Is collecting non-sealed but mint/complete games fun too?

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Is collecting non-sealed but mint/complete games fun too?

Post by trader342 on Tue Jun 24, 2008 8:57 pm

I decided the sealed game hobby would just cost too much in the long-run for me, as appealing as it is... do you think it would be worthwhile / fun to have non-sealed but complete / mint versions of games? Since they are cheaper, do you think it is worthwhile? Or it's only worth collecting if sealed, since those are the purest ways of owning them?

In 50 years if I had mint NES/SNES complete but opened games, they would still probably be valuable, right, not nearly as much as sealed but they'd still be rare I imagine

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Re: Is collecting non-sealed but mint/complete games fun too?

Post by Dark Sol on Tue Jun 24, 2008 9:03 pm

Well i collect opened stuff as well. I see nothing bad in it. Moreover it's even better in some way. Not only you can PLAY the original game game but you can also read the manual/map/chart/without trembling over it. cheers
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Re: Is collecting non-sealed but mint/complete games fun too?

Post by Pascal on Tue Jun 24, 2008 9:09 pm

nothing compares to the value of a sealed game!
And I just want the best condition that a game can have in my game collection... and that is definitely the sealed condition! If I want to play a game I buy a cheap copy on ebay ...
I think a used collection is often just a side effect of playing games ...
I think its nearly impossible to pick up a used game that has a higher value in some years than the retail price ! The chance is VERY VERY low because there are not many used games that reaches higher prices than their retail prices!
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Re: Is collecting non-sealed but mint/complete games fun too?

Post by Startyde on Tue Jun 24, 2008 9:24 pm

Buying any game is awesome if you're a gamer. I loved my sealed game collection, but I keep that ticked away from prying eyes. My opened game collection however, looks most badass on shelves next to my TV.
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Re: Is collecting non-sealed but mint/complete games fun too?

Post by striker on Tue Jun 24, 2008 10:26 pm

nothing wrong with a mint complete collection, but I like to think that when you collect sealed games, you automatically also have a mint CIB collection as well (all you have to do is take off the seal).

I too keep my sealed collection stored away but my used/cib collection, as pascal said, is just a history of games I've played before. Not a "collection" really to me. I always sell a CIB game when I find the sealed version, then just play a rom or backup.
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Re: Is collecting non-sealed but mint/complete games fun too?

Post by The Imp on Wed Jun 25, 2008 8:39 am

It depends on your primary motivation.

If it's collecting games as a monetary investment, then buy only Factory Sealed games (and even then, be very selective). If you're psychic, or a good enough guesser that you know, mostly, which games will be worth more than they were when you bought them, then sure. But if you're going to do that, you might as well be buying real restate or stamps or swords or something with a bit more history behind it.

If you are collecting them primarily because you like to collect, and you've had enough of coins or trading cards or whatever, then sure, whatever it is that you like. If they're mostly for display rather than resale value, then unsealed mint games are a great way to get lots of games very cheaply, especially if you're mostly buying one or two generations behind.

If you are collecting them mostly to *play* them, then buy them however you can get them, in whatever condition you will be satisfied with. Mint is fine - only a tiny fraction of madmen like us have things *better* than mint (which is of course, Factory Sealed).

If you want to do more than one of these things, then do both. That's what I do - I buy a copy to keep sealed, and then buy another to open and play (sometimes later at a lower price, sometimes right away).

One last point, though, is that if you think it's a good idea to speculate (that is, buy games specifically with the intention of selling them later at a profit), that history show two things:
1. You have to buy the games when they first come out anyway. Like almost all markets, price is determined by perceived value, and that is very often determined mostly by rarity. Thus, the rarest games are the most valuable, and those games are typically rare because of one of two factors (or usually, both). These are A. if the game was any good, and B. if the game was produced in limited quantities (and not made available again). If the game was produced in limited quantities (most of the most valuable games were), then it means that you probably can't get one at less than retail prices, and even then, only at launch. In other words, you'd better be a good guesser, because two or three bad guesses will almost certainly wipe out the profit potential of almost any good guess.
2. If you're buying them at launch with an aim to make money, you will always make more by keeping them sealed. Since your investment is the same (rare game have to be bought at full price), if you aim is to make money, you might as well make *more* money by keeping them sealed. If you want to play the game as well, then rent, or buy a used/loose copy.

Overall, games are poor (monetary) investments though. Sometimes, games can spike in value (copies of Metal Gear Solid, despite wide initial circulation, went up in price once the release of Metal Gear Solid 4 was imminent, and Ice Climbers jumped when Super Smash Bros. Melee was announced), but they can rapidly fall just as easily (such as when copies of Phoenix Wright were re-issued, or when Megaman X Collection was released). Sometimes, games simply rise in value bit-by-bit endlessly because more and more collectors get their hands on them and don't let go (Chrono Trigger), or peak quite high and then fall back to ordinary prices after that because they gradually circulate among everyone who was interested in playing them (original Gunstar Heroes). Sometimes prices go temporarily berserk due to a popular culture reference (Zero Wing) or movie (Iron Man), where prices go high because people try to buy them, and then fall right away because thousands of people have them lying around and decide to cash in (as opposed to previous scenarios where there are not too many copies rejoining the market after the spike, so they stay valuable). Some are so rare they they leave the market altogether (usually promos or prototypes), or become so common they're given away (many kinds of loose games over the years). Ultimately though, most games gradually drop in value to just about nothing, and in this age of legitimate emulation (Virtual Console, XBox Live! Arcade & XBox Originals, PlayStation Network, GameTap, Steam, etc) plus the rise of re-releases and classics collections (GBA in particular was single-handedly responsible for many NES and SNES games becoming almost worthless, and there have been so many collections with major Sonic The Hedgehog games on them that they're almost worthless too), not to mention that older generations of gaming hardware become harder and harder to maintain (most surviving NES consoles are very difficult to keep working, and I doubt that many Saturns or XBox 360s will survive for 50 more years, not to mention that even in the PC world, game compatibility spanning more than a decade is rare), games can very easily suddenly lose value even when they've been increasing in value for years.

Oh yeah, and also, most of the games that will be rare and valuable may very well not be games that you are the least bit interested in playing (don't like JRPGs? Tough - many of the most valuable games are JRPGs, especially from the 16-bit era). If you're buying the games that you like, your best chance of them keeping as much of their value as possible is if they stay sealed (although, if you're mostly buying games that you like, then it's probably because you want to play them, which requires that you open them).

Basically, you have to notice these sorts of things if you want the games to be (monetary) investments, but it can become so much like work, it stops being a hobby and actually does become a true investment.

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Re: Is collecting non-sealed but mint/complete games fun too?

Post by striker on Wed Jun 25, 2008 9:20 am

I think you are wrong there about some things, The Imp.

1. Legitimate Emulation kills the value of games.

Kid Icarus is available on Virtual Console, so are Donkey Kong Country 1, 2 and 3. While this may (and does) bring down the value of loose or complete copies of the game, it does NOT reduce the price of sealed copies. If anything, it brings there value UP, why? Because let's say you play donkey kong country 2 on VC, and you love it (chances are you will). You may just want to buy yourself a sealed, original SNES copy as homage to such a great game (a lot of sealed collectors buy sealed games for this purpose only). The fact that it's worth more is all the better because it means you have something that's not only of sentimental value but monetary as well. As you said, Once forgotten games can be brought back to life through emulation, but this doesn't bring down the value of the original sealed copy. You say the GBA rereleases brought value down? I'd like you to find me a cheap copy of FF2 or FF3 (aka 4 or 6) on SNES that is any cheaper than it was before the release of the Game Boy or even PSX versions.

2. Games peak high and come down in value.

This is the case for ALL games (except maybe VERY limited release). There was a time when the sealed games you can't find now were at the bottom of a bargain bin. Sealed Game values follow an upside-down extended bell curve. I'll demonstrate with a game like Super Smash Bros. They start off high, people buy and play them (Smash Bros Brawl Right NOW). Then, they become low priced for a while until they are out of general circulation (Super Smash bros Melee Right NOW can be had for ~25$). After a while, they become rare and out of print, and the value shoots up more than retail (Smash Bros N64 is worth DOUBLE right now what it originally was). Ideally, this value will keep going up. The value only increases however after that initial drop if the game is GOOD, so Madden 99 will never be sought after, neither will harry potter or shrek 2.

I do agree with you though, collecting games should not be done just for monetary investment purposes. Only if the games have sentimental value should you bother collecting them, that is my opinion, that is why I don't buy games sealed which I've never played, and don't buy more than one copy of each game, and that is where sealed collectors get a lot of their bad rep. People think we buy games from the store when they come out and just leave them on the shelf. This is FALSE. But ignorance is rampant now and always will be.
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Re: Is collecting non-sealed but mint/complete games fun too?

Post by Dark Sol on Wed Jun 25, 2008 1:34 pm

Pascal wrote:nothing compares to the value of a sealed game!
And I just want the best condition that a game can have in my game collection... and that is definitely the sealed condition! If I want to play a game I buy a cheap copy on ebay ...
I think a used collection is often just a side effect of playing games ...
I think its nearly impossible to pick up a used game that has a higher value in some years than the retail price ! The chance is VERY VERY low because there are not many used games that reaches higher prices than their retail prices!
Looks like money value is everything for you. in love! All i see in your post is "value", "high value", "value of sealed game". etc. You definitely need to start playing some used games. This is a cure from the Scrooge McDuck illness. wave !
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Re: Is collecting non-sealed but mint/complete games fun too?

Post by The Imp on Wed Jun 25, 2008 5:10 pm

Hello striker,

I'm not going to disagree with what you've said *except* to say that, while you're right in general and in most cases, there are some bizarre exceptions, just like with everything. That was the point I was trying to make, and I clearly didn't make it well (not surprising, considering how much I waffled).

> 1. Legitimate Emulation kills the value of games.

Whoa! I never said that! :-)

It does *help* to reduce the value of more common games (long with reissues and remakes and compilations). As you correctly point out, it does not apply unless the game is 'good' (meaning popular), because supply exceeds demand unless the number of sealed copies in existence is less than the number of people who want one. This means that you need a small number of surviving copies (limited runs, very old games) or a large number of collectors (the game has to be very good, or have some other special claim to fame), or both. And the vast majority of games are not that good :-(

Also, tastes change. What you were dying to collect five years ago might no longer interest you. You might have had a copy, but decided you wanted to finance something else, or just don't really care about it that much. This can cause games to drop in value because the number of people who want it are less than before. This especially happens with games that get bought and sold on quickly, trading hands many times. Think about it: every time someone sells a game from their Factory Sealed collection, that means there's one less person in the world who cares about owning that game (if they don't intend to recover it later, which is rare). Supply stays constant, but demand drops. Okay, sometimes copies are opened or destroyed over time, but usually, this happens at a slower rate than people exiting the search for the game. Also, people who decide to get a game long after it became unavailable at retail, for example because the game is recommended to them, or they play a future sequel and want to play more games in the series, well, these people rarely want Factory Sealed copies because they primarily want to play the game. So the number of people looking for a given Factory Sealed game rarely rises over time.

I was talking generally about all games ever released, not the small selection of common games that most game collectors are generally interested in ('popular' games). Sometimes the rules are different. But the new availability of the same, or remakes of, games can reduce the value of originals. I assure you that a Factory Sealed Japanese copy of Final Fantasy ⅩⅠⅠ has been worth less since the Zodiac Job System edition was released. The Lunar games in the US (Silver Star and Eternal Blue) rose in value over the years since they were released on the Sega CD, peaked somewhere between where Working Designs announced and then released the PlayStation ports, and has been in decline ever since. The Japanese Famicom Mini release of Super Mario Bros. is worth more Factory Sealed than any other Nintendo-platform release of Super Mario Bros. in Factory Sealed condition (though I don't think that this has necessarily caused any other copy to drop in value). I think that US XBox Factory Sealed copies of Ninja Gaiden Black is less valuable now that it is available on XBox Live! under XBox Originals (although that could be due to Ninja Gaiden Sigma being released about the same time on the PlayStation 3). Rez was famously reissued for the PlayStation 2 and caused a plummet in the price which has never since risen. Most of this data comes from studying eBay pricing trends, and honestly the sample set is way too small to make it scientific, but this is what I see.

> 2. Games peak high and come down in value.

Not all games ever go low. Games only go in the bargain bin if they can't sell all of the copies at full price. Skies Of Arcadia probably never went down in price at retail, and Skies Of Arcadia: Legends certainly never did and doesn't seem to have ever gone down in price at all (in Factory Sealed condition). It depends on how many they made, how many were bought, if they issued another run, if it went Platinum/Greatest Hits/Whatever, and if people still want the game.

Skies Of Arcadia: Legends is an excellent example of how you could have predicted that, since the Dreamcast release was short and it became expensive quickly, you could make money by buying it up and selling it soon after. But as I said, it never reduced in price. In fact, if you didn't buy it the week it came out, you'd never get it at all. Even so, you would probably not have made much more than 50% over its original price as a Factory Sealed item, even now that it's been five years. Maybe double for PAL version.

But this also happened with Rez, except that it was reissued three years later and prices when from over $100 back down to $44.95 overnight, for authentic Factory Sealed wholesale-direct units completely indistinguishable from the original manufacturing run. And in the case of Trauma Center: Under The Knife, it was reissued in less than six months, also cutting its value in half, back to (full) original retail price.

To summarize:

Pascal is right. Almost no open games ever recoup their original (price) value if bought new. However, hundreds if not thousands of different Factory Sealed games are worth at least what they were when first sold new, and if the game dropped in price while new and before being re-released, it is far more likely still (that the peak value will exceed what you, personally, paid for it).

striker is right. Most Factory Sealed games that have ever exceed their original purchase price in monetary value, will not ever then decrease in value. Emulation and hardware failure and compilations and most budget reissues rarely change that fact (as far as we know, based on the whole history of video games thus far).

I (The Imp) am right. What striker said is true for good games, but games that are unpopular - for whatever reason - will likely never exceed their original value and tend to decrease over time. Also, sometimes Weirdness Happens™ and Factory Sealed games go up in value then down, or down then up, or the value cycles, or whatever, proving nothing except that they make for a poor monetary investment, but if you motivation is not money, then who cares? (Aside from the argument that you could have had more Factory Sealed goodness if you bought at a different time, by saving money and using it to purchase other games as well, but that's unfair unless you're an oracle, because you could very easily have waited and paid more instead if things worked out differently).

Startyde is right. Game collections look most badass on shelves next to a TV! :-)

Dark Sol is right. We all need to play games as well as collect them! :-)

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