The goal of Retro Game Hunter is to:
It started on a trip. One of my favorite things to do on vacation is go retro game hunting, hitting up every video game store, flea market, and really, any location in general where I might find something to add to my collection. This started, as it always had before, with a web search for "(My vacation spot) video game stores", which was then followed by clicking past a bunch of GameStops, other large chains that wouldn't have classic titles available, and, for some reason, several dozen Redbox locations.
My list of prospects compiled, it was time to hit the road. Our first stop was a neat little downtown store that advertised that they were a comic shop that sold video games too- worked for me. After entering (and seeing a picture of an Amazing Fantasy #15 for sale, which was pretty neat), I had a hard time finding their video game section. There were lots of table-top gaming supplies, and tons of vintage action figures, but no electronic games to be found.
"Oh, we don't really sell video games, but we're thinking about starting to, maybe," the store associate said. That was a pretty disappointing start to my video game hunt, but there were more stores on the list.
As we worked our way through the remaining locations, we found that roughly half of the stores that I had noted for my list actually had video games. The rest were either comic book shops, table-top gaming stores, or closed down former locations. Of those places that actually did sell games, some were pretty neat, and well worth my time stopping in. One even advertised a perpetual "Buy 3 Get 1 Free" sale, which was something I had never seen before, but certainly took advantage of.
It wasn't until visiting one of the later stores on my list however, an upscale thrift shop that I had been told carried retro games, that I suddenly found myself inspired. The shop itself was very eclectic, with tons of vintage memorabilia, and they did have a pretty substantial selection of classic Nintendo titles. It wasn't until seeing the price on those games that I felt I had to speak up.
There were several complete-in-box titles, all in very nice shape. One was Castlevania II: Simon's Quest. It was priced at $130. At this point in time, the average eBay selling price for a CIB Casltevania II was about $65. I asked the clerk, who was very friendly, if the price was correct, and he informed me that it was. The majority of the other games in the store were similarly overpriced. Suffice to say, I didn't purchase that Castlevania, or anything else there, but I wish that someone had told me beforehand what to expect before I walked in that door.
But wait, that's what yelp! is for, right? Checking yelp! after leaving did me no favors, as the store previously had nothing but 5-star reviews. You'd think after reading the yelp! reviews that this store carried every piece of geek history, and it was a mystery as to how they could stay in business when their prices were so low. I felt it was my duty to post a 3-star review (which is still good by yelp!'s standards), and help other game hunters have more realistic expectations before entering.
There were plenty of other higher points on this trip, one of which involved visiting the local flea market. It was your standard indoor/outdoor style flea, with all sorts of different week-to-week vendors outside, with more dedicated, long-term vendors having spaces inside that they only needed to unlock to open. I had heard from a local game store that there was a retro game shop at this flea worth going to, but that they didn't have a website, or any advertising, or anything like that. I found the store, and was happy to see the vast selection with tons of games for a lot of different systems, including some stuff you don't see as often, such as 3DO and Jaguar games. The owner was very friendly, and willing to work with me on a package deal, which ended up with my money in his pockets, and a bag full of Genesis, NES, SNES, and Saturn stuff for me.
It was those two experiences that made me want to start Retro Game Hunter. It comes down to creating an easier way for both people traveling, and people in their own regions to find places to go hunting at. It's about creating expectations, so that you know before you walk in the door if you can expect things to be overpriced, or if people are willing to come off of their listed prices and give you a package deal, or if there's something else cool or unique about their store that's worth checking out just because. And it's about knowing that there's that 1 in 1000 shot that the super rare gem you're looking for might be at that next location, sitting in the dollar bin... and maybe they'll have two available...
Best of luck my friends, here's to the hunt!
Retro Game Hunter Admin