Latest Auction Proves Retro Video Game Prices Getting Out of Hand
As a video game collector, this past Friday's auction of a rare and in basically perfect condition copy of Super Mario Bros. (polygon.com) sets a bad precedent. It doesn't help, either, that Sony is shutting down their PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable and PlayStation Vita digital stores in and July and August. Any person that thinks they have a "rare" or "in perfect condition" game are going to start artificially inflating their price.
I love collecting video games. It's really cool to have that cartridge or disc in your hand with all it's components (case, instruction manual, etc.) no matter if you play them or not. I'm not the type of collector that wants to get every game for each console. I don't have the room, for one, but I don't have that special connection to NHL 2005. I want the games that I played or never got the chance to play to be a part of my collection.
Do I have anything rare? Probably the rarest in my collection is a copy of Xenosaga Episode II that I picked up recently for $45 at Game XChange in Tyler. Finding Episode I isn't a big, or overly expensive problem. Find Episode III is. I've seen it for upwards of $200 or more. I have an copy of Castlevania and Contra for the NES. Those ran me about $35 a piece.
So yeah, it's going to cost some serious money if you're wanting to add certain games to your collection. One in particular I am looking for is Castlevania: Symphony of the Night for the PlayStation 1. I seen it range from $70 to $130.
Which brings me to Friday's auction of a sealed copy of Super Mario Bros. for the Nintendo Entertainment System that sold for *clears throat* $660,000. Super Mario Bros. is one of the most readily available retro video games out there. The game will run you anywhere from $10 to $20. What made this copy so special, and so expensive, is that it was sealed, still had the retail hanger, there was no trademark symbol and it was part of an extremely low print run.
PlayStation announced last week that they will be closing the digital stores for the PlayStation 3 (PS3), PlayStation Portable (PSP) and PlayStation Vita (PS Vita) systems. It's a big deal because with the PS3 and PSP systems, you could buy and play PlayStation 1 games. Some of those games already bring a high price to buy physically while priced between six to fifteen dollars on those digital storefronts. (If you have any of these systems, now is the time to open up those stores and get what you can or want before losing the chance to.)
One example, the PlayStation 1 game, Misadventures of Tron Bonne, is available on the PlayStation 3 digital store for ten dollars, give or take, but the super rare physical form of the game is going for $160 to as high as $2,300 online.
The problem with collecting is there is no set rate for a game price. You can just make up a price because of what you've seen it sell for online or in an auction like with Super Mario Bros. With closing digital stores like Sony is doing, that just causes these prices to inflate because someone will think they're missing out on owning it and buy it and a ridiculous price causing other copies to spike in price. You get the idea.
One YouTuber I follow put out a great video about how the prices are starting to inflate for certain systems. Give Spawnwave's video a watch and learn a little bit more about the pricing for collectors like myself or possibly you.