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Classic Console Collecting

January 19, 2009 - Matt Phillips
In these tough economic times, the thought of collecting obsolete video game hardware/software may seem to be a frivolous waste of time and money. For me, nothing could be further from the truth. I have been collecting old video game systems for several years and I keep to a very tight budget. Here are some tips to help anyone who wants to start a console collection:

1. Chances are, you probably already have some obsolete systems in your house. Check your attic or basement for that old Atari or Nintendo. When I decided to collect consoles I had a good start, Not only did I have my old Nintendo NES, SNES, and N64; but also, I rescued the old Atari 2600 and a very rare Coleco Telstar Arcade from the grave of my parents attic.

2. Networking. You have friends who like video games too. You have relatives who like video games. Tell them about your new quest to acquire vintage games. They may sell or trade their old systems to you. If you're lucky someone will just give you the games because they don't want them anymore. I got a Sega Genesis with the Sega CD system attached to it and several games for free from someone I worked with. My wife got me a Sega Dreamcast for free from one of her co-workers.

3. Flea markets and yard sales are a great place to find old games. Flea market vendors usually know what gems they have and charge higher prices, but many of the people just want to get rid of old junk. That is where you will find the real deals. Yard sales are not meant to make lots of money, so haggle and the price will probably go down.

4. Used video game stores can be a great place to find things you need, but you will pay for it. GameStop has some older games, but they no longer stock vintage games. The Exchange in Canton has a large selection of older video games and accessories. This is an especially good resource when you need extra controllers or cables for systems that lack components.

5. Finally, we have the internet. Ebay and other such auction sites can be a great resource for finding rare systems. Anything you want can be found on the internet, but the dangers of online auctions are great. Items may not work, you may get caught up in bidding and pay way too much and shipping costs can be high on larger packages. Surfing the internet is best used for research. Learn what you can about the games you want and be patient, don't take the first auction you see.

Vintage video game collecting is a rewarding hobby. Firing up an old system and playing the games you loved as a kid is like going back in time. It doesn't have to be expensive or time consuming. The best part of the hobby is the quest. Finding a rare game in the "wild" and getting it for cheap is a great feeling, and learning about the progression of video games from the early days of pong to the high powered monster systems of today make collecting fun.


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