Friday, January 16, 2015

The Rarer They Are...

Over the past few weeks I have mentioned a few posts regarding older video games, trade-ins, and how to get the most value for your product. i100, an independent British news source, came up with a list of the top valuable games to sell, should you be cleaning out your closet anytime soon. Keep in mind that the amounts are in the British Pound.

The top game listed is Gamma Attack for the Atari 2600, ranging from 13,200-32,900 pounds. That's roughly 20-50 thousand dollars. The rest of the list marks games that most of you probably don't know of. Stadium Events: Gold Edition is there and continues to be a commodity. But why the disparity? And where did the reporter get their facts? There are no link backs, no ties to any form of research. And the giant leap in pricing for Gamma Attack has me questioning the accuracy of the list.

I believe the article found it source at RacketBoy.com with a list of the rarest video games sold online. The source is old, circa 2009 with the last published update in 2012, but it does point out WHY some of those games are rare. Gamma Attack for example had a limited production life and there is only 1 known copy of it to exist in the world. The original EBay listing in 2008 didn't sell, but there was a rough estimate that the value of the game was $5-10 grand. By today's estimate, people believe it's worth up to $50,000. So who know. But the chances of you having this gem in your stockpile is 0 because so few copies exist.

That's the big difference between a mint condition copy of E.T. and a cracked case Stadium Events. An estimated (and probably over-inflated number) 750,000 games are buried out in New Mexico and a lot of them have E.T. on the label. E.T. is a dime a dozen. They flooded the market. Only 26 copies of Stadium Events in it's gold form exist. It's a simple numbers game.

More product, less demand, lower value. Less product, high demand, higher value.

Another rare game, Atlantis II, falls into the same scenario. Back in the 1980's, when many of you were still toddlers or maybe just a flicker of hope in your parent's eyes, game companies would hold game tournaments to help boost sales of their products. Top contenders typically received special cartridges of their flagship products as a reward or to use in competitions. Atlantis II is just that - an evolved version of Atlantis for the Atari 2600, a faster paced, more challenging version of their original game. Competitors vied for a chance at a $10,000 grand prize (which is still a lot today, I would argue) and some cool scuba gear for the other winners. But no one collected the games after the contest ended, and additional copies were never produced. Now it's considered a treasure by many.

It is possible to have a gold mind in your house that you aren't aware of. I know my prize possessions include some versions of Final Fantasy that have never been opened, and contain art work only used in certain releases of the original games. I have an unopened FF3 from Japan. gorgeous box. But I'm also realistic about my expectations of my collection. A general Google Shopping search shows that the pricing is all over the map. Some people are giving away their unboxed versions for a few bucks. Some want over $900 for FF3 the NA edition. The game is 'maybe' worth $500. Maybe. I realize the rarity of it, but $900 for FF3 NA? No way.

This is reinforcing the idea to be honest with yourself about your games. Treat them well. Keep them safe.

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