Welcome to the first of many articles on the current state of collecting video games. Have you ever looked for items to add to your collection on auction sites such as eBay?
I expect you have, personally this is where it started for be back in 2003/4 when I wanted to revisit some classic games I remembered when I had the console the first time around.
Little did I know that ten years later I would be writing about those first experiences and the current experience we get when looking for items to this day.
Well, the amount of sellers that state the term rare in auction titles is high for a large amount of items but Super Mario World is the highest of all the cartridge based systems.
When I started playing in 2003/4 collecting was not even considered, I just wanted to play the classics. Later I discovered other gems that I wish I had the first time around and from there a collection started to grow. So what is the current state of collecting?
Well unfortunately its not too great for newcomers, prices are elevated, good condition items are much harder to come by and there are sellers that have purchased large amounts of stock in order to set higher prices. The latter is especially true for true rarer items such as Starwing Competition for example, luckily I purchased my copy in 2007 for about £76, far less than the current elevated prices of around £400+
Sadly there is nothing that can be done about these sellers and to be honest I have no care to do so, they are entitled to charge what they want for their items. My gripe though is the blatant lies they use to try and elevate the price. Juring the period of 2012 - 2013 I took a snapshot of every auction that ended on ebay.co.uk and recorded all the details, now with this 1 year of data I can analise and pull information from it resulting in this post (and many more future posts :D )
The table to the right shows the top 15 offending SNES games that was listed during this period and sold using the word rare in the title (I prefer to use the word frequency when stating how common/rare something is, but that's better left to another post). All of the games in the list are commonly listed as rare and all are common games. The majority are good games and certainly worth owning but the title stating rare is a complete lie and to a new comer can be misleading.
One could argue that because the games are no longer in production and you cannot go to the supermarket and get a copy they are rarer than say a PS3 or XbOX game and to some extent this would be true but certainly misleading.
There are many scarce games for the SNES but generally those with rare in the title are usually the common ones! There is some good news about these so called "RARE" are good and certainly should be included in any SNES collection. These games have another surprising statistic, they show a popularity statistic (The amount of auctions sold vs unsold). Nearly all the auctions sell and a large proportion of the Buy It Nows, this tells us that while they are not rare they do hold their value and are creeping up in price.
Super Mario Worldused to be about £5 delivered in 2003/4 and that has more than doubled in ten years with a mean price of £11.68 for 2012/2013.
All that said, there is allot more information available on games these days and collecting is somewhat of a cult, having a SNES next to a massive 42" TV with a multi tap and bomberman makes for a great evening with a few friends round. Also knowing that the price of your collection is on the rise helps justify building it up, when I started games was cheap and many people I knew thought I was wasting my money on old games when other consoles such as the PS2 offered better graphics etc.
Overall the state of collecting is very good and for us collectors (And players or course) the reasons we start in the first place are still there. While there are people on eBay and other sites out to make a quick quid the true players and collectors will carry on enjoying what they do.
If your new to collecting or playing for that matter here is some invaluable advise
If you want to pick up rare items or common items and not pay over the odds on eBay or other auction sites always use auctions and remove the Buy It Now listings from your search, then NEVER get into a bidding war for common items, there will be another one tomorrow. It's not 100% guaranteed but it does mean the price you pay is close to what someone else was willing to pay and as such guarantees you a fair deal.
Oh and for the curious, the SNES game that was seen the least during this period not counting BUYITNOW listings (All buy it now listings are common, even Starwing competition. Check there will be one listed now) is.....