Who’d have thought that after exploding on the scene in the ‘80s and raking in tons of cash, those old Nintendo Entertainment System game cartridges would enjoy a renaissance on the used market decades later?
And to be clear, this is a used market that generates billions of dollars annually. This shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone—collectors’ items in any form tend to rake in the bucks. So whether it’s a “Ghost Rider” number one or an original “Bonk’s Adventure” cartridge, the laws of
supply and demand apply. What follows below is a basic primer on selling used NES games in today’s modern age.
Know what you have
The casual buyer may be willing to overlook a lack of detailed information on a specific game title, but if you aim to impress the collectors, you’re going to want to know the minutiae of the NES cartridges you’re trying to unload. That means knowing the name and specific version of the game. For example, it’s not enough to say you’re selling a retro “Donkey Kong” game when what you actually have is “Donkey Kong: Math.” More to the point, this little distinction could mean the difference between selling the cartridge for a few dollars and selling it for hundreds of dollars.
Knowing the year that the game came out is also crucial information. Making sure the game is in the best condition possible, cleaned and ready to play, will help your cause too. And if you have the original box and instruction booklet, all the better. Above all else, remember these little things about the game—any serious buyer is going to want to know these details before handing over their cold hard cash.
Know where to go
There are many options for selling used NES games online, but not all of them are going to give you the best deal for your items. The ideal scenario is to go to a reputable buyer/trader, like The Old School Game Vault, or any organization that has a reputation for honest dealings and paying fair prices. But before doing that there are resources you can use to find out just how much you can expect to garner for your used NES game. that keep tabs on how much used NES games are selling for on various auction sites. So why sell that old “Tecmo Bowl” cartridge for $10 when you could conceivably land over 200 bucks for it?
Know when and how to auction
Sure, there are individual collectors out there who are happy to pay top dollar for rare NES titles. However, there are also those who can be quite cheap. If even after consulting price-tracking websites you’re not sure just how much your game can fetch, head to the auction sites. Of course eBay is a great resource to sell used video games online, but knowing how to finesse the process is equally important. Use words like “retro” rather than “used” in the description, and if the game is in pristine condition and includes an equally undamaged box, be sure to mention that (as well as post clear photos). You’ll know you’ve got something valuable when potential buyers start messaging you directly asking to circumvent the process and pay immediately. Don’t do it. Let the bidding process play out—you’ll likely clean up in the long run.
And remember, if you are going to auction off your games, be sure to do so in small batches. If you sell an entire retro video game collection in a few days, that’s a lot of individual postage you’re going to have to take care of, and many, many trips to the post office.