A Booming Market for Vintage Video Games

An illustration of different gaming console controllers through time.

Image: Shutterstock

Some things are cyclical, like fashion or music—but what about video games? Yes, those too. These days, vintage videogames, like cartridges for the Super Nintendo, Atari, and the original Gameboy. As the kids who played these games in their youths are entering their thirties, the market for vintage video games has skyrocketed—games that used to be between ten and twenty dollars now go for as much as $150, or, in the case of Donkey Kong Junior Math for the NES, $8,000.

In an interview with CNN Money, Giulio Granziani, owner of VideoGamesNewYork, says he once negotiated with a mysterious Canadian seller for one of two Nintendo Powerfest 94 prototypes known in the world—to the tune of $12,000. Other gamers and store owners suggest the recent upward motion of the industry is simple nostalgia: as we get older, we just want to feel the way we did as children. But there’s not a lot of profit to be made selling retro games anymore, perhaps only 5 or 10%.

Nostalgia, it seems, is lucrative. Even Facebook is interested now in what used to be. The company introduced a program earlier this year called “On This Day” which shows posts, photos, and other information from a specific day in the past. Users have to subscribe to the service, and Facebook sends an alert to users to remind them of those memories—good or bad.

The need for nostalgia exists outside of the video game industry, too. Recently Coca-Cola reintroduced the early-2000s soda Surge to the market, and there’s a high volume of clothing being produced under a “pinup” or “vintage” label. Nostalgia has become a real and powerful marketing tool, from old comic books to 70s pantsuits to The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

So if you’re hoping to collect some retro video games, you might want to do some research before you buy to find the best price—and chances are, the price will still be high. Or maybe this is a good opportunity for you to dig through those old boxes in your garage—loads of cash might just be waiting for you.

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3 Responses to A Booming Market for Vintage Video Games

  1. HusbandAndHusband says:

    I remember all of them!!! Crazy!

  2. amandaliberty28 says:

    I don’t care how much someone would pay for it, I could never part with my Pokemon Yellow Limited Edition Gameboy Color!

  3. manta.com says:

    It is furthermore much easier than seeking and lowering
    coupons from magazines.

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