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How To Acquire Video Games
(Without Breaking Your Wallet)

by Steve Costanzo

The overall goal of most collectors is to get every game for a particular system. In my case, it is to get every game for every system. The best way that I have found to get started collecting is to pick a system with a low game total, such as Sega 32X or Atari 7800, and go after the games for it. If you are picky like me, you want the box and book along with the game. This makes collecting a little more challenging as well as expensive. For me, it is worth it. A big part of the thrill is in the hunt. Sometimes the hunt is more fun than actually playing the game!

Here are a few ways that I have found to make collecting a little bit cheaper:

1) Make friends with your local video game store.

By becoming a regular customer, you can get inside information. I have been able to get of some very rare games because the employees would hold them for me. For example one day my favorite store got in a huge lot of 8-bit Nintendo games and there were a few that they had never heard of before so they put them aside for me. The games turned out to be Cowboy Kid, Tetris (Tengen Version) and Bible Buffet. All three are on the rare side and I was able to get them with little or no trouble at all. They also let me know about any special deals they might be having as well as future sales. For example, one store had a sale on Genesis games, buy two and get one free. I can't tell you how many free games I got. Some of the stores will also give away store demo's of games when they are done with them as well as advertising material such as posters and stand-ups.

2) Know What You Are Looking For

Most Good Will stores and local pawnshops will have games. Some have them real cheap, others charge outrageous prices. Know what the going prices are for the games that you're looking for. This way you don't pay too much and you can get the most for your money. If you don't see any games, ASK! Some places keep older games, such as Atari and Intellivision, in the back because nobody buys them. It never hurts to ask. I have a complete list printed out of the games I have so that I don't buy games that I don't need. Unless of course they are rare.

3) Yard Sales And Garage Sales

Most local papers print a list of garage sales and yard sales for the upcoming week. This lets you get the jump on everyone else and get there early. (Don't think you are the only one looking for games!) These are the best places for deals. Most people don't know the value of older games. As I stated before, if you don't see any, ASK! I did once and they had an Atari 2600 with about 100 games that they didn't put out. They didn't think anyone would want something so old and out-dated. I bought it for $24, kept what I needed for my collection and sold the rest for $150.

4) E-Bay

Let's not forget one of the most popular ways of acquiring games of all sorts. Now everybody knows how to use E-Bay to find games but there are ways to get them cheaper. Check for misspelled words when you look up games. For example say you're looking for Intellivision games, try spelling it differently. Try Intellivison or Intelivision, some people do spell them wrong and not that many people look at it so it won't go as high, therefor you can get them cheaper. This kind of typo when people are auctioning games is quite common so try it when ever you are looking for games on E-Bay or other online auction sites.
If you want to get all your games complete (box & book) try doing searches for empty boxes. People do put lots up for empty boxes for all systems, including boxes for the systems themselves. By doing this I have been able to get most of my games complete.

Here are some other tips for getting games cheap!!

If you see something that you know is rare, buy it! Even if you already have it. Someone else will need it and you can use it for trading or selling later.

Let people know you collect games. I have printed up business cards on my home computer and placed them in various locations. I have received many games from people who saw my card; some of them even for free!

If you keep some of these tips in mind, it will help to save you money. More money means more games!



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