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Keep or sell super valuable games?

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So the other day, I was able to hold it and snap a picture with a gold Nintendo world championship cart. See it here!

So I got to thinking. If you ever came up on something like this, say, at a thrift store for cheap, would you actually keep it in your collection or sell it? 

 

to be honest I don't think I could ever keep something this valuable in my collection knowing how much money I could get for it. I feel it would be cool enough just to say I owned it at one point in time.

 

What would you guys do?

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I've been in this exact situation more than once. My answer would be: It Depends.

In my view it depends on the sentimentality of the game, do I have a duplicate in my collection, what are my priorities, what financial demands exist, and what is the upside of selling the item?

Sentimentality: Some of these items mean something to me beyond money or the value of having a spot filled in my collection. If I have memories attached to an item, if it's one of my original items that I had as a kid and can remember going into the store with my dad and buying that game or system - or NOT buying but seeing on the shelf, picking up and looking at and just not being able to afford, then I am highly unlikely to let it go. Unless there's a..

Duplicate: When I began actively collecting classic games in 1993 I implemented a tactic that my dad passed on to me when I was collecting baseball cards in the 1980s: Collect in duplicates. "If you have one Kirk Gibson baseball card, make sure you have two so you have one to keep nice and one to trade." I would end up with not just one complete 1984 - 1989 Topp's Baseball Card collection, but two. I would do this with a few of my toys / action figure sets as well if it was something I really liked. I'd buy two. One to keep nice, or new in the package, and the other to play the heck out of. When I started collecting classic video games I did the same thing. Remember the story about how I found E.T. and Asteroids in the clearance aisle at Kay-Bee Toys and that's how I got into this? I ended up going back to get another set a couple weeks later, after the bug had bitten me and I grew rabidly committed to classic gaming. Again, one game to keep nice, the other to play the heck out of. Today when it comes to collecting as an adult, you'll see that I usually have 2-3 or more of each game in my collection. It's not holding so much as it's archiving (often for future use on this site) and preserving for an eventual trade. So what happens when I have a duplicate of something valuable or rare and somebody approaches me with an offer for a trade...

Distinguishing between "Valuable" and "Rare": I am far more likely to sell something that is valuable, but openly available, rather than something that is truly rare, regardless of the price. For example, most of you know I'm a big TurboDuo fan. I have a nice collection of PC Engine and TurboGrafx-16 items, and the TurboDuo is likely my favorite non-Atari game console. I have a few of these babies put away brand new in the box. Brand new retail systems never touched or opened. I only have a few, and when I find more in that pristine 10/10 condition I try to work out a deal to bring it home. I also have two Atari Video System X pre-production units. A prototype Atari Video System X console is far more "rare" than a TurboDuo which you could buy at Toys R Us in 1993, but not necessarily more financially "valuable". Remember, there's a difference. I can always get another TurboDuo, but I will have the hardest time getting my hands on another Atari Video System X console. What's more, I receive offers for the TurboDuo that exceed any offers I've received for the Atari VSX. The most recent offer I had for the TurboDuo came from a gentleman in China who offered well over $3,500 USD for me to pack and ship him the system. That amount of money definitely places the TurboDuo in the "Valuable" category as far as my game systems go, and although the Atari Video System X is "Rare" I haven't seen an offer that high for the VSX nor would I solicit one. In this situation I would place more value on "Rare" than "Valuable". If something is "Valuable" but can be replaced, I may be willing to let it go. If something is "Rare" like Impossible Mission for Atari 7800 is "Rare" I may let that go if it makes sense to do so, I'm comfortable with the price and with where that "Rare" item would find a new home. If it's something "Rare" like the Atari Video System X, I wouldn't want that to leave my collection. Not only is it "Rare" but it has sentimentality to it in what it means to me. It really all comes down to...

Priorities: I can say with confidence that I probably more than anybody else who will read this have found myself in situations where I've had to liquidate interesting, amazing, historic items from my collection. I won't do it again. Atari Video System X, Panasonic 3DO M2 consoles, prototype game systems, games, arcade machines, unused retail kiosks, 1984 silver label 7800 cartridges, Atari Holograms, you name it. When I launched a tech start-up with some former Atari people in 2004 I needed to raise seed capital and some of these items had to go. At the height of the recession in 2010 some of these items had to go. But my Atari 7800 that I grew up with stayed with me. And so did the E.T. and Asteroids that I found for .97 cents at Kay-Bee Toys that one day, too. Priorities matter, and there are a lot of things in life that have to come before video games.

So, would I do it? Yeah, probably. It depends what it is. If its something I would have a sentimental connection to, or something that would be an important part of my personal collection that I'd never want to get rid of, say like finding an Atari 2700 Remote Control VCS at Goodwill, I would keep that in my personal collection, make it available to others through this site, and be grateful that I was able to get it without paying too exorbitant a price. If it was something else from the classic gaming world that I cared less about, I would be willing to let it go for a fair price and place that money away, investing it wisely. If it was a Nintendo World Championship cartridge, I would probably hang onto it. What a cool piece of history! But if the value ever grew to be so much that I could fulfill many of my other priorities if I sold it, I would likely let it go. It all depends on priorities, the perceived value of the item, and if I have any sentimental connection to it.

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I'd add in one more factor:  fear.  If you have something that you are afraid to use or touch....get rid of it.  A collection is meant to be enjoyed in my opinion.  If it's too valuable, I can't enjoy it, so it goes. 

And one more:  dust.  If it just collects dust and isn't enjoyed...give it up.  Similar to fear, but a touch different. 

 

 

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While I don't have any valuable games, I HAVE been in this kind of position with another type of collectible.

I like to collect a variety of things besides video games. (In fact, I probably collect too many things, but that's another story...)

I'm an avid reader, and I like to collect antique books. Quite a few years ago I got my hands on an interesting old book called "Ver Beck's Book of Bears." Now, I didn't think too much about it. It had really nice illustrations, was a pretty old book, but didn't seem too special.

A few years ago, though, I got curious and decided to look it up online. Low and behold it turned out to be an exceedingly rare volume worth up to $400 or more. That's a good deal of money for a book. I like it far too much to sell, though. It has more value to me than the money.

I imagine if I found any truly rare, valuable video games, it would be a similar case, and depend entirely on whether I like the game more than the money.

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Well I recently got 3 x rated 2600 games and I havent uad any plans to sell them yet (not really sure honestly). But if there was 1 I would keep it would have to be either (if I ever get either) a vectrex or Halloween on the 2600. Both are on my super want list and would never leave me

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I just recently had to go through this in my recent downsizing.  Everything I wanted to keep was because I knew I would play it again or I had a lot of history with.  But if I wasn't using them then I simply packed and stored them to protect them from elements with the idea I can simply drag them out when I got the urge to play them again. 

Then there was the VIS.  Bought for $20 and with most of the "games" made for it.  It is a rare item.  Only 10,000 known to be still in existence.  Valuable?  Yes, it can be.  But when I tried to part with it for a bit of financial gain offers barely went above what I gave for it.  I understand why because while rare it wasn't a fun system to use.  Cool to look at but nothing really entertaining.  I finally decided to just put it on our apartment complex's giveaway table and let someone else mess with it.  I had for five years and did nothing with it.  My TI99 is currently under the gun.  I don't use it very much at all but it doesn't have much either.  It is also in a spot I don't use for anything else so it really isn't in the way.

The Atari 5200 is my top dog so just being able to hold one Atari VSX would be my pride and joy.  Would I use it?  Most definitely.  Sell it?  Not on your life!  I would love to get my hands on one of those but there's no financial way I could ever get one.  I wouldn't even care if it was banged up a bit. Something like that, though, would be more valuable to me than money could ever buy.  I would also have to will it to someone I would trust with strict rules to enjoy it but never sell it.  If that is even possible.

As for that Nintendo cart?  Nope...not for sale if I had one.  I would have to frame it with a page full of historical notes.

Edited by kamakazi20012
Stupid tablet typos

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I never sell games. Whenever someone told me they were selling their games or systems to buy something new, I cringed a little bit. I've always thought, "what if I ever wanted to play it again?" I would rather wait a while longer and not get the hot new thing right away than sell my old stuff. I still use my DSi regularly, even though since then I've gotten a 3DS and Switch. I also use my Wii a lot, too. I never used to get games that often until I discovered a game store about 20 minutes away with very reasonable prices for old games that I started going full retro collector. A lot of my collection has been stuff bought on clearance when systems were on their way out. Before that system or generation had it's nostalgia boom and prices skyrocketed.

I don't have any extremely valuable things in my collection. The most valuable game I own is probably Conker's Bad Fur Day for N64. I don't particularly care much for the gameplay, but it's pretty charming and funny and looks amazing for the system. I don't play it too often, but I might want to again sometime so I keep it around. Another somewhat-valuable game I have is Super Metroid, but that's mostly because it is pretty sought after and people aren't selling. I'm not either; it's my favorite game of all time. It's not Earthbound prices or anything, but a little high for a SNES game. Well worth the money.

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This thread has been very... ahem... valuable reading 🙂 It is a topic I've recently considered when I saw posts from other gamers talking about the increase in price of this game or that. I happened to have a few of those games, and they're gathering dust (like nearly all my games).

As a general rule of character/personality, I don't sell stuff I have, but considering the fact that 99% of my games have sat unplayed as I keep playing the same games, should I take advantage of the market and sell some games? 🤔  Since entering the retro gaming community five years ago, I've primarily bought games for all generations of Playstation and Xbox consoles and have decent games library for 3DS, GameCube, and Vita. As I've reconnected deeply with Atari 2600, 5200, and 7800 in recent months and how good it feels to play these games, it's giving me reason think about reshaping my games library.

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On September 12, 2020 at 6:47 PM, socrates63 said:

This thread has been very... ahem... valuable reading 🙂 It is a topic I've recently considered when I saw posts from other gamers talking about the increase in price of this game or that. I happened to have a few of those games, and they're gathering dust (like nearly all my games).

As a general rule of character/personality, I don't sell stuff I have, but considering the fact that 99% of my games have sat unplayed as I keep playing the same games, should I take advantage of the market and sell some games? 🤔  Since entering the retro gaming community five years ago, I've primarily bought games for all generations of Playstation and Xbox consoles and have decent games library for 3DS, GameCube, and Vita. As I've reconnected deeply with Atari 2600, 5200, and 7800 in recent months and how good it feels to play these games, it's giving me reason think about reshaping my games library.

This is probably a me thing as I don't have a ton of money to blow on big lots of games on eBay riddled with duplicates, but I only buy games I want and that I know I'm willing to play. For instance, I could buy a game like Namco Museum for GBA which I know I'm going to play, or Krull on 2600 which I know I will not play/enjoy as much. Know what I mean? It's probably different for you since you have much more games than I do.

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@HDN I've only bought games that I intended to play. The intention is there, but the execution of those intentions is a separate matter. The mouth is bigger than the stomach, so to speak.

With some very rare exceptions (e.g., Star Wars games from Limited Run Games), I don't buy games for the sake of collecting them but to play them. That's why I don't pay much attention to the market value of games once I've purchased them.

If the intent to play the game is my guiding principle, and it has been, then I think I'm probably at the point where I should review my games library and identify games that I don't think I will play. I can reallocate the physical space and proceeds from the sale to future additions 🙂 That's my thinking right now.

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9 minutes ago, socrates63 said:

@HDN I've only bought games that I intended to play. The intention is there, but the execution of those intentions is a separate matter. The mouth is bigger than the stomach, so to speak.

With some very rare exceptions (e.g., Star Wars games from Limited Run Games), I don't buy games for the sake of collecting them but to play them. That's why I don't pay much attention to the market value of games once I've purchased them.

If the intent to play the game is my guiding principle, and it has been, then I think I'm probably at the point where I should review my games library and identify games that I don't think I will play. I can reallocate the physical space and proceeds from the sale to future additions 🙂 That's my thinking right now.

Oh, I see. Finding time to play console games can be hard sometimes, especially the newer ones where you have to invest some time into them. That's part of the reason why since I discovered my local game store I have mostly stuck to handheld and Atari collecting. Handheld games were made for short bursts and Atari games are typically quick high score challenges. 

I have been getting my handheld fix with my GBA as it's one of the only consoles not taken yet by my mother. Lots of Mario Kart being played over here! Super Circuit is absolutely superb. I'm having second thoughts about getting an Atari game with my discount and I might just get Namco Museum GBA so I can play arcade games on the go. But I might just take advantage of the markdown on CC.

Have you thought about trading with the I/O members some of your unwanted games? Not me of course as I have nothing to offer.

Try getting rid of some of your duplicates and maybe trying some of the games in your backlog for a couple of minutes and see if you like them. But before you do that, I think you know what I want you to play...

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I made the mistake of selling off my entire collection in 1998.  I've spent a lot more energy and money to rebuild it since getting actively back into gaming around 2010.  Now my collection is a bit more curated.  For certain consoles, its just what I had as a kid, plus new homebrews.  The only console I have a complete set for is the Jaguar.  I do part ways with duplicates when I find a nicer copy by chance. 

Also, @HDN, I totally agree with your observation on playing newer console games.  One of the reasons I went back to Atari 2600 and 7800 titles was the time commitment for newer games.  Its hard to find the time to play through most modern titles.  I loved the Dragon Age series, Mass Effect series, Witcher 3 and Horizon Zero Dawn, but that's a lot of time on gaming when you have other priorities and competing interests.  The old arcade style title don't require nearly the same commitment.  A short burst of gaming suits me just fine. 

 

 

Edited by Sabertooth

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3 minutes ago, Sabertooth said:

I do part ways with duplicates when I find a nicer copy by chance. 

I don't think I could do that. For instance, I have a pretty beat up case for Luigi's Mansion. Disc is fine, but the case is not in good shape and it is missing the manual. Got it used from my cousins on my sixth birthday when I got my Wii. I have spent so many hours on that specific copy of the game that if I found a copy in pristine condition for a nickel I wouldn't have the heart to get rid of this game that I have so many memories with.

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@HDN Since my childhood collection was sold off long ago, most of my stuff doesn't have sentimental value.  This is why I'm willing to part with it so readily for a nicer example.  If I still had my original Coleco Geminis and 2600 games or the XEGS from when I was a kid, no way.  But that stuff is long gone.  I would probably hang onto anything that was gifted. 

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I won't lie, a few of my Saturn games up on the shelf are very tempting to part with given the current prices for some of them as compared to what I paid for them. I have a few prototypes that I don't think I could ever part with. Not because they are unreleased games, but because they were my finds and I'm not likely to find them again. But I can easily say that over 90% of my entire collection is more for shelf display than actual play. I have flash carts for my most played systems so I don't have to pull out the actual carts to play the games. But still I hold onto them in case such a time comes that I'm in need for the money I might get from some of them.

(Looking over again at MKR for the Saturn)...

 

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6 minutes ago, CrossBow said:

I have flash carts for my most played systems so I don't have to pull out the actual carts to play the games. But still I hold onto them in case such a time comes that I'm in need for the money I might get from some of them.

I would much rather have the physical cartridges than a menu on a flash cart. Growing up with a modded Nintendo Wii filled with abbreviated ROM names on a lackluster list on emulators, I would often fantasize about having a massive shelf full of NES or Atari 2600 games. I often saw them on YouTube channels. If I have the physical cart, I will use it 9 times out of 10.

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With the exception of the NES most of my flash carts only have a few games loaded up on them with the games I play or use most in testing systems. In fact my flash carts normally live on my workbench since it is nice to have 1 cart with several roms to test different things for the systems vs needing a pile of them stacked up for that purpose. I do have shelves and shelves full of games as can been seen in my earlier postings about my game room.

 

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Flash carts can be such a hot-button issue with gamers.  Why?  I say enjoy them if you've got them.  Yes, physical carts are better.  But they also take up a ton more space.  In my case, I have very limited space.  Most of my loose carts are boxed up efficiently in the attic.  Flash carts let me enjoy the games without making a huge mess or taking up a ton of space.  I've posted pics on these forums of my nice efficient gaming credenza.  It sure would be hard to find the space to play without flash carts!  And "save states" work better too.  No fear of batteries that no longer work. 

@HDN, yeah, those short, cryptic file names can be a detriment!  That's true. 

 

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3 minutes ago, RickR said:

Flash carts can be such a hot-button issue with gamers.  Why?  I say enjoy them if you've got them.  Yes, physical carts are better.  But they also take up a ton more space.  In my case, I have very limited space.  Most of my loose carts are boxed up efficiently in the attic.  Flash carts let me enjoy the games without making a huge mess or taking up a ton of space.  I've posted pics on these forums of my nice efficient gaming credenza.  It sure would be hard to find the space to play without flash carts!  And "save states" work better too.  No fear of batteries that no longer work. 

@HDN, yeah, those short, cryptic file names can be a detriment!  That's true. 

 

I don't mind flash carts. They're a great way to be able to play rare games or homebrews on original hardware. I'm just saying if I had to pick, I'd pick the physical game over the same game on a flashcart. I don't have that much space right now either, but I also don't have the funds to build up a massive collection like all of you have! Space won't be a problem for a while. Invaders, on the other hand...

I'm not too scared of the batteries on my games going dead. It's an inevitability with those older games. Thankfully my local game store can replace them for only a couple bucks. I'm pretty sure I am going to have to start bringing games in sooner or later. I can tell Super Metroid doesn't have much longer. It's saving fine now but it wiped all three save files of my data before I started replaying it again. Not a big deal really.

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It's nice to have that store that replaces them for you! 

I should put together a tutorial on how to do it yourself for those that don't have that service locally.  One tip I can offer is that once you get the old battery out (which can be the hardest part), I usually tape the new battery in (with electrical tape) so it's easy to change the next time. 

 

Edited by RickR

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