Collecting 101: The Basics – Video Games

Collecting video games can be quite simple and cheap to get started with. But there are some things to know before getting started or to better your existing collection. This will be a basic guide and we will in future posts dive deeper into things like terminology, rarity, and various other items that may be directly related to a specific genre, system or series. This guide is more to get you started and going in the right direction.

Picking Where to Start

One of the first things to figure out is to figure out what you want to collect, specific genres, specific series, specific studios, general preferences in game or maybe you are doing it for profit. Your tastes and what you collect can and will most likely change as you go but there is a good way to figure out where to start. Look at your current collections and see if you see a pattern. Figure out something simple to start with. I suggest picking a system, genre and a series that you like and start from there.

When I started collecting games I really enjoyed RPGs and I had this fascination with PS1 games so I figured I would focus on RPGS that were on Playstation consoles, specifically JRPGs like Final Fantasy and Suikoden.

Research

Once you have an idea of an idea of where you would like to do, then its time to do research. This is the most important step in so many ways. It will not only help you figure out what games you want to obtain but will also determine how much knowledge you learn overall about collecting and it will also determine how much the hobby will cost. So this section is broken out into two sections – research your starting point and price research.

Research Your Starting Point

Once you have figured out your starting point you can then start doing some research on the subject. We will be using my starting point of PS1 RPGs focusing around Final Fantasy and Suikoden. Essentially we have a few research points – Final Fantasy, Suikoden and PS1 RPGs. Through using things like Google, Amazon for specific games/series you can find out how many games there are in the series, what consoles they are on and even start to see some pricing, but we will go into that a little bit later. But while you are researching you should keep your eyes open for related items that may be of interest to you. The last point coincides with researching PS1 RPGs, you will find tons of lists of top 10 PS1 RPGs of all time, articles about rare games, and even forum discussions about games.

Research Price Point

Now that you have some knowledge of what you want to start collecting and some ideas of what else you could branch off into, its time to start looking at prices. You may have seen some prices while researching your starting point but to really start researching a price point you really need to dive in and prepare to search and buy.

Searching For and Buying Games

This section is more research and having the right resources at your disposal, but is also a really straight forward thing to check. But before we get into the resources there is 1 very important point that everyone should follow – Stick to a budget – I can not stress this point enough. Money is always the biggest issue for collectors and my personal way of making sure that I have enough money is to put away some money every month while keeping track of prices on games that I want to obtain.

Depending on how many games you want to collect you can start a spread sheet or as you grow more and more experienced you can start to remember prices and the games that you need. but for this to all work you need to find out prices. Using a site like Video Game Price Chart to figure out a base price for a game. From there its a matter of finding a place to purchase the game at a reasonable price. The obvious places to search are Amazon, Ebay, Half.com and if you are more tenacious you could search through ebay. But there are also some local options that can work out in your favor as well including thrift stores, pawn shops, garage sales and the occasional flea markets. So now you know a ton of places for potential great deals on games and you can use these to look at prices as well. There are some other resources like trading sites but I wouldn’t use them until one is more experienced and has more knowledge about games and prices.

Another important aspect of collecting is its condition. You always want to make sure that you have a complete game, meaning that you should have a original case, game, box art and manual. Sometimes there may be more items but it depends on the game. This part is very important especially if you are looking to resell. It looks good and it makes your collection more valuable.

Basic Tips and Tricks

  • More popular games or well known series are easier to collect even if they are years old
  • Nintendo games are in abundance but they also keep their value.
  • Do keep looking around for great prices, sometimes it can take months before you get your hands on a copy of the game for a good price.
  • I can’t stress enough how important it is to have a budget
  • Make sure that the game is “complete”

This is a basic guide to get you started with collecting games. We will get more in depth as this series goes on. But if you have any questions please do leave a comment below.

Luigi Guarnuccio

I am a designer, developer, and gamer who currently works as a designer and developer who produces interactive pieces that live on the web. I am also the founder of Gamers Haven News which is a gaming news site. I take almost all of my inspiration from gaming as a whole and it is a big part of who I am and what I do.

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