Any tips for people trying to get into the hobby of playing retro games?

Originally asked on the main feed of

That’s a very broad question that could have many different answers depending on what type of answer you were looking for. The easy answer would be this. So you want to be a retro gamer? Do you own games right now? If so, hold on to them, and in fifteen years you too will be in the hobby of playing retro games!

Super Mario Bros. 3 had just come out when I was in kindergarten and blew me away. Then about a year later, my mom read a newspaper article to me, telling me they were coming out with a new Nintendo console called the Super Nintendo. At six years old, I wasn’t too sure about this. Why would they need a different console? The old one was already a lot of fun, and the new one couldn’t play the original Nintendo’s games! I carefully glanced at the picture of the Super Nintendo in the paper, perhaps almost frightened it might suck away any fun I had already had with the original Nintendo. Boy did that picture of the Super Nintendo look good though. I really wanted one.

When it came out, my friend Janet was the first one I knew to get one. Super Mario World was all I hoped it would be. Another friend of mine soon got a Sega Genesis, and I went over to his house and played Sonic the Hedgehog whenever I could. My family was an Atari household, and if you know the history of Atari, you probably know how rough that could be. The Atari ST by specs blew the NES, SNES, and Genesis all out of the water, and the Atari XE was on par with the NES for 8-bit performance. The games were really good too, but it was hard to convince anyone of that in the lunchroom at school. The only time I won anyone to my side was when they came over and played for themselves. I think my parents had a philosophy that if a game system didn’t have a computer keyboard, then it was probably going to rot my brain out.

The point is all of these game consoles and more through the coming decade, N64, Playstation, Saturn, Dreamcast, Gamecube, etc., were all new when I first enjoyed them. As a collector I have obtained and maintained, continually adding to my gaming collection from a small number of games into the size it is today. I don’t see myself so much as a retro gamer as simply a gamer. While I do tend to collect for systems a generation behind the one that is most current, that is because collecting for older systems tends to be cheaper. I love games of all kinds, and it’s been my working theory that buying five games for a last generation system instead of one game for the current generation system is a better deal.

If there is a tip I could give retro gamers for how I collect, it would be that one. I walked away from a bunch of $50+ NESs because I didn’t want to spend the money on one. I found one that didn’t work at a flea market for $10 with a copy of Wheel of Fortune inside. All it took was some cleaning and jiggling connectors and I was playing the first Nintendo game I ever owned in no time.

Once you start collecting and people see that you’re serious about gaming and taking care of your games, they’ll start helping you find things you’re looking for. I’m a member of a few closed game swaps on Facebook, and I have had several retro game dealers cut me deals on games knowing I’m going to go home and play the game for keeps instead of reselling them for a quick buck.

I hope this answers your question. Feel free to expound on the original question or ask me anything else you might like to know.

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