In 2003 I purchased a used Chrono Trigger in a mint condition box for $70. That’s it up there. If I had shown you this image and told you I just picked up the game today, you never would have believed me — a complete package like this is worth over $200 now. But that kind of price hike was expected. It’s the rise of just about everything else that’s caught collectors off-guard.
CNN has published a report on the rapidly climbing value of retro games and the consoles they play on. What’s going on is that the generation that grew up with these games is looking for them again, and nothing but the genuine article will satisfy. All those people who sold their games at a garage sale, or gave them away in college, or had their mothers toss their collection while they were at summer camp, now have children of their own and want to share the same experiences with them. This has created a rising demand for a finite supply. This also might explain why GameStop has taken a sudden interest in selling these things again.
If you already filled out your cartridge collection years ago, you are one of the lucky ones. For those who waited, building a classic library is going to take more searching and more money. The value of an average NES, SNES or Genesis cart has gone up by at least $10, and the value of rarer titles has shot up much higher.
In some cases previously worthless games have been given a Colbert Bump by the growing trend of blogs and YouTube series dedicated to the hunt for retro games. Hagane: The Final Conflict went from total obscurity to one of the most valuable SNES carts around after Cinemassacre’s Mike Matei featured it in a video. Also inexplicably valuable — to my continued annoyance — is Pocky and Rocky, which continues to fetch eBay prices over $100. I had plenty of chances to buy this for $15 or $20 over the years and never did. There is a local game store near me that will sell me a Pocky & Rocky for $70. I’m seriously considering it.
Also driving the price hike is everybody simply being more connected. The old clueless standbys like thrift stores and yard sales, which used to be treasure troves of rare games for cheap, are now staffed by people who check their smartphones first before they determine the price of something. This continues the cycle, as the high prices just make people want the games more, making them pay more.
On the other hand, if you’re considering selling your collection, the market has never been more profitable. Now’s the time! Just offer Pocky and Rocky to me first.