Second, sorry that I never got around to responding, so let me touch on a few of the comments and good counterarguments people made.
Rookie1 wrote:Give NES and SNES a little more time and the hype will be dying down and moving full swing in to the N64 and PS1 generation. N64 already has some crazy prices, but I bet PS1 will be even worse given that you just walk by one of those discs and its gets scuffed. Hard to find a PS1 game that isnt destroyed.
Yes, I agree. I see NES prices stagnating now, except for super high-end stuff (e.g., $500 games will climb forever, because those only interest high-end collectors to begin with, and those collectors never disappear. It's the $30 games that stagnant, as casual retro gamers fade away from the scene.) I also see SNES stagnating in the coming years, while N64 and PS1 continue to climb. It's already started...Spyro the Dragon was under $5 several years back, and I just had to pay $25 for it. No company gets more retro love than Nintendo, though, so look for first-party N64 games to be affected moreso than Sony games.
CharlieR wrote:Very interesting how you said that the industry is too young for your theory to be noticeable yet. All pre-NES stuff could be starting to die its second death... but only in the eyes of people that collect for everything after stuff like Atari, Intellivision, etc. There's people out there (and people on this board I would think) that still find pre-NES stuff great to collect for, while people in their 20's and early 30's might find that stuff too dated and primitive. So, it's all about perspective.
True, but you're referring to the hangers-on that will never go away. I agree that no retro system will ever 100% die. That's impossible. Heck, I still buy Channel F games if I see them, and that system is way before my time. There will always be serious collectors like me, you, and others here that keep systems alive forever in some form. There will always be 70 year olds that still collect their childhood toys. My point is that pre-NES systems are dead in the mainstream retro gaming community. Their Second Life has passed them by. Most 50 year olds don't care about that nostalgia anymore, and most 25 year olds never owned them so they have no nostalgia for it. The people like me who will buy an old system without having any nostalgia for it are a small minority, so they don't do enough to keep the system "alive".
bluenote wrote:Very good post, but one thing to consider is this: The games from the Atari era were very primitive. Much different than the NES era. Most Atari games can barely hold your interest for more than 10 minutes. I can see people who grew up with Atari (me included) buy atari games, get a kick out of playing a game they haven't played in 30 years, then saying "wow, these games are really bad", and then moving on. I think that may be why people don't collect for Atari as much anymore as well. NES games (or any 8 bit game and beyond) were much more entertaining.
This was a common point made, as Rev and scotland also echoed it. I agree to an extent, because I really don't enjoy Atari 2600 games that much, except the ones I played as a kid (I was born in the mid-80s, but my parents kept their Atari as we grew up.) Nonetheless, I think this is the same biased thinking that I mentioned from Pat the NES Punk in my original post. I bet Atari fans in the mid-90s made these same arguments, about how Galaga was timeless fun (unlike those complicated new 3D games coming out), so Atari games were playable forever. Detach from that personal bias and stick yourself in the shoes of today's 20 year olds. Guess what? NES is primitive too!! Not to us, because we grew up on it, but it is to them. Again, in a hobby fueled by nostalgia, it is completely necessary that the retro gaming community grew up on the particular system in order for it to remain relevant. When past NES gamers age out of retro gaming, the system dies in the community and interest/prices stagnant at that point. To say "but NES games are good so they won't die" presupposes one of two things: (1) nostalgia NES gamers will hang on longer than nostalgia Atari gamers did (maybe so, but still- history tells us that nostalgia and nostalgic purchases fade progressively for most by their 30s, 40s, 50s, etc.), or (2) that retro gamers will get into NES gaming despite never playing it as a kid (again, this is biased optimism and the majority of retro gamers are not going to have interest in a system from before their time). So, while the playability of NES games might keep them more relevant than Atari games 20 years from now, I don't agree that it will prevent their Second Death.
Rev wrote:I would have to agree with this post. My nephews are 6 and 7 and play a lot of older games from the Genesis, SNES era. If they become gamers like their uncle then they could very well want to pick up older games down the road.
True, but if they do that it will be based on artificially created nostalgia (the same way I have nostalgia for Atari because my parents owned an Atari into the '90s), and thus they will be the exception rather than the rule. When they are 25, they might snag a Genesis and play Sonic the Hedgehog, because it brings back good memories of being 7 and playing it with their uncle. Yet, if you waited and introduced them to Genesis games at age 25, I doubt they'd have more than a passing interest and maybe a "Thanks for the history lesson Uncle Rev." So your nephews would be an exception to the rule because you made them play older games during their formative years, creating memories that most other 7 year olds don't get to have. So I don't think they'll represent the usual 20-something retro gamer when they hit 25. Most of those kids will consider Genesis games to be primitive. I do like the point some people made though, about SNES and Genesis being the peak of 2D gaming...and current kids do have experience with 2D games (especially on handhelds)... so perhaps that gives hope that the 16-bit era will have an unusually long Second Life.