Video Game Collecting as a Hobby (2024): A Guide to Starting Your Collection

Video game collecting is a dynamic hobby that encompasses the acquisition and preservation of video games, consoles, and related memorabilia.

It taps into the nostalgia and personal connection many have with their gaming past, while also establishing a culture of historical preservation for what is now recognized as a significant part of popular culture.

Through collecting, you can own a piece of this expansive digital landscape and safeguard artifacts that have shaped entertainment across generations.

As a collector, you initiate your journey by identifying what aspects of gaming history resonate with you most.

Whether it’s chasing after rare editions, amassing a library from a particular era or platform, or even collecting based on a theme, your collection is as unique as your gaming experience.

Alongside the personal joy of accumulating these digital treasures, cultivating your collection requires knowledge in evaluation, authenticity, and the current video game marketplace.

Key Takeaways

  • Video game collecting is a preservation of gaming history and personal nostalgia.
  • Starting a collection is guided by individual interest and can be platform or era-specific.
  • Knowledge in game valuation and authenticity is crucial for a serious collector.

See Also: Bucket List Of Hobbies From A – Z

Fundamentals of Video Game Collecting

Video game collecting is a multifaceted hobby that combines the preservation of history with personal passion. It’s important to grasp the basics, the inherent nostalgia, and the types of games that often become collectibles.

Understanding the Hobby

Video game collecting encompasses more than just acquiring games; it’s about preserving a piece of history and celebrating innovation in storytelling and gameplay. You might focus on retro games, rare editions, or items connected to a specific character. Essential to your journey is understanding the cultural significance of video games and how the hobby bridges the past and present.

The Appeal and Nostalgia

The groundwork of this hobby often lies in the sentimental value. Nostalgia drives many to collect games from their childhood, providing a tangible connection to fond memories.

The charm in holding a physical copy of a game that harbors personal stories is immeasurable and is a cornerstone of the hobby. This sentiment often influences a collector’s preference towards certain video game consoles or a certain genre of games.

Types of Video Games Collected

Collectors choose their focus based on several factors, such as:

  • Historical Significance: Games that marked a milestone in video game evolution.
  • Rarity and Exclusivity: Limited editions or games that had a short production run.
  • Genre or Franchise: Focusing on specific niches like RPGs, platformers, or franchises like Zelda or Mario.

Here’s an example of how a video game collection might be categorized:

Category TypeExamples
ConsoleNES, PlayStation 1
GenreAction-Adventure, Puzzle
Character or FranchiseSonic, Final Fantasy
RarityLimited editions, autographed copies

When you tailor your collection to these aspects, your assemblage becomes more than just a set of items; it’s a personal museum of interactive art.

Getting Started with Video Game Collecting

Embarking on video game collecting begins with careful planning and strategic choices to ensure a rewarding experience. Your first steps involve setting financial boundaries, honing in on specific areas of interest, and educating yourself to make informed decisions.

Setting a Budget

Establishing a clear budget is crucial as video game collecting can be an expensive hobby. Before making any purchases, evaluate your finances and decide on a monthly or overall spending limit.

Choosing a Focus

Select a focus for your collection to give it direction. You might opt for a specific video game console, a certain genre, or games from a particular era. For instance, you could concentrate on collecting vintage Atari games, which would require research on their functional longevity and maintenance.

Research and Knowledge

In-depth research is your tool for making wise additions to your collection. Understand the historical significance of video games, market values, and preservation techniques. Here’s a basic checklist to guide you through:

  • Verify the authenticity and condition of the games.
  • Learn about the rarity and demand for specific titles.
  • Keep up-to-date with market trends to identify potential value increases.

Gathering this knowledge will empower you to build a collection that’s both personally meaningful and potentially valuable.

Building the Video Game Collection

Collecting video games is a meticulous hobby that involves several key steps: acquiring games, ensuring their preservation and care, and organizing the collection effectively.

Acquiring Video Games

The pursuit of expanding your video game collection can take you through various marketplaces. Here’s where you might find your next gem:

  • eBay: A haven for collectors, eBay offers a wide range of video games from classic to modern titles. Keep an eye on auction prices to avoid paying above the odds.
  • Flea Markets: These can be treasure troves for rare finds, often at lower prices than online platforms.
  • Thrift Stores and Garage Sales: Great places to stumble upon games at significantly reduced prices.
  • Facebook Marketplace: This can be a convenient option for local deals, often allowing for negotiation on prices.
  • Pawn Shops: While the selection can be hit or miss, you might find some underrated or less sought-after games.

Remember, you’re not just after the cheapest price; rarity and condition are equally important.

Preservation and Care

To ensure the longevity of your video games:

  1. Keep games away from direct sunlight and excessive heat.
  2. Store them in a cool, dry place.
  3. Use protective cases or sleeves, especially for disc-based games or delicate cartridges.

Properly preserving video games not only maintains their functionality but can also affect their future value.

Organizing Your Collection

An effective organization system will help you keep track of your games and make your collection easy to navigate. Consider these methods:

  • Alphabetically: Solves the hassle of finding games quickly.
  • By Genre/Platform: Ideal for highlighting the diversity of your collection.
  • Chronologically: Offers a historical perspective of the evolution of games.

Moreover, proper shelving can both protect and display your collection. A sturdy shelf can be an investment not just in organization, but also in the preservation of your library of games.

Evaluating and Authenticating Video Games

When venturing into video game collecting, understanding the process of evaluating and authenticating games is crucial. It ensures you know the value of a game and that you’re adding genuine articles to your collection.

Understanding Rarity

Rarity is a critical factor in the value of collectible video games. A game’s rarity can stem from limited production runs, regional releases, or promotional items.

Rarity does not always equate to value, but it can significantly influence a game’s desirability within a collecting community. For example, certain sealed copies of games are considered rare and can be highly sought after.

Grading and Condition

Grading is the process of evaluating a video game’s condition, often done by professional companies like Wata Games. A graded game is typically sealed, and the condition ranges from “Poor” to “Mint” or even “Gem Mint” for those in perfect condition. Here’s a simplified grading scale:

  • 10 Gem Mint: Perfect condition, no visible flaws
  • 9.0 Mint: Near perfect, minor imperfections
  • 7.5 Near Mint: Minor wear, well-preserved
  • 6.0 Fine: Moderate wear but still presentable
  • 4.0 Very Good: Significant wear, may include minor damage
  • 2.0 Good: Heavy wear, damage more prominent
  • 1.0 Fair: Severe damage, only item’s rarity justifies collecting

Ensuring Legitimacy

To ensure the legitimacy of a video game collectible, always verify its authenticity. This can involve checking for official seals, confirming release details, and verifying with experts or through trusted services. Be vigilant against counterfeits, especially when considering higher-value items such as sealed copies of games.

Remember that legitimate collecting is your gateway to a satisfying hobby, ensuring your investment retains its value and authenticity.

The Video Game Collector Community Aspect

Engaging in video game collecting not only revolves around acquiring titles but also brings you into a diverse community where relationships flourish and shared experiences at events and on forums enhance your hobby.

Building Relationships

Video game collecting allows you to establish and nurture relationships with individuals who share your passion. Often, these interactions begin in online forums and can lead to meaningful friendships offline.

For example, joining a dedicated Facebook group connects you with fellow collectors, providing a platform to exchange information and support one another in your collecting endeavours.

  • Family: Collecting can be a joint activity that strengthens bonds with family members who also appreciate video games.
  • Friends: Collaborating with friends to find rare items can deepen friendships and extend your social circle.

Participation in Events and Forums

Participating in conventions and forums is an essential part of the video game collecting community. These platforms facilitate the exchange of knowledge, trade, and celebration of video game culture.

  • Conventions: Events like E3 offer a space to meet industry professionals, game journalists, and other hobbyists.
  • Forums: Online communities, such as Reddit, host a wealth of information and serve as a hub for discussions and advice specific to collecting video games.

Upcoming Conventions:

June 9E3 2024Los Angeles, CA
October 18Retro Gaming ConNew York, NY

Remember to actively participate in these platforms to make the most of your hobby and expand your video game collecting knowledge.

The Video Game Collecting Marketplace

The marketplace is a vibrant aspect of video game collecting where you can engage in buying, selling, and exchanging games, whether through direct sales, online auctions, or trades.

It offers various platforms where rare items may command high prices based on their condition and scarcity.

Buying and Selling

When you’re looking to buy or sell video games, consider using dedicated online platforms, local stores, or social media groups. These venues often provide a wide selection of titles, from common finds to rare gems.

For instance, when selling, pricing your items competitively is crucial to attract potential buyers, so it’s helpful to research market values. When buying, inspect the condition of the game or console, and confirm its operational status.

Examples of platforms to look out for include:

  • E-commerce websites (e.g., eBay, Amazon)
  • Dedicated gaming forums
  • Social media marketplaces

Auctioning and Trading

Auctions, especially through established companies like Heritage Auctions, can be an exciting way to acquire sought-after games. Pay particular attention to auctioning systems—some operate silently while others are live events. Stay informed about the terms and conditions, as well as the auction house’s reputation and authentication processes.

If you’re interested in trading games, it’s common to leverage online communities or gaming conventions. Trading allows you to swap titles with other collectors, which can be a cost-effective way to diversify your collection. Keep in mind:

  1. Present your items accurately and with as much detail as possible to foster trust.
  2. Be open to negotiation, ensuring a fair trade for both parties involved.

Trading often involves:

  • Direct swaps of equal value
  • Partial trades with added cash compensations

Through these interactive processes, you contribute to the dynamic ecosystem of video game collecting.

Advanced Video Game Collecting

Venturing further into the hobby of video game collecting, you’ll encounter concepts like investment and becoming an authority in the field. These advanced aspects call for strategic decisions and a deep knowledge of the market.

Investing in Video Games

When investing in video games, consider rarity and condition as primary factors influencing a game’s long-term value. Making wise investments often involves:

  • Understanding market trends
  • Researching historical sale prices

Rare video games can be akin to investments like comic books where their value can appreciate significantly over time. For example, a mint condition copy of a limited release could become a highly sought-after collectors’ item within a decade.

Memorabilia associated with gaming, such as limited edition consoles or signed artwork, can also be valuable. To make informed decisions, track auction results and stay active in collector communities to gauge the demand for such items.

Collecting as an Authority

As a video game authority, you are not just collecting; you are curating a part of video game history. This involves:

  1. Acquiring in-depth knowledge about different games, developers, and their significance.
  2. Networking with other collectors and experts within the community.

By specializing in a specific area, like games from a certain era or a niche like rare video games, you position yourself as a go-to source for information and advice. It’s also important to document your collection meticulously, possibly even publishing your findings or curating exhibits.

As a collector, keep your inventory organized and in excellent condition. Here are some components of a properly maintained collection:

Item TypeMaintenance RequiredStorage Advice
CartridgesDust-free, moisture controlAcid-free containers, cool location
DiscsScratch preventionUpright position in cases
ConsolesRegular cleaningVentilated areas, away from sunlight

Through investing economically and collecting authoritatively, you elevate your hobby to an advanced level, ensuring your collection holds not only sentimental but also potential monetary value.

Video Game Collecting by the Era

Collecting video games can be an exciting journey through gaming history, providing you with a tangible connection to the evolution of interactive entertainment.

Retro and Legacy Systems

You may begin your collection with retro consoles, which include systems like the legendary Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). This era is renowned for timeless classics such as Super Mario Bros. and Legend of Zelda. These games serve not just as entertainment but also pieces of digital history.

Collecting for legacy systems often involves seeking out:

  • Original cartridges or discs
  • Vintage hardware and accessories
  • Special edition releases or bundles

Some notable retro consoles to consider are:

  1. Atari 2600 – where home console gaming gained popularity
  2. Sega Genesis – notable for its impressive arcade ports
  3. 3DO – an early attempt at a multimedia console

Modern and Current Systems

When you turn your attention to modern and current systems, the PlayStation 2 (PS2) represents an impressive library of games with enduring popularity. As the best-selling console of all time, it offers a vast selection of titles across all genres.

In your modern collection, you might focus on:

  • Collectors’ editions with exclusive content or packaging
  • Games that received critical acclaim or have cultural significance
  • Consoles that innovated or enhanced the gaming experience like Dreamcast

The PlayStation 2, for example, is known for:

  • Its backwards compatibility with PS1 titles
  • A diverse range of games covering various genres
  • Pioneering DVD playback functionality in gaming consoles

By targeting these specific eras and systems, you’ll be able to curate a meaningful and personal collection that reflects your passion for video gaming’s rich history and continuous evolution.

Video Game Collecting Challenges and Considerations

Engaging in the hobby of video game collecting offers unique challenges and critical considerations you should be aware of. These range from the difficulty of finding rare games to understanding the legal implications of collecting.

Dealing with Scarcity

The hunt for rare and valuable games can bring a sense of achievement to your collecting experience. However, scarcity poses a major challenge. You may spend a considerable amount of time searching for a specific title or version of a game, especially if it’s a sought-after collector’s item. To manage this:

  • Identify rarity: Research the games you are interested in to understand their rarity and value.
  • Rating systems: Use established rating systems like Wata to assess the condition and legitimacy of a game, which can influence both its scarcity and value.

Collecting games isn’t just about acquiring titles; it’s important to consider legal aspects:

  1. Replicas and Bootlegs: Understand that selling or owning counterfeit games can be illegal. Always verify the legitimacy of a game before purchasing.
  2. Copyright and Licensing: Be aware of copyright laws and licensing agreements, which can affect your ability to lawfully collect and trade certain games.

By focusing on understanding these challenges and considering how to approach them, you can navigate the complexities of video game collecting with confidence.

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