It’s been a loooong while since I’ve talked about video game collecting. That’s a real shame considering game collecting is largely what I do in the greater world of video gaming, and in large one of the main reasons I started this blog in the first place. I was reintroduced, if you will, to the collecting spirit while recording the latest Boss Rush episode. In it, Jon and Mat both had stories about getting a Nintendo Switch, and how there are so many great games on them to play. That idea of buying a new console and seeing all the titles newly available to you got me excited about finding those quality, sometimes totally random, games no one else may be playing. Because of this, I started thinking about my PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch collections. While my purchasing power has been limited for the past year or two, the games for said consoles are still releasing, still lowering (or raising) in price, and still becoming something of a collector’s item. With that, I wanted to divulge some tips I have been using to start up a new game collection for the modern consoles.
Full Price is the Fool’s Price
There’s really no reason at all to pay full price for a video game. Chances are whatever hot new titles gets released, it’ll be a couple bucks off a few weeks down the road. If you can wait for it, you should. This’ll not only save you money, but give you a chance to see if it’s something you really need right at this time. Take for example the new PS4 exclusive God of War. Hell yeah I want that game, but it didn’t quite fall in my budget when it came out. I know the game sold massive quantities and was highly praised upon release. Chances are high that game will be around for years, and the price will only drop. It’s a rare case of procrastination being rewarded.
Also worth noting subscriptions like Amazon Prime and I believe Best Buy’s Gamer’s Club give you discounts when you preorder a game and pick it up the day of release. So if you really need to get something new you should be doing it this way to save. This one’s kind of a no-brainer if you already have Amazon Prime for other reasons than buying video games.
Look at the Games No One is Looking For
Strictly buying games to be in a collection can be risky. Depending on what you buy and when you buy, your initial investment could be a bad one. If you make educated purchases though, you can mitigate any potential losses if you’re looking to buy now and sell later. Take for example Super Mario Odyssey for Nintendo Switch. Many factors go in to what this game will be like collector-wise in the future. To name a few, it’s a Nintendo game, it’s a Mario game, it sold well over 10 million copies already, and the brand is highly recognizable. These factor in to the game’s longevity, meaning it will likely be readily available for as long as the Switch console is available. After market prices 10 or so years from now will likely sit around the $60 MSPR, if not lower, considering nearly everyone who has a Switch will have this game. At it’s worst, Super Mario Odyssey will lose the collecting investor money if the price hovers around the more-typical $20-$30 price way down the road.
If you’re looking to take more risks though, you should be looking at games from indie developers which received physical releases, or game’s that aren’t at all popular, or games that have some sort of gimmick or quirk to them. Take The Sexy Brutale for PS4, which I was able to pick up a few weeks back for $10 used. The game received good remarks upon release, but it’s from an indie developer and likely had a limited release. This game along with other titles like any of the PS4 games by publisher’s Nicalis or Soedesco are likely to be the games that are much harder to find down the road.
My general rule is to look at the big ol’ wall of games at a place like GameStop and see which game titles you’ve never even heard of. These are more likely to be games collector’s will want in the future, because they either didn’t buy them upon initial release, or they never ran across the game in their neck of the woods.
Also, buying these types of games is the fastest way to have a physically large game collection. Hopefully if you’re lucky some of these games will actually be good games to boot!
Buy, Trade, and Sell With Friends
When thinking of video game collecting, you might think of older retro games. This isn’t the case: many collectors purchase for systems still currently on the market. If you’re doing this, which in all honesty you should be if for no other reason than to save money, try to see what your friends or coworkers are willing to sell or trade. The absolute worst sentence I hear my friends say is, “Yeah, I traded that in to GameStop last week.” This is like driving a dagger into my heart and twisting it because there’s a high probability I would have bought that game from you and given you more money than GameStop ever would have. So if you do have buddies that game, talk with them to see if they’re thinking of trading anything in, and try to swoop in to save them and the game. It’s a win-win for all of you!
Though I haven’t personally done this myself, there are online groups designed specifically for this type of exchange. I believe there are subreddits and forums where gamers offer up what they have, and others can trade what they have or outright buy games from one another. Even if you’re friends are non gamers (or non existent) you can still find someone to trade with!
Have a Goal in Mind for What You Want to Achieve
As with any game collection, you should have an idea for what you want your collection to look like. It can be challenging with a console that still has games being developed for it, but you can make some generalizations about your collection goals. For instance, if you’re collecting for Switch, you might want to collect all the first party Nintendo games. Definitely an easy task considering Nintendo releases their games steadily and is good at restocking, but it could also be a money drain since Nintendo games rarely go on sale. You might also want to solely look at PS4 RPGs. There are a ton of them already out, with more coming every year, and a lot of indie developers release RPGs as physical discs too!
Having a goal gives you something to look out for while shopping. Personally I try to browse a game section and look for any game that has a weird title or cover art. This mostly leads me to non-first party indie games. If the price is right, I’ll take the plunge, but more often than not I’ll research the game and try to come back for it later if I determine it’s something I want. This kind of means I’m backtracking a lot, seeing a game once and learning about it only to go back and get it later, but it assures me I’m only getting games I’m actually interested in.
Lastly, this goal gives you an endpoint. The last thing you want to do is go absolutely crazy and buy all kinds of games you’re going to regret later. This not only ruins your bank account, but it also takes some of the fun out of game hunting!
Research and Learn Which Games Are Already Rare
To wind this up, I want to give one last collecting tip you likely are already doing without even noticing. Video games will become rare and hard to find for a multitude of reasons, and it is your responsibility as a collector to know these things. Going in to a store as a would-be collector and not knowing your Final Fantasy VII’s from your Final Fantasy: Mystic Quests means you could be missing out on killer deals.
Despite the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch being the most recent consoles, many games for these systems are already hard to find and command high resale prices. A huge culprit of this is Limited Run Games, whose very nature is to release, as the name suggests, a short supply of games, causing the collector’s value to soar. Other notable examples include any game with a non-standard release, such as Kickstarter or online only games, and games that have more than one version, such as “collector’s editions”.
Keep in mind at least a few of these titles while browsing stores shelves so you can recognize a sweet find when you see it. Many times stores like GameStop and video game resellers will know they have a rare title and raise the price accordingly. Oftentimes stores like Target or Wal-Mart will not do this, and if you’re lucky enough to find one of these titles months after the initial release you might get luck with a great clearance price.
Some games I’m on the lookout for, in case you were wondering, are Devil’s Third for Wii U, literally any Limited Run games, and the Sonic Adventure Limited Edition for Sega Dreamcast. I will look through stacks and stacks of pointless sports games just to see if one of these gems is hidden in the bunch. No luck yet, but that’s what makes game collecting fun!
Those are some tips I use when collecting for newer game consoles. Many of these tips are transferable to older consoles as well, but there are more caveats to older generations that you can use to your advantage as well.
What consoles are you all collecting for? And which game in your collecting is your most sought after? Let me know, and I’ll see you all next time.