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New Independent Video Game Stores - Aversion to Pre-crash?


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#1 Great Hierophant OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jun 14, 2018 11:56 AM

I walked into a recently opened video game store which recently opened.  It has a front area with several classic arcade machines, The Simpsons, both TMNTs, a cocktail Ms. Pac-Man, a Neo-Geo, a PlayChoice-10 and a few others.  Further back in the store there were racks of video games and accessories.  They had something every Nintendo, Sega, Microsoft and Sony handheld and console system.  I'm pretty sure I saw some TG-16 in there too and some of those Tiger handhelds.  I saw nothing pre-crash, home computer, PC or post-crash Atari.  

 

While I was looking around in the store, the owner took a telephone call.  Even though I could not hear the caller's voice, the owner was using a mobile device and spoke loudly enough so I could understand the subject matter of the conversation.  The caller asked if they took in Atari 2600 games.  The owner replied that he did not take in any pre-1985 items at this time.  He told the caller that he did not have any space to devote to that material at his store.  He further stated that he did have a 2600 and about 40 games in the back room that had been sitting around for months.  

 

I would suggest that the owner may have been telling the caller a little white lie.  There are three other video game stores in the area which at least sell the pre-crash stuff.  However, the demand for pre-crash isn't very impressive compared to the post-crash stuff.  I believe the owner just didn't want to buy.  His shop seemed completely setup, but there were areas which could have been rearranged for precrash stuff.  Did he need a whole wall full of video game stuffed animals?  Could he have stored one of the probably rarely turned on arcade cabinets at his home?  (None of the machines were on, but this was a Tuesday afternoon),  

 

Having visited many of the retro video game stores in my state, I cannot say whether this store's indifference to pre-crash systems is a trend or just particular to a few operators.  Does anyone else see a trend of newer stores avoiding the more esoteric systems?



#2 ubersaurus OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jun 14, 2018 12:20 PM

I think most game stores don't bother with pre-crash stuff because it doesn't typically move all that fast. So you end up with dozens of copies of Pac-Man and Combat and for every one you sell, you're probably getting people selling you several more. So realistically, one or two stores in an area that do handle that stuff is probably about as good as can be maintained.


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#3 Jin OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jun 14, 2018 12:28 PM

It's the same around here. There's half a dozen local game stores around the city but only one of them buys and sells pre-NES systems and games. You can guess which store I give my business to. :lol:

#4 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jun 14, 2018 12:34 PM

I would assume the shop owner knows what sells, right?



#5 Silverfleet OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jun 14, 2018 12:35 PM

I definitely know that store!

 

I went there last year and picked up a couple SMS games for decent prices. I asked if he had any pre-NES stuff, and he told me he tries not to because it doesn't sell. Then, he tried selling me a CIB Colecovision he had taken on trade for $250, untested, with no games.  :?

 

In this guy's case, I don't think he's that knowledgeable with the pre-crash stuff. I've actually run into this scenario with a few other newer local stores. He's younger, and his nostalgia is placed in the mid-late 1990's. Another factor here is that around here, the stuff just doesn't sell. If he can't sell it, why take up shelf space? Most people that are new to collecting and looking to pick up games are like that store owner; they are younger, and are going to pass right over pre-crash stuff and go for NES, Genesis, SNES, etc. 9 times out of 10. 

 

There's another store I hit up every once in a while that's had the same shelf of 2600 titles for the past 10 years. When I picked through it a few months ago, everything was dusty and they didn't even remember how to price it! They said they hadn't sold a pre-NES game in months. Another store I hit up more often has both a retail store and a flea market booth. They bring all the pre-crash games to the flea market and put them in milk crates for a couple bucks a piece. 

 

I find more pre-crash stuff in antique malls and flea markets than anywhere else these days. Most independent game stores won't touch it. 



#6 spacecadet OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jun 14, 2018 1:22 PM

In this guy's case, I don't think he's that knowledgeable with the pre-crash stuff. I've actually run into this scenario with a few other newer local stores. He's younger, and his nostalgia is placed in the mid-late 1990's.


I think that's probably the issue more than anything. I owned a clothing store until a little while ago (technically still do, online) but it's the same thing... if you don't know the products you're selling, they're not going to sell. It's not that the products themselves don't sell, but if you're not familiar enough with them and don't care about them, you're not going to do the research required to pay the prices you need to to turn a profit, then you're not going to turn them around at prices where they'll sell. And you're probably not going to devote much time to promoting them online or anywhere else, and you're not going to give them prime shelf space in the store.

 

It becomes kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Stores like this treat pre-crash stuff like it's persona non-grata, then claim it "doesn't sell", other, new stores either hear this and follow suit or go through the same process, and it just becomes conventional wisdom. But I'm sure there are stores out there doing just fine with pre-crash stuff, because they know it, they know how to price it, and they believe in it enough to feature it. There's one by me that has entire racks right in front devoted to Atari stuff.

 

I don't think there's anything wrong at all with store owners only selling what they know, but I would prefer it if they just admitted to that instead of claiming stuff "doesn't sell". It's more accurate to say "I don't know how to sell it".

 

I'm sure also that this trend will continue and there's not really anything anyone can do about it. It's the same with any retro or vintage field. Go into a vintage electronics store and you're probably going to see stuff from the 80's on up, not old tube amps.



#7 -^CrožBow^- OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jun 14, 2018 1:33 PM

there is an excellent video game shop almost just around the corner from my home. The owner is a younger guy by about 10 years than me and so he has no nostalgia for the pre-crash stuff either. However, he does have 2600, 5200, 7800, CV and Intellivision games on display and has a small bookshelf display devoted to them. He also has systems as well.

 

Having said that, he doesn't usually take much of it in trade, unless it is a rarish game because it simply doesn't move. I go in and always look at the current Atari etc games he has and still see several that I actually brought in to trade for other stuff with him. Still sitting there unloved...

 

Heck, he has so many 2600s laying around in the back that he left me buy 5 consoles from him this past weekend for $5 each. Now..to be fair, they were tested and found to not be working for one reason or another so I just wanted them for parts units anyway. But he does actually have 1 or 2 guys in the back that just fix and repair consoles, install mods, etc... so they could fix these up if they wanted to, but he doesn't want to invest the time when he already has like a dozen other working ones sitting around not getting bought.

 

He does have good prices on his stuff though..excellent really...



#8 CatPix OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jun 14, 2018 2:02 PM

You're lucky to have independant game stores at all.

Here, it's either chain shops that won't take anything pre-PS2, and used goods shops that will sell a Super Nintendo for 150€...



#9 DJ Clae OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jun 14, 2018 3:24 PM

New video game stores operate in a very ad hoc manner. It's not like there's any printed Funco price guide. The owner sets the prices, and decides what they're willing to buy or sell. It's more like a consignment store than a proper game shop as we would have understood it in the 90's (which were willing to buy and sell any software from the list of consoles they carry).

Edited by DJ Clae, Thu Jun 14, 2018 3:25 PM.


#10 1980gamer OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jun 14, 2018 4:05 PM

I see a few of you are in Massachusetts!  Where are you finding these retro stores?

 

I have been to a couple of places, but they all think the NES is a first gen system.

 

Any good flee markets?  I have tried a few,  but never find very much.  Some Gameboy carts now and then.

 

Any info welcome.   Thank you.



#11 godslabrat ONLINE  

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Posted Thu Jun 14, 2018 4:16 PM

The most popular pre-crash system, by far, is the Atari 2600.  The vast majority of its library would go for $5/cart or less on the open market.  For other systems, even less.  To buy those games, a retro game store is going to pay less than a dollar per cart.  Most customers wouldn't think that was worth their time to make the trip, so the shop doesn't think it's worth their time to do the transaction.  

 

Yes, there are going to be those one-in-a-hundred games that are actually worth money... but how many combats and asteroids do you want to wade through before you find them?  And before you think I'm picking on the 2600, the NES is one of my favorite systems, and I think its library is starting to slide in that direction too.  


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#12 pacman000 ONLINE  

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Posted Thu Jun 14, 2018 4:34 PM

Most of the game stores near me stock pre crash games, but I think the stores are part of small chains...

The main nostalgia push for these systems was about 20 years ago, so demand might be too low for most stores to keep them. :(

#13 Austin OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jun 14, 2018 5:52 PM

The most popular pre-crash system, by far, is the Atari 2600.  The vast majority of its library would go for $5/cart or less on the open market.  For other systems, even less.  To buy those games, a retro game store is going to pay less than a dollar per cart.  Most customers wouldn't think that was worth their time to make the trip, so the shop doesn't think it's worth their time to do the transaction.

 

Yeah. Toss in customers in the know like us don't want to pay $5 for a common 2600 cart, and you've got a situation where the stuff just sits. I've got a local shop that sells 2600, 5200, 7800, CV and Intv stuff, but I can't remember the last time I bought something that wasn't an accessory or controller of some kind.



#14 pacman000 ONLINE  

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Posted Thu Jun 14, 2018 6:54 PM

Would it be impossible for a game shop to sell carts for $1? Dollar stores make a profit on $1.

#15 Tanooki OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jun 14, 2018 8:21 PM

I'm certain there's an aversion to it outside of flashback devices.  Let's forget this site exists and go into the bigger picture, it's by many not remembered well other than the 2600 for the most part, and for those few people really bother with it other than the really big long term collectors while others are just find using a flashback or flashback handheld with a loaded SD card.  The other stuff, even less memorable to most, fewer yet would care to want to keep up with or buy it.  I don't see stores other than half price books bother with it around here and when it's there they tend to sell for like $2-5 each and usually sit until its in the $1 clearance bin where it sells or gets destroyed/shipped out eventually.

The aversion as real, it's not trendy, not popular, and very little desired.  Nintendo like it or not made gaming damned cool and far more acceptable for people on the home front, and their franchises and the third parties who cut in on it back then too still roll out a good bit of the same franchises today so there's a memory trail to it.  Same can be to some degree said about Sega as well even if they are dead basically, they live on with all the rom downloads they shovel on all sorts of formats.



#16 fiddlepaddle OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jun 14, 2018 8:57 PM

Pretty much all the game stores around here (maybe 6 or 7 I know of) may have some 2600 games, but don't want to buy them from me.  They usually don't even want to bother learning the difference in values between titles... I would need to point out "this one is worth $25, this one is worth $75... and even then they say nobody wants them. 

 

Most know very little about the older stuff.  One guy I took an Intellivision to didn't even know how to connect it up to a modern TV...I had to do it for him.  Another time, I took in a Channel F unit with 18 games and the guy tried to look up the value of each one on Amazon (not much information there).

 

Another factor is they make $50 or $100 selling a modern console and it seems not worth their time to sell a $1 game.  And most of them seem to price their 2600 carts about $5 when $1 would be more appropriate ("or 12 for $10 special").  And when they display stuff like Vectrex, Virtual Boy, or Jaguar carts, they are usually over-priced. 

 

Another owner says "Nobody collects Game Boy games, so I just throw them in this bin back here.  Tell me what you want and I'll find it and look up the price on Amazon or ebay."  and that's not even pre-crash, so I think it more reflects what these guys LIKE. 

 

I bet a lot of new stores get started because someone looks around at their storage unit and thinks, "Hey, I should open a store..."

 

 

 

Any good flee markets?  I have tried a few,  but...

 

"flea market" - where to look for old games

 

"flee market" - an action taken after grabbing money from someone else's cash register



#17 Tanooki OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jun 14, 2018 9:25 PM

Pfft too lazy to display gameboy games as no one wants, them, then once someone does, they need to refer to ebay on how high to go.  Hell no.  That's just rude saying that.  I have bumped into that ignorant statement about handheld games older than the GBA or DS before and it's astonishing as they stuff moves, especially Nintendo branded stuff.  I just think it doesn't move as fast or as expensive enough as they'd want to bother with it.

 

That dude with the wasted box of games should do a thing like Savers/Value Village I've seen has done before where you jam like 5-10 games in a bag for $10 just so free up space.



#18 Great Hierophant OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jun 14, 2018 10:43 PM

I see a few of you are in Massachusetts!  Where are you finding these retro stores?

 

I have been to a couple of places, but they all think the NES is a first gen system.

 

Any good flee markets?  I have tried a few,  but never find very much.  Some Gameboy carts now and then.

 

Any info welcome.   Thank you.

 

See here : http://atariage.com/...eo-game-stores/



#19 H454 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jun 14, 2018 10:55 PM

It's the same around here. There's half a dozen local game stores around the city but only one of them buys and sells pre-NES systems and games. You can guess which store I give my business to. icon_lol.gif

 

Which one? I live on the south end of the Twin cites and their are at a least a couple.

Discland (bloomington) just went under.

World of games 2.0 in Lakeville - has pretty good selection. Good staff too.

Echo in Northfield (used to be in Apple Valley about 10 years ago) has some stuff and the staff is nice. Said they wish they had 2600 to sell last time I talked to them.



#20 1980gamer OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jun 15, 2018 4:26 AM

This is great.  A couple not too far from me.



#21 keepdreamin OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jun 15, 2018 5:28 AM

Brick and mortar stores can't afford unsold stock piling up like a museum.  If I owned a store, I wouldn't carry anything pre-NES either.



#22 McCallister OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jun 15, 2018 6:12 AM

Which one? I live on the south end of the Twin cites and their are at a least a couple.
Discland (bloomington) just went under.


Awww, damn, not Discland. That place was always hoppin' and seemed like a viable business.

#23 Silverfleet OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jun 15, 2018 8:02 AM

 

I've been to about half of those! Thanks for posting this. I can do quick and dirty reviews of some of them if anyone's interested. 



#24 HoshiChiri OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jun 15, 2018 8:12 AM

A couple years back, I went with some friends to check out a shop a lil' bit out of our usual range. They had a great selection, but no pre-crash stuff- the only thing was an Atari joystick, sans rubber cover of the stick itself, glued to a display podium with some other broken controllers.

 

Now, there just happened to be a branch of a local used media chain just down the block that we knew carried gaming stuff, so we walked down there and I happily dug through their Atari bins. We mentioned to the clerk that we'd (or rather, I'd) wanted to stop in becuase I was disappointed that the game store didn't have anything pre-NES. He told us that, quite frankly, he didn't remember the last time anyone had actually bought that stuff before me.  :(

 

Lucky for me, the game store closest to work deals in everything.  :-D

 

While it's easy to be disheartened over the lack of interest in the older stuff, it's not completely forgotten. I had a kid at work, probably 10-12ish,  who I mentioned playing games to. I'm used to being asked 'do I have playstation, do I have xbox', but this kid- THIS kid asks if I have a TI-99! He then expressed his desire to own an Atari. I told him where to find the local game store- his mom wasn't super happy with me  ;)

 

 

Brick and mortar stores can't afford unsold stock piling up like a museum.  If I owned a store, I wouldn't carry anything pre-NES either.

 

 

I would, but I'd be weird about it- there would be a lot of stuff offered online & here, and I'd save up excess largely unsellable carts to send to Al for credit. One hombrew from here would have much higher value than a pile of combat carts. 

 

I don't imagine I'd have much of it though, as this plan means I'm only paying 25 cents per cart for Atari 2600 stuff- and I imagine I'd have to keep it similar across the board as not to confuse employees.



#25 Jin OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jun 15, 2018 8:35 AM

Which one?


High Score Games in North Saint Paul. Super friendly and knowledgeable staff, and they do a good job testing and cleaning everything everything they get in. Prices are about the same as eBay after factoring in shipping costs, but they're generally willing to cut you a "Buy 2 Get 1 Free" deal on cartridge based games so you can get good deals. Just expect to pay $3 to $5 for most Atari 2600 games.




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