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What's your cut off line for cartridge conditions


obnoxious
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What kind of flaws make you to turn down a cartridge purchase opportunity?

Would you accept a minor label wear or with loose corners that you can glue back? Would you replace a label if it's from a game that you want very badly? How about scratches on the cover?

Edited by obnoxious
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Member · Posted

"Cut off line" I think is how you want to phrase it, but no worries. 🙂

If a label is lifted and I can glue it back (with the purple/dries clear glue stick glue), I'll consider it. Minor label wear is permanent damage, and I would have to look at how often the game comes up for sale and at what price (Little Samson with a worn label for $20? Sure! Near market value, eh, not so much, a pristine one should come along soon.)

Scratches/shell damage, depends on how bad and what game. I have a slightly discolored Pipe Dream that annoys me somewhat, but I'm too lazy to replace it. Same with the Formula One: Built to Win that I got for half of what it usually goes for. I have replaced a bad label Baseball Stars with a good label one.

I'd never replace original labels with reproductions, though. That's been a touchy subject in the past.

 

 

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I usually collect CIB, so most of the time the bundled cartridge is in really good shape and I don't need to worry about condition. If I am buying cartridge alone, the label needs to be completely intact without holes or significant discoloration. I'm okay with a small amount label peel at the corners. Heck, some of the ljn games I bought new had peeling labels when opened for the first time.

P.S. The meaning of your title is pretty clear as is, but I think the word you are looking for is "cutoff" instead of "cutting line."

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  • obnoxious changed the title to What's your cut off line for cartridge conditions

Case by case basis. Cheaper games where there isnt much wiggle room on price I’ll hold out for a nicer cart. Expensive games I’m willing to take an ugly as long as the price is right. I won’t take stuff that smells like smoke though, instant no. 

Edited by a3quit4s
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I'm a bit picky with condition, but not insane.  Anything thats yellowed, or has a noticeable label rip or tear will bug me.  But it is a case by case basis.  My F2 has the smallest nick on the top label, but I also know how difficult it is to find that game in great shape, so I'm ok with it.  Or ifs a really cheap game, then I don't care AS much, but should still be pretty good over all, since I could always find an upgrade anyway.

Game Boy games are a bit different.  I hate the yellowing of the plastic but sometimes in photos its hard to tell, and by the time you get it, it looks worse than you thought.  So often I just deal with it.

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Member · Posted

Quality trumps price, to a point, then the other.

If price isn't a problem, as is in most cases it's pretty easy:

Loose cartridges from GB/GBA sized and larger they can be loose, the plastic can have some in-out wear from the system, sticker must be close to factory clean, and the pins from what I can see outside better not be dingy as it's a sign of lack of care or worse hiding within. (For what I currently own, all things GB/A, NES, SNES, Genesis)

When price gets stupid, I'll deal with a damaged sticker, I can either touch it up, deal with it, or replace it as it's mine to do with as I please, and at that rate I'll try and find one less jacked up than others I can kind of clean up as still it's likely still better treated than something battered.

Now with carts which really are realistically CARDS (Nintendo DS, 3DS family, and Switch) never loose, they'll be complete, and they will show little/no signs of wear to the cards or I have no interest.  Stuff is too easily ruined so I'm more hard liner on those little things in the same way I am with CD/DVD stuff.

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overal terms, it's needs to be as new as possible.....

no label damage, no knicks, no discoloration, no label peeling, no scratches on the cart, no bend/curved/warped carts, everything has to be original, no swapped backs, unless it's one from the same game with same number printed into the back label.

i CAN however make an exception if needed, the PAL version of The Miracle Piano cart for example, the piano itself did not sell that great, so finding a loose cartridge is much harder than simply buying a still brand new complete piano (even still in the shipping box)

however, that also means said cartridge has been in that box for 31 years now, meaning the warmth inside may have caused the label to peel slightly on the top, both of my carts had this, and both were from brand new unopened before Miracle Piano's.

there's also some other carts that seem to have labels more prown to damage, such as Disney's Beauty & The Beast (La Belle et La Béte / Belle en het Beest)

Edited by Friendsfa35
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5 minutes ago, Friendsfa35 said:

no swapped backs, unless it's one from the same game with same number printed into the back label.

Just an FYI there is still no definitive proof if you can tell a cart has been back swapped, as far as we know, we have no idea what those numbers mean.  As a side bar, the only think I know is a printed '24' on the back of the Konami carts mean it uses a Konami PCB.  Thats it.  Or something like a late release back on a game that wasn't printed that late.  Otherwise theres no real way to tell.

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58 minutes ago, guitarzombie said:

Just an FYI there is still no definitive proof if you can tell a cart has been back swapped, as far as we know, we have no idea what those numbers mean.  As a side bar, the only think I know is a printed '24' on the back of the Konami carts mean it uses a Konami PCB.  Thats it.  Or something like a late release back on a game that wasn't printed that late.  Otherwise theres no real way to tell.

In @ThePhleo we trust.

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Every game (as long as it is original), regardless of condition has a price at which I would buy it.  I personally would not put a replacement label on an original cart - but I would buy a cart with a replacement label for the same price that I would buy a cart that is missing the label.

But you have to decide what kind of "collector" you are.  I collect CIB games that I plan on playing (in most cases), so I've got tons of ug-mos that I bought for a fraction of the price of a "good" condition CIB game...For example my "CIB" Earthbound (SNES) I bought earlier this year for like $550 - It doesn't have the cardboard insert, the box is in 3/10 shape at best, and the manual/player's guide looks like it was dropped in a puddle (but the pages don't stick together!)...I think the cart has some minor label damage too...

But I respect people who have higher standards because they are either looking to impress people with their high quality collection or they are trying to maximize profit - to each his own.  Impressing people and maximizing profit don't matter to me that much (so sealed/graded collecting is a huge waste of time/money for me), but reading the manual (even if it is torn/has water damage) and looking at the box art before playing a game are important to me...I'm sure cart-only collectors think, "Why does this dude waste so much money on shitty looking boxes/manuals when he could just buy carts and read the manuals off the internet!"

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Member · Posted

Never understood why some people are so condition sensitive. Seeing a bunch of mint items doesn't impress me at all, rather it just makes me feel the guy probably has money to blow and grabbed it online.

Furthermore, the problem with being condition sensitive (if you are a set collector) is that at some point you'll find a game where you can't make it fit in, i.e. you collect CIB but this one never came with a box, or maybe the box has only turned up twice, in a condition in which it looks like someone used it as toilet paper.

My only condition is that everything's original. If I buy a cart and the PCB seems swapped, into the bin it goes.

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12 hours ago, DoctorEncore said:

In @ThePhleo we trust.

😅 the pressure is on now…

But I’m making good progress. It’s definitely possible to archive the back labels. Just gotta identify Every. Single. Variant and then look at EVERY single eBay listing for a couple months for a large enough dataset for everything R6 and under…and I guess a year or so for everything else.

PS: Anyone willing to write a script that can download all the images from all listings on an entire eBay search and then dump them into a folder, one per listing per search? I’m even willing to manually type in captchas in something like that….would save me literal months of labor.

 

@fcgamer I was once condition insensitive, but as my goal to get a 100% CIB set with all inserts fleshed out, I started to realize that most of the time, games that are 100% complete are in “Exellent” to “Near Mint” condition.

Now, I have one too many nice items and a poor condition Cyber Stadium Series: Base Wars just looks out of place.

Also, yes, outliers do look strange on a shelf which is why my collection looks like this:

3DD66999-27DF-4736-BFFA-6472588277A8.jpeg.7726b752563f46b5610d170b7de1304c.jpeg

Edited by ThePhleo
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Member · Posted

I'm picky about condition due to the age.  I don't walk around with a way to run the games on me, especially consoles, so it's blind trust on either online or local outside of maybe gameboy in my pocket if I have one.

So if it looks like crap, I'm going to assume it at least will be a pain in the ass to clean, but likely could be damaged.  I won't bother or it better be so cheap I don't mind dealing with it or losing out over a couple of dollars.  A game that sells for like $20 I'm not going to be even willing to drop even a third of that if it looks like it was used to target practice or floated in a flood.  It's about gauging risk as much as just looks like trash.

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I collect CIB so my focus is on crushing and tears and missing flaps and stuff.  If something is beat to hell it’s got to be for appropriately crazy cheap.      With anything that’s decent I’m going to always be on the lookout for condition upgrades.  
One major thing for me is over a certain price point I am not going to compromise on condition.  I’m not going to spend $100+ on a cardboard box for my collection if it’s going to look like shit and bother me when I look at it.  I’d rather make the extra $$ for a good condition copy work than blow less of a lot of money for something I’m not satisfied with.   

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For cart only (NES, SNES, and N64), I'm pretty picky. I'd rather wait for a good copy to surface than to settle on one I'll want to replace later. The only exception I've made so far was Thrilla's Surfari just because that label seems to always be trash.

For my PS2 collection, I did let some games slide just to be place holders, but haven't taken the time to replace them yet. I had one collection I bought where the guy blacked out the PS logo on the spine of the cases with a sharpie. They do annoy me sitting there with visible damage, but I guess not enough to actively replace them yet. Definitely on my list of things to do at some point.

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4 hours ago, dr.robbie said:

For cart only (NES, SNES, and N64), I'm pretty picky. I'd rather wait for a good copy to surface than to settle on one I'll want to replace later. The only exception I've made so far was Thrilla's Surfari just because that label seems to always be trash.

For my PS2 collection, I did let some games slide just to be place holders, but haven't taken the time to replace them yet. I had one collection I bought where the guy blacked out the PS logo on the spine of the cases with a sharpie. They do annoy me sitting there with visible damage, but I guess not enough to actively replace them yet. Definitely on my list of things to do at some point.

On the plastic of the PS2 cases or the paper cover? If on the plastic, there are all kinds of tricks to get it off.

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If it's something that I'm actually trying for a set of, like the NES, "I don't have it" is generally the only restriction, although I will balk at people charging premium prices for things in trashed condition.  But hey, a good deal is a good deal, and if it upsets me that much, I can always work on getting a better label/whatever later on.  For other stuff, where I technically collect, but primarily to play, and with no set goal/stopping point in mind, I'll generally avoid stuff that's in trashed shape unless it's bargain basement priced because hey, a deal's a deal, lol.  As far as disc stuff goes, I don't really collect anything that new anymore (yes, my cutoff point for "collecting" really is in the SegaCD/3DO/CDi era, lol), but stuff that I pick up to play better have a disc in great shape (not a fan of stickers on the label side but won't complain if the price is right and it's not damaged), so long as pricing reflects the way it's being sold (disc only, disc + case, "complete," etc.).

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19 hours ago, croagunk said:

On the plastic of the PS2 cases or the paper cover? If on the plastic, there are all kinds of tricks to get it off.

I wish it was just on the case lol. No, this guy did it on the paper insert. Guess he really didn't like the PS logo.  I did a couple trial cleanings on cheaper games and it just made it worse unfortunately. I went through them last night because of this thread and it looks like I only have about 8 to still replace, so not too big of a deal.

Edited by dr.robbie
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Like others have mentioned, the price is a large part of it - but generally I've been more accepting of label damage as I've gotten older. What matters to me most is having an authentic copy. At some point I plan to print new, obviously repro labels for the handful of really trashed games I have. I am mindful however of opportunities to get nicer copies of my games, but that doesn't happen often since most are in acceptable shape.

What does bother me though are games (NES/SNES/SFC) with super yellowed shells where it's worse on one half than the other. Even if the label is slightly worse, I'd probably prefer a copy with nice bright gray plastic. I'd like to try retrobrite on some commons that are like that, but I haven't heard of many success stories working around the labels.

Edited by Alder
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On 9/20/2021 at 10:59 AM, dr.robbie said:

For cart only (NES, SNES, and N64), I'm pretty picky. I'd rather wait for a good copy to surface than to settle on one I'll want to replace later. The only exception I've made so far was Thrilla's Surfari just because that label seems to always be trash.

I opened a brand new, sealed copy of Thrilla's Surfari last year and the label was already peeling off. Those late release ljn/Acclaim games are made with the absolute crappiest materials and glue.

Edited by DoctorEncore
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I prefer to have minimal damage to my cartridge games. I have a couple games like Chrono Trigger or Hyperstone Heist with knicks out of the label which are small and annoying. Several of my SNES RPGs labels have scuffs or indentations on the label (especially where the hole indentation is under the label) but no damage which I can deal with because they sit on a shelf next to each other and will get slid out to play.

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Graphics Team · Posted

I only have two condition standards for my games:

1) Does it play?

2) Is it sanitary?

Other than that, it can be a cosmetic abomination for all I care. Torn labels, discoloration, chunks of plastic missing, etc.
I actively pursue chewed-up cartridges just to spite all of the condition-sensitivity in this hobby (no offense to the rest of you haha).

-CasualCart

113006603_NinjaCrusadersCondition.jpg.7e4449943512e6f7a784608442ef6656.jpg

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