I share 30+ years of game collecting SECRETS that will help YOU achieve your collecting goals. However these tips & tricks are not just for game collecting but they will be useful for other hobbies as well!
TOP 10 TIPS:
1 Network – Let People Know you are Collecting. Get on social media.
2 Be Knowledgeable – Learn to spot fakes!
3 Know how to Advance Search Online
4 Everybody going Right? Go LEFT!
5 Buy in Bulk – Sell off the Excess
6 Go to Expos – They can often be worth the flight & hotel
7 Buy in Parts – loose carts + manuals + boxes = CIB
8 Collect Imports when possible
9 Get to know store owners – They can be your allies
10 Be Patient have fun – You don’t have to be rich to build a collection
Metal Jesus here and I’m back again, this time with my Top Ten Tips for Collecting Video Games. I have been collecting for over 30 years and I have built up a pretty awesome game room at this point and I thought it would be really awesome to share some of the things I’ve learned over the years and also share some of the things that I’ve seen in some other collectors that are in the Seattle area. There’s a bunch of really big collectors here. So, there is a lot that can go into building up your collection and doing it right and doing it smart. So, I’m going to share all those secrets with you in this video. Let’s take a look.
To get started here, one of the most important tips I can give anybody, and that is network. You need to let people know that you are a collector and that you are looking for games. And I got to tell you, I have been blown away and surprised by how powerful this can be. Let your family know. I have a bunch of Nintendo 64 cartridges which is back there with my nephew’s name on them because my sister was going to get rid of them and she gave them to me. My wife had a client that was going to move and didn’t want any more of his PlayStation 1 games and so he gave me his entire collection. He didn’t want money for it. He wouldn’t take money for it. He just wanted them to go to a good home. That’s where I got a lot of these amazing PlayStation 1 games, like the Lunar Complete and all that and the Diablos and all that stuff.
Letting people know that you are a game collector, I think, is one of the most powerful things you can do. But beyond that, get out on social media and have people looking for you and what I mean by that is, is that every collector is a little bit different. See, I am looking for big box PC games and so I let the other collectors in the area and around the globe know that if you come across big box PC games and you don’t want them, let me know. I get tweets from a guy, Machine Games Texas down in Texas. When he goes into a half-price books and he find big box PC games, he will send me a text and ask me if I want them or if I need them for my collection. Reggie does the same thing. When he is out where he lives, in Dacoma, he will text me if there is something that I need.
It’s really powerful, it’s really easy. Get out there and network and just let people know and also you can reciprocate. You can be on lookout for someone who, let’s say they are going for a complete Genesis collection and maybe you’re not or maybe they are looking for games that you already have. You can be out there helping each other and that’s very, very powerful.
Be knowledgeable about the games that you are trying to collect for. Now, that may seem obvious, however it can be kind of tricky when you are trying to buy games online, especially in a world where there are a lot of fakes and reproduction games out there. You need to know what is supposed to be there, both on the front and the back of those cartridges and also on the inside. If you are going for a highly collectible game, high dollar game, don’t be afraid to ask that seller to crack that sucker open and show you the insides and you need to know exactly what that’s supposed to look like and how to spot some of the fakes. Very important. Retro gaming stores do that all the time whenever big dollar games walk in the door. They take them apart and they make sure that they are legit. Also, just be aware of what’s supposed to be in the box, if it comes with one. So understand which manual is supposed to be there, also some of the other supplemental stuff like maps and things like that.
And if you are going for sealed games, well that’s a whole other level, because people sometimes reseal games and they claim that they’re new or unopened. You need to be aware of how Nintendo actually sealed those games, or some other publisher. It can be tricky but it can be totally worth it.
Also, when it comes to knowledge, it’s always good to just have some apps on your phone, bookmarked. For instance, I have a couple of friends, basically, that know a lot about games like Reggie and stuff like that where I can be, if I am looking at a game and I need some information right now, I can message him really quick or on Facebook, I’m part of the Seattle Retro Gaming forum on there where I can post on there and get an answer really quick from like 30 people. Also, I have some sites bookmarked, if I am looking for general pricing, like Pricecharting.com, also eBay. I can look up completed sales things like that. So, it’s always good to just sort of be prepared when you are actually standing there, trying to make a decision.
Know how to search. This is a huge one for people who use eBay or, if you’re like me, you like to use Craigslist or some sort of site like that. It’s worth going through the help files or the tutorials to kind of figure out some of the tips and tricks for the site that you use because you can be assured that resellers and other big collectors definitely know how to do searches and you don’t want them to have the leg up on you. So, for instance, it was really interesting for me to learn that, on Craigslist, if I use a minus and a keyword that will remove that from my search result. So, it kind of cleans it up a little bit. So for instance, I put minus pawn because I don’t need to see all these pawnshops that post like every day. They post every game as its own post every day. I don’t need to see it. I just want to see the other stuff.
Also, like for instance Commodore 64. Well, there’s two ways that it could show up. You have C64 and I use the pipe symbol and then Commodore and that gives me both results. Same thing also when I am looking for big box PC games, I would do “PC” “PCs games” and then also a pipe symbol and then “computer games.” That way, I get everything. So, there’s little tips and tricks like that that can basically help you find what you are looking for.
Here is a good one. If everyone is going right, you want to turn left, because here’s the deal. If everyone is going after the same thing, it drives up the prices and you are just part of the problem, you are part of the crowd and you are going to pay top dollar. So, what I like to do, as much as possible, is go after the things that aren’t yet on the radar. For instance, the PSP back here. The PSP right now, you know some people care about it, not everyone, but it’s a great system and it’s so much fun to collect for. And one day, those are going to be the ones that people are going to be looking for. They are going to be trying to find those really hard to find RPGs and I will already have them and I would have paid very little money for it.
Same thing with some other systems. Like, a couple of years ago, Genesis was the system to collect for because everybody was trying to collect Nintendo. That was the time that I jumped in and started collecting the Genesis because I was like, well, these games are fun. Same thing with the original Xbox, so many great games and some of the best third party games of that generation were released on the Xbox. That’s what I mean is that when people are going right, man, just go left. Get the great deals now.
Here is a strategy that works for a lot of people and that is to buy games in a lot and then sell off the excess that you don’t want. Pete Door [PH] did this just a couple of months ago. He bought a lot of complete in-box Game Boy Advanced games and it was a fascinating video to watch because he pulls out all these games that he’s been dying to add to his collection for a long time now and he finally had them in his collection but the amazing thing was that he was going to be able to sell all the stuff he doesn’t want and actually pay for the whole thing. It was actually pretty brilliant. I was actually very impressed with that.
Another person has done that is also the immortal John Hancock. He has many, many amazing games a lot of people would love to own. The way he has done that is by buying lots. And, again, you have to put up more money initially but, if you are smart about it, you just sell off all the stuff you don’t want and win for you.
Go to gaming expos. I am a huge fan of all the expos that I happen to live around, like the Portland Retro Gaming Expo at Seattle, Cowlitz. There are so many great ones. But the thing is, is that it can be worth the hotel cost and the flight and I know that for fact because people from around the world fly in for these expos because they are so amazing. It’s really just one stop shopping and it can be amazing if you are a collector and you are looking for some games.
It’s cool too because it’s multiple stages. So, for instance, you know a lot of the big games, a lot of the really hard to collect games are usually bought up within the first couple of hours of the first day but that doesn’t mean that the other days are any more valuable because, by the end of the expo, most of those retailers are willing to just blow out their inventory because they don’t want to haul it back. So, it can be a really cool time to just get a ton of things you have been looking for a long time. Plus, you get to hang out with a bunch of people that are just like you, that are passionate about video games, and often they trade. So, even if you don’t have a lot of money but you have a decent collection and you have some duplicates, most expos support trading. So, definitely keep that in mind.
If you need to, buy games in parts. Big collectors do this all the time. I have run across games where I am really looking for it but it’s only the cartridge, so I’ll buy that and then, maybe like a year later, I’ll be digging around in some retro gaming store and, sure enough, they’ve got the box. It’s flattened or whatever, it’s in with a bunch of other ones. They sell it to me for a couple of dollars, that’s cool. Then, I will go to like an expo and a lot of vendors at expos will have just like entire bins of loose manuals that they sell just for a couple of dollars. And, you know, you buy that and, pretty soon, you have a complete copy of that game that would have cost you a ton more had you bought it complete originally. So, it can be a really good way to go.
Collecting import games can be a cheaper and often easier option for some people. I’ve actually been doing it a little bit more lately now, simply because Nintendo and Super Nintendo games are completely out of my price range. Also, Sega Saturn games, often the North American version is just way too expensive. Getting the Japanese version, or even the PAL version if there is one available, sometimes can be a really nice and cheaper option for sure.
Here is a tip that has served me very well and that is get to know store owners. Now, I’m not just talking about retro gaming stores, although you definitely should, but also thrift stores, pawnshops, whatever. Any store that people potentially bring in old video games, you want to know those owners because one of the challenges that a store has when they take in this merchandise, they need to know that there’s a customer that wants it and they don’t always know that.
Especially like for me, when I’m looking for big box PC games, there are not a lot of us out there but I let them all know that if you get them, come into store, give me a call, set them aside, bring them to the expo whatever and they do that. When I go to Portland Retro Gaming Expo, most of the local stores have a box set aside just for me that has big box PC games in it. It’s awesome. But it doesn’t have to just be that. Let them know that you’re collecting Super Nintendo RPGs or Turbo Graphics, whatever, Atari link games. They love that. And when those come in the door, they will put them aside or give you a call or send you an email. It’s what they do. They want to sell them. So, definitely do that and you might be surprised that they will start working for you to help make your collecting goals.
And my final tip is to simply be patient and have fun. You know, the hunt for these games is often some of the most fun you’ll have. I love looking for those rare and unusual games and I don’t care if it takes a long time because it’s worth it. I know that I could save my money and go on eBay and probably buy most of the games I want but that’s, one, you won’t have a collection. I am not rich, so I wouldn’t have a collection like this if I did that. I think it’s more fun finding those $1 games, those $5 games, those $10 games or whatever. You know onesies twosies that come in and you get to appreciate them. I love that feeling.
So that’s my recommendation. If you’re not extremely wealthy, be patient. They’re out there. There’s plenty of copies of most of these games and with a little networking, it may come into your collection, which actually reminds me is that, and a lot of you people know this, that many of the most awesome games you see behind me here, a lot of them have been donated by people who enjoy my channel, which, again, is part of networking. Those people could have sold those games. They could have given them to somebody else but they knew that I wanted them and that’s kind of what I am talking about here, is that networking can get you a long way. If you be patient and you let people know that you’re looking for stuff, good things may come. It’s a pretty cool hobby.
Also too, a lot of these things can apply to other things. If you are looking for action figures, a lot of the principals that are in this video can help you find action figures or stamps or collectible cars. I don’t know, whatever, anything is out there. A lot of these steps can help you achieve that collecting goal. Anyways, I hope you found this valuable. I would love to know what other tips you would give me and other collectors down in the comment below. As always, guys, thanks very much for watching my channel and thank you for subscribing. Take care.
If you are new to collecting, well, I happen to have a bunch of buying guides on my channel, where I go through all the nuts and bolts of collecting for specific consoles as well as some game recommendations for first time collectors. I also have a bunch of hidden gems and a lot of other video, so please subscribe. I release two new videos every single week.