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Goemon

The state of collecting retro, value vs quality, AKA - why eBay is such a mess

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I’ve recently gotten back into buying some retro stuff.

My main resource for this has been eBay, however I haven’t simply been going on eBay buying what I want. I’ve been on eBay, monitoring games to try and gage what something is actually worth.

Results are scary to say the least.

 

Example 1

Gunstar Heroes MD - £29

Gunstar Heroes MD - £66

 

Example 2

Doraemon PC Engine - £18

Doraemon PC Engine - £5

 

Example 3

Gaiares MD - £100

Gaiares MD - £40

 

I have tonnes of examples like this on my eBay watch list. Exactly the same games going for double/triple the price with no obvious reason why.

 

These days eBay is 90% “Buy it now” and the prices are high.

I believe this is because somewhere down the line someone saw their game go for this crazy high price and believe this is what it’s worth. After this it just snowballs with people copying prices and thinking this is the “actual” value

 

I’ve watched a few YT channels of people at markets and heard the immortal line “I check my prices on eBay”

 

Okay, fair enough, but what if the eBay prices are wrong? Just because one time 2 people got into a bidding war at and the game went for £100, doesn’t mean that all future sales of that game are automatically £100?

 

I feel it gets worse too…

 

Hellfire MD – Was considered one of the top shooters of the system and scored in the likes of 9/10

Arrow Flash MD – Was considered a very poor and not worth your time or money 3/10

 

The prices of these games on eBay

Hellfire - £16

Arrow Flash - £51

 

At what point is it no longer about the game and it’s just about the collection?

 

People are SO fickle about new games these days and reasons not to buy something include things like:

Oh it only lasts 8 hours

Animations look wooden

The jump is so floaty

7/10 – that’s a disappointing score

Etc, etc,etc.

 

Yet someone is happy to layout £51 for a game that back when it was originally released was considered a complete turkey!

 

Unfortunately I think we, as gamers, are doing it to ourselves.

Games we played as kids we’re now able to re-buy because in our older years we’ve got a decent income, savings etc. and enjoy the nostalgia/collecting. The next thing you know you’re paying these hefty chunks of money for games you loved or games for the collection but is it really the value?

I guess you could say the value of the game is whatever people are prepared to pay for it, but just because 1 guy was prepared to pay £100 doesn’t mean everyone else is.

I fear we do get caught up in the idea ourselves and think well it’s £80 and I want it so I guess I’ll pay the £80

 

I’m not sure what I’m getting at with this post. I guess my main gripe is that I do enjoy the nostalgia/collecting, but above all that it’s the actually mooching around and picking something up for a good price.

I believe this is nearly all but gone these days.

I’d also love for people to sometimes stop and think “Is the game REALLY worth that?” and choose to NOT buy something.

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27 minutes ago, Goemon said:

 

I’ve watched a few YT channels of people at markets and heard the immortal line “I check my prices on eBay”

 

 

Experienced this first hand recently at a boot sale.  Asked a guy how much a GB game was.  "Um, dunno, sorry, hang on", *gets eBay up on his phone*.  I told him to leave it.  Dick.

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A lot of sellers use the store feature and pay minimum or little in fees so it makes it much easier to just a bigger price on the off chance someone snaps it up. Easy way to get a one up payment when they have loads of stock. Bit shit for the rest of us mind.

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2 minutes ago, Lorfarius said:

A lot of sellers use the store feature and pay minimum or little in fees so it makes it much easier to just a bigger price on the off chance someone snaps it up. Easy way to get a one up payment when they have loads of stock. Bit shit for the rest of us mind.

 

I'm looking for a copy of Garou on the neo geo. It would cost me well over £1000 to "buy it now".

 

Or I could get it around £1000 cheaper on the PS4, less than i've spent on coffee this morning, and have the exact same gameplay experience and on a hd tv.

 

The "Value" for me with the game could be £1000, or the value for another user could be £4.99

 

Same with Arrowflash. The "value" for you could be £9, but to a fan, who wants to play a generic but unique transformer type shooter on their megadrive, it could be £50. So it sells for £50

 

I got my copy for £14, but at the time i was thinking this is not as good as Sonic 1 and that costs £1.99. Different time, different markets. 

 

Hint: you do not have to buy these things.

 

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There used to be a retro shop in Gloucester where the guy behind the counter would fire up eBay whenever someone walked in with some old games and price up accordingly. So basically you went in there to pay eBay+markup prices for cart-only GBA shovelware, forgettable DVDs and, if you were lucky, a reasonable bit of hardware. Needless to say he wasn't there that long. he was a decent guy too, knew his stuff and seemed genuinely passionate about old games.

 

Gone are the days when you could say you found a bargain on eBay. It's not clueless people just slinging stuff up and hoping for the best now.

 

Go on there, look at Completed Listings, price accordingly, BIN. I'm amazed at some of the prices people have paid for rubbish, but I guess if they think it's worth it. And that's it really, if people feel this stuff is worth it people will sell them it for that. So on the one side there are idiots with more money than sense, on the other greedy chancers. We're in the middle trying to catch a break.

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A lot of people seemingly price off completed listings. However, they don't seem to take condition or shipping into consideration. The higher sold prices will most often be due to the games being in near perfect condition and due to selling to someone overseas.

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Every now and again, I go onto eBay and look at the prices of sold NGPC games as my collection is very much unused. The range is horrific, 200% difference on identical items.

 

That said, if someone is willing to pay X for the item, why not sell it for that price, and how else would you decide how to price something?

 

People pay more for convenience and for saving time.  BIN stuff on eBay, in my experience will sell for more than auction stuff.  If I'm listing on eBay, I use completed listings and current BINs and aim for slightly less than the cheapest BIN, or somewhere in the middle of the auction end prices if stuff doesn't have BIN auctions.  In the past, I've had items end with no bids, relisted them the following week as BIN, but with starting price plus a bit, and they've sold within the day!

 

As for us as gamers doing this to ourselves, go look at the price of a 70s Ford Escort Mexico, or to continue your example with Arrow Flash, an 80s Escort XR3i.

The XR3i was a pretty mediocre FWD mild performance hatch favoured by joy riders and thieves.  It wan't all that well put together, it didn't feel all that special, and frankly, it was a bit of a disgrace to previous Mk1 and 2 performance Escorts. Low mileage ones are now £10k plus.

 

In summary, people have more money than ever and nostalgia is on sale to the highest bidder!

 

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Also - for disk based games, eBay is very much a market for lemons. 95% of the stuff listed as being like new or mint, quite simply won't be. No one expects to pick up something in immaculate condition, even if someone's listed it as so. So, whilst people will generally pay a premium for stuff in near perfect condition, you don't see that with disk based games on eBay, because no one believes the seller's claims.

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At the same time, with the rise of Everdrives we're close to flashcart nirvana, so it's never been so easy to play games on the original hardware. With the exception of games with unique in-cart hardware (e.g. SNES SA-1 or SFX stuff), scarcity is functionally dead, and good riddance.

 

Game collecting now largely seems to be the preserve of people who put them on shelves and admire them, with a vastly increased emphasis on boxes - loose carts and consoles can still be pretty reasonable. Probably middle-aged sods like me who have ample disposable income but not much time to actually play games - it's easier to fit buying things in with every day life (eBay on the phone, etc) than actually playing them.

 

See also the stupid premium on CD obi strips or game spine cards. As someone who occasionally buys Japanese CDs, I love the fact that obi strips exist, as it means I can get pristine CDs for up to 50% cheaper than the going rate just by seeking one out without the obi.

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I like buy it now, you can agree a price with the seller and make a purchase. You don't get involved or carried away with an auction or have to go over your max.

 

Lots of sellers/ collectors do put rather large buy it now prices, but thats because they are not looking to sell right away or in need of the money.

 

I must admit I'm the same. I have a very expensive pair of shoes that are too high to wear more than once a year, and they look good in my collection.... however if someone wants to pay me £350 for them on a buy it now I would not be too averse. 

 

There is no difference to me doing that, to someone putting arrow flash on for £50.

when you actually think about it, arrow flash is a 25 year old game. Still in mintish condition. New, that's probably £35 to £40 in a store in the 1990s. 

 

£50 in 2017 is still far less in real terms than you would have paid retail in 1994

 

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Guilty m'lud.  Some of the prices I paid for absolute turkeys on the Jag would make any sane man weep.  Idiots like me are half the problem.  Although in my defence, it's only the Jag (and a brief flirtation with Neo Geo), I've been like that with.  Unfortunately there are lots of people about, of a certain age, with piles of disposable income.

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16 minutes ago, ulala said:

 

There is no difference to me doing that, to someone putting arrow flash on for £50.

when you actually think about it, arrow flash is a 25 year old game. Still in mintish condition. New, that's probably £35 to £40 in a store in the 1990s. 

 

£50 in 2017 is still far less in real terms than you would have paid retail in 1994

 

 

Sounds like you have an Arrow Flash for sale on eBay

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2 minutes ago, Goemon said:

 

Sounds like you have an Arrow Flash for sale on eBay

 

It was the example given by the op.

 

strangely enough, I did end up with two copies of this game by mistake some years ago.

 

incidentally hellfire is a good shooter, I remember it from the mean machines preview, but it's no thunder force 3.

 

gynoug is a another game that's undervalued, I cannot understand why

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2 hours ago, Camel said:

 

 

Experienced this first hand recently at a boot sale.  Asked a guy how much a GB game was.  "Um, dunno, sorry, hang on", *gets eBay up on his phone*.  I told him to leave it.  Dick.

 

This is amazing BTW...

I was at a Market the other week and saw a Turtles in Time cart only for £70.

They wanted £70 and they hadn't even been arsed to clean it. Looked like someone had dropped it in a pile of mud.

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9 minutes ago, Goemon said:

 

This is amazing BTW...

I was at a Market the other week and saw a Turtles in Time cart only for £70.

They wanted £70 and they hadn't even been arsed to clean it. Looked like someone had dropped it in a pile of mud.

 

A muddy copy of Turtles in time for £70 still passes what I call the "Dirty Goofy"  car boot test..

 

 

 

 

 

 

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20 minutes ago, Goemon said:

 

This is amazing BTW...

I was at a Market the other week and saw a Turtles in Time cart only for £70.

They wanted £70 and they hadn't even been arsed to clean it. Looked like someone had dropped it in a pile of mud.

 

Seen this too.  A lone smashed up CPC 464, no leads, covered in crap, complete state, in a cardboard box with a load of other crap.  Thought it might be worth a punt to see if I could get it running, for, eg, a fiver or so.  

 

"Forty quid mate".

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46 minutes ago, Camel said:

 

Seen this too.  A lone smashed up CPC 464, no leads, covered in crap, complete state, in a cardboard box with a load of other crap.  Thought it might be worth a punt to see if I could get it running, for, eg, a fiver or so.  

 

"Forty quid mate".

 

There is a cash converter type store (but not them) in a local high street that sells some retro games.

 

The last time i went in there, i found a PSP game for £1.50, a good deal. I handed it over the counter and the assistant checked the selling price on the CEX website, and said that she would have to charge me MORE than the ticket price!

 

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Freeman said:

 

People pay more for convenience and for saving time.  BIN stuff on eBay, in my experience will sell for more than auction stuff.  If I'm listing on eBay, I use completed listings and current BINs and aim for slightly less than the cheapest BIN, or somewhere in the middle of the auction end prices if stuff doesn't have BIN auctions.  In the past, I've had items end with no bids, relisted them the following week as BIN, but with starting price plus a bit, and they've sold within the day!

 

In my experience lots of people tend to avoid auctions and just use eBay like Amazon Marketplace, they don't want to faff about as they see it and just want the stuff, even if it means paying extra for convenience potentially. If it's priced right it catches that "oh well, what the hell, just got paid, why not" sort of buyer. Auctions appear to be a lot less common than they were 10 years ago.

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This thread has reminded me I need to sell my copy of Gairies as I don't really play it and would rather have some Lego.

 

I pretty much use eBay exclusively for my US DS games as they're otherwise really hard to come by and I too have been astounded by the up and down ranges of games I've been after. I've also noticed that Saturn games are starting to creep up quite a lot now. I rarely bother with auctions, preferring buy it now, but I have got a few good deals of facebook groups (and here of course).

My cousin @nakamurahas a great system where he simply pays what he's willing to pray. Sometimes he waits months and months for a game to pop up at the price he wants, but he typically gets things on his terms. I'm far more impatient (as many of you may have guessed by my recent DS collection) and am more likely to buy something I initially told myself I wouldn't.

 

I do wonder if it's too late to collect complete SNES and Mega Drive games, particularly if you want the good 60HZ stuff. It's just getting sillier and sillier, but surely there's a limit?

 

I blame retro magazines for generating interest in these older games as well...

 

 

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Oh I have been using Facebook groups more and more, especially for computer games. Trouble is you have to be super-quick to get in there, either hitting a post as soon as you get the notification and making a decision right there, or sitting on the page refreshing for new listings. Most of the time I see someone selling, say, C64 disk games (really rare to see those on sale) and note it has 40+ comments, know it probably all went ages ago. You can build up a good rapport with regular sellers, the best make it easy to "build a pile", or will 'mention' you on a post to let you know something is on. It's not perfect and there are no real protections for buyers but we all know it's buyer beware on this sort of stuff.

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42 minutes ago, strider said:

My cousin @nakamurahas a great system where he simply pays what he's willing to pay. Sometimes he waits months and months for a game to pop up at the price he wants, but he typically gets things on his terms. I'm far more impatient (as many of you may have guessed by my recent DS collection) and am more likely to buy something I initially told myself I wouldn't.

 

I do this with CDs, and have had some eBay stakeouts that have lasted about 3 years before reaching a conclusion. Set a saved search, then forget about it. Check it whenever you nip to the loo at work. I have a full set of the original 1984 RCA David Bowie CDs (still the best sounding ones to date), which you'll see listed for £50-£125 each by Buy It Now sellers. I spent about three years watching, waiting and choosing my battles and got them for ~£25 a disc. Which is still silly money for a CD, but considerably less silly than the Buy Nows. Any time I feel bad about it I just look at what @strider is paying for 90s vinyl ;)

 

Also got all three Plumtree albums on CD for £10 each, roughly one every 12 months, rather than paying the ridiculous prices Discogs sellers wanted for them prior to the vinyl reissues.

I'm doing it with some SNES games at the moment (the ones with enhancement chips). Cart only, they can be pretty reasonable, but you have to bide your time. I'm in no rush.

 

Quote

I rarely bother with auctions, preferring buy it now, but I have got a few good deals of facebook groups (and here of course).

 

Given as a copy of Snatcher went for £250 in Retro For Sale earlier, I'm not sure they're a panacea. I guess there are bargains to be had in regional, car-boot style groups, but the signal to noise ratio is awful. The proliferation of illegal raffles on Facebook Groups also bothers me - I left Galaxy Sega because I was sick of that.

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8 minutes ago, nakamura said:

I also don't buy crap games @strider, it all helps making it easy. But luckily my main area nowadays is cheap anyway, racing games. 

 

I don't have ace crap games you dick :P

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It is always easy to assume a few things.

 

e.g. "Collectors" driving the price up and just putting the box on the shelf and never playing the game

 

However do we know if this is true? Most of the Collectors I know spend all of their time actually playing the games.

 

Also let's take an example of a game you really want to play. Let's say it is a "rare" game for a system that hasn't been emulated so you can't just play it. There is also no flashcart for this system and also conveniently the game is an exclusive to the system.

 

Now let's say the price of said game is in the range £70 to £110. So a fair difference in prices and more than its original retail price.

 

if you are desperate to play it there is nothing to stop you buying a copy. Let's say you manage to find one for £90. Now you get to play the game as much as you like. Really love the game? Then £90 is a fair price - you got lots of value from it. Enjoy the game but don't want to be a "Collector" and have it on the shelf or alternatively don't enjoy the game as it doesn't live up to its hype (or you perceive it not to justify the £90 you spent on it)? Guess what - you could sell it on EBay. You might get the lower end of the price range £70 which means effectively you rented the game for £20 for several weeks. Or you might get your money back. Or you might actually make a bit of money.

 

There is also an argument to say that if you have a rare game that people are willing to pay silly money for and you aren't too fussed about whether it sells or not then why not stick it up with a high "Buy it Now" price. If someone buys it then happy days but if not then no worries.

 

Also with regard to high prices in some shops for Retro stuff. A number of shops will always price certain items high. This is almost so they don't sell. It is better for them to have it in the window to lure in people to look at their other stuff. If someone is willing to pay over the odds for the items then fair enough they get extra money for it. CEX in Rathbone Place used to do this all the time - particularly with new hardware from Japan. The N64 running Mario 64 in the window will lure people in. If someone wants to pay a grand for it then CEX aren't going to decline.

 

TL:DR buy stuff on EBay by bidding how much you value a game at and are willing to pay. If it is more than anyone else then you'll win it and pay a fair price. 

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49 minutes ago, strider said:

I don't have ace crap games you dick :P

Haha I honestly never meant to imply you did! It was more the OP talking about a crap MD game being worth more than a good one. 

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BIN is better than auctions, because you actually get the item. Just like going into a shop. And if the price is too high, don't pay it. It'll get rested, lower, eventually.

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8 hours ago, Goemon said:

 

 

I feel it gets worse too…

 

Hellfire MD – Was considered one of the top shooters of the system and scored in the likes of 9/10

Arrow Flash MD – Was considered a very poor and not worth your time or money 3/10

 

The prices of these games on eBay

Hellfire - £16

Arrow Flash - £51

 

At what point is it no longer about the game and it’s just about the collection?

 

 

This ones easy, Arrowflash has a hot lady/anime chick on the cover, while Hellfire doesn't.

 

But if you assume collectors aren't just buying games that look good on their shelves, then I guess other ways  to play the game would come into it. I don't think Arrowflash has appeared on any retro compilations, but Hellfire might have. 

 

I agree EBay is all messed now, free listings just encourage people to pay put stuff on at silly prices on the off chance someone buys it. 

 

Amazon is even worse for crazy pricing.  Would be good if there was a decent alternative auction site.

 

 

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Not saying this is the case for Arrow Flash but another reason prices can seem high for some games is that they may not have been released in a certain territory or if they were then it was in extremely low numbers - for example see Acclaim games the Megadrive in Japan. Therefore the price for a common PAL game is much much higher for the Japanese variant and then the PAL version price starts to rise too

 

Or possibly a certain release was censored/changed/cut down

 

Or it may be a label variation so the price will get driven up by the completionist collector

 

or sometimes two people get into a bidding war and drive a price up (sometimes those people may be confused and think it is a different game or don't know how to see that there are other copies of the same game listed or aren't patient or maybe they really really need that specific game as the perfect present for a loved one and will pay whatever it takes)

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2 hours ago, Grey Fox said:

 

However do we know if this is true? Most of the Collectors I know spend all of their time actually playing the games.

 

With regards to this, I can only base my assumptions on personal experience. After interviewing collectors for 15 years for various magazines I can say with absolute certainty that a good 70% of the people I interviewed would only return to around 20% of the games they owned, meaning they were essentially hording. I'm not going to criticise them for it, because I've done it in the past and I still do to a certain extent on some systems. Hell, out of my 110 ds games I have I've only completed 5 of them, so I'm as much as part of the problem as others. I do intend to play them though, otherwise why buy them?

 

It's collectors striving for complete collections that often contain countless shit games that I find most fascinating. I love to know why they do it, why they need those terrible games. I can understand doing it for a hopeful monetary game, I can't understand it for any other reason. I went for a Dreamcast Pal collection once and was about 40 games short. I stopped when I realised I'd have to spend around £500 on truly shitty games and ultimately it wasn't impressing anyone or serving any purpose whatsoever. For me it was the thrill of the chase and slowly ticking things off. My sister calls it a form of OCD and she's probably right.

 

The one thing that truly baffles me though is people who spend a fortune on pal collections. It's utterly nonsensical that you'd spend all that money on inferior games. (I'm talking mainly console stuff here).

 

I'm sure there are collectors out there who have completed every single game in their 500+ collection, but I doubt I'll ever meet them.

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