As an avid fan of classic video games, I’d often visit my friendly neighborhood GameStop to peruse their selection of old NES, SNES, and Genesis titles. While some of the prices could be a tad ridiculous, more often than not, you could find some real gems in there for only a few bucks. Plus, all their merchandise was guaranteed, just in case the game was faulty or if you didn’t like it. At any rate, the wide array of classic games was the main reason that GameStop was my store of choice and why I signed up for their 10%-off-used-stuff discount program.
Now, you’ve undoubtedly noticed I was speaking in past tense. There’s a reason for this. Lately, I’d noticed that the classic gaming section was dwindling; first it was a double-sided multi-shelved unit, then it shrunk to a single-sided one, now it’s merely a cart. Finally, they even stuck a “clearance” sign on the cart to really try to move the stuff out. Naturally, I was worried about all of this; after grabbing a copy of Ikari Warriors, I asked the clerk was the hell was going on.
The news was grim indeed: GameStop is no longer accepting trade-ins for NES, SNES, Genesis, or Dreamcast materials. That includes games, systems, and accessories. I hadn’t been there lately, so I was unaware that this has apparently been quietly going on for almost a month. I don’t know if it’s just my local store or all of them, but I have a bad feeling that this is a nationwide corporate mandate. Regardless, it means that once the current inventory there is gone, then it’s gone.
My initial response? “Those motherf*ckin’ suckers of dicks.” Follow that up with a lot more colorful language, much to the amusement of the clerks. I didn’t take my anger out of them, of course; it wasn’t their fault. Besides, I know the guys there weren’t any more pleased with this than I was. Any gamer worth their salt loves the classics just as much as the new stuff, if not more. And getting rid of Dreamcast stuff, while N64 stuff still sits on the rack? What the FUCK is up with that?! Not only does the DC far outclass the N64 in terms of sheer power, the good-game-to-bad-game ratio is about 500% higher on the DC. While most N64 titles were crap, the DC had more fantastic games than you could shake a stick at. Hell, the same applies for the original Playstation. Fucking insane.
So where to turn now? Well, there’s a few options, but the cons far outweigh the pros:
GameStop.com. Their online database of older titles is fairly comprehensive. While you can often find what you’re looking for, there’s two serious problems: a) items are often out of stock, and b) the online price is sometimes double the in-store price, if not more! Ridiculous.
EBGames.com. Same problems as above, albeit with a smaller selection.
eBay.com. The good news? You can get games here for next to nothing. The bad news? If you’re looking for a whole slew of games, you’ll often have to buy them from multiple sellers. That means multiple shipping costs, which can add up really fast. Plus, you rarely have a full guarantee as to the game’s quality.
There’s also independently owned game trading shops…if you’re lucky enough to have one nearby. These can be a crapshoot, but they’re often good places to find deals. There’s online shops that function the same way, but sometimes they’re rather shady. Do your homework and talk to other customers on message boards and whatnot to check these stores’ credibility.
Finally, you’ve got conventions like Philly Classic where many dealers display their wares…including GameStop. In fact, at Philly Classic 5 a few weeks ago, GameStop had literally hundreds of used NES titles alone. Stacks and stacks of ’em. Those filthy whores.
In the meantime, my advice to you is to get your ass to your local GameStop and clean ’em out before it’s too late. Even if you only nab a stack of shitty games…show your support for the games of yore! I know I will be.