What you’re about to witness is a reasonably gross oversimplification for the sake of making a point. Don’t worry, I’m not the first to do it and I’m tipping I won’t be the last. If you’re about to hand over money for an old school NES, Master System or a fistful of old Atari cartridges odds are you fit into two groups.
You’re either a collector, or a re-seller.
The collector buys for themselves, to enhance their collection or for the love of retro gaming. The re-seller – as the name suggests – purchases with the main motivation to resell at a profit. I like to think of myself as a collector. Sure I’ve sold on things here and there, but it’s usually because it’s a double of something I already have and tends to happen when I buy large lots, such as a Super Nintendo with a stack of games. I’m not really interested in seeking out retro gear with the sole purpose of selling onto the next person while pocking the extra cash. Now I don’t think of re-sellers as evil, but they’re certainly not my preferred species of retro gaming folk and I prefer not to deal with them where possible. My reasoning is simple. As a collector, I like to see my doubles and extras go to other collectors. If I deal directly with a collector, I can sell them something for $10, but if I sell unknowingly to a re-seller, they’ll then turn around and sell it to the collector for $20, and pocket the extra $10. It’s not the fact that I don’t get the extra $10 that bugs me, it’s that someone else has had to pay $20 for the same item.
Then there are the more, shall we say ‘philosophical’ reasons for my dislike. A collector tends to wrap themselves in the history of a piece of retro gear. When was the game released? Did it has a US release or just Japan? Was there a sequel? What’s the main characters name? Did it come out on the PC Engine or just the SNES? I like that. I like that collectors don’t just own the object, they own a slice of the history too.
A re-seller on the other hand usually has little interest in the history of the item and will only seek to learn the details of something in so far as it will benefit their ability to sell it on at a profit. Rarity therefore, becomes the primary – often only – concern. To me that’s sad, considering the depth and richness of history that concerns the world of video games.
Anyway, I don’t know what inspired this write-up. I guess I just wanted to get it out there, and being that I don’t own any national newspapers nor do I have enough fear-mongering in the piece to make it appealing to Fox News, I’ll post it here instead.