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Recently, I wrote an article about NES games that sell for insane prices. Games like Stadium Events can easily sell for thousands of dollars. That’s all well and good, but there are some classic NES games that are really popular that constantly sell for more than their value. You can walk into any retro video game retailer and see these games selling for far too much. Games that are really popular today were also really popular when the NES launched, and thus there are hundreds of thousands of copies available.
The fact that they are common doesn’t stop retailers from trying to charge premium prices for them. In the collector market today, it’s all about rarity. If every retailer under the sun has copies of a game, chances are great that collectors will not care about it, and you are going to overpay for it if you pay their prices.
Before you go out and relive your nostalgic dreams, think about what you are paying, and do a little research to make sure the retailer is not trying to capitalize on the fact that non-collectors want these games just for fun.
Excite Bike is a classic. The simple, challenging gameplay offers a lot of fun. It was extremely popular when the NES was in its prime, and because of that, copies of the game are a dime a dozen. Its market value is a little over $2. However, I cannot tell you how many times I’ve gone to retailers and seen the game for anywhere from $7 to $10.
Retailers seem to think the game has some kind of value that just is not there. If you go to a retailer and see Excite Bike, don’t buy it just for nostalgia’s sake, because you can easily pick up a copy on eBay for two or three dollars.
Donkey Kong Classics
This one seems to be a case of mistaken identity. Every retailer seems to have this game for between $18 and $20. The fact is, the game is only worth about $8, which is respectable, but if you purchase it for $20, you are grossly overpaying. Donkey Kong is worth about $20, and retailers are either trying to confuse consumers, or they genuinely don’t know the difference between Classics and the original Donkey Kong.
If you see Donkey Kong Classics for a high price, ignore it and move on to something else. If you see Donkey Kong without Classics in the name for $20, feel free to grab it, as that’s its market value.
The original Contra is a valuable game for the NES. In fact, it’s worth around $20, which is high compared to many other NES games on the market today. However, retailers seem to think the game is worth $30 to $40. I understand retailers need to make money, but as a collector, so do you.
I love Contra, but I’ve seen it on eBay for the high teens (I once saw it at a local retailer for $13, but for some reason I didn’t buy it, and I am still kicking myself), and that is a much better price to grab it for. Don’t fall for the hype, Contra is valuable, but it’s not that valuable.
Most Mario Games
Mario is one of the few video game characters that is a household name, and because of that, people want his games. There are literally thousands upon thousands of carts available and thus, they aren’t worth much. There are a couple of exceptions to the rule. Mario is Missing, Mario Brothers (the original, not Super Mario Brothers), and Mario’s Time Machine are all worth $13 and up.
The rest of them are worth $10 or less, so don’t fall for retailers trying to cash in on the Mario name and selling them for much more than they are worth.
People charging extra for black carts is incredibly common on eBay. Most consumers know that NES carts are gray, and they think because these are a different color, it must be rare. This just is not the case. Sure, some black Tengen carts are more valuable, such as the Tengen version of Tetris, but just because a cart is black, does not automatically mean it is worth more than a licensed gray cart. Be careful, and know the value before you assume a game is worth more just because the cartridge is black.
As you can see, there are some games out there that could lead to you overpaying, and completely mess up the value of your collection. There are some games you are going to have to pay through the nose for, but these are not those, in spite of the prices many retailers charge. Be careful when shopping, and make sure you don’t overpay for common games.