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Are we in the last years of Atari/NES collecting era?


obnoxious
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Let me explain my very personal and amateurish reasons behind the question. You can skip the wall of text if you want but I want to get my facts straight, so it would be nice to keep the discussion around them. The reasons I describe below aren't, in any way, deep and comprehensive, they are more at the generalization's side.

 

The value of collectible items is mostly based on the emotional attachment that the collector has to these items. Another kind of value they may have is the historic.

 

So, putting aside the historic value of some items of video game collecting, I think it's rather safe to say that those who grew up playing from the Atari 2600 to the NES era (1977 to 1994ish), are now around their 35~50s. An eight year old kid who got a 2600 on it's release year is now 52 years old!

 

Here goes another generalist premise: people around their 30s start to change their life focus, mostly to building a family, buying a house and so on. I know, I know... a lot of you do have a collection and kids and mortgage. It seems to me that the users here are more "hardcore" collectors. I may be wrong, no problem.


Another thing that I've been noticing is that it's getting harder and harder to collect items for low prices, like garage sales or from someone freeing up space in their garages. Just as the games created  emotional bindings on us, the hunting and discovery of rarities or buying cartridges for 50 cents or a dollar also developed an emotional attachment to each collected item leaving the decisions on spending "big money" to the rarest or the last missing items.

 

Maybe (and I can be wrong about it) today's need to "pay to collect" strategy is killing the fun from collecting and turning it more into a financial decision.

 

So, to conclude my train of thought: as games are getting more expensive and collecting becomes more a financial decision than a fun activity we may be in the last years of collecting games for sentimental reasons and starting to enter the "historic reasons" motivation.

 

(feel free to correct my grammar mistakes)

 

 

Edited by obnoxious
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  • The title was changed to Are we in the last years of Atari/NES collecting era?
Homebrew Team · Posted

In my opinion? No.

While true that may people who grew up on X console and games did so during that console's release era, that isn't universally the case and plenty of people (like myself) have a nostalgia for a different era of games than that in which we were raised. I'm a 90s kid, but my family wasn't particularly wealthy and not enthusiastic about buying me video games, but eventually I convinced them to get me a second-hand NES during the mid-90s at a local church fair. Over time they got me other consoles, sometimes new ones, but generally years behind the zeitgeist. So my gaming nostalgia is about 10-15 years behind what anyone buying new games at the time had. 

I also think that some people with a particular nostalgia for a console or bunch of games will pass on that specific love to their kids or other friends, bridging that gap and creating new appreciation for older generations of games. We're seeing touches of this with the number of remasters of old releases and modern games that have the aesthetic of older games.

As for garage sales and whatnot, I don't think this was ever a really good metric to measure any facet of collecting. I know some people love "hunting in the wild," but it's a haphazard way to gauge what's out there or make assumptions about collecting becoming a wealthy person's hobby. A better gauge is to assess how marketplaces have changed, such as with the rise of more gaming conventions from what used to be smaller swap meets. Not every vendor there is checking ebay and pricecharting to squeeze every penny out of every cart, and some tables will have great selections of Atari, NES, and other games for decent prices if you engage them politely.

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8 minutes ago, Scrobins said:

I'm a 90s kid, but my family wasn't particularly wealthy and not enthusiastic about buying me video games

I can relate a lot to that. My first system was a 2600 clone that an uncle had, grew tired of it and passed to me. A cousin had a 2600 and later a NES clone, we used to rent games and play together when I stayed at her home. Later I got a Sega Genesis given by an aunt. My next door neighbor had a Master System, a NES and then a SNES (loaded parents) and I was almost every day at his house after school, playing the games he rented.

 

Only at age 30+something I got my own Xbox One but I miss those Atari/NES/Genesis times so damn much.

Edited by obnoxious
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I think its possible that the 80s consoles fall off a little in terms of collectible desire for later generations,  but I think they'll always hold a particular kind of clout... that being (and Nintendo specifically) the roots of home gaming. 

I used to collect star wars and got all the Kenner stuff in the 90s when I was a kid, but I would've killed for the true retro pieces from the 70s, I just didn't have the means to obtain them.  

I think a collector's heart, though foundationally nostalgic, also has that little bit of desire to pursue the rare and historic items within their collecting focus. It's the reason why I want weird shit still, like a Zombies Ate My Neighbors box variant, or a 5 screw MTPO. None of that's from my childhood,  but those things are just... bad ass. 

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I think NES popularity has a ways to fall, but the historically important and iconic Nintendo games will be popular as long as Nintendo is. But the way people look at those old AtariAge boomers collecting their CommaVid games and tracking Spectravideo Compumate serial numbers, all stuff that “no one cares about”, the NES crowd is going to become that. We’re going to still think Myriad 6-in-1 is such a cool story and Minnesota State Lottery is so mysterious and Stadium Events and NWC are the ultra rare grails and no one who is 25 years old in 2040 is going to give one shit about that old man crap.

Atari people think Atari was the foundation of home gaming, NES people think NES was the foundation of home gaming, SNES people think SNES is where “games really started to get good”, (N64 people… ???).  The cycle goes on.

I don’t think Zelda or Metroid have anything to worry about because they’ll always have the iconic factor, even if everyone thinks they’re unplayable in a couple decades like people think golden age comics suck. Is anyone under 60 going to care how obscenely rare your sealed Ninja Kid is a couple decades? Doubt it. 

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1 hour ago, DefaultGen said:

I think NES popularity has a ways to fall, but the historically important and iconic Nintendo games will be popular as long as Nintendo is. But the way people look at those old AtariAge boomers collecting their CommaVid games and tracking Spectravideo Compumate serial numbers, all stuff that “no one cares about”, the NES crowd is going to become that. We’re going to still think Myriad 6-in-1 is such a cool story and Minnesota State Lottery is so mysterious and Stadium Events and NWC are the ultra rare grails and no one who is 25 years old in 2040 is going to give one shit about that old man crap.

Atari people think Atari was the foundation of home gaming, NES people think NES was the foundation of home gaming, SNES people think SNES is where “games really started to get good”, (N64 people… ???).  The cycle goes on.

I don’t think Zelda or Metroid have anything to worry about because they’ll always have the iconic factor, even if everyone thinks they’re unplayable in a couple decades like people think golden age comics suck. Is anyone under 60 going to care how obscenely rare your sealed Ninja Kid is a couple decades? Doubt it. 

Totally agree and your comment fits perfectly the intention I had in mind when writing this post.

 

I'm not saying that people shouldn't start or complete their collections, but that it's important to be conscious of where we're sitting right now in the collection cycle.

 

Your Zelda/Metroid examples are the kind of historic value I was talking about, because modern systems are still releasing new continuations and stuff. Modern players will have the curiosity to see how these franchises began and emulators can provide that experience with ease. Most of them *maybe* will have no emotional attachment to them after that.

 

Edited by obnoxious
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Dank collecting will be the way for sure.  But I think the fact that the system library holds the origins of so many iconic IPs kind of makes it kind of prestigious and it may buoy a good chunk of the greater library.  Dunno about my Jeopardy games though.  

It’s hard for me to say though because I’ve been here and a part of this world for so long my only real insight into how other collectors are is that subreddit.  If I’m to go by that, DS and GameCube are the hottest thing since sliced bread.  Don’t see those kids posting their NES hauls that often.  

Edited by Hammerfestus
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1 minute ago, Hammerfestus said:

Dank collecting will be the way for sure.  But I think the fact that the system library holds the origins of so many iconic IPs kind of makes it kind of prestigious and it may buoy a good chunk of the greater library.  Dunno about my Jeopardy games though.  

It’s hard for me to say though because I’ve been here and a part of this world for so long my only real insight into how other collectors are is that subreddit.  If I’m to go by that, DS and GameCube are the hottest thing since sliced bread.  Don’t see those kids posting their NES hauls that often.  

What "dank collecting" means?

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Nintendoage 2015 thread 🤪:

 

A dank collector is a collector that only collects the main stream, power titles whether they be played out, over hyped or genuinely good. A dank collecor mocks those who have genuine interest in rarity, obsurity, creativity and generally any other collector who has an opinion other than what all the total rad brajs on youtube think. Dank collectors spend hours reading wikpedia articles highlighting the general information, never questioning the hype or being critical of the genuinely good games.

So whats up w em all? It's strange to me to see how these collecting scenes have evolved from full sets, unlicensed, bootlegs, region specific, homebrew/repro, etc to such a level high level of dank collectors. Its confusing to me because all of these dank ass games (Mega Man, Zelda, Mario, even Earthbound) are so easily played and experienced legally for like $5 from Nintendo. I get it. People wana play NIntendo's. But to collect a fuckton of dank Nintendo games just to play them on a Nintendo just doesnt make sense.

When I lurked these forums in 2012 and joined in 2013, obscurity collectors ran wild. Whether it would be collecting every GameBoy Color color to hundreds of JP carts, going for after these daunting tasks was encouraged and supported. So, what happened?

From what I seen, these dank collectors chastise those who go for sets, criticising them for "buying that shovelware/crap", or "why would you buy 20 GameBoys? You cant play them all", and "Who would pay that much for such a bad (actually rare) game?". So what happens now is, the dank collectors chase all the creative collectors back into the shadows. Websites like these were made to make these kind of people for comfortable sharing their collections and spreading information of the obscure onto the web.

Probably the most telling trait of a dank collector is their retreat from the "hobby" as fast as the come. They sell their dank collections to other dank collectors and move on. Things like back story, heritage, the culture of gaming are not important to the dank collectors. Dont get me wrong, being a dank collector is cool. Mega Man is a great series. Mario is my man. Zelda bores me but I fuck w first party titles as much as the next guy. It just gets to me seeing dank collectors coming at people who care collecting whatever they want.

Edited by DefaultGen
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I think DefaultGen summed up my thoughts pretty well.

I don't think it will happen for a few years yet but there will come a time when NES falls out of favour and something like PS1&2 become huge (possibly already is starting?). 

Younger people entering collecting going forward may give a few of the games a go but they might just stick to stuff like an Everdrive. So they get the "feel" of authentic NES but don't have to spend money on it which they can put towards whatever was nostalgic for them growing up.

I also think that some new and older collectors are getting put off by the prices so are moving to other systems which even includes the Switch (check out reddit if you want to see how crazy that scene is).

I do believe that iconic NES games will always have a place though and demand should hold or only dip a little.

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The graphics of Atari are often generic shapes that you have to read instructions in order to know what they represent. Often times Atari has no music. Controls on Atari were often strange and not intuitive. Games had very generic names and lacked iconic characters. The only people that held onto Atari were people that had the nostalgia. When the nostalgia wore off, there was nobody left.

NES games have much more gaming substance to them, Not only graphically but also in gameplay depth. Add to that the first real intuitive and accurately responsive controller. So many NES games have tight, excellent controls. 

NES has timeless music that still sounds awesome today. To this day people are still creating new music that attempts to replicate the iconic NES sound. Also, Nintendo and so many companies have built popular franchise characters that have their beginnings in 8-bit. 

For NES, even after the nostalgia factor wears off, I don’t think NES will fall out of favor. A lot of the games are genuinely good and people who never grew up with 8-bit or even 16-bit can pick them up and enjoy playing for hours.

This is why Nintendo is able to sell access to all of these old games over and over and the audience for them just continues to grow.

 

Edited by phart010
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43 minutes ago, DefaultGen said:

A dank collector is a collector that only collects the main stream, power titles whether they be played out, over hyped or genuinely good.

That's how I intend to start my NES collection without the "sell it all later" part. The classic, most known titles as priorities and if good opportunities come up to buy less known/hyped titles, if grab it.

 

I don't see myself collecting rare, obscure JP titles after spending hours searching for them.

 

Thanks for the reply

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2 minutes ago, obnoxious said:

That's how I intend to start my NES collection without the "sell it all later" part. The classic, most known titles as priorities and if good opportunities come up to buy less known/hyped titles, if grab it.

I don't see myself collecting rare, obscure JP titles after spending hours searching for them.

Thanks for the reply

Back in ye olden days of 6 years ago the sealed guys were too few and isolated, so our squabbles had to be collectors who collect Nintendo tapes vs. collectors who collect even more Nintendo tapes! Now collecting anything but the D A N K seems crazy since only the dankest games will sell for millions.

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3 minutes ago, DefaultGen said:

Back in ye olden days of 6 years ago the sealed guys were too few and isolated, so our squabbles had to be collectors who collect Nintendo tapes vs. collectors who collect even more Nintendo tapes! Now collecting anything but the D A N K seems crazy since only the dankest games will sell for millions.

People who seek making millions from a game should go fornicate themselves under consent of the king.

I think people don't get that when a collector sells a cartridge for thousands of dollars it's more of a reward, a serendipity, than a goal. And sometimes just plain luck.

 

Sorry for not knowing expressions like "dank collecting" it's my first time in a collectors forum. Used to talk about it only with friends and such.

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I think the main thing we all need to understand is that gaming has its own set of rules and why people play what they play. Then you have the collecting aspect, and why people collect what they collect. They are 2 separate equations which can have common factors, but ultimately, you can’t use gamer logic and apply it to collector logic and vice versa.

I’ll give one example to highlight my statement in the above. Every collector that has owned several hundred or more games over the years, may have started with the influence of nostalgia, but there’s no way in hell they could have actually owned over a hundred console games back when they were a kid. Unless of course they were some rich mofo and their parents were already millionaires back then. So we can say that people with hundreds of games in their collection must be buying for reasons other than nostalgia alone. 

Edited by GPX
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I have asked myself this Same question many times. My thought is as follows. I believe you are dead on right with the collectors of the NES - SNES Era, they are getting older, their financial goals are changing and they are loosing the nostalgic value they once had or at the very least loosing interest in games that did not hold a special place umpteen years ago. As the later gens (Most Recent Gamecube) come to age of having a decent paying job and some purchasing power cash in on their nostalgia, we see the Gamecube prices skyrocket. etc. 

I think there will be a day in the future when these long time collectors (Including myself) will just begin to offload our collections, or they will start showing up in masses at estate sales, and as you know the more the supply the less the demand, therefore the less it costs. I'm sure some collectors of Sports cards were asking these questions decades ago, and sure as shit the bottom fell right out on that one.

I think there will "Always" be titles that will hold real value regardless (Stadium Events ;)) regardless just as Mikey Mantle's Rookie does today, but the rest will fall out and possible either fill up some landfills or respawn the collecting craze allover again being cheap and affordable and fun. the only way I think you will keep these prices going up over the long haul is to get legislation passed that makes the sales exampt from tax, then you will be seeing them used for true investment holdings like Art.

 

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For everyone who thinks the nostalgia classics are timeless must plays that all will enjoy, just check the latest IGN twitter poll thing: https://twitter.com/IGN/status/1438563571286167552/photo/1

Rise of the Tomb Raider beat Half-Life 2
Burnout 3 beat Chrono Trigger
Skyrim beat Ocarina of Time
Smash Ultimate beat Super Mario World
Batman Arkham City beat Super Mario 64
Apex Legends beat Super Metroid

These are the opinions of the next big generation that will grow into collectors, lol. They do not give ONE F.

Edited by DefaultGen
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1 minute ago, DefaultGen said:

For everyone who thinks the nostalgia classics are timeless must plays that all will enjoy, just check the latest IGN twitter poll thing: https://twitter.com/IGN/status/1438563571286167552/photo/1

Rise of the Tomb Raider beat Half-Life 2
Burnout 3 beat Chrono Trigger
Skyrim beat Ocarina of Time
Smash Ultimate beat Super Mario World
Batman Arkham City beat Super Mario 64
Apex Legends beat Super Metroid

These are the opinions of the next big generation that will grow into collectors, lol

Emotional attachment.

Get a moment, add emotions and you have a memory burned forever in your brain.

 

Left column game players can't relate to the equivalent right column games like people who played the latter when they were new, revolutionary compared to other games.

 

Maybe some of the new vg players will get old cartridges as souvenir, decoration or something like that. But very very few of them will collect for nostalgic reasons. 

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18 minutes ago, DefaultGen said:

For everyone who thinks the nostalgia classics are timeless must plays that all will enjoy, just check the latest IGN twitter poll thing: https://twitter.com/IGN/status/1438563571286167552/photo/1

Rise of the Tomb Raider beat Half-Life 2
Burnout 3 beat Chrono Trigger
Skyrim beat Ocarina of Time
Smash Ultimate beat Super Mario World
Batman Arkham City beat Super Mario 64
Apex Legends beat Super Metroid

These are the opinions of the next big generation that will grow into collectors, lol. They do not give ONE F.

In fairness, a few of those were close. And that whole bracket looks inspired to produce hot garbage takes, not just the retro matchups.

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31 minutes ago, DefaultGen said:

For everyone who thinks the nostalgia classics are timeless must plays that all will enjoy, just check the latest IGN twitter poll thing: https://twitter.com/IGN/status/1438563571286167552/photo/1

Rise of the Tomb Raider beat Half-Life 2
Burnout 3 beat Chrono Trigger
Skyrim beat Ocarina of Time
Smash Ultimate beat Super Mario World
Batman Arkham City beat Super Mario 64
Apex Legends beat Super Metroid

These are the opinions of the next big generation that will grow into collectors, lol

Street Fighter II lost to Pokemon Yellow 🤣

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29 minutes ago, obnoxious said:

Street Fighter II lost to Pokemon Yellow 🤣

For everyone who thinks the nostalgia classics are timeless must plays that all will enjoy, just check the latest IGN twitter poll thing: https://twitter.com/IGN/status/1438563571286167552/photo/1

Rise of the Tomb Raider beat Half-Life 2
Burnout 3 beat Chrono Trigger
Skyrim beat Ocarina of Time
Smash Ultimate beat Super Mario World
Batman Arkham City beat Super Mario 64
Apex Legends beat Super Metroid

These are the opinions of the next big generation that will grow into collectors, lol

 

WTF....

 

Nothing beats Super Metroid in my book.  Bonkers.

Edited by tbone3969
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11 hours ago, Exodus said:

I have asked myself this Same question many times. My thought is as follows. I believe you are dead on right with the collectors of the NES - SNES Era, they are getting older, their financial goals are changing and they are loosing the nostalgic value they once had or at the very least loosing interest in games that did not hold a special place umpteen years ago. As the later gens (Most Recent Gamecube) come to age of having a decent paying job and some purchasing power cash in on their nostalgia, we see the Gamecube prices skyrocket. etc. 

I think there will be a day in the future when these long time collectors (Including myself) will just begin to offload our collections, or they will start showing up in masses at estate sales, and as you know the more the supply the less the demand, therefore the less it costs. I'm sure some collectors of Sports cards were asking these questions decades ago, and sure as shit the bottom fell right out on that one.

I think there will "Always" be titles that will hold real value regardless (Stadium Events ;)) regardless just as Mikey Mantle's Rookie does today, but the rest will fall out and possible either fill up some landfills or respawn the collecting craze allover again being cheap and affordable and fun. the only way I think you will keep these prices going up over the long haul is to get legislation passed that makes the sales exampt from tax, then you will be seeing them used for true investment holdings like Art.

 

I thought sales of art was taxed though, no?

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