The second hand market is the backbone for retro game collectors.  There are stores dedicated to it, conventions, trade shows, websites.  The ways we can go out and grow our retro video game collection is limitless.  However, with this grand wonderland of used games there also is a dark side to it.  A infinite battle between consumer and business owner that makes or breaks a sale which normally starts with a single question, “How much?”  Those who have been in video game collecting world know all too well that our hobby is awesome but expensive, and I’ve written a 2 part article about starting your own if you’re a new comer to game collecting (which you can start by reading the first part right here).  There is no doubt that certain games will be 10 times more expensive than other games and there are a variety of factors that go into a game’s price, but here are some tricks on how you can pay for a fair price for a game and not get screwed over.

Research Game Prices Before You Buy

If you’re looking for a specific game it wouldn’t hurt to see how much the game is going for before searching for it on eBay or going out to stores.  Knowing the average the game is going for can help you in your search to wether or not you’re getting a good deal or not.  One such tool I’ve found useful is pricecharting.com.  This is a website that gives the general average of how much a game is going for loose, used, CIB (Complete In Box), and Sealed.  Best part is that you can find practically any game for any system with that site and see a timeline on how the price of the game has changed over the years.  I’ve even seen Youtubers like NintenDrew use the site when he was comparing games prices.  While I like price charting, as much as I try to avoid it, eBay also comes in as a great tool.  With eBay, you can actually see how much people are selling the game for and get a decent average from there.  Of course with eBay you may not be getting the genuine article but from what I have seen, most eBay sellers do provide proof of authenticity, especially for cart games.  Having these tools helps out especially if you’re at a trade show or a con.  I was at my local show a few days ago and came across one of the bigger booths that had the biggest game collection there.  As impressive as it may sound, the seller has a nasty reputation for uncharging games to a insane degree.  I saw a CIB copy of Sonic Gems Collection for the Gamecube with a asking price of $75.  Pricecharting has the game listed as $39 complete.  Even looking up eBay prices the general asking price for it CIB is around $40.  Problem was that wasn’t the only price where I almost fell over.  The seller also had a sealed Mega Man X: Command Mission for the Gamecube with a used price of $100 and a sealed price of $225.  Look online and a CIB is going for around $30-$45 for both eBay and Pricecharting.

Brush Off Those Haggling Skills

This is mostly for those who go to trade shows and conventions but some shops may do this as well.  Haggling may seem like nails on a chalk board to some but it works if the seller is OK with it.  Sometimes they wouldn’t want to but it never hurts to ask.  You may be able to shave a few bucks off a game you’ve been looking for.  Of course some games they won’t budge on and it’s up to you to either go elsewhere or bite the bullet.  As you’re haggling, it may be fortuitous if you also grow some sort of working relationship with the seller.  I’ve gotten to know a few shop owners and since I keep coming back to them, they’ve helped me out with some great deals on games.  As the saying goes it’s not what you know, but WHO you know that’ll help you get ahead in life.

Trade Ins Are Your Friend

It may seem like a concept that all game collectors don’t want to hear but sometimes you’ll need to thin your collection a bit.  Be it you need more space, or you just don’t want to play certain games in your collection again.  Either way, if you need to thin out your collection a bit, and a store has a game you’ve been looking for, take those games in and trade them in to drop the price on the game you want.  I went in to a game store a few weeks ago and traded in a game that slashed the price for a game I’ve been hunting for for a good while.  I knew I wasn’t going to want to play the game again so I decided to trade it in for one I knew I was going to play and keep.  OF course the big question is what games you would want to get rid of, and using price chart and eBay can help you get a better trade in value when you do trade those games in.  Of course the store may not want the game you’re trying to get rid of.  That has happened to me before so make sure it’s a game that could catch people’s eye and won’t end up in a bargain bin.

Trust Your Gut and Set Limits for Yourself

The second hand market is a battleground of people trying to make money and gamers trying to get something for cheap.  Even with Pricecharting you may come across someone upsetting a game much higher than it should be. Of course the reason for that is that they are trying to make some money as well.  If you do get that game for the Pricecharting price then mazel tov, if not then set limits for yourself on how much you’re willing to spend.  Ask yourself how much is too much or how low is too low?  Get these answers and go out and see who is willing to deal.  It may hurt when you come across a game you’ve been wanting but if the price is too high for you then you should go elsewhere.  You’re wallet will thank you for it when you do come across that deal you’re willing to make.

Ben Magnet Ben Magnet (34 Posts)

Ben is an all around nerd. When he isn’t doing his podcast (The Fake Nerd Podcast) he’s either reading comics, watching movies or playing video games. His favorite eras in gaming are the Console Wars between SEGA and Nintendo, the early 2000’s, and the mid 80’s when he wasn’t even born yet.