LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. – If you’ve been struggling to find some of the classic video games and consoles, there’s a reason you might not be having much luck. Or if you have some old video games and consoles collecting dust in your garage, you may want to think twice before pitching them. According to some local collectors, now is a great time for the collector’s market.
31-year-old Michael Finch of Lancaster knows his way around a controller. Playing for 1-2 hours, it’s a routine he follows each night.
“Just to like, unwind, do my thing,” Finch said. “I don’t really watch TV so I kind of fill the time with other stuff.”
Stuff like Monster Hunter World, Overwatch, and he can’t forget the classics, like Zelda.
“I very much enjoy a lot of the classics,” Finch said. “Super Nintendo especially holds up well over the years. And just in general it kinda brings that nostalgic feeling that I think a lot of us are looking for which is why I think a lot of us collect what we do.”
That collection of his spanning dozens of consoles, hundreds of games, and thousands upon thousands of dollars.
“My collection isn’t as big as I would like it, but, it’s hard finding stuff nowadays for decent prices,” Finch said.
It’s a feeling Spenser Brossman, owner of the game store “Complete In Box” in Ephrata knows all too well.
“Yeah I mean there’s certainly a lot out there,” Brossman said. “There’s probably 15 to 25 Nintendo games we all wish we could find. There’s a reason that they’re so rare and so expensive. There are plenty of games that I’ve personally never seen.”
Brossman said more and more, people want those older games and consoles for the same reason Finch does. Nostalgia. But it’s not just the 30 and 40 somethings who are looking for that perfect vintage find.
“We have, ya know, legitimately 8-10 year old kids coming in picking up Nintendo and Ataris,” Brossman said. “Systems that came out 25 years before they were born. Stuff that they have no nostalgia for; how could they? It wasn’t around when they were around and yet they still want it, they still pick it up.”
So what’s the deal with the increased popularity? After all, the quality isn’t as good and the plots aren’t as in depth. Brossman said it’s because they’re simple and fun.
They include Donkey Kong Country 3, Super Nintendo ($200 used), Harvest Moon, Super Nintendo ($200 used), Luigi’s Mansion, GameCube ($100 used), and Dead Space Ultra Limited Edition, Xbox 360 ($700 used).
The top 3 requests Brossman’s store has right now are for N64, PlayStation 2, and GameCube; created in 1996, 2000, and 2001.
“People really enjoy the hunt,” Brossman said. “Whether it’s at a store like us, or at a garage sale, or at a flea market, there’s something about walking into a place and just saying, ‘oh my goodness, there it is. That’s there’.”
And with high demand, mean higher prices. So finding a “steal” is harder to come by. Part of the problem is the internet makes it easy for quick sellers to know what items are worth.
“It’s pretty brutal,” Finch said. “I’ve gone online and looked at prices and gone into the store and they’re almost exactly.”
But for Finch it’s not just about striking the collector’s jackpot. Instead, escaping to a different place, if only for a brief moment.
“This is what makes me happy,” Finch said. “This is part of my life, and part of my friends and connections and I don’t think I ever want to lose that no matter how old I am.”