Video game collecting is a full-fledged hobby. In the past 4 years, prices and demand of retro video games (any game prior to Playstation 3/Xbox 360) has been climbing and shows no sign of slowing down. As game developers try to come out with the latest and greatest, people STILL go back and play games that are 5, 10 Geteven 30 years old on their original hardware.
This has not gone unnoticed by game developers looking to cash in on older IP. Rare has announced Rare Replay – a collection of 30 games from the past and present for release on the Xbox One. Capcom just announced Megaman Legacy which contains Megaman 1-6 (there’s already a Megaman anniversary collection for the PS2, Xbox, and Gamecube) In addition to re-releases, there are HD remakes of older titles. Metal Gear Solid, Silent Hill, Ico and Shadow of the Colossus were only 1 or 2 generations old and received an HD remake. While gameplay stayed the same, new textures were added to give games created in the first polygon generation a face lift so they don’t look too dated.
So what does that do to the price of the original copy? Do people see a drop in price or does it go up even more? Well it depends on what title. Most games see a bump in popularity and then come back down in price. When Super Smash Brothers Wii U came out, prices for Melee and N64 version jumped to almost $100 for a loose copy and now they are coming back down to a more reasonable level. Earthbound for the Super Nintendo has been hovering around $200 for the past couple of years. A release of a digital version on the eShop for 10 dollars did nothing to the price. Chrono Trigger for the Super Nintendo has also stayed steady despite numorous releases including Playstation, Nintendo DS and digital download.
For a more recent snapchat, let’s look at the three big announcements involving beloved franchises at E3: Final Fantasy 7, Shenmue 3, and Rare Replay.
Let’s start with Final Fantasy 7: Heralded as the best Final Fantasy of all time (debatable) but definitely a great game in its own right. The Playstation game has 2 physical versions: A black label original release and a greatest hits. The black label at one point in time was $150 dollars. The average price for the past 3 months has been 30 dollars for a complete copy. The price on Amazon at the time of this article is 33.50. Not too much of a jump. It might be because of the availability of digital copies on PSN and Steam.
Second on the list is Shenmue 3 : this game came out as a complete surprise for fans of the Action RPG from Sega. The original Shenmue is a Dreamcast essential and has been relatively easy to find for a decent price. Until now of course. Prices have almost tripled on Amazon. The three month average has been 28 dollars for a complete copy. Now prices for a complete game start at 104 dollars. The game has been a hidden gem for years and now that it’s been thrust into the limelight again, gamers looking to experience the game for the first time are driving up the price to unbelievable levels. It’s most likely hype driven and hopefully prices will go back down to a more manageable level. Who knows, maybe this will push Sony to release Shenmue 1 and 2 on the digital store.
Last but not least is Rare Replay – Rare Replay is a unique title because it involves 30 titles throughout Rare’s history. Some titles like Snake Rattle N Roll aren’t going to see too much of a jump. But one game has been added that really stands out: Conker’s Bad Fur Day. Conker’s Bad Fur Day is an incredibly sought after title for the Nintendo 64. The game made waves when it first came out because of its M rating and because it was a Nintendo title – Nintendo doesn’t make M titles and this was really out of character for both Rare and Nintendo. Conker use to be a loveable furball in Diddy Kong Racing. Now he’s a foul mouth asshole. Conker’s Bad Fur Day has had a 3 month average of 82.39 for a loose copy. As of this article, prices on Amazon have the loose copy going for at least 94 dollars. Expect prices of Conker’s Bad Fur Day to rise as the Nintendo 64 copy is the ONLY uncensored version of the game – I’m confident that the copy on Rare Replay will be censored like Conker Live and Reloaded.
Time will tell if these video games prices will come down. I’m sure they’ll stay elevated up until the new games are released. Retro video game collecting is starting to become a hobby that only people with deep pockets are allowed to partake in and now that game developers are taking notice, perhaps we’ll see some ultra-rare games get digital releases to ease consumer woes and bring people into the next generation of consoles.