Retro gaming is a great hobby! I’m gonna start off by stating that. It is fun and enjoyable, but also can be expensive if you just dive right in without knowing your way around collecting games. This, in turn, will mean that you’re not going to be able to collect that much, so the hobby will quickly feel flat and dull. Because of this, it is important to at least have some knowledge of the retro gaming community and how to go about collecting.
In order to help you out with that, I wanted to share my top 7 tips for getting started with retro game collecting in the UK!
7. Don’t Start With Sega or Nintendo 16-Bit Or Older Console
This is probably going to be the most depressing part of this article for you, so I wanted to get it out of the way right at the start. Now, I’m sure a large percentage of people looking to start with retro game collecting either want to get a SNES or MegaDrive and the games for those. That’s great! However, it is also very expensive.
Of the two, the Sega MegaDrive is the cheaper console to collect for. However, both are still pretty pricey if you want boxed games (or even unboxed games for the SNES). This is the same (albeit to a lower extent) for the older NES and Master System as well. That’s why I wouldn’t recommend starting a collection with a Nintendo or Sega console from the 16-bit era or earlier. Instead, I would suggest starting with the 5th or 6th Generation consoles. These are typically much cheaper to get the games and hardware for, and are most readily available (apart from the really rare games, obviously).
These two generations include the following consoles;
- 5th Generation
- Amiga CD32
- Atari Jaguar
- Nintendo 64
- Sega Saturn
- 6th Generation
- Nintendo Gamecube
- PlayStation 2
- Sega Dreamcast
As you can see, those two console generations give you some really good options for consoles and games. On top of that, you’ll also find it much cheaper to collect for these systems. So you’ll be able to get a much better collection going in a short amount of time.
6. Join Facebook Groups and Utilise Facebook Marketplace
I never really used to like Facebook… I’m far more of a Twitter fan. However, in recent months I’ve been using Facebook a lot more, although not for socialising. Instead, I’ve found a whole host of groups on the site for Retro Gaming, be it trading or simply talking about retro games. A lot of them are based primarily in the States, such as “8BIT & 16 BIT Retro Gamers” but you’ll still be able to find some games there from the UK.
The other part of Facebook that I have been using a lot recently is Facebook Marketplace. If you haven’t checked it out yet, it is similar to the likes of Preloved or Gumtree. People list the products that they want to sell and you can contact them to make an offer. You have the ability to search within a radius of a specific location, as well as using various categories to help find what you want.
There are usually some really good offers on there, so it is definitely worth checking it out often!
5. Get Over The Hate for CeX
CeX gets a lot of bad press because of their dodgy practices. Now, I’m not going to defend them in any way, shape or form – some of the practices that they do are horrendous. However, this is due to the company management and not the individual employees. Therefore, I would definitely recommend swallowing the anger and taking a visit to your local CeX. If you are taking heed of my first bit of advice, then CeX is a great (and still currently cheap) place to buy 5th and 6th Generation games.
I’ve managed to pick up quality PS2 games for £2, and most don’t go over £25 either. Obviously, this doesn’t include the super rare titles… But overall, CeX is well priced for these consoles. For the older or more commonly collected consoles (such as the SNES or MegaDrive), prices can be pretty steep. But if you go for the 5th or 6th generation, you’ll be able to build up a really good little collection for very little cash!
4. Find Your Local Car Boot Sales
This one is probably a really obvious one, but at the same time, a pretty important one. Car boot sales are still a great place to find a few games for cheap. They may not be as amazing as they used to be because of things like Facebook Marketplace, but you can still find a good selection of games there if you are just getting started.
You’ll quickly find that you have “outgrown” many car boot sales, but when your collection is still in its infancy, they can be a wonderful place to find some of the more common games. And, of course, you’ll sometimes come across a great deal on a rare game because the seller doesn’t know the true value of that game.
3. Get To Know The Employees At Your Local Stores
One thing that I’ve found is that, if you take the time to get to know the people at your local retro game store or CeX, they will be more happy to help you out. For example, they may let you know when a game comes in that you’re looking for. This is because, even now, retro games tend to sit around on the shelves for a lot longer than current generation games.
So, it is in their interest to let you know because you are more likely to purchase that game.
On top of this, its just fun and enjoyable to be able to chat with them about games… This ties into the final tip on this list as well. So I would definitely recommend taking the time to introduce yourself and spark up a conversation. Keep doing this and you’ll soon find that you have some new friends with similar interests as well! Can’t go wrong with that, can you?
2. Visit The Various Retro Gaming Events Around The UK
You may not have realised quite how many events there are in the Retro Gaming community (quite a few are run by Retro Events). Oh, and I mean it, there are loads! From gatherings of like-minded people enjoying a friendly competition on Street Fighter 2 to actual markets that are set up for a day, everything you want is catered for.
I recently went to Collectorabilia in Leeds, where I managed to pick up a Japanese import of Final Fantasy Tactics for the original PlayStation (which was never released in the UK). It was also a really good price as well!
These events are great for finding some of the cooler and rarer games out there, but also for picking up the more common games that (for some reason) just never appear in your local stores. On top of this, you’ll be surrounded by hundreds of other retro gaming fans to make friends with… And that brings us onto the last tip for this post.
1. Make Friends With The Community
The retro gaming community has some of the nicest and friendliest people I have ever had the joy of speaking (or tweeting) to. Take the time to be part of the community and you’ll be rewarded with some great friends and acquaintances who are happy to help out and answer questions you have about retro gaming.
The community is great, and you really should make the effort to be a part of it. You won’t regret it and you’ll probably be able to make some good friends. On top of this, you’ll be able to find more people to trade with, meaning that you can get rid of the inevitable duplicate games you get, helping someone else out whilst also getting something new for your collection.
And That’s All Folks
Those were my top 7 tips on how to get started with retro game collecting. It is a great hobby with a wonderful community, and by following these tips, you’ll be able to get your retro gaming collection off to a flying start.
Do you have any other tips for new retro game collectors? Let us know in the comments below!