Classic Home Video Games Museum: Finding Games
Ok, so you've toured the Museum and a wave of nostalgia has washed
over you. You'd love to play those great classic games again.
BUT WHERE DO YOU GET THEM? You're not going to find them at traditional
retail outlets. Where are they?
Places to buy classic video game systems and games:
- Flea Markets: People bring their old junk (that's what it
is to them, anyway!) to the flea markets to sell. Although it's getting
harder to find classic stuff (the oldest systems I've found lately are
NES and SMS systems) flea markets are worth a look, especially the big flea
markets that draw many individual sellers. Those flea markets that consist
of booths run by "pro" flea marketers are less likely to have classic
stuff--it's not worth their trouble to bring it. If you ask people
who run electronics/videogame booths, though, they might have some
classic stuff they'll bring in. Just don't let them know you think it's
worth a lot. They'll jack the prices WAY up!
- Thrift Shops: You're more likely to find classic games at thrift
shops since people donate what they think is basically worthless junk
to thrift shops. In general, people think classic games are worthless
junk (which is why they're getting harder to find at flea markets, where
people want to make money). Remember to check which days are "half-off"
days at your local shops, and remember to check the rack of 8-track
tapes for random cartridges that got thrown into the mix.
- Friends, family, etc: Many of your friends were probably also
into videogames in the early 80s. If you mention you're looking for
"old videogames" they'll probably sell you theirs cheap, or give them
to you for free. If your friend gives you a "Chase the Chuckwagon"
cartridge for free and you sell it for $150, be nice and give him
some money back or take him out to lunch or something, alright? You
don't HAVE to tell him how much you sold it for!
- Classfied ads: Again, it's getting harder to find ads for
classic games. Ads cost money. People pay little money for classic games.
You figure it out! Also, placing an ad LOOKING for classic games
can have mixed results. Remember, if you're looking for the stuff,
people will think it's worth a lot of money and may try to sell you
Combat and Pac-Man for $10 each, insisting it's a great deal.
- Newsgroup Posts: check the newsgroup
rec.games.video.classic for the many "for sale" posts that
flood the group. The group rec.games.video.marketplace
also has a few posts about classic stuff for sale, but not many.
A few tips:
- Beware: many of the posts are auction posts.
If you participate in an auction, you're expected to buy if you get
the winning bid. Winning is tough since people tend to pay WAY too much
for things in auctions (I guess it's the competition--I'M GOING TO
BUY THAT SPACE INVADERS CARTRIDGE NO MATTER WHAT! I BID $1000!!!).
- Also beware of people trying to rip you off. Check around for
sellers with good reputations. Be wary of posts that look like they
were done by an illiterate jerk just trying to rip people off.
Some rip-off artists look believeable, but if you see a post
that looks like someone's pet dog wrote it, and the prices are
way too low. . .
- And if you're trying to sell games, please don't post
a ton of messages on the newsgroup trying to sell things (one longer
post is preferrable), and please
don't try to sell at ridiculous prices. The readers of that group know
exactly how much things are worth and will laugh at the post that
claims "extremely rare Atari 2600 in mint condition! Only $200!"
- Last but not least, Professional Collectors: They tend
to have high prices (but usually under the top auction prices) since they
have overhead to deal with. However, they usually have great selection
and are known and respected through the game collecting community.
Go back to Classics Preservation
Dennis Brown, dgbrown (at) pixesthesia (dot) com,
creator and maintainer. E-Mail me with corrections and additions.
All contents copyright 2006, Dennis Brown. All trademarks are properties
of their respective companies.