Friday, March 22, 2013

Game collecting

With the exception of a few years in the mid 00s, I've played games for most of the last 30 years. I never really considered collecting as part of that hobby until recently. Thanks to Jason Jasicki (who has a great game blog at, and is a contributor), Dan Tolin (also a Splitkick contributor), and an incredibly lucky snag on Freecycle a few months ago, I finally took the dive into collecting.

I don't collect for the sake of collecting. I don't have the money or the space for that. But I started to think of all the series of games that I've loved over the last 30 years and decided to focus on those. Final Fantasy, Metroid, Zelda, Castlevania, and Metal Gear are the big ones. I've recently thought of doing the PS1 Squaresoft games like Vagrant Story, Parasite Eve, etc.. Stuff like that.

When I stopped gaming around 2004 I thought I was done. I hadn't bought a console or a game in years and I hardly ever played games (except for long sessions of Everquest). So I sold all my games and consoles. They were in pristine condition and complete with boxes, manuals, maps, etc. Some of them are nearly impossible to find, and if you do they're outrageously expensive. I couldn't have anticipated getting into gaming again, let alone collecting. While the sale of those classic games was for a great cause (an engagement ring, and she said yes), when I decided to collect those were the very games I wanted.

Unfortunately I can't walk into most stores around town and expect to find the games I want. So I scour Freecycle and thrift stores for games. Any games. I don't often find the ones I want, but I'll if they're cheap I get them anyway. I found a handful of Dreamcast games at a Goodwill recently for $1 each. I posted them for trade on (a great game trading site). I'll use the points I get there to request games I want. And just this week I got an original XBox with 5 games off Freecycle. I didn't want an XBox, but the trade in value of the console and the games is around $40 at eStarland (an awesome local game store). That's plenty of money to pick up a more expensive classic game that I want for my collection.

I pretty much take any game or console I can find (and if anyone reading this has some to get rid of, please let me know!). The lucky snag from Freecycle that I mentioned above really got me in the collecting spirit. Someone posted having an NES, to which I quickly responded to claim. I was thrilled that I was soon going to have an NES in the house again, but when I picked it up I was surprised that the bag contained not only an NES (with 2 controllers, a Zapper, and all the cords except for the AC adapter), but also an SNES (with controllers and cords), 2 SNES games complete in their boxes w/ manuals, and 4 NES games, including a barely used copy of Super Mario Bros. 3 with the box and manual. It's worth a short trip across town for a surprise like that. And making connections with people on Freecycle has paid off. One person was giving away a bunch of old PC games. I wasn't fast enough to email her to get them, but she said if she found more she'd let me know. Well that same day she found more and I got them. Most of them were junk (an Italian copy of Diablo 2 for example), or CD-R copies of games, but some were great and I was able to trade a few for some games I really wanted. Then last week she emailed me after she found 5 Sega Genesis games and I got those too.

My collection isn't a big as some. But part of the fun is in the hunt, and in getting that last game to complete a series or a set. And getting my hands on a dozen games I couldn't care less about only to find a store will give me $10 in credit for one of them is a thrill.

If you have even the slightest inclination to start collecting, I highly recommend Jason's Game Hunter series of videos. They're on his blog above, and the first has recently been posted on (another favorite site of mine). And as I said before, if you're reading this and aren't a collector but have a bunch of old games to get rid of, let me know. I'll take em off your hands (or pay a reasonable price for them). 

My Final Fantasy collection as organized by Evernote.


  1. Looks like my 'one red paper clip' approach to trading and collecting has rubbed off on you. Glad to see you getting so into it!

    1. It absolutely has! It didn't take me long to realize I could turn stuff that was worthless to me into something high on my wish list.

  2. Thanks for the extremely kind words JJ!

    I think you're not far off the mark by thinking you might eventually start collecting all Square games on the PS1 after completing your Final Fantasy series. That's kind of how it goes. Let it fester for a year and you might start thinking of just collecting ALL PS1 games :p