Game Purchase Story

I enjoy the chase as it were, so I keep going to thriftos and whatnot. Ever since I bought a CDX for $20 in highschool because the guy at the store thought it was broken (he smoked a lot of weed and didn't realize the power button was on the front), I realized maybe I should use my overfilled-with-video-games-brain to expand my collection where possible. And so I have!

‪News of Flight Simulator shipping on 10 DVDs reminded me of the time I bought Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade in 1993.

It was the only decent Amiga game I could afford on the shelves of my local WHSmiths. I took the empty box up to the counter. It was a budget rerelease and should have only been 3 disks so the box was slim.

Stunned, I watched as they struggled to squeeze in a manual and all 11 disks of the newly released Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis. I was sweating like it was the climactic scene of an extremely low stakes heist movie.‬

I pulled it off but then I had to play an 11 disk game without a hard drive so I guess I paid for my crime.

Oh no!! Was it even possible to play that way?

Ooooo! I had this one issue of Nintendo Power where they had the announcement of Platinum Games‘s founding, and that game Infinite Space literally felt like it was tailor made for me. I could never find it when I was a youth, but then one summer home from college, I decided to print out the list of every GameStop that had a copy and try to find one CIB. At that point a bunch of them were just throwing away the cases when they got traded in. After like 12 I finally found one and was so elated. I still haven’t played it because it‘s in that echelon of games that seems so well made for me that I’m saving it for another time (anyone else do this?), but will probably end up never playing it (Like DQXI, SMT Nocturne, Contact and Shadow Hearts 2).

@exodus#4523 It was painfully slow but it worked and my brothers and I persevered and finished it.

nice work

also @LuccaPucca you should just play it! It's slow and strange and probably won't be as much for you as you think, but it's worth finding out.

Shortly after moving to Yokohama in 2013, I encountered an old lady who was participating in a kind of sidewalk sale. She had a blanket spread out on the ground, with some old lady-style odds and ends laid out. Ceramics and scarves and whatnot.

Well, in among those treasures, I saw a copy of Suikoden II. Coming from Canada, I had trained myself to believe that Suikoden II was a sought-after rarity (I'm not sure how rare it is in Japan), so I immediately snatched it up off the blanket and asked her how much she wanted for it.

"Oh, I don't know," she said. "I was just cleaning out my house and found that. I think it was my son's. How about 100 yen?"

Well, I couldn't have gotten that coin out of my wallet fast enough, let me tell you. She had one other game for sale (Final Fantasy XII), which I also got for 100 yen.

I never played either of them, and no longer own either of them. But man that was an exciting few minutes.

I still go to Book-Offs sometimes just to look at the selection of used gamesofts. Recently I bought all those Trails games for the PSP because they were about 250 yen apiece, CIB. Sadly, though, the overall selection is dwindling at an alarming rate. The most recent time I went, they'd resorted to selling brand new Switch games for Suggested Retail Price. :(

I‘m the type who doesn’t take the stickers off of his games, so I still have various Gamestop and other markings. A lot of my games still have the stickers from Game World here in San Antonio, a game shop I used to shop at frequently and also worked at for a time. Some also had stickers from Gamefellas in Austin, and there‘s the other random stores. I’d have to say the cheapest purchase was my $10 copy of Radiant Silvergun I got from Game World back in the day that was due to a glitched up cost in the system, I later sold it for $150, and a copy of Ninja Five O that I bought for $10 CIB, and sold for $250. Other than that, I don't have much else that is really that major aside from I guess a $25 copy of Tengen Tetris that someone sold at the flea market not realizing what it was.

i have a perverse fascination with game hunting because my older brother suddenly got obsessed with trying to collect for the NES when he turned 15 and was able to have a job for the first time. for him, in spite of him only being a 3-4 years older than me, he was obsessed with this idea of legitimizing himself as an 80‘s kid even though he was very young during the 80’s. but we never owned an NES until our babysitter sold hers to us for cheap in like 1993 or 1994, so i guess it was his way of trying experience the glories of what he never had. by the time he was getting really into collecting this was the late 90‘s. ebay existed at that point and you could resell some stuff on there for profit without the public being broadly aware of how much anyone might pay for it. so even though we kinda lived in the middle of nowhere, you could find NES games for cheap pretty easily around pawn shops and garage sales and stuff for a couple bucks. he also got obsessed with “the NES rarity list” and we spent a lot of time and energy going out to different places looking for the stuff that was the most favorably ranked on that list. his biggest find was a shrinkwrapped copy of the original NES Zelda at some old video store, we he bought for 20 and sold for around 200 dollars. most of his stuff he kept for awhile though, and i don’t think reselling was the initial intention of his behind doing this.

i was definitely way more interested in playing the games than he was, and he sold off most of his collection later (much to my own dismay). but i kind of like the idea of having this sort of mission to go on, where you go places you would normally never go and some magic may be hiding around the corner. obviously that's diminished these days with the ready availability of so much stuff digitally, but even then you could emulate most NES games so i guess playing them wasn't as much the point. it's also much more depressing watching endless youtube videos of 40+ year olds standing in front of their massive games collections in their suburban houses who don't seem to have much else going on in their lives than that. seems way less cool now then it did when i was like 11!

anyway, my best experience was finding a top-loader NES for 2 dollars at a church rummage sale in the town i was living in. i don't game hunt often (don't have the space/money/transportation for it) so that feels like one of the best possible experiences you could have. i was actually even looking for an NES at that point, and it's not something i went out of my way at all to find.

less interesting but a few years back i also managed to find Mister Mosquito for PS2 for like 8 bucks at a game store in Portland i went to with @exodus much to his dismay that i found it first, lol. it was a good deal then but the game only seems to have shot up in price now.

Many, many years ago (2006?) on a rainy day I was in Super Potato and there was a skeleton saturn in the “Junk” bin. For those of you who haven‘t gone, there is usually a “junk bin” where everything inside is free. It’s usually stuff like cracked famicoms yellowed with 20 years of cigarette smoke and tar.

Anyway, there's a derby stallion Saturn in there. I didn't want to be arrested for mistakenly stealing something from the store, so after staring at it for a good 30 seconds like a freak, I asked the store clerk on duty if everything in the junk bin was free. He said yes. I held up the saturn and said "this too?" ... something like これはどうかな?

He frowned, took it out of my hands, went behind the counter booth, and I thought he was going to come back with a huge price. Instead, he had wrapped it up in 2 bags for me. "Thanks!" I said, a bit too brightly, he frowned again, and I left the shop feeling like I had just stolen something valuable. Didn't stick around to even browse the games as I was too full of nervous energy.

@ellaguro you kind of touch on this but for me I really like hunting for the stuff. It‘s almost less about having it and more about finding it. I guess maybe I said this somewhere, maybe even in this thread, but it’s a chance for me to take the knowledge I have gathered for whatever reason and apply it to something. I like shifting through the bible stories VHS tapes at a thrift store and inexplicably finding a khmer dub of a hong kong movie in a tai seng big box along with everything else.

There's definitely a lot of dark sides to the collection thing, and when one makes one's entire identity about that it's pretty depressing, but for me it's like - I get to have this nicely curated collection of things I personally found, and I have a story about where I found them, and when a friend comes over and pulls something out I can be like "oh yeah, I found this at a flea market in stockton" or whatever.

Like I now have a copy of Mr Mosquito, but I bought mine for $30. When people look at that game I tell them the story about how you got it for $8 and then I had to track down a reasonably-priced copy of my own as a result! It's all fun stuff to me, tying stories to the objects. I also like keeping this stuff out of landfill, and making sure that when I get rid of it it finds a good home where people will keep the stuff.

Interesting that you had a long history of game hunting - and a shame your brother dumped it all without talking to you about it ;_;

@ellaguro#4629 i get what you mean about seeing videos of collectors!

it's very strange to see people with complete collections for consoles when they openly admit that like 20-30% of that collection is sports/shovelware games that they will never play. it feel like games are just another form of fake stocks (like baseball cards) rather than actual pieces of art to engage with for some people, and it's interesting to see the effect that it's had on how many stories in this thread from people who many not necessarily feel the same. so many storied i hear about are in the vein of "i found this game for a lot cheaper than it sells for now." i understand this though! so many great weird games are ridiculously expensive, and i'd be stoked if i could find something like Rule of Rose or Chulip for that cheap. thankfully emulators for most of these games work, but there are still some cool games out there that are prohibitively costed and have very buggy roms and that bums me out.

yeah, ultimately these games belong in the hands of people who'd appreciate them, not people who can afford them, which is not always the same group.

and not everyone has the luxury of being able/having the time to drive to far-flung goodwills or flea markets to scour what remains of potential deals! But I'm glad so many people have stories about just like... getting the game they liked because somebody was nice, or purchases that elicit certain memories, because it adds to the overall experience of the game. it does strike me that these stories will be fewer and further between as we transition away from physical media. that transition is ultimately a good thing! but I do like hearing about people interacting with buying games in a physical space.

@exodus#4637 yeah, re: my brother i think it was mostly purchased with his money… but not all of it! so yeah it sucked. i ended up getting i think one of his old cartridges and when i got my own NES at that church rummage sale i sold it less than a year later anyway… but some of them he sold or held onto were ones that were given to the both of us collectively. as the only person who seemed to be actually interested in playing them, it was kinda upsetting that he just decided to sell them without saying much of anything to me. and it was a unique thing to have a collection of around 150 NES games at one point, with a good 1/3 of them (probably) boxed! like i had picked up knowledge from that by proxy that was hard to unlearn, and game hunting is definitely an area that can easily alienate other people who don‘t have any interest. it’s also a lot less fun when you don't have another person to go with, so that was probably the biggest bummer for me. like when we went on some vacation as a family or some other place that might have been kind of boring otherwise, being able to go to on those hunts made it feel more exciting and worthwhile.

i guess he realized that he didn't have much interest in playing the games and saw collecting games as too kiddy or whatever, so he moved onto record collecting. i never seemed to grow out of it though! lol. beyond me just having a lack of money/space for it. besides i guess i didn't complain about it much since he didn't seem to care much about the other consoles (mostly just the SNES that we bought in the late 90's from one of his friends) so they ended up being mine.

@cera#4639 yeah assessing the worth of your game hunting experiences from the value of what you find online is pretty depressing. that‘s what’s made it a lot less fun for a lot of people too, as a lot more sellers all over the place will sell retro games with really high prices because they think they‘ve struck gold or whatever. it’s really about the experience of looking for stuff with other people and having something to do collectively with other people, but i think when a hobby becomes lucrative enough re: reselling (or at least there‘s the perception that it’s lucrative) it invariably attracts all the people who are going to swoop in and be more aggressive and ruin that experience. i know a lot of people have talked about a retro video game “crash” of sorts happening for the last 4-5 years, but that hasn‘t really happened for most stuff… it seems like prices have only gone up because of the pandemic. so maybe that’s just what the hunt for older physical media is like in this day and age.

i think the NES game collecting stuff in particular is depressing to me with how much people were obsessed with things like Little Samson or Stadium Events or whatever as a status symbol. and there's just something people who strongly identify with the NES above all else that is so profoundly boring to me. like, who cares? i guess TG16 or Saturn or Neo-Geo can be really especially bad with people who only care about how expensive their collection is too though, and most people who collect for NES have some genuine nostalgia for the NES though (whatever "genuine nostalgia" means lol). but at least with Rule of Rose or Chulip those games are unique or interesting enough to want them independent of them as a status symbol. when there's a specific game people want to own because it's interesting or unique or has some kind of history behind it, i think that's the best aspect of owning a physical copy to me! but i guess when a game becomes popular enough as an "expensive game" most people see past the actual game and only see the dollar signs anyway. but that's the danger of the collector mindset - something that i feel like a lot of collector communities and youtubers feed into, which is probably why the prices have jacked up so much for this stuff in the last 10 years. and i don't feel like there's any real end in sight to that.

Yeah, having someone else to go with is a fun part of it! I‘ve enjoyed akihabara hunting trips with friends, especially those that don’t care about sega or NEC consoles so much, ha ha (so we won't be fighting for the same stuff).

It's nice to just go into a place and be like "oh dang, do you know this game, where this thing happens!?" and you just get to talk about that for a while.

I have a fraught relationship with the idea of owning things, but I will absolutely defend the idea of finding them!

Long story short, eighteen years ago, I got arrested by the police for buying a HiSaturn Navi. I am not confident the full explanation is better than any wild explanation/hypothesis you might come up with in your heard.

Most of my thrifting and searching stories aren‘t too interesting, since “paying market value at the time” isn’t too terribly exciting. Getting a complete copy of Blood Will Tell at $40 a year or two before it started spiking really hard is maybe the closest I'll get to a “you had to be there” moment.

But I think my favorite is the non-Greatest Hits copy of Symphony of the Night sitting on my shelf. I started collecting older games in 2004 or so, as a teen getting their own income from side jobs for the first time. At the time I had just picked up a PS2 to finally play Final Fantasy IX and other Square RPGs behind the Sony firewall. That was around the tail end of when Costco stocked budget PS1 games at about $15. Rows and rows of late era budget titles, GH Crash Bandicoot copies, probably enough Jet Moto 3 to build a small castle out of jewel cases. Rows of copies of Final Fantasy Anthology six-deep just 10 yards away from gallon tubs of ice cream and Steven Curtis Chapman CDs. A particularly American experience.

Every time my parents went grocery shopping I'd tag along and scour through these for the hell of it and just once there was a pristine black-label copy of Symphony of the Night hanging out there among all the old Maddens. $15, just like all the other games. Tossed it in the cart, paid my parents the price, and had it rung up with the string cheese like it wasn't even a thing. At the time it felt impossible to find copies of SotN anywhere, even though it wasn't expensive. Playing it through for the first time I realized that the "weird game with the hanging body covered in flies boss" that I saw a friend play in elementary school was this one! Closed the book on that mystery.

The real kicker to this is that I'm almost positive some number of copies of Mega Man Legends 1 and 2 (and maybe even Tron Bonne) were in those stacks as well, but I was Not So Bright at the time and prevailing Big Boy Mainstream Gamer Media opinion at the time was that those games were weird and stupid. Oops!


@whatsarobot#4600 I still go to Book-Offs sometimes just to look at the selection of used gamesofts.

I used to love going to Book Off.
You can get all sorts of interesting stuff. I bought a King Jim Pomera in one once.
You can often get good controllers in the junk bins. I bought two Negcons and a Jogcon for 108 yen each.

I am a catch and release game hunter.
I love finding and trying stuff, but I'm also completely okay with not bringing any of it with me anytime I move.

that SOTN story is great! especially closing the loop on a prior mystery by playing through it.