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Retro Games + COVID = Insanity

It’s hard to believe that the world is still being effected by COVID-19 on a daily basis. With so many people still staying at home and some speculating that states that have reopened will be going through a round two, tons of people have been taking to the internet to purchase video games. While it’s easy to note that every other person seems to be trying to get a hold of a Switch after three months, another batch are finding and repurchasing the consoles they grew up on. Everything from original NES all the way to Playstation 2, people have been trying to get their games and consoles and are willing to dish out some money. All you have to do is go watch the prices of games on eBay or Price Charting to see retro gaming scene has reached bat shit insanity levels.

Prices for the most popular and extremely rare titles on each platform has seen prices skyrocket over the past three months. It’s a surreal experience seeing games that you might have purchased just a few months ago for under $10 now going for almost three times what you paid for it in this current market. For example, I was able to purchase NBA Street Volume 2 for the Playstation 2 twelve months ago from a Half-Priced Books store for $6. Now thanks to COVID-19, the price has skyrocketed to an average sold price of $37.75 including shipping according to Price Charting.

GameCube titles have seen a 25% increase in their average price since everyone and their moms are purchasing anything and everything that says Nintendo on it. We’ve now reached the point where just a loose disc of Super Mario Sunshine costs more than what you paid for a complete copy when the game came out. Meanwhile titles that were already rare and hard to come by such as Fire Emblem Path of Radiance has seen a spike in price as well. Back in March, a complete-in-box copy sold for an average of $165, but now in June it’s averaging $225.

Even games that are considered a holy grail for collections are seeing prices increase. One of the best examples is Rule of Rose for the Playstation 2. For several years, the game has always been at or near the top of the most expensive games on the system. In February 2020, the average complete price was $285, but it’s sitting at an average price of a whopping $470 with a $60 average increase compared to last month alone. For those curious, the reigning title holder for most expensive game on the Playstation 2 is now Kuon which has always stayed in second or third place for the past few years. That is now averaging a complete price of over $500.

Something I’ve been getting asked personally is if we will see collectors sell off their collections. For the most part, I really don’t see that happening. Although I will admit that while it does get tempting looking at my Dreamcast collection and looking up the values to certain titles, there isn’t a game that I would instantly part ways with. That’s not to say that if I had any duplicates I wouldn’t sell some. I do see several people in general selling off some of their duplicates, or games they just don’t want anymore. In all honesty, a collection of games is perfect for this time we are living in since you can stay at home and start playing titles in your collection that you might not had gotten around to experiencing. Hell, you might even find some hidden gems you never knew you owned.

My biggest wonder overall when it comes to these prices isn’t COVID, but what will the market look like when we finally start 2021. Do we see a resurgence in the amount of people looking to get back into the retro gaming scene going out and rediscovering the games they grew up on even more, or do we see a huge price drop down to normal levels with casuals complaining that their games are now not fetching as much as they spent on it now. Honestly, just like 2020 it’s hard to predict anything at this point and nothing would surprise anyone.

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