If you’re reading this odds are you may already know a fair amount about video games, but you’re not sure how to start a collection or even what exactly you want to collect. Maybe you’ve got an old NES sitting in your closet for ten years that you’d like to do something with or maybe you’ve got over 20 RPGs for PS1. If you have anything to do with video games you’ve already got a start for a collection. You could try for a complete system (Console, all games, and accessories) or maybe just a specific genre within a system (All RPGs for the PS1). It’s entirely up to you as to how big you want it. Unfortunately for you the costs can get pretty high in some cases, but that’s to be expected when collecting just about anything. However a little bit of research and shopping around at thrift stores and garage sales can go a long way.
When looking at consoles the first thing you’ll want to look at is the condition. Does it work? Are all the cords there? Are there any cracks or scratches in the body? Is it a special model? Does it have all it’s original packaging? These will be important factors in determining it’s value. A non-working console isn’t worth much of anything unless you know how to repair it. Damage to the body also brings down it’s value. Having all the original packaging can greatly increase the value of the console. For example you can find a Sega Dreamcast on eBay for roughly between $30 to $50. If it has it’s original packaging it becomes $70. If it’s new unopened it becomes $250. Special models such as the Hello Kitty ($360), Sakura Wars ($550) and Biohazard ($1,100) almost always have a high value. At this time of writing there was even a store display kiosk model for $3500.
Games are valued in much the same way. Does it play? If it’s a CD is it cracked or scratched? For a cartridge you need to look at the body for damage. Check the contacts for corrosion. What condition is the label in? If there’s writing on it the value drops some. As you can see there are a lot more variables to check for cartridge games than for discs. Like consoles having the original packaging increases the value. Also like consoles anything new and unopened has more value. Try to stay away from ‘reprints'(Greatest Hits, Players Choice, etc…) they don’t have as much value as the originals.
Accessories can be hit or miss. Third party accessories generally don’t have much value as the first party varieties. Other than that you should check it for the obvious. Does it work? Is there any damage? Does it have it’s original packaging? The same things as you would for any other video game item. Not all accessories are the same though. The more rare it is the more value it’s likely to have. Especially game specific accessories. For instance the tank controller for Steel Battalion (Xbox) is around $150 and the maracas for Samba de Amigo (DC) is around $170. It should be noted that new and unopened accessories do have more value. However if you have anything that comes with batteries you run the risk of the batteries breaking down and ruining the product from the inside. The older it is the more likely this is to happen. To keep your collection safe from this threat you should always remove batteries unless you are using them or it breaks the product.
Video game collecting can get pretty costly and last thing anyone wants is to get burned. If you follow the basics you’ll significantly decrease your chances of getting burned. Always try to do as much research as possible before making any large purchases. Remember it’s unlikely you can collect it ALL so relax and have fun with it. Good luck and happy hunting.