Video game collecting
Video game collecting is the hobby of collecting video games and related memorabilia. Collectors may focus on a particular area of interest, such as retro consoles like the Atari 2600 and NES and retro computers like the Commodore 64 and the Atari 8-bit family computers. There may also be some overlap with animation, anime, manga, comic books, or other media. Collecting video games differs from other hobbies in that the collectible is interactive, allowing it to be enjoyed as a game as long as it still functions. Nostalgia plays a large factor, as those who grew up with a certain generation of games may have stronger appreciation for games of that era.
A collector may have started out by purchasing video games with no intent to collect, and later find that the act of owning games is in itself the means to collecting, with games owned for display purposes rather than being played. The value of a game depends on how sought after it becomes by collectors and casual gamers, especially rare games or games with a limited release. The condition of the game may also determine price, such as the quality of the cartridge or disc, label, and packaging. The inclusion of any packaging will increase value, as they are often thrown away. Most consoles, and their games are considered to be collectors' items years after their discontinuation. Many video game collectors are now starting to collect PlayStation 2, Xbox, Dreamcast, and GameCube games.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (June 2013)|
Different collectors take different approaches to collecting. They may focus on specific approach or mix and match the different approaches.
- Full sets: some collectors may strive towards collecting a complete set of games for one console or computer, such as the NES, and the Commodore 64. It is up to personal preference whether to include imports, unofficial or unlicensed games, prototypes, etc. While cheaper games can be bought readily, rare titles become increasingly sought after for the sake of completion. Collectors may also choose to include manuals and packaging as a preference.
- Consoles: the console itself may be collectible, especially if it includes its original packaging. Some consoles may be sought after for rarity or limited release, limited editions and variants, hotel consoles, display consoles, odd or interesting consoles, console clones, or prototypes and cancelled consoles.
- By region: many video game collectors only aim to collect video games in their region due to the difficulty of buying games from other regions and due to the fact that many consoles and computers have regional lockout chips. Language differences may also limit buying options.
- By generation: many video game collectors may collect video games from different consoles and computers of the generation they grew up with. For example, a video game collector who collects video games from the fourth generation would strive to collect games for the SNES, Sega Genesis, Neo Geo, and TurboGrafx-16.
- By series: some series have gained a collector following because of their production value (such as The Legend of Zelda). Some series (such as Mario) include many entries across various genres and consoles.
- By creator: a collector may choose to collect video games encompassing a specific publisher, developer, producer, programmer, composer, or artist. For example, someone may collect games produced by Shigeru Miyamoto.
- By genre: a collector may choose to collect games from a specific genre; for example, one that person is interested in. RPGs often retain or increase their value by their quality, length of gameplay, and niche popularity.
- Game: some video game collectors strive to collect different versions of a single video game. They will collect different versions such as: regional versions, updated versions, remakes, console ports, PC ports, arcade ports, limited editions, beta versions, prototypes, etc. Many video game collectors also collect expansions, mods, ROM hacks, DLC, tool kits, level editors, and memorabilia of their favorite video game as well.
- Arcade: arcade games and system boards can also be collected. Many arcade game collectors usually buy used arcade games from restaurant, and arcade owners. Most arcade game collectors change the switches on the back of the cabinets to make the games free play. They may also change the artwork to make it look newer. This is becoming more common due to the increasing decline of arcade gaming.
- Imports: a game may be more valuable in one region for its limited release after it has been localized. This commonly affects RPGs and shooters. For example, shoot 'em up games for the Sega Dreamcast are particularly sought after and can be expensive to purchase. Games in this category include Border Down, Ikaruga and Under Defeat.
- Memorabilia: Memorabilia includes any merchandise related to video games, such as toys, giveaways, or promotional items. It can also include retail displays that were previously unavailable for purchase.
- Accessories: Accessories includes special controllers, lightguns, memory cards, add-ons, or other devices. An accessory that has found very limited release will be more collectible, such as the Dreamcast broadband adapter. Online modems or network equipment for retro consoles may be collected for completeness despite their official inoperability. Many PC video game collectors collect video cards, sound cards, keyboards, joysticks, and other computer hardware. Third party accessories may also be of interest.
- Unlicensed games: video games that are not licensed for their respective video game consoles are considered collectors' items since they're not very common unlike the licensed games. One example is Bible Adventures for the NES. Most Christian video games for consoles are unlicensed because many console manufacturers do not want religious video games on their systems, such as was the case with Nintendo. Homebrew and ROM hacks might also be an interest.
- Bootlegs: Bootleg games, systems, and add-ons may be desired for their unofficial status. Also, video game collectors can get rare video games on a reproduction cart, so they can still have them in their collection. Since, this may violate the copyright law, these can be considered black market collectables.
- Prototype and development release: games and equipment may become collectible by virtue of its unavailability. This includes games availably only in prototype form, which may have left the company in several ways (bankruptcy, liquidation, theft). Games that were not released to the public are still of interest to the gaming community, as their software can be copied and distributed over the Internet. Because these titles are not supposed to leave their respective companies, they can also be considered black market collectibles. 
The value of most games will decrease for any system, especially an unpopular system or a popular system flooded with many titles over its lifespan. Games that have a limited release will show an increase in price, but games that were once commonly available can become more expensive as demand increases. Many games increase in value for the quality of their gameplay alone, while others are simply too scarce. Consoles will have games that are the "most valuable" for that system, and become noteworthy among collectors. Price vary depending on condition of the box, instructions, whether the item is sealed, how many inserts are retained, and whether the spine card is still present. Some games labeled as "special edition" are often produced in numbers that far exceed demand, especially in the CD-ROM era, where duplication has become cheap compared to cartridges.
Some of the rarest games in existence include:
- Chase the Chuck Wagon (1983), Atari 2600, NTSC-U, was only available through a mail order promotion from the now defunct Chuck Wagon dog food line of the Ralston Purina company. Since most buyers of dog food were adult dog owners and (at the time) adults rarely were interested in video games, very few bothered to order this game. Although not the rarest Atari 2600 game, it is a fan favorite among 2600 enthusiasts and in fact the website http://www.chasingthechuckwagon.com is named after a video game term for collecting a very rare game.
- Air Raid (1982), Atari 2600, NTSC-U, 12 known copies. The only copy with package known to exist sold for $31,600 in 2010.
- Pepsi Invaders (1983), Atari 2600, NTSC-U, 125 copies produced.
- Stadium Events (1987), NES, NTSC-U, 2000 cartridges produced., considered the rarest licensed NES game available for purchase in North America. The game's packaging alone has been known to sell for $10,000. One of two known sealed copies was sold for $22,800 on eBay.
- Nintendo World Championships (1990), NES, 26 copies for the Gold cartridge and 90 copies for the regular cartridge. Gold cartridges have sold for over $10,000. The game has been called the rarest and most valuable NES cartridge released aside from promotional cartridges.
- Nintendo Campus Challenge (1991, 1992), NES, NTSC-U. Most copies were destroyed after competitions, except one copy which was sold to Rob Walters in 2006. The copy is believed to be the only one in existence, eventually selling for $20,100 on eBay.
- Nintendo PowerFest '94 (1994), SNES, NTSC-U. 33 cartridges made, only 2 known to still exist.
- Virtual Bowling/SD Gundam Dimension War (1995), Virtual Boy, NTSC-J, the two rare games make completing the Virtual Boy collection difficult.
- Kizuna Encounter (1996), Neo Geo, European version, less than 12 copies (the Japanese AES version is, however, not rare and is identical except for the packaging and inserts).
- The Ultimate 11 (1996), Neo Geo, 10 known copies. Also known as Tokuten Oh: Honoo no Libero. One buyer reportedly paid $55,000 for both Kizuna Encounter and Ultimate 11.
- Bangai-O: Prize Edition (1999), Sega Dreamcast, NTSC-J, 5 copies produced.
- Tetris (1989), for the Japanese Sega Sega Mega Drive/Genesis, 3 to 8 copies produced. Tetris was originally created on June 6, 1984 by Aleksei Leonidovich Pazhitnov on an Electronica 60 at the Moscow Academy of Science's Computer Center. Due to copyright issues, only a few copies were produced.
- Uncharted 2: Among Thieves Fortune Hunter Edition (2009) for the Playstation 3, only 200 copies made.
- NBA Elite 11 (2010), for the Playstation 3, 15 known copies. Originally announced by EA to replace the long running NBA Live franchise, the game was universally panned when its demo released. The demo was full of glitches and the game was cancelled just weeks before its scheduled release. However, an extremely small number of retail discs were produced and while most were destroyed by EA, a scant amount made their way to the public. NBA Elite 11 is considered the "holy grail" of PlayStation 3 collecting.
- Grid 2: Mono Edition (2013), 1 available, costs £125,000, comes with a BAC Mono supercar, a PlayStation 3, a copy of the game, a day at the BAC factory to customise the supercar and a race driver suit.
- Saints Row IV: Super Dangerous Wad Wad Edition (2013), 1 available, costs $1 million, comes with a Commander in Chief Edition of the game, a replica dubstep gun, a full day of spy training, a trip to space with Virgin Galactic, one year’s membership of E25 Super Car Club, a Lamborghini Gallardo, a plastic surgery, a shopping spree with a personal shopper, 7 nights for two at The Jefferson Hotel in Washington, D.C., a hostage rescue experience, a Toyota Prius with insurance, and 7 nights stay in the royal suite at the Burj Al Arab with flights for two. Exclusive to Game retailer.
Certain video game consoles and computers are more popular to video game collectors than other ones. The most popular systems to collectors are the ones that were most popular in their generation. Another way that consoles or computers can be popular to collectors is by having a short lifespan but still be considered a good system, such as the Dreamcast. Although collecting games from the fifth generation and sixth generation are more common, the most common video game generations that video game collectors collect games from are the second generation, third generation, and the fourth generation. The most common consoles and computers that video game collectors collect include:
- Atari 2600
- Atari 8-bit family
- Commodore 64
- ZX Spectrum
- Nintendo Entertainment System
- Game Boy
- Sega Genesis
- Super Nintendo Entertainment System
- Atari Jaguar
- Sega Saturn
- Virtual Boy
- Nintendo 64
- Game Boy Color
- Sega Dreamcast
- Comic book collecting
- James Rolfe, famous video game collector
- Syd Bolton, Canada's top video game collector
- "The Wish List". Edge presents Retro. "Here Retro features a non-definitive list of the most collectible games in the world at the moment "
- CNN.com. 8 very rare (and very expensive) video games
- , Retrieved April 13, 2010.
- Racketboy.com Holy Grails of Console Game Collecting
- "Nintendo World Championships 1990". AtariHQ.com. Retrieved 2009-07-07.
- "How I Sold Nintendo World Championships Gold". 2010-01-27. Retrieved 2010-01-27.
- Digital Press Mini Rarity Guide. Messiah Entertainment. 2005.
- Kombo.com. "A Nintendo World Championships Cartridge? Pah, Anyone Can Get One of Those"
- Gamesniped.com. World’s Most Expensive Video Games
- "How I Got Nintendo Powerfest 94". 2012-07-17. Retrieved 2012-07-23.
- MacDonald, Keza (24 May 2013). "GRID 2's £125,000 Special Edition". IGN. j2 Global. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
- Grayson, Nathan (10 August 2013). "Why Not: Saints Row 4 Gets $1 Million Special Edition". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Retrieved 10 August 2013.