Trophy Room 2008
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.
Flashback for Sega Genesis ($2)
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.
Three EA Sports Games for Sega Genesis ($1.50 each)
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.
Hollywood Video Going Out of Business Sale
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.
Dreamcast ($9.99) and Misc Games ($1.99 each)
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.
Philips CDI ($5)
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...
Kid Chameleon, DuckTales, and Win, Lose, or Draw
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.
Road Rash ($2) and Surgical Strike ($6.50)
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 one published so it was worth it. They also had Road Rash in box for $2 so I snagged that too.
NES with Nine Games ($10)
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.
Atari Lynx with Ten Games ($5)
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.
Box of 40 NES & N64 Games ($40)
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).
NHL 95 and College Football 95 for Sega Genesis ($1 each)
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.
Soul Calibur II for GameCube ($1)
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.
Knight Rider, IronSword, Empire Strikes Back ($7)
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.
Game Gear ($1) and Xbox ($5)
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.
Extremely Dusty NES with 11 Games ($3)
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.
Bug Too! and NBA Jam Extreme ($4 each)
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.
My New Favorite Store
There's a book store chain I've neglected to mention here before called Half Price Books. 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.
Four Games ($6.50)
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.
Primal Rage, Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego, and Mario Party 2 ($11)
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 system).
Three Sega Master System Games ($3 each)
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.
Super Game Boy ($3)
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.