Are your old video games worth anything?


(NEXSTAR) – Thinking of unloading your old video game collection for some serious loot? Hope you remembered to keep these cartridges in pristine condition.

The high-quality games of yesteryear are now selling for a lot of money at auction, with titles such as “The Legend of Zelda” and “Super Mario 64” going for $ 870,000 and $ 1.56 million, respectively, at auction earlier this year. Other popular games typically cost over tens of thousands of dollars, depending of course on their condition and desirability.

“Interest in collectible video games doesn’t seem to be slowing down,” says Valarie McLeckie, general manager of video games at Texas-based Heritage Auctions.

McLeckie, a collector herself, has been a part of Heritage Auctions for as long as it has been offering games, overseeing sales of the aforementioned Zelda and Mario titles, among thousands more.

“People have been collecting video games since video games were created,” notes McLeckie. “There are people who collect them to build a library of playable games. But there is also a community that has actively collected sealed games since the games have existed.

These are the players of this second group – those who collect sealed games – which are more likely to pay for certain titles. And this has become especially true in recent years, now that authenticating bodies can certify and classify individual copies for collectors.

An unopened copy of Nintendo’s “Super Mario 64” sold at auction for $ 1.56 million in July. Heritage Auctions in Dallas said the 1996 video game sale broke its previous record price for a single title sale. (Heritage auctions via AP)

WataGames, one of the largest video game rating organizations, does this by assigning ratings on a 10-point scale, taking into account the condition of cartridges, manuals and boxes, and whether games are still sealed in the factory or “complete in box” (CIB), which means that they have been opened, but that they still come with the manual, the sleeve and all other components of the original packaging. Wata even gives a rating based on the quality of the shrink wrap on the sealed sets.

“Their job is to say whether the game is genuine or the seal,” says McLeckie, whose auction house uses Wata’s ratings to catalog the games.

Certain specific titles, however, are obviously more in demand than others, sealed or not. But there has been a recent shift towards more mainstream games, according to McLeckie.

“Before this boom in interest in collectible video games, collectors wanted rare titles that were hard to find. Dark, even. But with all the recent activity in the market, there has been an increase in attention paid to games that have been universally popular, like ‘Super Mario Bros.’ “

Games for the Nintendo entertainment system are among the most coveted, she says, probably because the NES was so universally loved in its early days, which sparked general interest in games. But there is an interest “definitely” in games for other consoles, especially the original PlayStation titles. In fact, one of the highlights of Heritage’s upcoming video game auction in October is a sealed copy of “Resident Evil” released for PlayStation in 1996.

“Many culturally iconic series have made their PlayStation debuts,” says McLeckie.

With buyers having such high standards for certain games produced for specific consoles, it’s no wonder that only top-tier titles – in near-new condition – come up for auction. But that doesn’t mean everything else is worthless.

The online market for older games in poor condition is still strong with collectors. Depending on the title, the right game could sell for hundreds or even thousands on eBay, depending on recent confirmed sales. This month, a CIB copy of “Super Mario Bros.” sold for over $ 240 on eBay, while copies of Wata-rated CIB NES games have sold for over $ 1,000. (However, bulk games typically sold in the tens of dollars range.)

“We find that popularity and cultural relevance, combined with a high state in a sealed state, is generally what buyers in the market are hungry for,” says McLeckie. “But the cool thing about collectibles is that everyone buys them for different reasons.”

In her opinion, McLeckie notes that the most valuable games she personally owns are probably a few CIB titles from the Pokemon series, but her absolute favorite game, and one that holds a special place in her heart, is “Luigi’s Mansion” for the Nintendo GameCube, which she remembers playing – and beating – with her mother when she was younger.

“I’m getting to the point where I’m trying to get some really nice IPCs from games that I played as a kid,” she says.

“And finding a sealed copy of a game is difficult,” says McLeckie. “This is not what these games were designed for. They were made to open up and play.

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