Collecting Retro Games is a tough and heavy task for a lot of us! My collection of Castlevania games ranges as far as the eye can see. (Or so I wish.) But it took years to amass my modest collection of games, and lots of hunting involved. To get some of my more obscure titles I even used some of my holiday trips to America to search shops and Craigslist advertisements just to get some of my saught after titles. It’s safe to assume we’re all retro gamers here, having grown up in different eras and loving specific consoles and game libraries, but we all know the struggle of finding those games that we hold so dear.
From fans of the Super Nintendo to the Commodore 64, we’ve all been there. This list is for those who may not know the best ways to go about starting their collections. Do you like Nintendo 64? Well, you’ve got a lot of choices to look for all those games, boxed or not. Game Gear? We’ve got you covered as well. Let’s not waste anymore time and jump right into some of the best ways you can start building that collection of your favourite titles!
Charity shops can be an absolute goldmine, but it will take a lot of looking for you to find anything you may want – the odds of you walking into one charity shop and finding a great game is pretty slim, but luckily charity shops do tend to congregate together in high streets, shopping centres, etc. In amongst seventeen thousand different FIFA games, you will sometimes find a hidden gem or two – depending on what era of console you are looking for. You are most likely to find PS2 / Xbox era games, and lots of them will be terrible. However, there will be more interesting finds as well – some of my recent finds in charity shops have included Dreamcast games, PS1 games and even a couple of Megadrive games. So you’ll never know until you look!
Trade in Shops
Again, like charity shops, these can be a goldmine, but they often sell a lot of rubbish. While some of the bigger chains (such as CEX) don’t tend to stock anything older than PS2 / Xbox / Gamecube, a lot of the smaller shops that pop up all over the place (Cash Converters, Cash Recycle, any of the other shops that have the word “Cash” in the title…) will stock anything that they think has value, which can mean you pick up some fantastic finds. I recently got a transparent green Nintendo 64 with two control pads, a boxed copy of F-Zero X and a selection of unboxed games from one of my local shops, so the bargains are there…
Car Boot Sales
In my opinion, shopping at a car boot sale is one of the most fun shopping experiences you can have, but I do love a bargain! There is no limit to the things that you can find at a car boot sale – in the last couple of months alone I have picked up a Game Gear, a NES, a DS and games for almost every console I own! (And believe me, that’s a lot of consoles). Car Boot sales are the ultimate roll of the dice, as you might find nothing, you might find your own personal collecting holy grail! The two biggest problems with car boot sales are that firstly you have no guarantee that the item works – it’s not like you can take it back if it is broken – and secondly, people may have a false idea of what something is worth, asking a hugely over the top price for an item. If that’s the case, my advice is to smile and politely walk away.
One of the most obvious options for where to get your games is e-Bay and other auction sites of a similar nature. These are great, as you can pick up some bargains, and you can usually be sure that the item is as described, because you can always complain to the seller if it is not. Ironically, my biggest problem with auction sites is that you can only really search for things you know you want. Some of my best game purchases have been games I have found “in the wild” (Shops, Car Boot sales etc) that I’ve picked up on a whim and have then fallen in love with. However, on an auction site, it’s all about searching for the thing you want, so browsing is made much harder… (also, don’t fall into a bidding war and accidentally spend more on a game than you should…. I speak from experience!)
Local specialist retro games shops are popping up all over the country (if you don’t know of any near you, then Google is your friend). For me, these are a perfect place to go, as unlike the first three options, you know that they will sell games – which is always a good start! They afford you the opportunity to browse, in fact, most of them have consoles set up to play, so if you want to see what a game is like, you can often just ask and they’ll let you have a go. You get all the guarantees you would expect with a shop, so if you buy something and there is a problem, you can take it back! They can be a bit more expensive than the auction sites, but for me the fact that you can look around is worth it.
So whether you’ve just dusted off your old Super Nintendo from the loft, or whether you’ve just splashed out on a RetroN 5 and want to delve back into the history of gaming, these are a few of the best ways to pick up games. For me, I’m a large fan of heading out to a car boot sale for some bargains or a specialist shop for a good old browse – how about you?