‘’Any wants?’’ Shit, this is both a blessing and a curse when you’re friends with a game shop owner that deals with the current and retro. I open up Messenger and take a look at what is on offer. PAL SNES stuff this time, not my favourite but there is something that I have never seen, a boxed pair of officially licensed, wireless controllers made by Acclaim. You can see where this is going, ‘’How much for the pads?’’ I ask, expecting a sum that I probably can’t afford. ‘’Free mate’’. Well, I’ll take them then, winner. Must be my lucky day or an early birthday present, he even dropped them off at my house like some kind of Father Christmas but without the obesity and alcohol problems. I bring them into the house with genuine intrigue and amazement, I was never aware of such items, the box is worn as you would expect but still in great condition for their age and I slowly open the shoebox style container and instantly see a big £4 written on the inside. Ha! Brilliant, £4 is an absolute bargain. They must have come from a charity shop or car boot sale but surely they aren’t worth so little.
Cue online auction site, punch in the description into the search bar. Not many listings pop up, they mustn’t be too common and with retro the price tends to reflect that. Some people were asking £80-£120 for a boxed pair (which I had) and £30+ for unboxed single controllers with the receiver. Feck, this got me asking myself a few questions, why so much? Are they any good? Time for a Caravan Style Retro Review session and give these bad boys a whirl. The videos are up on YouTube if you want a better idea but I’ll cut to the chase, they work well if you’re pretty close to the receiver and if the infrared isn’t interrupted. They suck at Street Fighter 2. Definitely not worth the online auction price tag in my opinion but they aren’t the only guilty products out there, Megadrive and SNES game prices rose years ago. More recently GameCube titles have sharply risen, take Fire Emblem Path of Radiance for example, I bought a copy from one of the retail pawnbroker stores for £15. This was a great price and I knew it. Take a look online, the price has rocketed. Go back a few years and if you were in the know then titles like Fire Emblem could be found online for cheaper if you bought the NTSC equivalent. Now if you aren’t aware, we Europeans didn’t get 60 Hz full speed gaming for some years. During the 8bit to 64bit era we were playing at 50 Hz, which is approximately 17% slower. NTSC really is the way to go with retro, plus a majority of games are cheaper.
Now this all depends on the market. Renewed interest in titles will cause the prices to rise. Some titles keep their value, noticeably the Zelda titles and more importantly in my opinion is when those kids grow up, find a job and start to earn some disposable income, nostalgia jumps up onto your back and says ’LET’S GO SHOPPING!’. If you’re still reading this I bet you are guilty of it, just like I am. Our culture is obsessed with the immediate past, whether it is video games, music, fashion, movies. The list goes on and with that idea it all boils down to supply and demand. As I mentioned earlier, GameCube titles have risen in price recently just like SNES and MD did years before and with all of these factors feeding the beast of inflation what are we left with? Over pricing and a lot of punters with more money than sense, leaving the more sensible and poorer, or both, without. But there are ways around this and a light at the end of the tunnel. Only joking, the tunnel is endless. Enjoy the journey.
With the popularity spike in online auction sites and online stores that are named after rainforests (yeah, take a look at them places too, they’re equally ridiculous) we have also been treated to some great places to shop in the comfort of our living rooms, or toilets, wherever you fancy really. Before the whole social networking scene exploded, if you wanted to purchase a PC Engine or Turbo Grafx (I know we had this but at 50 Hz so it doesn’t count today) then you would be paying over the odds for the importing etc. Some places would stock imports which was great but choice was obviously limited due to the (at the time) niche market. If you go onto a social networking group that specialises in retro gaming you can pick these up relatively cheap nowadays which is great. I use these groups quite often and have found some bargains. There are numerous sellers that live in Japan or America and have what you want on their doorstep and will sell to you for a reasonable price. Obviously there are scammers out there and you must always be cautious when finding such person, use a paying method that offers protection and make sure that you have done your homework on them. Please try not to be too creepy, no one wants that cyber letterbox peeper shiz.
Flash carts and emulation hasn’t been covered here, I do use both and really appreciate what they have to offer but on the other hand I am nostalgic, and a materialist, and a hoarder and I just like to have the actual game or console ok. These obviously cut out the feeding of the beast issue and I have seen HD remakes cause the prices to fall also but solving the problem or coming to some grand conclusion wasn’t my aim. All I would like to do is give a little insight of the situation and hopefully guide the wanting to their want. If you have anything to add please comment on the Facebook group, I would really like to hear your opinions on the matter. Big thanks for input of the Perv collective, you know who you are. Lots of love, Terry Brown’s favourite nephew, Liam.