Preserving Video Game History

Retro video game collecting is more than just a hobby...
August 20, 2018
Many of us share the same nostalgic memories from when we were kids. The time spent outside ALL DAY during the summers. The family outing to Pizza Hut on Friday nights and sleepovers with your closest friends. The awesome Saturday morning cartoon lineups to watch with a bowl of your favorite cereal (in my case it was Cheerios or Rice Krispies, never had the sugary stuff in the house...lame).

But some great memories I had growing up was because of video games. Everyone had a favorite, the NES, SNES, Turbografix 16, Sega Genesis, Sega Master System, Sony Playstation?? Or even earlier generations with the Atari 2600 or Intellivision.

I grew up in the 80's/early 90's with the Colecovision. My dad bought one for the family back in Christmas of 1982. Back then, video games were family time, that's just how it was. I had a blast playing Donkey Kong with my brother (when I was old enough) or just watching my dad play Venture and Q-Bert. I was the youngest and sometimes didn't get to play, but honestly still had a ton of fun just watching.

Time passed, my parents actually never bought me a video game system. Any system I had was bought with money I had worked for or saved from Birthdays and other holidays. The very first system I ever bought for myself was the Game Boy with Super Mario Land.

There was always a sense of pride and accomplishment when I saved enough to buy a system or new game. These days you can just download a game and in seconds be able to play it. Which is fine I guess, but what's the fun in that? Back then, a trip to the store to buy a game was part of the excitment. The anticipation in the car on the way, then when you got there the aisles of games to choose from (RIP Toys R' Us). Plus the game kiosks where you can play some games while you shop (Again...RIP Toys R' Us).

Eventually came the SNES, Nintendo 64, Sega Saturn, Sony Playstation, Sega Dreamcast, Panasonic 3do, Sega Game Gear, Sega Nomad. I had all of these systems at one time, with a long list of games for each of them. One of my best memories was New Years Eve of 1996. I rented F-Zero and my dad rented Desert Strike for the SNES (yes, I know the picture is of the Genesis version, but I don't have the SNES version yet!). We beat them both that night (F-Zero right before midnight) with help from my brother, and it's something that will always be etched in my memory.

But then High school came, and though I still liked video games, girls and having money to go out on weekends just seemed more important to me. So I did what any other high schooler would do. I sold everything at the local game store or on Ebay, oh baby instant cash!! There was this really cool new website in the late 90's and early 2000's called PayPal (maybe you have heard of it) that just made everything that much easier.

Fast forward to my 30's. Sure I had the X-Box 360, but I had nothing left from growing up in the 80's, 90's and early 2000's. The things that were such an important part of my life growing up...were gone...that's when the regret starting kicking in. Come on, we've all been there, finding a video game worth $200 now that you had growing up. "Well crap, I used to have that". Sound familiar?

So I decided one day it was time to start a new hobby. I prepped my wife on what was happening (along with the financial obligations) and with her support I started my retro game collecting journey back in April of 2018. My wife found an NES, with a zapper, 2 controllers and 6 games for $60 on a local swap. That's what started it all and from that point on it's been a blast.

At first that's all it was to me, a really fun (though expensive) hobby. But it's actually grown into more than that. Video games played a pivotal role in the childhoods of MILLIONs of people. A lot of retro video games ended up in the trash after use or just thrown out (along with original boxes). This is a way for me to do my part in preserving an important industry and eventually pass it along to my kids, then to their kids, and so on.

My daughters LOVE playing Super Mario 3 and RBI Baseball. And you know what, I noticed this time turning into family time. We would all sit around and enjoy each other while we played. There is no, "I am going to go play on my tablet by myself". It's, "Hey dad, let's go play some Super Mario Bros together!!" They have pretty much just stuck to the NES for now. But I have planted the seeds for playing some SNES and N64 down the line. I mentioned Super Mario World to my oldest and she said, "What! a better Mario???"

There are smart ways to save money in the process though. I try to buy multiple games in lots, unless they are on the rarer side. Online swaps are great because people are looking for quick cash and will make awesome deals. Believe it or not, Goodwill has an online auction site I use on a daily basis, and I have never had an issue of something not working. They always have a huge selection of retro gaming available on multiple pages of items to bid on. I have even seen the NeoGeo AES on here with some games.

I am pretty much zeroing in on boxed and loose SNES games right now and building up that library. But if I find any random games from other systems I pick those up too whether it's online, or at a local game store. Which, by the way I think everyone should pay a little more to support a local business when the opportunity arises. For example, I paid $50 for TMNT: Turtles in Time for the SNES at the local Video Games Etc. I could probably find it for $30-$40 somewhere online, but I don't mind spending the extra $$$ locally.

I encourage everyone to pick up this hobby. It's not only fun, but you are also doing your part in preserving history for future generations. Sure, I guess you can just download the roms and play on your computer but it's just not as authentic as playing on an old 27" CRTV with the physical hardware.

Any other Retro game collectors here??
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