Every Good System Dies Twice (a.k.a. Rule #1 of Game Collecting, longplay edition)

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Retro STrife
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Re: Every Good System Dies Twice (a.k.a. Rule #1 of Game Collecting, longplay edition)

Postby Retro STrife » January 29th, 2017, 12:41 pm

First off, thanks to everyone who took the time to read and respond to this very long post of mine a few months back. I appreciate you guys finding it thought-provoking.. I just reread it and I must have been eating my Wheaties that day, because I had forgotten writing most of that and found it pretty thought-provoking myself! (I know I have a habit of long posts - many not worth reading ha - but I think that one is worth the read!)

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.

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Retro STrife
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Re: Every Good System Dies Twice (a.k.a. Rule #1 of Game Collecting, longplay edition)

Postby Retro STrife » January 29th, 2017, 12:45 pm

By the way, remember that the best time to buy retro games is usually after the First Death and before the Second Life. So, right now is a good time to stock up on Xbox 360, PS3, and Wii games. No one cares about them right now, so demand is low with tons of supply. If you wait for the Second Life in 10 years, you'll be fighting over those games with our future crop of nostalgic 20-somethings. If you wait years later, until after the Second Death, you'll have lower demand than now but also much lower supply, so prices overall will be higher. So head to your GameStop when they start clearing out last gen games!

Another thought to keep in mind...some systems don't even get a First Life, let alone a Second Life, so the same rules don't necessarily apply to them. That's why, while the CD-i, 3DO, and Jaguar were all released during the current mid-90s sweetspot for nostalgia, it is just a few serious collectors that pick through those games in your local game shop. Generally, the rule only applies to mainstream systems that were popular back in the day. You didn't need to necessarily own them yourself..you just need some nostalgic experience with them--maybe you had an SNES and N64, your neighbor had a Genesis, and your uncle had a Playstation. Personally, I didn't have a Genesis, so my nostalgia comes from playing it at my cousin's house. But chances are, no one in your life had a CD-i...

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Atarifever
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Re: Every Good System Dies Twice (a.k.a. Rule #1 of Game Collecting, longplay edition)

Postby Atarifever » January 29th, 2017, 3:47 pm

Retro STrife wrote:By the way, remember that the best time to buy retro games is usually after the First Death and before the Second Life. So, right now is a good time to stock up on Xbox 360, PS3, and Wii games. No one cares about them right now, so demand is low with tons of supply. If you wait for the Second Life in 10 years, you'll be fighting over those games with our future crop of nostalgic 20-somethings.


And remember that what will cost money will be limited run RPGs, stuff that was much more popular elsewhere (the "wait, the Saturn had a version of that!" factor), and pretty much anything released with a peripheral. I've been collecting "future rare" Wii stuff for years now, as it was released or first marked down. I have Conduit 2, Pandora's Tower, The Last Story (with collectors stuff), Xenoblade Chronicles, etc.

I also have a theory future 20-somethings will want Angry Birds Wii. I think memories of all that Angry Birds they played and all that Wii Sports they played that Christmas they were 7 will muddle up and they'll all "remember" having also played Angry Birds on Wii (although almost none of them did). They'll say "I got a classic Wii, now what's for sale online? Angry Birds! Man, we used to play so much of that on there" and they'll drive up the price of good copies trying to get their hands on it.

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Re: Every Good System Dies Twice (a.k.a. Rule #1 of Game Collecting, longplay edition)

Postby VideoGameCritic » January 29th, 2017, 6:38 pm

This is a thought-provoking thread but I don't completely agree with the premise. You seem to imply retro gaming is based totally in nostalgia and I don't think that's true. Sure nostalgia is a driving factor but I have a lot of systems in my collection that I didn't even know about back in the day. I know young gamers that collect systems that came out before they were born. I believe the the best retro games have a timeless quality to them.

If there's a silver lining in your thought process it's that the super high prices we're seeing for retro gaming are destined to level off or drop at some point. I think that would be good for people who buy the games for enjoyment sake.

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Re: Every Good System Dies Twice (a.k.a. Rule #1 of Game Collecting, longplay edition)

Postby Retro STrife » January 29th, 2017, 7:52 pm

VideoGameCritic wrote:This is a thought-provoking thread but I don't completely agree with the premise. You seem to imply retro gaming is based totally in nostalgia and I don't think that's true. Sure nostalgia is a driving factor but I have a lot of systems in my collection that I didn't even know about back in the day. I know young gamers that collect systems that came out before they were born. I believe the the best retro games have a timeless quality to them.

If there's a silver lining in your thought process it's that the super high prices we're seeing for retro gaming are destined to level off or drop at some point. I think that would be good for people who buy the games for enjoyment sake.


Good point, but I think my theory still agrees with that point, so let me use this as a chance to polish up what my theory means... The people, like yourself, that you're referring to are the vast minority. If we're talking about what drives the market/prices/values and interest in retro games, we have to look at who the majority of retro gamers are. And they are people that jump into it for nostalgia, stick mainly to a few old systems, and then jump out of it when they age out. Since this is the majority of retro gamers, they have the biggest influence on retro gaming culture and the biggest influence on prices. (The exception of course being rare items, since the supply is so low that a few super collectors fighting over them can influence their value.)

These average retro gamers are males aged 20-35, and that will always be the key demographic. When the average retro gamer ages out and moves on (and packs up his Retron 5), a new group is shuffling in to support the systems of their youth. Meaning that one day the PS4 might be the hottest retro console to collect for. Yes, the super collectors like yourself will still be around to support the Atari and NES, but there will be too few of us for it to influence the market and too few for it to influence the culture/interests of the community. (By culture/interest decreasing for a system like the NES, that means less books will be written, less Youtube videos made, no focus on it anymore at conventions, less people talking about it in this forum, less people reading your reviews for it, etc... These have all already happened to Atari.). This is similar to how casual gamers control the modern gaming market, just by the fact that they vastly outnumber hardcore gamers.

So I understand that no system ever truly loses all interest among collectors--rather, when I say that a system has "died its second death", it means that the demand has substantially decreased because only super collectors are still interested, which thereby stagnates the value and interest in the system. In other words, it's the point were supply is outpacing demand again. This flies in the face of conventional wisdom of many, who think that the older something gets the more valuable it gets..which my premise disagrees with. I actually say, the older it gets, the less it's worth due to decreased nostalgic demand, unless supply is shrinking commensurate with the decreased demand.


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