Britt5091 Origins: Video games, a smart investment?

Welcome to Britt5091: Origins, where I dig up old blog posts I used to write for IGN’s community under the username Britt5091. Some posts may make you giggle, some may make your eyes bleed, and some may make you stroke your beard in a pensive manner. All you need to know is that these posts, no matter how terrible some of them may be, ultimately lead to everything I do now.

Video games, a smart investment?

June 18, 2009

About a year ago I was browsing on EBay for the first time. I discovered the video game section of the site and decided to see what some of my games were worth.

When I found that people were paying a hundred bucks plus for some of the games I have collecting dust, I was shocked. I started thinking. Has anyone tried making a long term investment out of collecting video games? Would it even work?

I started doing some light research and this is what I’ve come up with so far. Just a fair warning lol I am pretty much typing as I’m thinking, so this could end up going anywhere.

The three main components to having a solid collector’s item:

1) A WORKING game
2) The original Box/Case in decent condition
3) Inserts (Manuals, map, etc).
And if we’re talking Playstation, for example, if the game is “black label”, meaning you purchased the game before it became a “Greatest Hits” version. Greatest Hits aren’t worth as much, obviously.

Let?s take a look at Earthbound for SNES.

As of 6/17/2009, the cheapest price I could find?

For the cartridge
EBay: $84.00
Amazon: $114.00
For the box and inserts (comes together)
EBay: $105 (This one was an auction. It still had several hours to go.)
Amazon: N/A
Players Guide:
Ebay: $60.00
Amazon: $75.00
For the “whole package” (excluding Players Guide)
Ebay: $330.00
Amazon: N/A


Or, you could be exempt from making that hard decision and just have your own copy lying around from way back when.

I am a video came collector. I seriously give kudos to those that sell their games because I don’t think I could ever bring myself to do it. (Check out my collection. It’s only about 200+ but for me, its more games than I know what to do with…its sick) So when I heard that these games were worth so much, I immediately thanked my lucky stars, that when I was only 6, I was smart enough to keep all the video game manuals/inserts that came with my SNES games.

I called my mom and asked her what she had done with my SNES game boxes. Her response:

“Oh honey, I burned those a long time ago.”

Before me flashed an image of ashy, burnt Benjamins, floating into the sky above a blazing fire.

But would I have really sold them? No, probably not. If anything, I was hoping they would be worth more in the future.

But will they be?

I haven’t been following this for that long, but from what I’ve learned and seen over the year, it’s hard to say whether or not the value of vintage games are going to appreciate or depreciate.

With the fairly new downloadable services on all the current gen consoles, such as the Wii Shopping Channel, Playstation Store and XBLA, how is this going to impact worth?

Let’s talk Chrono Trigger for SNES. This game was originally released in 1995. It has been released how many times? 3 including the SNES version?  The game is easily available. So I find it hard to believe that people are spending, on average, $100.00 + (for the complete box set) just for the gaming experience, when they can pick up Final Fantasy Chronicles (PS1 game which includes FFIV and Chrono Trigger) brand new for around $15 bucks, or, if you have a DS, go get that version.

(Unless the only system you own is a SNES, but really now? I figure if the only reason you are spending that kind of money on that game is because you want to play it, and the SNES is the only system you have, you could buy a PS1 & FF Chronicles for that price.)

Final Fantasy VII. Arguably one of the greatest games of all times, and only available for the PS1/PC until recently. You can pick up the PS1 gem on EBay roughly anywhere from $60-$100+ depending on what you want. Now that it is available for download on the PS3 for what, 10 bucks, how is that going to affect the value?

Who or what is keeping these prices competitive? Is it collectors?  Or gamers who want to play a game like FFVII but never had the chance, that don’t care about cases or inserts and will jump at the fi


Britt’s Note:

Well, that ended abruptly. Even the original post on IGN is cut off. So I guess that’s that! But now that I’ve been at this videogame collecting biz for a few years, I have a better grasp on the topic.

First of all, to make money you have to spend money. That being said, where does one find vintage games? Sure, you could waltz to your closest used game shop, but you’ll end up paying however much money the game is actually worth, defeating the purpose. After all, they’re trying to play the same “get money” game you are.

Garage sales, pawn shops, etc are where to look if you want to score games for dirt cheap and turn that around for a profit. Example: This weekend I spent five dollars on about ten cartridge games. I probably could go on eBay and sell all of them for 150 dollars–but you know I won’t cuz I’m a hoarder. ;)

So, are games a smart investment? Meh. I’d say older games can be good for a quick 50 bucks or so, but I definitely don’t think it’s something you’ll be able to sell and live off of, unless you run a used game store or something.


  1. huh I like this story twist. It reminds me of a Uncle Ben situation that helps to galvanize the Hero’s morals. Or in the case of Infamous Hero or Villain. I need to get a PS3 and Infamous.

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