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When did video games became collectibles?


I started building a collection in..  

58 members have voted

  1. 1. When did you “collect” more than “game”?

    • Pre-2000
      10
    • 2000
      2
    • 2001
      0
    • 2002
      1
    • 2003
      2
    • 2004
      1
    • 2005
      6
    • 2006
      0
    • 2007
      0
    • 2008
      2
    • 2009
      0
    • 2010
      2
    • 2011
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    • 2012
      2
    • 2013
      1
    • 2014
      3
    • 2015
      1
    • 2016
      2
    • 2017
      1
    • 2018
      2
    • 2019
      2
    • 2020
      1
    • 2021
      1
    • I game more than I collect, but enjoy doing both
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    • Games are meant to be played
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Member · Posted

As gamers, we all love to stare at the game box or case for several minutes, then we’d rip right into the game, hurriedly shoving them into their respective consoles, and then playing them until bit rot nearly kicks in..

As collectors, the above perhaps might be the opposite. We’d perhaps still play some of the games for several minutes, but we’d like stare at the box/case and manuals for a lot longer than several minutes..

So putting it into context, when did you guys become more a collector than a gamer? Hopefully with a poll, we may be able to deduce when video games roughly became a “collectible”.

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Member · Posted

My answer was probably 10-11 years ago. My gaming habits were significantly reduced since I started working in the mid-2000s. Then by 2011, with a wave of nostalgia and a bigger wallet, I decided to buy some old games on eBay. I’m still unsure if that was a good thing or a bad thing. 🤔

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Member · Posted

I don't think you'll necessarily get the answer to the question of when video games became collectable, though it'll still be an interesting poll.

Games became collectable to me around 1997, as a Funcoland moved in locally. Cheap games = the ability to collect. Around the same time, we got the internet, where a few hobbyists had set up NES related websites, further promoting the idea of collecting. There was never a period where I stopped playing NES

The older I got, the more collecting went to the forefront, I mean due to time reasons and other obligations / priorities.

Atari collecting seemed to be very healthy back then, I guess it was the same, guys in their thirties buying  cheap Atari games, similar to what would happen later with NES.

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Member · Posted

Technically for me, it's probably more like 1997 but since I sold all of those games in college and did life for a while, my second phase started in 2016 when I decided to start collecting and going for a GB set since I always loved collecting as a kid.

1998 was different though. I was a hard working kid and I would both get a job in the summer AND I had an after school job. I had a car and my parents only made me pay for the gas.

I spent 100% of my extra money on CCGs and video games. As an RPG lover, I would buy them, open them to look at the manuals and then shelve them to be enqueued to play. The thing is when you work three days a week during the school year AND do your advance placement homework, you got time to play some, but not 2-3 RPGs a month (as well as platformers and racers too) So... I had probably 60 games and of them 20-30 of them were at most booted to the title screen so I could watch the intros. From there, I tried to keep everything in mint shape (even my N64 boxes), so I was definitely "collecting" them.

So your pick. 1997/8 or 2016. Both work for me.

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It was in 2002 when I bought a boxed NES top loader at a used game store in the mall. They were basically impossible to find back then so finding one was a really big deal. I picked up a few of my favorite games to go with it and I've been playing "retro" games ever since.

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Member · Posted
25 minutes ago, Vectrex28 said:

Both are fun to do, but ultimately we should all take that copy of Chrono Trigger and slap it in that SNES. Part of the fun of games as collectibles is that you can play it as well

I may not play them all, but all of them I can play.

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Member · Posted

I'll word this a bit differently ok?

I began buying second hand around the middle of 1995 and I've never stopped.  I've had games at home since Christmas of 1985 with the test launched (non) Deluxe Set Nintendo.  My personal rule until my form of the gaming armageddon in 2005 was to NEVER sell anything, but I also was 99% of the time not stupid in my purchase so I wasn't faced with garbage.

So I mean, since I never traded or sold things, I always collected.  Despite the heavy losses over 15 years ago, I kept a key amount of games for a reduced amount of systems I wouldn't let loose, primarily the Nintendo stuff, so some things I have are really that old and singularly owned like my SMB cart, manual, sleeve.

But in 2006 I slowly started to dig out of the crapper when I got the job I still have, and I began before prices even started to creep again to actively go about re-collecting hundreds of losses as I could find them.  But that did break me, as some stuff aged to where it wasn't fun anymore, or I found trying something that sucked I'd let it go so things end of ebbed and flowed.  If you recall when I was on NA and still in CA I'd hit the flea every week on Sundays and I'd get stuff like crazy off a $20 bill up until the shit hit the fan in mid/late 2011 into 2012 when NES, then TG16, then SNES got toxic and it spread fast.  I'd grab up hundreds of NES games, when it got bad, kept what I wanted, seeded the SNES months before it went sour, and so on by generation to where I am now.  With the tax changes I'm going back into being I guess a collector, not going to buy to flip or reduce costs, buying to play even if it's less economical, and largely locally...my ebay is going to get dusty.

 

I hope that makes sense, kind of just depends on *your* definition of the word collecting/collector doesn't it?

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hmm, tough question to answer, but i'll put in my 2 pennies:

Around 2003 is probably when i put gaming on the backburner. I was all in during the n64 years. Liked the GameCube enough, but didn't love it, and it definitely didn't get the same kind of attention as the n64. Partly due to graduating high school, starting college, working mroe, and moving out on my own. Kind of a conflux of all of those factors. I would still be a "collector" at that point, as i was checking used game stores and pawn shops for NES games, but i kind of fell out of newer stuff. I didn't buy a ton, but i'm forever grateful that i was able to pick up what i could during this timeframe. 

It was probably close to 2007-2008 that i jumped back in with newer Nintendo systems and evened that scale out a bit. Started playing quite a bit of Wii, whether that be multiplayer Mario Kart with friends or Legend of Zelda solo at home. The Wii-U continued that trend, although there were fewer and fewer games coming out i was interested in (plus i had more income), so i started picking up more and more retro games. I continued on this trend for quite awhile. Until COVID hit, to be honest. COVID lockdown led to me FINALLY having time to really dive in and play all these games i was hoarding. I've been trying to keep that momentum up for the last year, now that restrictions have eased and real life has returned (at least to some extent). 

 

TL;DR- 2003.

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The original game collectors are the few Odyssey owners who not only purchased the add-on Shooting Gallery and extra games but also the later 1973 releases. Some even mailed away for the bonus Percepts game. I got the bulk of my Odyssey collection from the estate sale of just such a person. Many years later I messaged with an eBay seller of some Odyssey titles that turned out to be their original owner from '72. Next year will therefore be the 50th Anniversary of home videogame collecting! 

Keep in mind that very, very few original Odyssey owners are still around. Even fewer (or their families) still have the systems and games. After all, consider that somebody had to have been old enough in '72/'73 to be financially established enough to afford them, so even the youngest owners in their mid-20s at the time are now elderly half a Century later. They are still out there, though, even though they don't even realize that they're among the first videogame collectors.

At least some percentage of those who bought into other earlier systems such as the Channel F and Studio II also collected the full sets as they came out at the time. Many long-term collectors first really started collecting when The Crash happened in '83 and huge collections could easily be put together from deeply discounted inventory. 

 

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Member · Posted

The thread title and poll questions aren't the same. 🤨

2011/2012 feels like the end of the era where you could still pick up most games for peanuts all over and the rarer/uncommon stuff started to jump in price.  The collector market mindset really started to set in then.

I game way more than I collect (but I already have most of the stuff I want)

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Both started collecting and started buying more games than I played in 2006 (which obviously goes hand in hand). Not just because I started building my collection, but because it's when I started earning more money at my job, flipping flea market games online, and the rise in cheap digitally distributed games made it more normal to have tons of games I bought but didn't play. Just a couple years before I started collecting, having a game and not playing the shit out of it would've seemed crazy to me.

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For me collecting started around late 1999 just after I had gotten my first home computer(IBM Pentium 266) with Internet.  I had a very small collection at the time. A Nes with arkanoid,  both Wizardry's and a few KOEI games. A Genesis with NHL Hockey(cause I'm Canadian eh!), Herzog Zwei and Dune. And a Sega 32X with DOOM. I never read any gaming mags in the 90's. What I found out about games was just randomly going to my local game store and reading the backs on game boxes to see if the game interested me.  But the internet in 1999/2000 opened a whole new world for me. So many fan sites of various systems and games. Discovering cool games Like Shining Force that I couldn't find used locally make me look to Ebay then various game trading sites on the internet(Gametz, still there, SwitchHouse, who remembers this site?) It became a "holy shit that game looks cool I have to have it" mentality that collecting took off for me. It became fun to hunt for deals locally at flea markets and local video game stores. Most video game stores in the early 2000's never looked at Ebay prices or knew what stuff actually was worth. It felt good to find stuff other people wanted that I could trade for stuff I wanted.  I've made a few great friends from collecting (I'm looking at you Tabonga) I was never a set collector but a collector of various genres I liked. I've since thinned my collection out a bit. I pretty much have all the retro titles I want. Every once in awhile an obscure import will get mentioned for the Famicom or SFC that looks interesting that sparks up the desire to track down a nice CIB copy.  Collecting has been a fun journey for me that's for sure! I hope the next gen group of collectors get as much enjoyment out the chase as I have and are able to make some good friends along the way.

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Administrator · Posted

I game more than I collect if we're talking hours played versus, say, hours searching for games to buy, or time spent gazing longingly at those I already own. 

I play for hours every day, often for entire days at a time, and certainly almost all of most weekends especially. 

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Member · Posted

My time for gaming is tightly constrained by work and family obligations, although I do my best to get as much time gaming in as I can! I would still consider myself more on the gaming side of the coin than the collecting side, as that's where my real passion and enjoyment of the hobby comes from. Although as time diminishes and disposable income increases, obviously I buy A LOT more than I used to, so my collecting drive is definitely levelling up over time.

Right now, I would say I purchase like 80% of the stuff I do with the intention of eventually playing it, or at least having it available to play if I so choose, with maybe 20% of the stuff I buy being just to have in the collection.

 

As for the specific question I became much more connected to gaming as an actual HOBBY in like 97/98 when I started buying N64 magazines and connecting my gaming habits to a more wider understanding of the video game market, as well as the history of the medium. Of course, I had been playing games my whole life, but it was then that I saw it as an actual thing in and of itself, and got inculcated with gaming culture.

I'd say it was as the N64 started to wind down and the games started turning up for a few quid each cheap, sort of 2002/03 that's when I really started to build up a proper collection, as well as go back for items from previous generations. After that I went to Uni in like 2007 and got a girlfriend and a life in like 2009, and so gaming took a bit of a back seat in my interests, I was only playing some like Wii and DS and stuff, more casual.

Then in 2013 after we had out first kid I was spending more time at home, so I started digging a lot deeper into the DS and 3DS library, and picking up a BUNCH of dirt cheap DS games like reignited my interest in collecting. Fortunately, I still had all my old games and stuff from my childhood and my previous collecting still in boxes in my house, so I had the decent core of a collection to build upon, I didn't have to go searching for childhood favourites, I could just jump straight into going after whatever took my fancy.

 

2016 I think I first stumbled upon NA, and the rest is history! 😉

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Member · Posted
47 minutes ago, Gloves said:

I game more than I collect if we're talking hours played versus, say, hours searching for games to buy, or time spent gazinly longingly at those I already own. 

I play for hours every day, often for entire days at a time, and certainly almost all of most weekends especially. 

No Money Vegan GIF by John Crist Comedy

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Always been a gamer, but I started collecting back in 2005ish. I never had much money growing up, but I got a job and I spent like...$100 a month on games. The rest went into savings.

Anything both pre-N64 and not sports was neigh impossible to find in Lubbock, even at the thrift stores. Maybe I was unlucky, but I was consistently unlucky for over half a decade. I never saw CIBs of anything, either. So, instead, I scoured the cheap-as-dirt games at GameStops when they had buy 2 get 1 free sales. Back then, I remember certain games being rare, but not necessarily collectible. Having a significant collection, and by significant I mean more than 100 games, usually got me curious looks, rhetorical questions like "why," and general negativity. And, unless it was money, I think that sentiment applied to nearly any collection of anything back then, at least among my friends and peers.

After the advent of the internet, and after I moved to DFW, my luck changed, and for about four years (2011-2014), I could find quality titles at retail locations for good prices. Not necessarily the 2005ish "get this previous-gen garbage outta my store" prices, but respectable and competitive with eBay and other sites. A majority of the "staples" and even a majority of the uncommon games I wanted I was able to find. I rarely came home empty handed.

And that's when it started drying up for me: 2015. That's when I think games started becoming collectibles. I'd walk into places and see a few staples for older consoles, maybe. Every successive year after that, it's gotten worse and worse. After 2018, I was and am surprised to find more than one first-party Nintendo title on any system pre-Wii. Anything cool or good has been picked from the piles of sports, racing, and military shooters on Xbox, PS1, and PS2, and any non-sports game on a Sega console is a rarity. Anything not on the Genesis is even rarer. I lucked into a copy of Chu Chu Rocket on the Dreamcast last weekend, and that's probably the first quality Dreamcast game I've seen in a store in half a decade.

Between people being stuck at home looking for games to play, people who grew up with games continuing to buy back the games of their childhood, more and more limited releases of games, and record prices of game sales, more and more people are aware of gaming as collectibles and have either entered or returned to gaming scene. Finding any staples or anything rare/uncommon nowadays is exponentially harder, and it's harder than it's ever been for current consoles. It seems like a majority of the games I'm interested in never saw retail shelves, and you have to be connected at all times to not miss some obscure release on a developer site or one of the dozens of limited game sites (not that it's all bad: more SHMUPS have been released for the Switch and PS4 than I've seen since the 80s and 90s). I wonder how many full sets we'll see for PS4 or Switch, if any.  

Anyway, TLDR: I started collecting in 2005. I think games started becoming collectibles around 2015. Nowadays, good luck.

Edited by Philosoraptor
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Hard to say, I mean it depends on the definition of a collectable, likes shoes are collectable but many would not recognize them as such just like they won't recognize anything like, movies, etc as a collectable, just something that one can collect. You can collect boxes of cereal if you so choose to. I think in terms of like, when people really started pursuing them, probably in the early 2000s before the internet and Youtube became very entrenched in this culture. I started collecting around 2008 officially and back then it was still pretty easy to find things, Genesis games were 'junk' prices, and really it felt like only NES and maybe SNES had kind of a wild wild west level of collector base, found on places like Nintendoage and such. I was able to easily find most anything I hunted for at that time, but I think it was mostly my age group getting jobs and such merged with the massive information base that is the internet that collectively made it become what it is now.

Sadly, It's not that fun anymore, people like myself are just looking for the exit at this point, but i'll happily hold onto everything and just fade from the buying scene at some point. I believe eventually it will be so prohibitive that most won't bother, which is the fate of anything that has a very finite amount of inventory left.

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On 11/27/2021 at 8:53 AM, goldenpp72 said:

Hard to say, I mean it depends on the definition of a collectable, likes shoes are collectable but many would not recognize them as such just like they won't recognize anything like, movies, etc as a collectable, just something that one can collect. You can collect boxes of cereal if you so choose to. I think in terms of like, when people really started pursuing them, probably in the early 2000s before the internet and Youtube became very entrenched in this culture. I started collecting around 2008 officially and back then it was still pretty easy to find things, Genesis games were 'junk' prices, and really it felt like only NES and maybe SNES had kind of a wild wild west level of collector base, found on places like Nintendoage and such. I was able to easily find most anything I hunted for at that time, but I think it was mostly my age group getting jobs and such merged with the massive information base that is the internet that collectively made it become what it is now.

Sadly, It's not that fun anymore, people like myself are just looking for the exit at this point, but i'll happily hold onto everything and just fade from the buying scene at some point. I believe eventually it will be so prohibitive that most won't bother, which is the fate of anything that has a very finite amount of inventory left.

I guess there are 2 answers to the question:

- when were games first being collected? I guess it would have started in the 90s or maybe earlier when games for the earlier console generations became dirt cheap, that I can imagine it would be irresistible to not buy them all up. Particularly if you happen to love console X gaming (from the 80s-90s).

- when did collecting became mainstream? This is the part I’m trying to get more insight on. The only problem now is..how do we define “mainstream”? 🤔

Regarding your 2nd paragraph, unfortunately I feel somewhat similar. The market has gone crazy such that the prior passionate collectors are more likely being put off rather than fueling more the passion. Collectibles are now being admired mainly for their dollar signs, not by their values on how much nostalgia and aesthetics they provide.

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15 hours ago, GPX said:

I guess there are 2 answers to the question:

- when were games first being collected? I guess it would have started in the 90s or maybe earlier when games for the earlier console generations became dirt cheap, that I can imagine it would be irresistible to not buy them all up. Particularly if you happen to love console X gaming (from the 80s-90s).

- when did collecting became mainstream? This is the part I’m trying to get more insight on. The only problem now is..how do we define “mainstream”? 🤔

Regarding your 2nd paragraph, unfortunately I feel somewhat similar. The market has gone crazy such that the prior passionate collectors are more likely being put off rather than fueling more the passion. Collectibles are now being admired mainly for their dollar signs, not by their values on how much nostalgia and aesthetics they provide.

Between grading and speculation buyers, I see far more people worrying about the money potential than the game yeah, I hate the money element.

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