New Old-School Market Dominating Video Game Sales

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In recent years the retail market has witnessed the fall of giants in the many industries. Video stores are pretty much extinct and book stores are headed in that direction. Are video game stores the next entertainment based retail venue destined to fail?


2012 has been a horrible year for the video game industry especially when it comes to hardware sales. According to the New York Times, game and console sales haven’t been this bad in seven years. With current decline in the economy, analysts wonder if the bottom of the market could drop like it did during the recession in the 1980s. Hardware sales took such a hard hit then that Atari wound up burying millions of unsold Pac-Man and E.T. (The Extra-Terrestrial) cartridges in a New Mexico landfill.


If only they had simply stored them somewhere. It seems that while modern video game sales are struggling against a tapped out target market and emerging smart technology gaming, retro video game sales are booming.


It’s not just adult gamers nostalgic for their youth that are collecting old-school games and consoles. A new generation of gamers is gung-ho on getting the original experience of playing on first generation hardware instead of online emulators. 11-year-old video game designer and enthusiast, Bing Fairchild insisted on playing the Super Mario trilogy on the original NES and last Christmas his collection of Atari games grew to “over 2 feet high.”


Holding on to his new old games could be a good way for Bing to save a buck for college. Online auctions are making a mint as baby boomers and empty-nesters clean out their attics and cellars. Scrooge McDuck would be overjoyed to learn that a copy of Ducktales #1 for NES is being offered on eBay for a dollar shy of $20,000.


MSN lists 10 old school video games that have fetched from $5,000 - $20,100:


  1. Atlantis II 
    Format: Atari 2600 
    Highest price ever paid: $5,000
  2. Mr. Boston Clean Sweep 
    Format: Vectrex 
    Highest price ever paid: $7,200
  3. Neo Turf Masters
    Format: SNK Neo Geo 
    Highest price ever paid: $8,000
  4. Blockbuster World Video Game Championship II 
    Format: Sega Genesis 
    Highest price ever paid: $8,000
  5. Kizuna Encounter 
    Format: SNK Neo Geo 
    Highest price ever paid: $10,000
  6. Super Sidekicks 4: Ultimate 11 
    Format: SNK Neo Geo 
    Highest price ever paid: $10,000
  7. Nintendo PowerFest 94 
    Format: Super Nintendo 
    Highest price ever paid: $12,000
  8. Stadium Events 
    Format: Nintendo Entertainment System 
    Highest price ever paid: $14,890
  9. Nintendo World Championships 
    Format: Nintendo Entertainment System 
    Highest price ever paid: $11,500 for the gray cartridge, $18,000 for the gold cartridge
  10. Nintendo Campus Challenge '91" 
    Format: Nintendo Entertainment System 
    Highest price ever paid: $20,100


As game makers revamp the market with new consoles like the Wii-U, and downloadable content and consumers cough up more cash for collectibles, stores like GameStop will begin to fall by the wayside like other entertainment franchises before them. On the flip side, independent and incorporated shops that specialize in retro gaming will find a foothold in the market by building a consumer base in their area and then expanding beyond games into other retail products like toys and apparel.


Photo Courtesy of Bing Fairchild


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