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How exactly do you collect boxes?


Strange
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So I’m a relatively new Nintendo collector looking for advice from people who know way more than I do. Up until now I’ve collected cart only, but recently have become interested in collecting boxes and manuals too. The last few years I’ve been into Atari collecting, which is a totally different landscape. Parts of that library are incredibly easy to collect CIB (you could easily buy a $2 Warlords cart and get it CIB for $10 down the road). Obviously the Nintendo landscape is different, so my questions are:

 

How often does the opportunity to buy just boxes/manuals come up? If you see a game you want that is cart only, do you buy that to play or bide your time and wait for a CIB one, even at a higher price? Just curious what other peoples’ strategies are.

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Administrator · Posted

Looks like you copy pasted from somewhere else, maybe you wrote this in a word processor first or something. 

Anyway, box/manual does come up fairly regularly, but I almost never count on it. I collect CIB and my strategy is to wait for a CIB to come available at a decent price. I don't like having carts just lying around, they clash with my shelf of Cibs. 

The other way around works well though, if you see a box/manual in good shape, pick em up, and it's easy to get a cart to put in em after. 

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Piecing together games sucks, both in terms of availability of components and effort. I've bought so many Xbox and Genesis games that were "good deals" incomplete (like 30% of CIB price) but nearly always ended up just having to upgrade to a CIB copy later on because I couldn't find a loose manual. Even if you find orphan boxes and manuals you have to figure out the little inserts if you really want everything 100%, and it's so much easier to just spend a few extra bucks on a 100% CIB game from the get go.

For Nintendo (cardboard) games though I often buy a loose and CIB copy because I don't want to be handling my boxes every time I want to play the game. This isn't super intentional, it's more that I already have loads of loose Nintendo games, then when I upgrade to CIB I never sell my original copy.

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13 minutes ago, The Strangest said:

How often does the opportunity to buy just boxes/manuals come up? If you see a game you want that is cart only, do you buy that to play or bide your time and wait for a CIB one, even at a higher price? Just curious what other peoples’ strategies are.

The best places to find CIBs or boxes in the wild, at least in my area, are always conventions. Otherwise, it's online. I can probably count on two hands the times I've come home with large numbers of CIBs from a retail store in the last fifteen years.

Depending on which consoles you're looking for, you're going to have a tougher or easier time with it. Handheld game CIBs can be much more difficult to come by than console games, although there are exceptions. Japanese imports are easier to get CIB (and cheaper). 

Nowadays, I do not buy anything cart only or even just Cart + Box. I just skip over any carts I see and don't even look at them when shopping. The only cart I've bought in the last several years has been an officially released Chinese cart of Mega Man II I found at a local store, mostly as a curiosity.

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22 minutes ago, Philosoraptor said:

I can probably count on two hands the times I've come home with large numbers of CIBs from a retail store in the last fifteen years.

Same experience here.  I think a lot of stores sell a good chunk of the CIBs that get traded online (eBay, IG, etc) so that they can speed up the transaction speed on them and not have them sitting around.

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Piecing together CIBs is usually far more expensive that buying the complete copy. You can get a CIB copy for the same price as box-only on most commons. Manuals are always available and sometimes for a tolerable price. Forget about finding maps/posters for an okay price. 

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In the past I have made posts asking for manuals and got a pretty good response from it. I would buy about 40 manuals at a time from 1-2 people.

About once a year there was a member that posts empty boxes for sale and I would usually buy up half of what he had for sale. too.

If I come across a cartridge without a box / manual, I won't buy it unless it's a desired game. That way when I eventually find a complete copy, my loose copy has increased in value and I can easily sell it to upgrade to the complete copy.

I also buy boxes for games I don't have since the cartridge is the easiest piece to find. I bought a Kid Klown manual for $50. A year or two later I bought the box for $50 and now I just need the cartridge.

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The one game that sticks out as one I had to piece together (and really try) was Mega Man 5. I knew going in it was going to be hard and expensive, but it came together pretty quickly (within a year easy). Didn't end up saving any money, but came close to the then market price. 

More recently I snagged a Kickle Cubicle and Tiny Toon Adventures CB with the intention of getting the booklets later just because of the quality of the box. 

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9 hours ago, Gloves said:

Looks like you copy pasted from somewhere else, maybe you wrote this in a word processor first or something. 

Anyway, box/manual does come up fairly regularly, but I almost never count on it. I collect CIB and my strategy is to wait for a CIB to come available at a decent price. I don't like having carts just lying around, they clash with my shelf of Cibs. 

The other way around works well though, if you see a box/manual in good shape, pick em up, and it's easy to get a cart to put in em after. 

Pretty much this. Box alone and box/manual come up intermittently, but are much rarer than loose cart or CIB. Because of that, I would only recommend buying the loose cart if it's an amazing price on a rare game. Otherwise you'll find yourself with two carts when you invariably settle on a CIB because a box/manual auction never popped up.

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Thanks for the replies all. Seems my fears about loose cart collecting/piecing together are confirmed, lol. 
 

I like @DefaultGen’s idea of having a cart copy and a boxed copy, but it would depend on feasibility with space and money (currently looking for a new apartment). I guess selling the cart to fund part of the complete copy is an option too. But being patient and going the CIB route and buying less frequently seems like the best option for my wallet.

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The more rare the cart is the more pain you will have finding a solo box. I almost never buy a game without its box for that reason. Manuals are easier to find but with rarity they start to mimic the difficulty of finding a box. When you piece CIBs together always start with the rarest component first: box (mainly cardboard releases) > manual > cart, preferably box + manual in same sale or you see there are different sellers with present stock of different individual pieces - that or have the patience of a saint and accept that you might never find the missing piece(s).

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I think the answer completely depends on your financial situation, as well as what your end goal is for collecting. For me, I have about 40 CIB NES games and 300 loose. I store the boxes in the closet and store the carts with the other loose carts. I didn't really seek out the CIB games, they just came to me over years of collecting. 

The middle ground I've settled on is essentially this: If I'm buying for a good deal or as a lot, cart only is fine. If I'm going to go out of my way to buy a single game, especially if it's for the sake of actually playing, then I at least want the manual/map/etc. I can always print out covers and buy game cases if I want to store/display them more effectively in the future - that way I won't feel bad sliding the box out of its protector.

If I had the money to go straight CIB, I'd say screw it and just buy sealed, since I'd be pretty picky about condition then.

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A box and manual by itself usually goes for the same as just the cart. So if you want CIB you're most likely going to pay about double the amount of cart only. Personally I only collect boxes for my absolute favorite cartridge based games. Anything disc based I always go CIB. But normally if a CIB is cheap enough I'll just go for the whole set at once. More expensive games I'll get cartridge first then maybe down the line get the box and/or manual separately when I decide if it's worth spending the extra money or not. As far as how often you see boxes by themselves, certainly not that often, but they're out there, and I don't know about your local shops but my local shops will sell any individual piece of a set, so if there is a CIB that I want just the box of, they will sell me just the box. but your mileage may vary. The hard part is finding boxes in good shape. I am particularly OCD about boxes because I hate paying money for crushed/ripped boxes. I need them in near-perfect shape, which as you can imagine, makes it all the more expensive and harder to come by. More and more I'm deciding that boxes just aren't worth the effort though.

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