Friday, October 21, 2016

Collecting Video Games


I love the Sega Genesis.

I've devoted entire pages of my website gushing about the system and its library. Part of this is due to the fact that it was the only video game system I had as a kid and I never got to play more than a few games in the library. I sold it off in elementary school, but in junior high, I bought the Smash Pack collection for PC and the Sega Genesis Collection for my PSP and it rekindled my love for the system.

At that time period (2007-2009) interest in retro game collecting was slowly rising, but it hadn't really become mainstream. At that time period, I was also in junior high, with no money, transportation, or incentive to collect games. Unfortunately, when I decided to actually re-buy a Genesis and some games around 2013, I realized that I was on the same track as everyone else. A bunch of people jumping into the collecting scene (just like a bunch of people jumping into a bathtub at once) caused the prices to rise higher. Still, Sega has never been as popular as Nintendo, so prices were still very manageable compared to SNES games and NES games.

I was able to amass quite a nice collection in the past three years despite being priced out on a lot of games. The most I've ever spent on a retro game was $25 for Shining Force, and only because that is my favorite video game in the world and I knew I would get my money's worth out of it. My conscience and frugal nature won't let me pay any more than that for games which I can easily play for free on my computer through emulators.

Still, I've managed to get some great deals and steals on a few higher-ticket games. But in 2016, retro game collecting is as popular as ever and the supply is only going to get more limited as the years go by and the 90s drift farther into the past. For stuff like Sonic 2, there are millions of copies floating around, but the rarer games are drying up and when they do appear on Ebay, they're way up in the double digits.

Some collectors are willing to pay out the nose. They're willing to sacrifice. I'm not one of those collectors. Genesis is my hobby, but it's one of many. I have many other hobbies that demand my time and money, as well as bills and family obligations and the fact that I only have a part time job at the moment. Money isn't tight, but I can't be dropping hundreds of dollars a month into a collecting habit. That's not wise in the short-term or in the long-term.

I price my collection at roughly $900. When you add it all up like that, it does seem like a lot, but it was spent over a period of years and most every purchase was under much consideration. I make a point to play every game in my collection and I try not to buy crap that I won't play.

But as I'm nearing the 3 year and 200 games mark (nearly 30% of the library) I'm finding less and less to spend my money on. A good chunk of the library is worthless sports games that I will never play and hold no nostalgic value, so I see no reason to waste money and space on them. The rest of the games are simply out of my price range unless I catch my local game store slipping or get lucky in an Ebay auction.

I'm not giving up on collecting, but my purchases have been much less frequent over the past year. I'm not bored with Sega. I love collecting. I love the boxes, the manuals, the cartridges, finding good deals, the collecting scene, all of that stuff. Maybe when I get a decent-paying job, I'll feel more comfortable spending more cash on some of the nicer RPGS (Shining Force II is one of my white whales) but I think I'm just taking a break right now. Plus, at the moment, my collection is packed into suitcases because of the flood and I have no TV to play the games on.

One day, you will be mine, yes, mine, all mine!

I've been watching collection videos on YouTube and stuff again, so I'm kind of getting in the mood despite my situation, but I have to pace my spending because I'm having to rebuild my book collection as well - a much cheaper hobby than video games, for sure! Still, though, I'm very happy with my collection of games, and I don't plan on parting with it any time soon. Hopefully, my future wife will understand!

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