Thrift Store Junkie

Video games and Retro Items I have picked up at yard sales, thrift stores and Flea Markets
August 04, 2010

I am a huge video game junkie, a huge video game junkie who bought a house last month. This poses a problem. Besides the fact that I had to give up the Internet and Xbox live I also don't have $60.00 every month to purchase the games that I want. I won't be picking up Donkey Kong Country returns, Arkham Asylum 2, Kirby Yarn, or any of the other games that I would have loved to have owned/played in the near future. I do however have a back up plan. I was born in 1981 and probably started playing video games in 1988. I love older titles as much as I do the newer ones. My back up plan is picking up games at thrift stores, yard sales and flea markets! I have decided to focus my energy on collecting older titles for the foreseeable future. I have always done very well for myself when it comes to picking up used games at thrift stores and yard sales. To kick off this series of articles I am going to first recap a few of my most memorable finds.

Dreamcast (black sports edition) ($1.00)

I picked this up about 3 years ago. I was at a flea market near my hometown and there was a table with a lot of old video games on it. There was a Dreamcast with no controllers or hook-ups. The person selling this must not have known what it was or thought that no one would buy it without the hook-ups. He had Snes and Nes games from $5.00 all the way up to $15.00 (For Legend of Zelda: a link to the past). Weirdly enough he was selling a third party Dreamcast controller for $5.00. I had a lot of Dreamcast controllers waiting at home for me so there was no need to pick that one up. I still don't understand how the system was priced at $1.00 but a third party controller was priced at $5.00. I thought there was a huge chance that this thing wasn't going to work at all but I took the chance for $1.00. I got it home and hooked it up (I already had Dreamcast wires at home) and it worked perfectly and even better it had a game in the disc tray. The game was Ready to Rumble boxing. It may have been that I played the game years after it came out, but I really didn't enjoy this game very much and only gave it about a 1/2 hour of my time. The Dreamcast was my favorite system for a long, long time. I logged so many hours on the system playing Marvel vs. Capcom 2 with three of my best friends: Brett, Colin and beer. Having an extra Dreamcast lying around in case the first one ever breaks makes me feel real good, there will be no interruption during Marvel vs. Capcom 2 sessions.

Turbographix 16 (Free)

I was at a church flea market and they had tables full of stuff. It was late in the day and they were selling items by the bag. The way it worked was you would take a paper bag, fill it up and when you would get to the register you would pay $1.00 for the whole bag. My mom had a bag with some stuff in it already when I saw the Turbographix on a table. It had no controllers or cables. My friend Brett had a TG16 so I knew I could test it with his hookups (which I did about a month later and it worked perfectly). This was back in 2006 or so. I still have no games or hookups for the Turbografix. I have since downloaded most of the Turbografix games that I would ever want on the virtual console service on my Wii. However, there is still one game that I have always wanted that has yet to be released on the virtual console service. That game is Tricky Kick, one of the greatest puzzle games I have ever played.

Gex 3:Deep cover gecko ($3.50)

I had wanted this game for a real long time. I played Gex 2 way back in the 90's. I rented it from a movie rental place called The Movie and Pizza Company. The Movie and Pizza Company was a genius idea, you could rent a movie (or game) and order a pizza and have it all delivered to you. Gex 3 follows the same basic story as the first two games. You have to travel into the media dimension and fight Rez. In Gex 3 (just as in Gex 2) each world is a parody of pop movie/television culture. Being a huge Batman fan I was very excited to see that Gex has a turtle butler named Alfred! I always felt that these two games were the closest anyone got to toppling Mario 64. I know I'll get some hate directed towards me for saying this, but I like these games better than Mario 64 so I guess in my opinion they did topple Mario 64. The variety between levels is great and the remotes that you need to collect always seem to have a good mission to go along with them. In Mario 64 there were plenty of stars that I remember being just way to easy to get, and I don't remember those type of moments in the Gex games. Gex 2 and 3 are still two of my favorite games of all time.

Vanishing Point ($3.50)

Vanishing Point is a game that I had been wishing to play forever. It came out towards the end of the Playstation's lifecycle and I remember reading in game magazines that the game had no pop-up. Being a huge racing game fan I really wanted to try this game out. For whatever reason I didn't pick this game up when it was new, and I always regretted that a little bit. After I got a Dreamcast I decided to hold out until I found the Dreamcast version, but when I saw this perfect copy at Goodwill about a month ago I had to pick it up. The game itself is very good, although like most games of the time it hasn't aged to well. The game has standard racing and then also challenges that remind me of the challenge stages in Crazy Taxi 1 and 2. I haven't played too much of the game so far, but I do plan to sit down sometime soon and play through the game.

Test Drive 4, Test Drive 6 and Need for Speed: V-Rally ($.50 each)

I have always wanted to own Test Drive 4. Back when I purchased my first Playstation it came with a demo disk that had a demo of this game on it. I thought it looked amazing. I was a huge racing game fan. I really wanted this game but I never ended up picking it up. I guess every time I went to buy it something else would come along. About a year ago I saw this at Goodwill for $5.00, but the disc had a few scratches and the jewel case was cracked and missing the back cover. I had wanted this game for so long that I almost paid for it right on the spot anyway. I ended up not buying the game. The next weekend I was at a yard sale and there was a Tupperware box filled with games and a model 1 PS1. In the box was a copy of Test Drive 4, as well as a few other games I wanted to pick up. As is usually the case the person wanted to sell the whole thing as a lot. It had a ton of games I already owned and the PS1 looked pretty beat up. As I was walking away the guy said "Well, I'd sell the games for $0.50 each." So I got Test Drive 4, Test Drive 6 and Need for Speed: V-Rally 2 for $1.50, which isn't too bad. Each of these was in perfect condition. Test Drive 4 is a very difficult game, I tried playing it as soon as I got home but became very frustrated with it. Test Drive 6 I had never played before but it seemed similar to Test Drive 4. The last game I tried out was Need for Speed: V-Rally. This game surprised the hell out of me. I have always been a huge fan of the Need for Speed games but I had never played the V-Rally games. The game seemed to be ahead of its time, it really reminds me of Dirt for PS3 and 360.

Test Drive 6 DC ($1.00)

I already owned this for PS1, however I figured it would be better on the Dreamcast because the visuals might be cleaned up a bit. I was a little disappointed when I played it because I can't really tell much of a difference between the PS1 and DC versions.

Thunder force 5 ($1.00)

I had never heard of this game before. I saw it in a box of games. Most of the games in the box were horrible, for instance there were 2 Rugrats games and an N64 game with no label. I asked how much the game was and the woman told me "$30.00 for the lot." Needless to say I wasn't going to buy the whole thing just for one game I wasn't sure if I would like or not. I love shoot em ups, but I had never heard of this series. I thought it looked similar to *Einhander from the back of the case. Anyway, I walked away and minutes later my Mom came up to me and said "They told me they'd sell it for $5.00, but I got it for $1.00!". I don't know how she pulls off these little feats of magic, but I am grateful that she can and does. After playing the game I can say that it is definitely not as good as Einhander, but it was definitely worth the $1.00. The game is difficult and fun at the same time. It uses 3-D polygons on a 2.5-D playing field. When you start the game you get to chose from 3 different stages, which is a blessing because it keeps the game from getting too stale too quick because of its difficulty. It is a very fun shoot em-up and I could have seen myself putting a lot of hours into this game if I had picked it up back in 1998 when it was released. With games like Einhander and Raiden out there though it kind of brings the fun of this game down a notch. The only thing I really dislike about the game is that it is only 1-player, which is a shame cause this game would have been a great 2-player game. I am now very interested in checking out Thunder Force 3 and 4, which were both, released on the Sega Genesis. They both feature 2-D sprites and I am interested to try them out soon.

*Einhander is my favorite shoot em up that was released for PS1.

N64 plus expansion pak, multiple games ($10.00)

I picked this up at Goodwill. I already owned a N64 (which I think I paid $45.00 for only the year before I found this one, and paid $20.00 for just a N64 controller to play Mario Kart 64 the week before finding this deal), but I figured I couldn't turn down a $5.00 N64 with games and controllers. It was in a clear bag behind a glass display case. It had 4 controllers with it. As is typical Goodwill fashion I couldn't tell what games were in the bag. I could make out a few of them, but after I bought the thing I was pleasantly surprised. It included the following games:

WCW: Nitro
Perfect Dark
Mario Party 3
Star Wars Racing
Super Mario 64
Zelda: MM
Ken Griffey Baseball
Super Smash Bros.
All games that I didn't own! (I used to own Mario 64, California speed and both Zelda games but sold them to a guy I worked with years ago for $20.00 with a N64).
Also when I opened the expansion port I found it had the memory pak. Yes! I had never owned this so I was super excited about this. I really found a spectacular deal on this N64 and it works like a dream. I think the only way I would have been happier is if it had been a different color than the standard black (I now own 2 of the standard black N64's). I am always on the lookout for different color N64's, or the Pikachu N64, finding that would be awesome.

PS2 ($4.00)

Here's a funny story, the day after I bought this PS2 for $4.00 I saw an NES at a flea market sell for $25.00 with no games. The NES was discolored and missing the cartridge door. Its funny how flea markets work, some people sell things so cheap and others want top dollar for their junk. At the same time some people (like myself) wait until we see great deals and yet other people seem to pay way too much for things at flea markets and yard sales. It's all part of the fun of searching for games (for me, at least). If I see a game I've been searching for a long time for way too much and pass it up, I will usually come across it later for what I'm willing to pay. Ok, back to the PS2. I thought for sure this would not work. I pulled up to a house that was having a yard sale and I found this sitting in a box with a few pairs of shoes. They were asking $5.00 for it but my Mom got them down to $4.00. The family selling it swore it worked, but I had my doubts. I got it home, plugged it in and... it worked! I finally got a chance to play God of War (Grade A) for the first time. I had wanted to play this game since the day it came out and now with God of War 3 out I figured it was about time to try out the original. I borrowed the game off of my brother in law to test the system. I thought I would sit down to try out the game and it would be like most older games I try out (I would sit there for 15-30 minutes), but the game is fantastic and I was glued to the T.V. set for 4-5 hours straight. This also was the perfect game to test the PS2 out with because I played it for so long and yet the PS2 gave me no trouble at all. I plan on playing the sequel as soon as I am finished the first game. Also, to make this deal even sweeter, the PS2 came with a blue licensed memory card, a controller and Final Fantasy 12 in the disc tray. The last Final Fantasy game I had played was #7, so playing this game was quite a shock. The battle system was completely changed from previous games, but after about a 1/2 hour of playing it I started to really like it. The game seemed very good and I may go back to it later. After playing just these two games I have to say that I regret never owning a PS2 in its heyday. I owned a Gamecube and an Xbox and enjoyed them a ton, but I never realized how powerful the PS2 was. I've owned my Xbox 360 since launch and yet God of War on the aging PS2 blew me away. I am really looking forward to picking up some of the better titles on this system in the future. The PS2 is a Great console (why didn't I pick one of these up sooner?).

PS1 model 2 boxed ($5.00)

I already owned a PS1 model 2 (and at one time a model 1 as well, and I'd like to find another one some day because I can't use Gameshark with model 2) but this one came boxed. I am a sucker for boxed video game systems, especially when they have original manuals and such (which this one did). It also came with a demo disk that I never had before. My Mom picked this up for me at a yard sale one day and surprised me with it. It is now sitting up on my shelf and it looks great up there. Now I have one PS1 hooked up to my T.V. in the basement and a complete boxed PS1 on display.

Sega Genesis (boxed) ($3.00)

I was walking around at a multi family yard sale back in May and I saw an old Genesis model 1 still in its original box. It looked like it had never even been taken out of the box. The box looked brand new, without any wear (even on the corners). There was no price on the box, so I was afraid to ask. I left the yard sale without inquiring about it but then I later had regrets. At the time I was living only about 3 blocks from where the sale was so at the end of the day I went back and asked the price, the woman said she would sell it for $5.00. My Mom was with me and asked "How about three?" and the woman said, "OK." This also came with 2 sports games and an extra Asciware controller. Inside the box everything was still wrapped in plastic bags. All the manuals were included as well as a sweet double-sided poster with Toejam and Earl on one side and a bunch of screenshots from games on the other side! The only thing that the system was missing was the Sonic the Hedgehog cartridge that was advertised on the front. I already have the game on many collections (Sonic collection for Gamecube, Sonic mega collection for Xbox and Sonics Ultimate Genesis Collection for Xbox 360), but it would be nice to have a complete boxed Genesis with a copy of a "not for re-sale" Sonic the Hedgehog. I am sure that I will find this somewhere if I give it enough time.

Gex ($5.00)

I normally don't pay even this much for a ps1 game (unless its something worth it), but I had wanted this game for a long time. I love it, its a shame the ps1 didn't have more solid 2-d games. I picked this up at a thrift shop. The thrift shop that I picked this up at is a very difficult place to find things in. It has no order to where things are kept. It is 4 floors of random stuff. The reason it is so unorganized is because people rent space in the building. The building holds about 70 vendors each with their own little area. The place is a ton of fun and sometimes it's easy to find things but most of the time it isn't. For instance I found this game in a corner of the basement underneath a stack of comic books. I almost didn't even look in that section of the store because it was mostly old kitchen items, but the comics caught my attention. Upstairs they had a copy of Sonic the hedgehog with the box for $10.00 and somewhere else in the building I found a copy of Nightmare Creatures 2 for PS1 for $3.00. I always liked Nightmare Creatures 2, and even once owned it. I didn't pick the game up though because I've been holding out hoping to find a copy for Dreamcast. The order in which I played the Gex games is as follows: Gex 2 (year it was released), Gex 3 (2009), and then Gex (2010). As I said before, I was always a huge fan of the 3-D Gex games. Now I am also a fan of the original 2-D Gex.

007:goldeneye ($1.00)

I picked up a PAL version of this game in 2007 for $5.00. I didn't realize it was the PAL version till I got it home and it wouldn't fit in my N64. I cut the tabs off but it still didn't work. I didn't own a N64 back when this game came out and I was really looking forward to a few 4-player matches with my friends with beer by our sides (cause beer always makes game playing experiences better). I was very disappointed that I couldn't get the game to work. I finally picked up an NTSC version about 2 months ago. I didn't even need to haggle, the price was $1.00 and I felt it was worth that so I snatched it up. My brother-in-law and I sat down at 8pm and played multi player last Saturday until we couldn't stay up any longer (which was at about 3am). I am also super excited now that this is going to be released on the Wii; I really hope Activision doesn't screw this up.

Desert Strike, X-Men and Sonic Classics collection (all for $1.00)

My Mom picked these up for me last weekend while I was at home. I had too many things that needed to get done around the house for me to be out searching for games at flea markets.
I was cutting the lawn when my parents stopped by to visit and my Mom walked over and showed me what she had picked up. Desert Strike, X-Men and Sonic Classics Collection for Sega Genesis. She got all 3 of them for $1.00, that's about $0.33 each! I haven't played them yet because I have been so busy with the house that I just purchased, but I can't wait to hook up the Sega and dive in. I am most excited to play Sonic classics collection (sure, I have Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection for 360. But there is just something magical about playing these games on their original hardware). Sonic's Classics Collection is a cartridge that includes Sonic 1, Sonic 2 and Dr. Robotnic's mean bean machine.

Zombies ate my Neighbors ($1.00)
Combat Cars ($0.50)

I had always heard good things about Zombies ate my Neighbors but never had the chance to play it. My parents picked this game up with Combat Cars while I was in the process of moving from my apartment to my new house. They held on to them until I moved and then gave them to me. I haven't had time to play these yet, but I plan on devoting an entire weekend to Zombies ate my Neighbors.

I turned down Tekken 2 for $5.00 at a yard sale. It was the same sale that I picked up 007: Goldeneye at. I kind of regretted it later, but I have 3, which is my favorite (and also 6 on 360). I never played Tekken 2, and would have liked to. It's tough to convince myself to spend $5.00 on a so-so game when I've gotten such great deals on other things in the past. The woman had 007:Goldeneye for $1.00, but Tekken 2 for $5.00 and she wouldn't budge on the price. Oh well.

The following two games that I picked up may not have been from a flea market or a yard sale but I figured I'd include them as well. Now that the PS2 and Xbox are getting older I noticed that the game stores are selling games super cheap. Sometimes it's a better deal getting games from the used game stores now than it is to go to the flea markets. For instance, I noticed that the Gamestop near me is now selling Xbox games Buy 1 get 2 free. I almost picked up The Warriors for $8.99 with a free Project Gotham Racing and some horrible looking first person shooter I saw there. I turned them down when I saw a copy of Twisted Metal: Black for PS2 on the shelf. This is a game that I've wanted to play since the day it was released. I never got the chance though, until now.

Twisted Metal: Black ($6.99)
Maximo ($2.99)

I love collecting video games and I hope I have inspired you to do the same. It's real easy to find a fantastic deal at a yard sale or flea market; you just have to invest some time into searching for them.
Another great way to pick up games is to make sure all your friends, family and anyone else that you run into knows that you collect video games. A co-worker of mine just recently came into work and gave me a copy of Forza 3 and Halo:ODST because he somehow ended up with an extra copy of each when he bought his Xbox 360 elite. He said he knew that I was really into video games so I was the first person he thought of when he decided to give away his extra copies.

Megaman toy ($1.00)

I picked this up for $1.00 about four weeks ago. I love the Megaman games and couldn't turn this down. I need to touch up his nose with some paint but other than that I am very happy with this find.

That's it for this article. I'm off to the Goodwill to see if they have any good video games lying around. Till next time! See you guys later.
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