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Interesting to see how much our beloved hobby has changed in the past decade.  As the title above states, lately, with the addition of WATA and Heritage/Certified Link auctions, along with what has become regular CIB grading, it finally seems to be here to stay (the grading portion).  I remember for years the debate on grading, all of the back and forth between keeping them raw, or preserving them (even opening them to play)....the subjective nature of the grading itself.....yet, despite all of the back and forth.....it appears as though it has become the newest grading normality (CGC, PSA, VGA, WATA etc.) and is more active than ever.  And for the record, although I love the display look of graded games, I still have a few hundred raw and enjoy those just as much.  Grading is here to stay.....the tidal wave has been upon us for some time....and if nothing else....it has changed the hobby drastically.

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I'm not really sure there's anything meaningfully incongruent between the different comments we shared.  I understand what you are saying and that's great, I don't really have any problem with it nor

I'm not going to go on a tirade against grading or anything, but rather just share that for me, I just see no real value in it as it relates to anything I care about for the hobby. I don't need t

Even though I only own one graded game, even with its current flaws, I see the point.  We call collect with different motivations.  If you are into collecting because you also enjoy having really nice

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I think keeping things raw and getting things graded will eventually strike a right balance. I feel there is still much more to learn and the market is still undergoing maturation. 

I’m overall excited to see that the collecting scene has blossomed to where it is now. Though I have reservations in that too many are jumping in blindly with a profiteering motive (money incentive) rather than the ones doing it for passion of the hobby.

We’re seeing some value gains, but what will be the collateral damage?

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I’ve said it before, grading method needs to be transparent and extensively documented. Describe nature, severity, and quantity of flaws and qualifying combinations to grade levels. If the grader does not fully and openly explain this, then the service is a pointless joke, even if a lot of people buy into it. Especially as this trend is coming from comic books, where some graders have extensively defined systems, if all you see is a number, it doesn’t mean anything except for how much other people are willing to participate. Which might be a lot. But without that backup, it is not substantive.

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Member · Posted

Even though I only own one graded game, even with its current flaws, I see the point.  We call collect with different motivations.  If you are into collecting because you also enjoy having really nice specimens of specific games or systems, and trading or occasionally selling them, then having some general metric of quality makes sense.

Yes, it would be really nice to have a well seasoned market of graders, listing every flaw, outlining details, etc., but sometimes you want to take a rare item, in rarer, perfect shape and entomb it to both protect and validate it.  Having that grade also serves a purpose, even if it's not perfect.  There may be a a wide degree of subjectivity in that 8.0-9.5 range (and even the higher ratings) but you can know with reasonable confidence that if you buy a 9.5 or better game, it's going to be in great shape.  If it's an 8.0 or lower, you know it's going to have a couple dents and dings.  Personally, I see no point in getting something graded  with many flaws, unless it really is a legitimately super rare item, with only a few known specimens in existence. but to each their own. 

They higher rated games are basically proof that they are in excellent shape, and the case helps protect that item for a long time. Plus, if you really hate the process to begin with, either avoid it or buy a graded game and just pop it out of the case.  If it's a $5,000 game, and you don't like the shell, just take it out of it.  You've not lost anything.

Edited by RH
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I'm not going to go on a tirade against grading or anything, but rather just share that for me, I just see no real value in it as it relates to anything I care about for the hobby.

I don't need the authenticity checked on 99% of what I'm buying, and more importantly, I usually just make my own assessment of quality and frankly, don't need another organization saying an item is an 85, or 90, etc.  Whatever criteria that is setup by them, and however fair or universal it attempts to be, it will never match my own criteria of what I'm really looking for.

I've probably said before somewhere, that the opinion that matters most to me, about a game that I have, is my own.  Course, I also am not necessarily super public about my stuff, as I don't often share around pictures or videos of my collection, so I guess that might be a big part of it.

I have some pretty nice sealed items, and I suppose I could slab some either to show off, or sell for a profit at some undetermined point in the future, but I just don't really have much interest in either of those, so i'm fine with them as is, and I already have them mostly protected in cases.

To be honest, it's not something I really spend a whole lot of time thinking about or worrying about.  People get super spiteful about grading, and complain about it in all sorts of ways, but it's not something I can really change anyway, so I just go about my day getting what interests me and ignoring what doesn't.  Clearly for many, grading their games provides some value to them, whether it is emotional satisfaction, or future financial value, so more power to em.  Just not for me I guess. 

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I'm kind of in the middle of this whole thing. I've owned sealed and boxed games from 20 years back, and always was satisfied with them without grading. I was the type to always have a play copy and a sealed copy. The whole grading thing took off only about 5 years ago. Since then I have slowly dipped into it mainly (1) because I realized my games were getting damaged and I needed a way to protect them and (2) to validate their condition - which was very important to me. The monetary value of it was never really a motivation for me. I think the entire hobby is in a very speculative bubble at the moment, and the prices will eventually correct. I'm perfectly happy owning what I have even if the price went to zero.

Not sure what everyone's motivation to collect sealed is, but a big one for me is the cover artwork, and the box that I look at as its frame, but that's just me. Sometimes I will go after a game just because its cover art, even if its a terrible game.

The grading process has been a mixed bag for me. I like what Wata is doing with the scaling system but disagree with some of their practices - I also think their cases can be improved, particularity for SNES. Same with VGA, there's a lot I don't like but they do some things better than Wata. I will say however, the Qualified/CIB never made much sense to me at all.

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Grading has definitely effected my hobby. I like to buy sealed games, mostly to open but every now and then I will keep one sealed. It's become harder to find sealed games that are not graded and while that's not a huge deal breaker for me as VGA/Wata cases can be opened, it's the fact that people think their game is now worth gold because it's "graded" by a "professional". The amount of mark up people put on these games makes me wonder what the hell they are smoking.

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For what it's worth, I think the current prices are absolutely absurd. Everyone who owns an old game thinks they've won the lottery, and wants top dollar for items that are more or less worthless except in sentimental value. Particularly, I don't believe many of the current NES prices will hold. Once the digital age sets in, you will see a very sharp correction - except for the truly rare and desirable items. Those titles are probably never coming down in a very long time, but there's only a handful that have true organic collectible value. items that were mass produced in the millions or even hundreds of thousands, are not going to hold value long term. It's nothing short of speculative gambling , particularly for newer games, and anyone playing in that market to profit, only has a very short window to capitalize on (i.e. take advantage of) people's emotions - they are playing a fool's errand.

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On 4/22/2020 at 12:22 AM, spacepup said:

I'm not going to go on a tirade against grading or anything, but rather just share that for me, I just see no real value in it as it relates to anything I care about for the hobby.

I don't need the authenticity checked on 99% of what I'm buying, and more importantly, I usually just make my own assessment of quality and frankly, don't need another organization saying an item is an 85, or 90, etc.  Whatever criteria that is setup by them, and however fair or universal it attempts to be, it will never match my own criteria of what I'm really looking for.

I've probably said before somewhere, that the opinion that matters most to me, about a game that I have, is my own.  Course, I also am not necessarily super public about my stuff, as I don't often share around pictures or videos of my collection, so I guess that might be a big part of it.

I have some pretty nice sealed items, and I suppose I could slab some either to show off, or sell for a profit at some undetermined point in the future, but I just don't really have much interest in either of those, so i'm fine with them as is, and I already have them mostly protected in cases.

To be honest, it's not something I really spend a whole lot of time thinking about or worrying about.  People get super spiteful about grading, and complain about it in all sorts of ways, but it's not something I can really change anyway, so I just go about my day getting what interests me and ignoring what doesn't.  Clearly for many, grading their games provides some value to them, whether it is emotional satisfaction, or future financial value, so more power to em.  Just not for me I guess. 

I collect all types ranging from CIBs, BNIBs, sealed and graded games. I just want to clarify a common misconception. And that is most genuine collectors of graded games do so because of the condition’s genuine rarity. When this is the case, authenticating it is a useful service, but also to protect the item whilst acknowledging the condition scale. It’s really a combination of all 3 factors that are the primary motive for a game to be graded.

In other words, most genuine collectors who grade their games aren’t just blindly buying up any sealed games to get them all graded, but there is often logic and order to what would be worthy of buying a graded game and/or to get their game to be graded. For instance, I have plenty of sealed games where I’m perfectly happy for them to forever remain in non-graded form. 

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Administrator · Posted
10 minutes ago, GPX said:

I collect all types ranging from CIBs, BNIBs, sealed and graded games. I just want to clarify a common misconception. And that is most genuine collectors of graded games do so because of the condition’s genuine rarity. When this is the case, authenticating it is a useful service, but also to protect the item whilst acknowledging the condition scale. It’s really a combination of all 3 factors that are the primary motive for a game to be graded.

In other words, most genuine collectors who grade their games aren’t just blindly buying up any sealed games to get them all graded, but there is often logic and order to what would be worthy of buying a graded game and/or to get their game to be graded. For instance, I have plenty of sealed games where I’m perfectly happy for them to forever remain in non-graded form. 

I'm not really sure there's anything meaningfully incongruent between the different comments we shared.  I understand what you are saying and that's great, I don't really have any problem with it nor was I trying to insinuate that everyone snatches up sealed items to grade for only nefarious or arrogant/profitable reasons.  And yes, I know not everyone who grades things does it for some massive payday.

I guess I was mainly just sharing my own personal perspective on it - and for me, I already have reasonable means of protecting my items, and I frankly don't care much whether anyone else knows that I have a "XX" condition grade item.  I collect what I enjoy, document my items, take generally good care of everything, and that's good enough for me.  I don't really see much value, to me personally, in getting something graded.  I don't care whether I have the only 95 condition Mario in existence.  I just want a nice Mario.   And if it has passed my own test of authenticity, that is what matters to me.

Some people quest for those rare, top condition items, and want to either display them prominently or get third party verification of its rarity or condition, and that's great - as I said, more power to em.  

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50 minutes ago, spacepup said:

I'm not really sure there's anything meaningfully incongruent between the different comments we shared.  I understand what you are saying and that's great, I don't really have any problem with it nor was I trying to insinuate that everyone snatches up sealed items to grade for only nefarious or arrogant/profitable reasons.  And yes, I know not everyone who grades things does it for some massive payday.

I guess I was mainly just sharing my own personal perspective on it - and for me, I already have reasonable means of protecting my items, and I frankly don't care much whether anyone else knows that I have a "XX" condition grade item.  I collect what I enjoy, document my items, take generally good care of everything, and that's good enough for me.  I don't really see much value, to me personally, in getting something graded.  I don't care whether I have the only 95 condition Mario in existence.  I just want a nice Mario.   And if it has passed my own test of authenticity, that is what matters to me.

Some people quest for those rare, top condition items, and want to either display them prominently or get third party verification of its rarity or condition, and that's great - as I said, more power to em.  

This is a pretty good summation of how I feel. If I think something is in great condition and it makes me happy, then I don't care if some group of pretentious strangers thinks it's a 60/6.0. I won't pretend to be a world renowned NES expert, but I know almost as much as the people working at these companies and I'm quite happy with my own appraisal of my items.

That being said, I understand why the service exists. A lot of people prefer external validation of their items and that's okay. 

Others like grading just for the display aspect. Generally graded items look good (minus WATA SNES games 🤮) and they make great talking points. There's absolutely nothing wrong with having your cool or rare item slabbed to show off to your friends.

Still others simply enjoy collecting, but don't want (or have) the time to get into the weeds when it comes to minor variants, mismatched parts, and other minutiae. These people shouldn't be shut out of the hobby just because they don't want to know the difference between a TM/TM and TM/(R) Legend of Zelda. So there is definitely some value there in welcoming more people to the community.

The only truly debatable and contentious aspect of grading is it's contribution to the speculation and profiteering of the hobby. Obviously this drives some people nuts (myself included) because it makes everything more expensive, turning a hobby that was once an enjoyable Easter egg hunt into a desperate grind; but it's not just the money.  These newsmaking $100,000 sales raise the barrier to entry and are straight up discouraging to casual collectors and limit the entry of new collectors. My favorite part of this hobby is chatting with fellow gamers, trading games and stories, uncovering long forgotten variants, and helping newcomers navigate the mess that is NES collecting. Just think about the NA/GoCollect fiasco. It was a direct result of grading and profiteering.

To be clear, I'm not trying to act as if it is all gloom and doom. The hobby is still going strong and we have an amazing community of leaders, teachers, and amateur sleuths here. It's just that grading doesn't add any real personal or social value to the hobby. It just adds economic value and we can see how well the focus on pure capitalism has affected other hobbies and is playing out in the the richest country in the history of the world right now.

**Just to be clear, I'm a huge proponent of capitalism. I just think it should have some limits to prevent companies from killing our planet and starving their own workers. Also, I completely understand the existence of these grading companies; these people saw a fantastic business opportunity and jumped on it. I don't hold any ill will against small business owners who make their dream come true. It requires a ridiculous amount of dedication to create a successful business from the ground up. I'm just saddened by the impact it's having on the collecting scene.**

Edited by DoctorEncore
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5 hours ago, spacepup said:

I'm not really sure there's anything meaningfully incongruent between the different comments we shared.  I understand what you are saying and that's great, I don't really have any problem with it nor was I trying to insinuate that everyone snatches up sealed items to grade for only nefarious or arrogant/profitable reasons.  And yes, I know not everyone who grades things does it for some massive payday.

I guess I was mainly just sharing my own personal perspective on it - and for me, I already have reasonable means of protecting my items, and I frankly don't care much whether anyone else knows that I have a "XX" condition grade item.  I collect what I enjoy, document my items, take generally good care of everything, and that's good enough for me.  I don't really see much value, to me personally, in getting something graded.  I don't care whether I have the only 95 condition Mario in existence.  I just want a nice Mario.   And if it has passed my own test of authenticity, that is what matters to me.

Some people quest for those rare, top condition items, and want to either display them prominently or get third party verification of its rarity or condition, and that's great - as I said, more power to em.  

I wasn’t trying to talk in terms of who is making the better personal choices. More so, I was simply trying to explain the reasoning behind a graded item, which is often a combination of factors and not a singular factor. 

 

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I've watched so many NES games die and not work again. They've been oxidized.

Imagine if you got some dirt on a comic book page the entire comic book goes blank 

 

Google: average age of computer chip

 

Search Results

20-30 years
 
Usage of a CPU does result in wear at the atomic/electronic level. The actual lifespan of the silicon transistors of a consumer CPU is typically in the range of 20-30 years before there is a failure, not 3-4years.Sep 13, 2009
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Graphics Team · Posted

It may sound odd, but my views on graded games are the same as my views on things like speedrunning. It's a neat part of the hobby that I personally don't care to participate in, but I like learning about it and seeing the joy that people get from it. There's so many ways that retro gaming and collecting can appeal to people, and I appreciate that we have such a great community to share and contribute.

Now I'll happily continue buying dusty cart-only games with cracked plastic and spaghetti-stained contacts.

-CasualCart

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