Page 1 of 2

The Price of Old Video Games

Posted: May 16th, 2017, 2:46 pm
by scotland
I just saw an auction of 5 NES loose cartridges (with black jackets) that went for $76, or about $85 with the shipping. There was a 3 screw Mike Tyson's Punch Out, Super Mario 2, Super Mario 3, Contra and and the pack-in Duck Hunt/Mario Bros.

Now, kids who grew up with the NES may be nostalgic for them and have the money to go and rebuy them. On the other hand, its also the age when people who had these as a kid are dumping them back on the market as they move on to other parts of their lives. Also, these things stay in pretty darn good shape. Even loose carts in some old cardboard box for decades often look just fine.

Prices of things are funny. I could understand something rare being valuable, like a Laser Disc version of Star Wars A New Hope, but there are 17 million copies of Super Mario 3 sold, and that's just the legal ones. Imagine all the Famicom cartridges out there with it on there also. Contra, Super Mario 2 and 3 should be as worthless as Duck Hunt. Price Charting has the Mike Tyson cart at about $20 for a loose one.

What is holding up the price of these old video game carts? Look at comics. Like video games, a comic has some intrinsic entertainment value - its art, story, characters, ads, etc. Yet today we see a glut of those comics on the market as people that age dump their long boxes. In addition, new fans of comic characters should be a source of interest in older comics, although like emulation, there are also digital versions of comics as well as physical reissues.

We should be seeing a glut of NES dumping too, lowering prices. There were millions of many of these made, and unless they were trashed, there are still millions of these durable plastic ROM cartridges out there - millions. Of course there are rare ones, but the defining games of a library are the common games were mass produced by the millions.

In addition, video gaming is technology linked. Comics are still basically comics, from 1938 to today. The only technology it takes are eyeballs. Things do change of course, from the paper quality to the artwork to the stories, but its not at all like how drastically video gaming changes. NES era games are dinosaurs in so many ways.

I was going to make the case that Atari 2600 games are so cheap, but according to Price Charting I'm out of touch. A loose Adventure cartridge is listed at $9. A loose Defender is $4, which is $3 more than I thought it would be.

Why are these old video games still so valuable?

Re: The Price of Old Video Games

Posted: May 16th, 2017, 3:48 pm
by Gentlegamer

Re: The Price of Old Video Games

Posted: May 16th, 2017, 7:26 pm
by Rev
I think the price will eventually drop again but I don't think they'll ever be as cheap as they were in the early 2000s... The prices for games/consoles like the NES, Genesis, and SNES are insane right now...

Re: The Price of Old Video Games

Posted: May 16th, 2017, 9:34 pm
by scotland
One thing I can see being different is that investors did not buy stock to put away back in the day.

Some things like TY babies or baseball cards got investors in the day buying lots of stock just to put away as an investment. When their prices fell, these investors dumped their inventories, causing the dropping prices to crater, and often never recover. I don't think investors ever bought a dozen copies of an NES game in the hope that someday it might be valuable. T After all, the market had just tanked, and only kids were really buying these games. Nowadays, investors are probably amiibos and stuff, but not back then.

I think every hobby has collectors, like toy collectors chasing NIB unopened toys. Those are rare, and those collectors don't affect the price of the opened used played with toys. There are millions of loose used NES carts, so there is no scarcity here. The only thing these collectors should influence are the price of actually rare cartridges, and really, who cares. Let them, and it really shouldn't impact the price of the vast majority of carts.

Re: The Price of Old Video Games

Posted: May 16th, 2017, 9:48 pm
by Voor
100% agreed. I decided to buy some SNES games last year and was shocked to see that my favorites were easily $40 and above.

"Used" has turned into "collectible".

Re: The Price of Old Video Games

Posted: May 17th, 2017, 4:04 am
by Sinistar
I've seen people try to compare games to other collectibles that increase in value over time because of "low supply and higher demand", but I don't think it's a fair comparison. Things like comic books, trading cards, toys, etc, were initially made to be disposable, and were pretty cheap to acquire when they were first released. Over time, a lot of these things would just be thrown away after they served their purpose, or they'd naturally deteriorate if improperly cared for, so the supply drastically decreases after it's market life. But games are generally treated differently, and aren't usually thrown out unless it's actually broken. If you get tired of it, you can trade it in for a new one or try to sell it. They also don't fall apart if you neglect them. If there were 5,000,000 copies of a game sold when it was first released, then there's probably at least 90% of those out there somewhere.

I wish more people would take some time and do some research on what they buy, and they'd see that a lot of the more common titles are still in no short supply. That would cut out a lot of the bidding wars people get into on ebay, forcing a games average price to go up. There's currently over 200 listings for Mike Tyson's Punch-Out on eBay, and over 1000 completed listings! That's more than a lot of modern games listed on there. I think people are just more impatient nowadays.
Also, I really hate it when people end up bidding way more on auctions for a game that has buy-it-nows in the same condition for cheaper.

Re: The Price of Old Video Games

Posted: May 17th, 2017, 10:13 am
by bluenote
The price of games is what really limits my purchasing, which is a good thing for me. I'm very selective as to what I buy.

You guys are right though, it makes no sense why the price of a game keeps increasing when there are millions out there.

Re: The Price of Old Video Games

Posted: May 18th, 2017, 2:45 pm
by Rev
So I have been a firm beiever in eBay being a big reason for game price inflation over the last few years. Recently I watched an episode of game Theory on YouTube and the guy brought up how Minecraft's popularity soared agree the algorithm change in 2013' I have been wondering if that change had a big influence in game prices as well. After the change YouTube's list of top channels started getting full of video game channels. That was also around the time eBay changed their policy on selling items, where there was no penalty for not selling a listed item (plus smartphones became widespread and people look at eBay for selling prices now) I'm thinking that those two things could have played a big role in the inflated game prices we see today. Just a thought.

Re: The Price of Old Video Games

Posted: May 18th, 2017, 4:12 pm
by scotland
Rev wrote:So I have been a firm beiever in eBay being a big reason for game price inflation over the last few years.

The question on ebay is are we seeing this with other things so numerous?

I am going back to comics as something else nostalgic and numerous. By the "Its Ebay" theory NES era comics would also keep creeping up in price, but they are not. Of course, there are fewer comics fan now, but no matter how many retrogaming fans there are, its still gotta be less than how many were gaming on the NES back then too.

I think its perception of rarity where none exists coupled with maybe gamers more than others wanting things now. Ebay policy may be an issue, but oddly, its also the cure. Anyone can go on ebay and see multiple auctions going on all the time for these games. They are not rare.

Add to it people want it now and bid enough to win instead of bidding what its worth. No one wants to wait for weeks since you can't really be active in more than one auction (since bids are not conditional on losing an earlier auction). So we gamers, myself included, act like Veruca Salt, and here we are.

Re: The Price of Old Video Games

Posted: May 18th, 2017, 5:21 pm
by GTS
Prices for Nintendo games are more overinflated than other games. Your're right that Atari games have risen too, but it's been very slowly. My advice is to avoid the Nintendo ones and enjoy the other systems. Eventually prices will come crashing down.