2008 turned out to be a very productive year for collecting systems I didn't
previously own. Over the course of the year I added a CD-i ($5), Atari Lynx
($5), Sega Game Gear ($1), and Xbox ($5) to my collection. Throw in ~100
games and it was a spectacular year all-around for game hunting.
First find of the year came in late January. I drove past a thrift store
and decided to stop in for minute. They had a couple Genesis games
scattered amongst the VHS tapes for $2 apiece. Most were sports titles
and the only game I didn't have was Flashback. Nothing spectacular but a
good start to the year nonetheless.
Started spring cleaning a little early this year. It's a semi-annual
tradition to bag up clothes I haven't worn in over a year and drop them
off at Goodwill or the Salvation Army. Of course while I'm there I
always end-up leaving with something too. On this trip I found three EA
sports games for $1.50 apiece. I had all of these without boxes so it
was an OK find.
Stopped at the Goodwill store and spotted a new Dream Shark controller
for $4.99. Yeah, these knock-off controllers are usually bad but finding
one new in box is rare so I had to buy it.
While out one Sunday morning I spotted a Hollywood Video going out of
business. Not too surprising; between Netflix, Comcast OnDemand, and
whatever the Blockbuster Netflix equivalent is, I can't imagine rental
stores sticking around much longer. Everything was 25% off so it must
have been early on. I bought a Game Boy Micro case ($4.99) and Liberty
City Stories for PS2 ($7.50). While browsing I saw some video game
signage stacked-up in the back. I asked the kid working there if I could
take them and he said "go for it dude". No idea what
I'll do with them, maybe eBay some of them, maybe find a place to pin
them up. I'll have to swing by this store again when they get down to
50% off or more.
Went to the Goodwill store to drop-off another bag of clothes and again
walked away with a few games. They had X-Men and PGA European Tour for
Genesis, and Taboo for the NES, for $1.99 each. Not bad. The better find
was a Dreamcast for $9.99 (which had a copy of NFL 2K1 in the system).
It did not have any of the cables but luckily I have extras. I have a
perfectly good Dreamcast so I guess I'll hang onto this one as a spare,
maybe sell it, not sure yet.
I just can't resist checking out a thrift store when I spot one. To my
surprise there is a little one in downtown Highland Park. It wasn't too
impressive overall except that I stumbled across a Philips CDI system
there. It was on a shelf with a few CD players and VCRs for $5 each. Not
too shabby for something that originally
retailed for $600
. It's missing the cables and controllers but I
suppose I can find compatible parts (the input jacks look pretty
standard). Now I just need to find those awful Zelda games..
Another bag of clothes to drop-off, another pile of games. OK,
"pile" is a stretch but three new additions nonetheless. These
were at the Salvation Army: Kid Chameleon for $1.50; DuckTales and Win,
Lose, or Draw for $3 each. I'd rather pay $2 for NES games but I can't
complain. I remembered DuckTales as being a pretty darn good game so I
fired it up right away and was not disappointed.
I don't know what you've heard about this "global warming"
thing but it hasn't spread to Chicago yet. The first day of spring
brought a nice warm snowstorm that didn't melt for several weeks. Must
have been too hot for snow to melt or something. With garage sale
season delayed by this heat wave I paid a visit to the nearest Salvation Army
store since I found a couple games there last time. Sure enough, they
had about a dozen Sega CD games priced at $6.50 each. I looked over the
stack and Surgical Strike was the only one I didn't own. Yeah, $6.50 is
more than I'd like to pay for a Sega CD game but this was the last
so it was worth it. They also had Road Rash in box
for $2 so I snagged that too.
Finally, spring rolled around to the area with the usual accompanying
barrage of garage sales. This could be a good season.. the very first
garage sale I went to had an NES with nine games, controllers, light
gun, and cables for $10. I'll probably test and sell this one since it's
now the fourth NES in my collection.
Later that day I found a set of Gamecube disc cases and a PS2 controller
extension cable for 50¢ each.
The last place I stopped that day had a few Playstation and Dreamcast
games for 75¢ each. Record of Lodoss war for Dreamcast is probably
the best one of the lot.
Second weekend of garage sale season and I think I already have the best
find of the year.. an Atari Lynx, with ten games, manuals, and AC
adapter for $5! The Lynx is not a system I normally would have tried to
collect. It's a cool system and everything but compared to the GBA SP
it's incredibly bulky. Sure it's not fair to compare systems made ~12
years apart but at the end of the day if I'm traveling I want the
smallest system possible with the longest battery life possible. The
Lynx could never compete in either of those categories. Anyway, the
system is in great shape and works perfectly.
If it wasn't for the Lynx, this would be the frontrunner for "find of the year".
A nearby neighborhood was having a community sale so I paid a visit.
I usually avoid them due to fear of being run over by a mini-van (something
I narrowly avoided 2-3 times on this trip).
However, it was a beautiful day out so I used it as an excuse to take my daughter for a walk.
Turned out to be totally worth it, at the third or fourth house I saw a box filled with NES and N64 games.
I counted 40 so I offered the guy $40 and he was happy to take it.
About half the NES games were duplicates but only two of N64 games (which I gave to a local hospital that has some N64 systems in the pediatric ward).
I'm darn close to having a complete collection of the "white box" EA sports games.
It's not like it's difficult to find them all, I see a dozen every time I enter a thrift store.
These two were from a garage sale which also had about a dozen other EA sports games.
It was an incredibly humid Saturday so I didn't spend too much time hunting.
I spotted one large garage sale and figured it would be worth a try.
They had more VHS tapes for sale than I could hope to describe, most of them figure skating competitions from the 80s.
I asked what the deal was and the woman explained that her daughter was really into it as a kid so she taped
them off TV all the time.
I suppose there's someone who would consider those tapes a great find.
The only worthwhile thing I found there was Soul Calibur II for a buck.
The first two weeks of summer brought some great finds but I've had a ~2 month
dry spell since then. It's not that I haven't found any games in this span, I've
just chosen to pass on a few items:
Dreamcast with 10 games and 5 controllers for $25: This took a lot of
restraint not to buy. I talked myself out of it because I already have 2
Dreamcasts, I had half of the games, and the system itself looked like it was
used as an ashtray.
Various Xbox systems with stacks of games for $50-$100: Almost every
weekend I spot someone selling their old Xbox. Even though I don't own an Xbox I
keep passing on these bundles. I can't think of a single Xbox game I want that
isn't available on PS2. I'm just not interested in owning this system.
Sonic the Hedgehog party supplies: I guess if I spotted these right before
my birthday I would have bought them for fun. Hanging on to them for several
months is too much effort though.
Game Gear for $20: The price was a little high (especially compared to the
Lynx I found) and it was in terrible condition.
Nintendo 64 with 4 games for $50: I almost busted out laughing when I saw
this and asked how much it was.
Countless PS2 games: I have a PS2 but it's not a system I'm trying to
collect games for. I've seen at least 100 games for sale this summer but nothing
I was interested in picking-up..
Everyday I drive past a thrift store and have never gone in. Let's face
it, when I'm leaving the office I just want to get home. I finally
decided to pay a visit and was happy to find three games - Knight Rider
for NES ($2), IronSword for NES ($2), and Empire Strikes Back for SNES
($3). Great deal for Empire Strikes Back. I think I'll have to pay
this store a visit on a weekly basis from now on.
Guess I spoke too soon on not buying an Xbox. I can't take credit for
these, my wife found them while I was at the office. I was working away,
or whatever I do all day, when I received a text message asking "Sega
Game Gear for $1?" I replied "BUY IT!" and a
few seconds later was met with "Xbox for $5?" to which
I responded "Sure". The Game Gear included Mortal
Kombat and works perfectly. I haven't tried the Xbox yet, not sure when
I will. I think I'll just convert it to run MAME, assuming I don't need
to solder anything to make that happen.
Two years in a row I had great finds over Labor Day weekend in my
neighborhood. Guess I know what I'm doing next year. Everything in this
box was under a thick layer of dust, must have been sitting in the
garage for quite a while. Two of the games were Super Mario Bros/Duck
Hunt which brings my collection up to about 10 copies. They only wanted
$3 for the box though so I can't complain.
Stopped in at the Goodwill store and was happily surprised to see a
stack of Sega Saturn games. The joy was fleeting when I perused them and
saw they were mostly sports games at $4 each. I'd love to collect more
Saturn games but NBA Live '97 and Striker '96 just don't do anything for
me. Sure, I could probably ebay them for $5-$8 each but I just wasn't up
for it. So instead I grabbed Bug Too! and NBA Jam Extreme because they
were the only games I thought I'd actually play. Yeah, NBA Jam Extreme
is pretty bad compared to Tournament Edition but I couldn't pass it up
for some reason.
There's a book store chain I've neglected to mention here before called Half
. They're a discount book chain that also carries
overstock computer software and a small collection of used video games.
I've found a few NES and even 3DO games there. Prior to last week the
nearest one was 30 minutes away so I only shopped there if I happened to
be in the area already. One finally opened near me (or at least in a
plaza I drive by once a week) so I plan to hit it often. On my first visit I found the
highly under-appreciated shooter Insector-X for $2 and the coffee table
book Arcade Fever for $7.
With garage sale season wrapping-up I decided to start hitting the local
Salvation Army store once a week. On this visit they had an assortment
of Sega Genesis games at seemingly random prices. Super Street Fighter II for
50¢ was the best deal. I used that to justify spending $2.50 on
Super Monaco GP and Sonic 2 which I owned but didn't have boxes for.
There was also a slightly damaged copy of Star Wars for NES priced at 90¢
that I grabbed.
The next visit to the Salvation Army store was moderately fruitful. The
had Primal Rage for Sega Genesis in factory shrink-wrap for $4. The
original price sticker was from an Electronics Boutique so there's a
better than 1% chance I
sold this game in the first place
. They also had Where in Time is
Carmen Sandiego for $3 and Mario Party 2 for $4. Yeah, the prices were a
tad high but I figured it would be a long time before I stumbled into
these again (especially an unopened game for any 16-bit
After a pair of dry runs at the Salvation Army I scored three Sega
Master Systems for $3 each. I don't care what the Angry
Video Game Nerd says
, Ghostbusters for the Master System is a darn
fine game (one of the few reviews I disagree with him on). Black Belt
and Parlor Games aren't anything to write home about but are nice
additions to the collection all the same.
2008 ended in a remarkably similar fashion to how it began. On
another frigid, snow-covered day I stopped by the same thrift store
where I bought Flashback in January. This time I found a Super Game Boy
for $3. This is a replacement item for me. I had one ~15 years ago but
traded it in during a "$10 for any SNES game" promotion. I'm
glad to have it back in my collection.
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