With eBay pricing hurting thrift shop hunters. Is retro game collecting slowing down?
I started retro game collecting a good few years ago now. Previously my local mall would hold a flea market every Sunday. Featuring hundreds of sellers with anything you could think of. Including dozens of tables of retro games and new games and hardware. One such seller, I’d frequent always used eBay to check his prices. Back then, that was totally fine. eBay prices were still decent. not as great as they were at other flea markets or mom and pop shops you’d find around town. But they weren’t off the wall yet either. Plus, he had a great selection.
I’d be able to walk into the flea market, maybe spend about $20 and have a pile of games to add to the growing collection. NES sports games and common titles were frequently found in bins that said “3 for $3” A dollar a game, you really couldn’t go wrong. Especially if you just happened across a copy of Mike Tyson’s Punch Out!!! or Tecmo Super Bowl. The Sunday market at the mall was always a sure bet you’d come away happy with some games. This all changed a few years ago. The Sunday Market stopped happening. I turned to the online marketplaces to buy my games as well as some other small local shops. Then Facebook happened.
Facebook GameTrade groups
I’m a member of several local Facebook buy and sell “GameTrade” groups. Folks would often post pics of their current collections. Trade there games or hardware for more games and hardware or simply sell old stuff they didn’t want anymore. Up until this past year, that was going great. Some people would simply want to move the product fast to get an extra few bucks in their pocket. Often leading to some fabulous prices and discounts from people who would say “bundle prices available”. Now it appears the good deals have dried up. The collectors in my area have what they want now and they aren’t selling the things that “I” want. Retro game collecting seemed to be slowing down locally. Rather abruptly and without warning.
Local shops feeling the pinch
The same goes for the local shops. More often than not when I walk in, they have the same products. If they had received anything new and interesting, it was often bought up again in five minutes. This now very seldom happens. Sadly for collectors like myself.
Perhaps Retro game collecting is slowing down. Collectors have what they want. The people playing the NES games have the games they grew up with now and are less interested in buying anything more. Disposable income is also at a low right now. While this is certainly a factor, eBay prices have been correcting in the market for a short while now. When they come back down to decent levels, surely this will correct the market and people will once again be clamoring for the old hardware to begin the cycle all over again. A correction will be coming. The sellers are still out there. The buyers, maybe they’re just broke!
What is the state of retro game collecting in your area? Anything new and interesting popping up in your local shops or flea markets?
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