Convention season is coming to a close, and after attending my first BIG convention, I’m here to pass the game collecting savvy on to you! Yes, there’s more to game collecting than handy-dandy guides per console: there’s tips about where to collect, too! Considering most people first start collecting at conventions and hobby shows, realizing “OH MY GOSH, BEING INVOLVED IN A THING LIKE THAT FROM MY CHILDHOOD IS OKAY?”, and considering people get REAMED at conventions every year, I’m here to help you find some goodies and make sure you don’t spend $60 on a crusty original Game Boy that ends up not working. Well, I can’t guarantee that—use your judgement, OK?
RULE NUMBER 1: DON’T BUY THE FIRST GAME YOU SEE!
Seriously friends, it may be tempting as all get-out. It could be that semi-common you normally can’t find near you, it could be a game for a rarer console, it could even be dang-blasted EarthBound. BREATHE. It’s OK, yes, these games do still exist; they may or may not be affordable, but there’s certainly still a market for them. If I had bought the first game I saw at the big anime convention I went to, I would have bought Capcom vs. SNK 2 on Xbox. Which I had been dying for, and it’s on the strongest console of the time! But it’s $30, and has no manual, and is scratched. I know there’s the rumor the Xbox One might be able to play original Xbox games, and that’s a great game—but $30? Online I could buy three for that amount! Thankfully, no matter how much I wanted to fight it up, I held out and got a fair shake of $10 at my next convention from a trusted dealer of mine. Now, I mean if for some divine reason you happen upon a TurboGrafx-16 within your first five steps, that’s understandable, but don’t go bananas for Dr. Mario.
RULE NUMBER 2: RARE GAMES AT A BOOTH IS A LURE
At the anime convention, just before I saw the Capcom vs. SNK 2, I saw Super Famicom games. You know, imports. In great condition. This was actually my first time seeing Super Famicom games (I think…), and while I was tempted, I don’t really want to mod my Super Nintendo right now. I have way too many North American games to play before I try any imports. Also, my N64 I might mod, but not my Super Nintendo! I’d rather just wait until I can go to Japan and buy one there someday. And if you think, “How dare she scoff at imports?”, well I didn’t scoff at what I saw next! At the smaller toy and hobby show I attend yearly, I happened upon a booth with SOME RARE STUFF. BOY HOWDY. I am going to list off everything I saw, and try to keep my heart steady: a Sega Nomad, a Game Boy Micro, Neo Geo MVS carts, EarthBound in the flesh, and A MARQUEE FOR A PROMO KIOSK OF TURBOGRAFX-16. I have watched videos of one of the most prolific collectors online, the owner of Trade-N-Games in Missouri, and I’m pretty sure even HE doesn’t have anything for a TurboGrafx-16 kiosk. I got the dealer’s number and will likely give him a call to see if he still has it closer to Christmas, but man! That’s how you draw people to a booth! Now, these guys were selling off the duplicates of their personal collection, but next to those amazing finds, they did have your run-of-the-mill average stuff. Overpriced. Like, the Super Mario Advance titles for GBA at like $25 and over. Come on! I know you’re trying to make a buck off the dumb kids who have never seen an original fat DS before, but really. So, even though a booth may have EarthBound glistening in its case, it doesn’t mean they won’t try to charge you over $15 for F-Zero. (P.S.: I loved that Nomad and will buy one next chance I get!)
RULE NUMBER 3: DIG DEEP, A BOOTH THAT DOESN’T LOOK LIKE IT HAS GAMES JUST MAY
There were only about two booths at the anime convention selling videogames, in addition to selling all the Sailor Moon keychains and the like. Until I randomly stumbled upon one, very sneaky indeed! I can’t remember what drew me into this booth; maybe it was my instinct in seeing Sterilite tubs and somehow feeling the presence. Or maybe I was just looking for posters to buy for my friends. But I turn around and there’s a whole mess of rare RPGs and other Japanese-type videogames I’ve never seen. These are the kind of games I have dreams about, that I wake up and realize I had another sad game-hunting dream. But these were real, I swear! Stuff like Phantasy Star Online, or Tales of Vesperia games, but stuff you never heard of! It was the greatest quantity of DS games I’ve seen in awhile that aren’t iCarly trash at Walmart. Tons of GameCube games! And I know they were real because Star Fox Adventures was tucked in the back! Now, if only I could remember the names of any…plus, there was a Little Mac amiibo! And a Dark Pit one! Okay, maybe it was a dream. In addition to the anime collectors, you would be surprised who collects as well! As I was salivating over the quality deal I was making with an old-time dealer friend, my sister alerted me to the “goodie-goods” in the next row of vendors. WOO-WEE! Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals? Zombies Ate My Neighbors? Super Turrican? Secret of Mana?All the SNES games you never see! The ones everyone never shuts up about! I found out the woman, whose booth was mainly Halloween decorations and crafty things, had boxes and boxes of Nintendo carts in her house, and she had gotten hip to the fact they were worth money when her son tried to open his own store with them. Good for you, crafty mom; but spread the love a little, huh? I ended up with Zombies Ate My Neighbors, but boy would I have liked to pick up more.
RULE NUMBER 4: REMEMBER…IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT GAMES!
I bought WAY more stuff at my conventions than I did games. Well, at the anime one at least, I bought game-related merchandise. A beautiful MegaMan X4 wall scroll, Super Mario Bros. 3 and Street Fighter II player select screen tee-shirts, Mega Man X playing cards, Street Fighter buttons, a Capcom vs. SNK poster, a Super Mario USA Famicom boxart poster, a Street Fighter graphic novel (can you tell I’m into Street Fighter?) were just some of the things I bought. It only whet my appetite to buy more crap with videogame characters’ faces on it! What shall I get next? A Sonic & Knuckles toilet seat? Really folks, lighten up on playing games, and enjoy the moments of being an accomplished gamer. Flaunt all those hard-won successes over a game of canasta with Zero and friends. Or delight in your wait at the doctor’s office with some glorious reading of E. Honda and Sagat smashing it up. Goodness knows you’ll see me floating away in my Bowser hot air balloon soon enough.