There has been a large resurgence in iconic brands, shows, and toys from the childhood era of Millennials. This time frame includes the 1990s and early 2000s. An article on the rise of adults buying toys and the obsession with television reboots are just two examples of this phenomenon. One large growth category has been retro video games. An interesting article on the psychology of nostalgia involving retro video games links positive feelings and emotion with past memories. Other forms of gaming like board games and collectible card games have also benefited from increasing demand over the last few years.
Rise of Retro Arcade and Gaming Bars
Charlotte, NC and multiple cities across the United States have seen a growth spur in local retro arcade and gaming bars. There are currently multiple options to enjoy a beer and play retro games near Uptown Charlotte including Abari Game Bar, Lucky's Bar & Arcade, and Palmer St. Arcade Bar. If you are more interested in board games, Carolina Tabletop Games is worth the trip to Pineville, NC.
Growth of Collecting Retro Video Games
It only takes a quick search on Ebay to see the current demand for Super Nintendo, Nintendo 64, and other retro video games. Individuals are paying large sums of money to collect and acquire rare video games. The popularity of the NES Classic and SNES Classic further reinforce the point that retro gaming is in demand. The memories of the playing 999 hours in Final Fantasy VII or earning all of the stars in Mario 64 are hard to forget. I find that Millennials, such as myself, enjoy reliving great gaming moments of their childhoods. The other week, a friend and I attempted to gold trophy every circuit in Super Mario Kart for the SNES. After winning the standard circuits, we were unable to earn higher than bronze on the 100cc Special Circuit. How we were able to beat Rainbow Road in the past is beyond my comprehension.
Demand for Other Vintage Games
You have may heard a news story about someone paying $87,000 to acquire one the rarest and most powerful cards in the Magic: The Gathering card game. It is hard for most individuals to understand why a person would pay so much money for a 25 year old piece of cardboard. While I would never pay that amount of money for any collectible, I do know what it is like playing with cards you had as a teenager. Recently, I put together an Old School deck of Magic cards printed between 1993 and 1994. Many of the cards in the deck were staples in the first competitive deck I took to Friday Night Magic. Playing them all over again brought me feelings of excitement and joy. I have fond memories of my brother and I playing Magic on the living room floor for hours.
Can You Make Money Selling Retro Games?
While there is a demand for retro games, not all of them are valuable. The value of an item is determined by its condition, rarity, and market demand for it. One way to determine if a retro game has seen growth in value over time is to apply the price paid against inflation. The price you purchased an item at is very important for determining long-term profitability. For example, I purchased Ogre Battle 64 in 2000 at Best Buy for $49.99 (I found the receipt). The purchase price of the video game in today's dollars is about $70.00. If I sold it on Ebay tomorrow, I could probably get $75 considering its condition and market demand. After accounting for seller fees and shipping, I would actually lose money when comparing my profits against inflation.
One example of making money off retro games is selling a Mirror Universe trading card from Magic: The Gathering. Considering the current condition and demand for the card, I could sell it on Ebay for about $200.00. My brother and I actually purchased the card on Ebay back in 2002 for $40.00. Why is the card worth so much more today? This specific card had a low print run and does a unique effect in the game. In addition, this card is on a special no-reprint list. Considering these facts along with a growth in demand for old Magic Cards, I could make a nice profit today.
The value of retro games and other collectibles can change over time. Had I sold the video game or Magic card in the previous examples three years ago, I would have probably made back only what I paid. Now is a great time to look through old boxes for retro games you would sell. The current market has a strong demand for Millennial related retro gaming.