4 Tips For Selling and Buying Retro Video Games Online [so you don’t get screwed!]


Buying and selling retro video games can be a great experience most of the time. Collecting vintage video games can involve many different opinions on condition, dollar value and how to properly ship the item.

Good and bad things can happen when sellers and buyers do a retro video game transaction together. Below I’m going to list some tips to describe a standard set of rules and ethics that should be followed by both parties.

This advice and ethics are all based on my experience buying and selling used games online. You might be thinking, but Scotty, what could go wrong? LOL – just read under all the disasters people talk about in the Collectors forum on Nintendo Age. It can be quite humorous reading about the stuff people complain about.

Follow my advice below, and you’ll be off to a great start.

Tip #1: Price Checking

An eBay filtered search for Sold results is the best method to get direct sales information in my opinion. Most local game shops I’ve spoken with say the prices from within the last 30 days are the most accurate. Filter your results with sold listings option and input keywords like “nes super mario” or “nes metroid” etc.

Sites like Price Charting uses an algorithm that averages sold prices for the previous 6 months, that might not account for a today price for a rare or expensive game over 100 dollars. Especially if the demand for that game just crashed.

The prices are very fluid depending on the time of year and how much supply of a particular game is on the market. For common Nintendo games, it really does not matter, the prices don’t seem to change much.

I also recommend you look at several retailers to find out what the going price is. Sometimes they’ll be a bit more than a small seller on eBay, but you’re paying for the reputation and service of that small business.

Check out my Online Video Game Stores article for a complete list of game shops online.

Tip #2: Shipping Complete in Box (CIB) Games

When selling or buying a CIB (Complete in Box) game that is made of cardboard, make sure it’s shipped in a shipping box with plenty of padding inside. This will prevent the game box from getting damaged by the abuse of the shipper and delivery person.

I once bought a CIB Nintendo game from an eBay seller who just used wrapping paper and a label. They used the actual game box as the shipping box? “Really?” I said. It was all smashed up when I received it, and the shipping tape was directly stuck to the artwork on the box.

It was an original Legend of Zelda NES game too. I spent 100 dollars on that, and it was in beautiful shape before it was shipped. I returned it and got a refund. I did not bother to leave any feedback; the seller did not know any better.

So whenever I buy something expensive, I always make sure I know how the seller ships it out by asking them ahead of time.

Tip #3: Actual Photo vs. Generic Photo

When you buy from a big re-seller on eBay or an online vendor such as DK Oldies and Lukie Games, you are going to be purchasing a game that is represented by a stock photo.

The photo will not be the exact copy you are buying. In the description, it should list the condition of the game, however. In most cases, a game for sale will be in Good to Excellent condition. And the re-seller will back this up with a return and satisfaction guarantee.

Just make sure you review the terms of service of the store or eBay seller carefully. If you are in need of seeing the actual photo, a seller should gladly provide you one if it’s a rare or expensive game costing several hundreds of dollars or more.

If you want to see the actual photo of the game, then just buy from a small seller on eBay or JJ Games. You can also buy locally in person if you really are picky and don’t want to return stuff.

Tip #4: Old Used Electronics Can Break in Shipment

Used electronics can be one of the worst things to buy online. A retro video game seller most likely will test everything out with your new Nintendo Console. But mistakes do happen, and shippers are rough on things.

An old electronic item could work just fine, then be packed, shipped, dropped, and not working when the buyer gets it. It’s no one’s fault, just make sure as a purchaser you can return it to the seller or work something out. If it’s an expensive item make sure it’s insured when shipped. That way a claim can be made on it.

Final Thoughts

There are many more considerations you should have so keep an open mind. Also, keep an understanding that accidents can happen and it’s essential to communicate with the seller about any uncertainties you have.

As long as communication is well received from both parties, you should have nothing to worry about!

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