Video Game Collecting is a Competitive Sport


Whenever I visit a garage sale, thrift store of flea market, the first thing that I look for are video games. More specifically anything Nintendo related. I look for mostly old school things from the NES, SNES & Gameboy era.

I collect video games because it is a dangerous and competitive sport.

I often times call my home town “Reseller City.” In the last year, 5 vintage video games store have opened, and there are at least 50 other people that are actively selling on local classified sites. If a good game, or lot of games shows up, and you have not contacted the seller within 2 minutes of the ad going live, then you have lost out.

I enjoy the thrill of the hunt, and nothing is more exciting than hunting an endangered species. Especially when there is an element of risk. A lot of the resellers are actual crack heads: they fund their addiction by buying and selling video games. Here are a few of the fun things that happen if I get a good deal on Craigslist:

1. I get threatening or harassing emails from other resellers. I’m not sure how they know it is me. I think they might just send out blanket threats to every person who is a known collector that they have an email address for.

2. My neighbor’s house gets vandalized. At some point I must have bought something from a crack head reseller, and they delivered to my house. I’m guessing that they forgot which house I lived at. It may be just a coincidence that every time I get a great deal on Craigslist my neighbors house gets vandalized.

3. Fake ads get put up using my email address as the contact information. Games like Chrono Trigger, Earthbound & Final Fantasy get listed for $5 each, and my email is given as the contact info.

It even gets mean spirited.

Each week as I watch the garage sale listings appear on my local classified sites I invariably see a few fake garage sales. These sales typically and filled with terrible grammar and spelling, and unreal video game deals. The resellers try to trick the other resellers to heading to these garage sales first so they can have first pick at the legitimate garage sales.

Here is an ad that one reseller posted about another reseller:


I think another reason I collect is for the entertainment value.  It’s like a soap opera sometimes.

Prices are insane!

You want a copy of anything related to Pokemon, Zelda, Final Fantasy then you will pay more than $50. The reseller brain works very counter intuitively to regular marketing and undercutting. For example if a company saw a competitor selling something for $25, then they would try to undercut by a few dollars to get the sale. The opposite happens in “Reseller City.” When a game is listed at $25 a competitor will list their for $30, the next person at $35. It has continued like this so that the prices are insane, and there are a ton of crackhead sellers.

I went to a pawnshop once and saw a copy of Super Mario 3 for $80. Just to push some buttons, I told the employee that I would bring mine in and sell it to them for $40. The countered with $5. The ensuing conversation got me kicked out of the store.

This is why I collect video games

I love finding that great deal or finding that rare or awesome game in the wild. NES games are almost impossible to find in the wild, which is why I love collecting.

Check out the “want lists” of a few of the other League bloggers.


8 responses to “Video Game Collecting is a Competitive Sport”

  1. George says:

    Geez – that’s insane. Had no idea. I never played anything after the Atari 2600 and can’t afford a new vice. Stay safe!

    • chriswhiteley says:

      It is insane, but it makes me appreciate the good finds, as well as encourages me to visit thrift stores whenever I travel.

  2. Tommy says:

    Are you looking for any specific ones?

    • chriswhiteley says:

      My collecting style is fully a shot gun approach, so I am usually not looking for anything specific, although lately I have been having a huge craving for Dragon Warrior 2 & Little Ninja Brothers.

  3. Wow! I never knew it was so cutthroat. It’s crazy to think people will go as far as posting fake ads. I guess there’s always a few nutters out there. Fun read.

  4. Well that is a bit above and beyond! I seriously cannot believe ReShillers get that absolutely insane over something so trivial. There is something wrong with these people.

    The days of finding affordable NES…or SNES..or damn near anything is over. As soon as the scummy resellers knew there was a dollar to be made it was never the same. It is not nearly as bad around my area but certainly not good. Craigslist is full of “sell your old games to me bro” and the same for vintage toys. You would think they were peddling cocaine.

    Too bad really for those of us in it for fun. Great post, thanks for sharing!

    • chriswhiteley says:

      I think that if the resellers conducted themselves with some level of professionalism, then I wouldn’t have a problem with them. There are times when I have used the resellers when looking for something specific. I have a few that I buy from, and these are people that work reselling like a business, and are collectors too. I can handle that.

      Sometimes I feel that I border on being a reseller, as I don’t buy one off toys/games. I buy in bulk, keep what I want and then trade, or sell off the items that don’t fit in my collection. By doing this I am able to have a “zero balance” collection.

  5. Wow, you live in a scary place! 😉 Who knew it was such a crazy world out there.

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