There has never been a better time to get into collecting retro games. Whether you’re a newbie looking to see where it all began or a veteran wanting to recapture your youth, there is something for everyone. Video games have been around now for over 50 years – believe it or not, Pong is turning 50 this year – meaning there are decades worth of games to explore. But where do you even start? Worry not because HitStart is here to help.
Finding A Starting Point
When starting any collection it is always important to consider where you begin. A collection should always begin with one primary focus and it’s good for you to think about this before making your first purchase. Are you pining for that nostalgic feeling? Then start collecting the video games you played when you were a kid like Super Mario Brothers on the Nintendo Entertainment System or Sonic the Hedgehog on the SEGA Mega Drive. Are you a huge fan of beat ’em ups? Then why not start with Street Fighter on the SNES or Virtua Fighter on the SEGA Saturn.
A good starting point will help you spend your money wisely on pieces that will add personal value to your collection. This brings us neatly to our next piece of advice.
Give Yourself A Budget
One of the most important pieces of advice we can give is that a good hobby should never leave you out of pocket. Meaning you should only spend what you can afford on any piece no matter how much you want it. Some retro video games can cost as little as £5 depending on how common they are. Whilst rarer video games can fetch hundreds of pounds. And don’t get us started on retro hardware.
Knowing how much you are comfortable spending is an incredibly freeing bit of knowledge that will make collecting easier.
Where To Buy Retro Video Games
The easiest place to start looking for retro video games is eBay, without a doubt. For years, eBay has enabled private individuals to sell anything to anyone, video games included. Unsurprisingly this means that eBay is highly competitive with some auctions becoming overpriced and overcrowded. Sometimes this means that the chance to grab a bargain can be slim. But don’t give up hope! It is easy to set notification alerts for specific games and key phrases too. We recommend researching multiple listings before deciding which to bid on if you can, item quality, delivery costs and seller feedback should be checked before committing.
There are also some great options on websites like Shpock and gumtree if you are patient enough to look. However, one site we do not recommend is CEX. Video games and hardware at CEX are generally overpriced and vary wildly in quality. If you find yourself curious, it is best to visit your local CEX store than to shop online.
If you’re feeling adventurous, get on google and search for “Retro Game Shops Near Me” and get exploring!
What Do I Do With My Retro Game Collection?
Play them and treasure them! What else are you going to do with them? Put them in boxes and store them in a damp and drafty loft space?
At their best, retro video games are a piece of modern history and an interactive art form. They need to be respected and preserved as you would any collectable, with care and pride.
We recommend some brilliant storage solutions on Amazon or bookcases that can be modded to fit your various video game boxes.
Consoles To Get You Started
Now you’ve got the basics down, the rest should be easy for you. But wait, are you still unsure of where to begin? In need of some more inspiration? Here are three of our favourite retro game consoles to get you started. For simplicity, we’re sticking with the PAL / UK releases of these consoles.
SEGA Mega Drive
Released in the late 1980s – the SEGA Mega Drive is an impressive piece of hardware to start your collection with. There are over 800 official titles in the console’s library and the hardware came in two variants – the common and very affordable Mark 1 and Mark 2.
Thankfully, SEGA Mega Drive will set you back between £40 to £50 with cables and controllers for either variant. You shouldn’t notice a difference between them either. The only difference is the size, colour scheme and volume dials plus power switches on the Mark 1. Games range between £5 to £100’s depending on rarity.
Interestingly, SEGA released two portable variants of the Mega Drive as time went on. The rare and pricey, SEGA Nomad and SEGA Mega Jet. Finally, SEGA extended the life span of the hardware with add on’s in the form of the brilliant SEGA Mega CD, SEGA 32x and one more final variant, the incredibly rare SEGA Multimega.
The sheer variety is why this console appeals to many collectors, it can be very affordable and scales comfortably in price with the rarity of each piece. Games to look out for: Sonic the Hedgehog 3, Comix Zone and Phantasy Star
Nintendo Entertainment System (AKA NES)
The Nintendo Entertainment System was released in the mid-1980s and is affectionately remembered as a big grey brick. Cartridges were the size of slices of bread and you plugged them into a huge toaster like console deck. But don’t let its looks fool you, Nintendo’s first major home console was a must-have in many homes across the world and introduced a generation to Super Mario, Legend of Zelda, Metroid and more.
There are over 700 official games in the NES library, so like the SEGA Mega Drive, there is plenty to get started with. Make sure you keep an eye out for some exciting and rare peripherals like the NES Zapper and R.O.B Robots.
A good quality NES will cost between £50 and £60 with cables and controllers. Make sure the power brick that comes with the console is in good condition and be mindful of wear on the front loader on the console as the joints are known to wear badly with frequent use.
No self respecting Nintendo fan will be without a NES in their collection. Games to look out for: Super Mario Bros 3, Kirby’s Adventure and River City Ransom
Playstation 1 (AKA PS One, PSX)
The Playstation 1 began its life in the mid-1990s as a collaboration project between Nintendo and Sony to produce the next killer console using CDs. Nintendo would eventually decide to stick with cartridges and release the N64, whilst Sony would forge ahead and release their own beautiful little grey monster.
Boasting a huge library of over 4000 video games across a decade. The Playstation 1 is one of the most influential consoles of any generation.
A quality Playstation 1 can cost as little as £20 including a controller and leads. The wear and tear on a Playstation tends to show on the CD tray in the centre of the console, so look for damage there before anywhere else. And like the SEGA Mega Drive, a second variant was released. The daintier and more portable PS ONE that had an optional in built monitor and speaker set up!
Playstation is now on its 5th generation and it is good to see where it all began. Games to look out for: Crash Bandicoot, Final Fantasy 7 and Gran Turismo
So there you have it, some useful tips on where to start and even three consoles to inspire you. Are you collecting already? Leave us a message in the comments on how your collection is going or your rarest pieces!