the mercy of whatever they have in stock.

When I mentioned my collecting to a co-worker, he immediately recommended the local flea market. My reaction?


Ok, so it wasn't exactly what I had immediately thought of. Well, it was a really great place to check out a lot of classic stuff. However, you're going to have to haggle with people over pricing, and I'm just not much of a haggling type. The whole atmosphere was...strange to me. However, I went there before I had written down the list, and they had tons of games there. I may go back with my list and see what deals I may be able to score.

Flea Market: surprisingly decent selection, but be prepared to haggle.

Finally, (and with no luck...yet), I've been scouring the Craigslist ads daily. This looks like the best place to score some great deals. However, most of the posts on Craigslist are only for the current generation of consoles. However, every now and then you'll see someone clearing out their old system and games. Why, just the other day I saw an ad for a guy selling 25 boxed Intellivision games! If I'd had the Intellivision on my list to collect (not yet, maybe later though), I would have been all over that.

Craigslist: best potential to score something great at a low price, but it is very hit-or-miss.

So there you have it, those are the methods by which I am looking to increase the collection. Of course, if you have anything (or know anyone selling), feel free to let me know as I'm always open to other avenues of expanding the collection!

In the next few installments, I'll be doing a system-by-system breakdown of the console, and some of the games I'm gunning for.

You've made it this far? Why, you deserve a cookie!

Till next time!
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  1. Old Comment
    Dementia's Avatar
    Well, I'm sorry to tell you I have a complete Intellivision II system with the voice adapter, atari 2600 adapter and lots of games. Some even have boxes. The reason I'm sorry to tell you this? I'm not cheap. Of course, if you aren't looking for an Intellivision, it isn't an issue and I'm not sorry at all.
    Posted 7th November 2010 at 02:52 AM by Dementia Dementia is offline

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