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    Retro Column - Bargain Hunting
    Thursday, 9 October 2008
    All games go through a "bargain bin" phase. Some games however, manage to fight their way out of the bin and go on the become ludicrously expensive. Whilst there isn't much room to make massive profits in the same way as antiques since games don't generally increase in value a massive amount, there is potential to feel smug knowing you only payed a small fraction of what the game is worth. Gaming Corner takes a look at what makes a game gold dust and how to make the most of it.

    First things first, this article is mainly aimed at the PAL market. I have tried to add the US equivelants where I can but all prices are in pounds and rarity of titles may vary between regions. £1 is about $1.7 at the time of writing.

    Step 1: Knowing which games are worth a lot now

    Firstly it's important to know which games are worth a lot now. This way if you see a "hens teeth" game for sale at a bargain price you know to snatch it up now before some other shrewd gamer buys it. Here is a brief list of a few gems that could pop up for bargain prices:

    Secret of Mana (SNES £40-£80)
    Chrono Trigger (SNES £50-£150)
    Harvest Moon (SNES £50-£100)

    Mega Man: The Wily Wars (Mega Drive £70-£100)
    Daze Before Xmas (Mega Drive £50-£60)
    Shining Force II (Mega Drive £30-£50)

    Suikoden II (PS1 £40-£80)
    Final Fantasy 7 (PS1 £20-£40)

    Panzer Dragoon Saga (Saturn £75-£125)
    Burning Rangers (Saturn £30-£50)
    Shining Force 3 (Saturn £40-£50)
    House of the Dead (Saturn £30-£50)
    Guardian Heroes (Saturn £30-£50)

    Mario Party 3 (N64 £30-£50)
    Conkers Bad Fur Day (N64 £40-£60)
    Paper Mario (N64 £40-£80)

    Street Fighter 3: 3rd Strike (Dreamcast £30-£50)
    Shenmue II (Dreamcast £30-£40)

    Step 2: Identifying potential

    The general trend indicates that games released towards the end of a consoles life span are the ones that tend to command higher prices. This is mainly due to the fact that later games are released in smaller quantities due to small demand. These games however, tend to be better than earlier games due to the makers having had more experience with the console. This combination of low quantity and high quality makes these games more desirable and therefore more valuable. Not all games released towards the end of a consoles life span are valuable though, be sure to look for games that scored high in reviews.

    Special editions are often worth more when it comes to selling them on. This isn't so much the case with current generations as every game under the sun seems to have a special edition nowadays. Previous generation special editions are worth a look if the price is right. Be sure to keep an eye out for special editions that come with something interesting rather than just a load of extras on a seperate CD. Music CDs, figures/models and limited edition peripherals are a few accessories that could be worth more in time.

    Another reason why a game could end up being more valuable is that it didn't sell well originally despite being a good game. These can be hard to predict since what isn't selling now might stay that way and is not guaranteed to be worth anything in the future. Wait until it hits rock bottom prices before you try your luck and again, check review scores first.

    Step 3: Knowing where to look

    So you now know what is worth loads now and what could be worth loads in the future. Now all you need to know is where to look. Here is a few places that I have found worthwhile:

    Gamestation has been a bit of a treasure trove. Recently they have apparently decided to get rid of all its retro stock. I say apparently because out of the 3 stores I visit, all of them still seem to get new retro stock in. That hasn't stopped them from selling some silly bargains though. So far I have managed to nab a PS1 with 200 games (£20) and Steel Battalion, expansion pack and giant controller (£30) and I have also seen Various Mega Drive, Saturn, Neo Geo Pocket and Wonderswan bundles for silly prices. Definately worth checking their front window and cabinets once in a while, especially if your visiting a different branch to your local.

    Car Boot/Garage Sales and Charity Shops/Thrift Stores
    There comes a time in everyones life when they must fly the nest and leave home. It's a wondrous time where the precious child truly becomes an adult. It's also a wondrous time for gamers since the parents, sick of all the crap the son/daughter has left behind, decides to either give it away or sell it dirt cheap. This is where gamers can really bag a bargain. At a car boot sale I recently managed to bag a boxed Playstation 1 with 2 controllers and all the leads for £3.

    Not always the best place to look since most people who know how to use ebay also know how to check prices before they list their items. There is the occasional bargain to be had however. Check regularly and keep an eye on auctions with no bids. It might stay that way and you could have a bargain for 99p.

    Hopefully this article will help you find some bargains. And remember, just because a game isn't worth a tonne of money, doesn't mean it wasn't a bargain. Some games will remain dirt cheap but will still provide hours of entertainment.

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    posted by Goafer @ 11:00  
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