Booming market for rare and vintage console video games

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I hear tulip bulbs are also going up.


One of two prototypes known to exist was worth $12,000, and your old video game might be too! What nonsense.

At least they didn’t mention the Video Game Authority and its controversial practice of “slabbing” games in plastic, never to be played again.


Exactly my thoughts. There has always been a market for vintage games and consoles, and if there’s any sudden increase in valuation i’d be deeply suspicious. Might be a seller’s market right now, but if i were to be looking into playing old games i’d just go with an emulator.


I recently updated a 2010 article of mine for Mental Floss that goes more in-depth about some of these rare video games that are selling for big money on eBay -

Yeah, some of them are rare prototypes, but you’d be surprised how many were available at retail. In fact, a guy in Texas read the original article and found out he had a rare Atari cart that he purchased at a discount store in the 80s and wound up selling it for $31,000 on eBay.


I have been following the old computer and game market for twenty years or so. There is a lot of artificial inflation by collectors, and it has gotten much worse. Most people don’t find the ratio of supply versus demand to be very controversial. But with old gear like this, it is easy to generate an illusion of scarcity. Suppose, for example, that 100,000 of something were made in 1985. Nowadays, there might be a few thousand left. A dozen are offered for sale on eBay, and there are a few hundred collectors actively buying the stuff. Those offering the 12 systems will ask for great prices, but it is quite probable that the supply still far outstrips the demand. Most of the thousands of remaining units are unused, piled in people’s attics, basements, and closets.

Basically, you cannot use a few items on eBay as an accurate gauge of supply and demand. The sellers will tend to claim “WOW RARE LOOK” no matter what. But with a few notable exceptions, mass-produced electronics tend to not be rare.


I still buy NES and SNES carts when I come across them. I have a Retron 3 that I play them on, but I also emulate on a hacked Wii quite a lot for the better picture.

It’s amazing how many of these old games are on Amazon, and how cheap they are, if you’re not looking for something fancy.

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I like the feel of the controllers as originally designed, though. Emulators aren’t much good for that.

I really regret getting rid of my N64. It was purple, and the best consumer hardware SGI ever designed.


There are people that can convert original controllers to function through USB. If that’s sacrilege then I recommend a reproduction controller as well. There are some great quality ones out there these days.

Yeah, but that’s just sounds like extra cost, not sacrilege. I’ll stick with these.

Fair enough :slight_smile: just wanted to say that 3rd party controllers aren’t as bad as they used to be. Well, I’m sure some can be but overall it’s less shitty from the N64 days.

I love the original SNES controller. The Wii’s Classic Controller was also primo. I felt the N64 had one of the worst control schemes ever.

/donning fire suit

This is just a warning, those repro modern SNES controllers are crap. Sometimes they have regrettably short cables, but they always have terrible button feel.

If you want a really good classic gaming controller, nothing beats the SNES first-party originals. Sometime soon people are going to start remembering how nice those are and their value will spike. Fortunately I have a passel of them. :smile:

If anyone needs a copy of “Conkers Bad Fur Day” I’ve still got all my old carts…

To each their own. I found it to be better than the PSX controllers.

Funny timing. We’re having a garage sale this weekend which we put on Craigslist, and we got a ton of emails from people looking for old games.

The thing is, I used to collect Atari 2600 stuff back in the 90s and have boxes and boxes of games, some of them exceptionally rare, but I haven’t touched any of it in 20 years. So I figured why not sell, since I also assumed demand was basically non-existent for 2600 stuff.

Apparently I was wrong and I might have under priced myself!

I recently sold a 2600 in working condition with 10 games, several paddles, all cables, etc. It was a woody.

It was on the local market for quite a while, and it only ended up bringing about $100.

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