How I Collect Video Games

I’ve just been sitting thinking about my video game collection and how proud I am of it. Yet, there is so much more that I want to add to it. Then I asked myself “does a video game collection ever become complete?” I find myself always adding to it and wanting to add more, wanting to replace games and track down games I had once gotten rid of. It’s like it becomes this life-long quest to give yourself the greatest gifts that anyone ever could.

This leads me to writing this featured post. I want to share my experiences and tips about crafting together a good collection. Bearing in mind, how you go about collecting is entirely up to you.

There are hundreds of videos up on YouTube featuring peoples’ collections and I guess it’s because everyone is proud of their collection and want to share it with like-minded people. That’s not to say we should look at what games they have and go out and try to replicate their collections. The greatest aspect I’ve found about these various collections, including my own, is that each and every one of them is personal; in more ways than one, too.

CHOOSING YOUR GAMES
As I have just mentioned, a good tip I can give you when collecting is to make it your own. Don’t go out and buy games that other people have because they’re collectable, buy the games that you grew up with, or games that you never got to try out back in the day.
On the flipside, if you want to have a collection full of rarities, by all means, go ahead. These gems will stand out in your collection but will most likely break the bank. Rarer games come with higher prices, so be cautious.

I’ve recently decided that having at least 1 complete library of games for a system is a nice touch. The only problem is that most consoles have A LOT of games and, again, will break the bank trying to track them all down. So I reckon it would be wise to go for a library of less than 500 games.
I myself am trying to get a complete PAL Sega Dreamcast collection which consists of 217 games (216 if I don’t include, the France only, Taxi 2). A few YouTubers seem to go for complete Sega Mega Drive collections, whether it be PAL or Japanese. These different territories have less than 500 games each (slightly different games though) and not so many bad games in the libraries. Because of their age (20 years), a few of the games can be hard to find and therefor expensive.

LOOKING FOR QUALITY
Most of the time, collectors tend to have their collections on display somewhere around the home and for this reason it can be quite important to look for quality when buying.
Really, all you need to look for is nice, clean covers and manuals. A majority of the older games can often have manuals missing, but you don’t really display the manuals, so this can sometimes be forgiven.
If the game is cheap enough, or significantly cheap due to lack of manual, I often overlook this fact. I usually always look for decent quality cases, i.e. small amount of cracks, scratches on the case, very few dents, tears in boxes etc.
These flaws can easily turn a nice collection into an ugly collection. Try to avoid these if you want a collection to be proud of.

REPLACEMENTS
I hate replacing games, or buying games with the intention of replacing them in the future; kinda defeats the point of buying the game in the first place. Having said that, I have realised that it can be easier and sometimes cheaper to replace inserts and boxes yourself. There’s a great site called The Cover Project which hosts a very large collection of retail and custom covers for games of all generations. So if you find a game with no/a badly damaged cover at a good price, head over there, find your replacement and print it out.
I’ve found myself searching the net for images of retail covers to make my own (as not everything is on that site). I’ve saved a fair bit of cash from buying slightly poor quality games at a low price, printing out the covers and saving a few pennies.
It all adds up at the end of the day.

FINDING A BARGAIN
The hardest part of collecting is finding yourself a good bargain. At the end of the day, you want your collection to expand and you can’t really do this if you’re spending the big bucks on 1 game when you could get it cheaper else where and use that extra cash on another game.
Luckily, I have a local retro game shop that has really good prices so I often find myself in there getting a fair few bargains on pay day. If the shop doesn’t have in what I want that week, I’ll hunt the item out on ebay. And I really mean ‘hunt’.
Do a lot of research before jumping the gun; look at a few auctions, watch a few of them end, see how much the game you want usually sells for and then try to get it cheaper. I’ve gotten numerous PSone and Mega Drive games off there for less than £5 each including postage. My best purchase was a fully working Sega Dreamcast for £1. I had to pay £8 to go pick it up, but still, a Dreamcast with 2 controllers for £8… bargain (oh, and when I went to pick it up, they didn’t want the £1 so I got it for the price of my bus journey).
This leads me to my next point, travel! Don’t be afraid to spend a bit more cash to leave the city in hopes of finding a bargain. It could very well happen. I’d probably do a little research first though. Find out where retro game shops are, go to car boot sales/markets. There are always places that have bargains. Even charity shops.
I found a boxed, complete Game Boy Advance in a charity shop for £3.99 a few weeks back. It was in excellent condition too. Few scratches on the GBA, but still excellent for £4.

DISPLAYING YOUR COLLECTION
Probably the most fun part for me (as it’s not always fun parting with money, lol) is organising and displaying my collection. I currently have 2 bookcases and 2 shelves set up in my small room and they’re pretty much full of games. I know it can be tough squeezing your collection into places, but there is ALWAYS space to be found, trust me.
I’m already contemplating getting rid of at least half of my desk (it comes apart) to make room for another bookcase to fill with games. Might be getting a bit ahead of myself there, though. Probably not going to need another one for a while.
I find that things other than games make nice touches to collections; like video game related plushies, figures etc. If you have room, why not even display all those pre-order t-shirts and items you should be picking up on release day, too!

Special/limited/collector editions of games make good display pieces too and are also cool to show off in your collection. There’s a wide range of items that you can find in these special editions like figures, busts, replicas of in-game items, soundtracks, art books, DVDs… the list goes on. They give a bit of variation to just standard game after game and look nice too.

OTHER MEDIA
As I just briefly touched on it, soundtracks and art books (even guides) make nice collector pieces too. There are a lot of art books out there for different games that you can buy without having to purchase a special edition of a game. Not always cheap, but nice touches.
The same goes for the soundtracks. These often get abbreviated to OSTs (Original Sound Tracks) and those 3 letters save time on typing when searching various sites (such as ebay, amazon, play.com and play-asia.com) for these scores that again, add a bit of variation to your collection.

CONSOLES
I don’t really have to say much about these as the same tips as above apply here. Just look for bargains where possible but it’s not always the case. It also depends on what you want your collection to look like. Me, I’m not fussed about console boxes, the consoles themselves are enough to display for me.
An unboxed console is often cheaper than a boxed one, thus, saving a few quid for more games 🙂

I hope these tips help out and if you have any other tips, feel free to post them in the comments section below.
Happy collecting!

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