still slogging my way through this endless game (which i hope to be done with in at least two weeks). so i just thought i’d post about a site i find useful and end up wasting time on, videogamepricecharts.com. if there’s one thing i love almost as much as lists, it’s charts. haha. the numbers seem to be fairly accurate, so it’s a great way to find out if you’re getting a deal or not; although keep in mind that they’re tracking averages, so if you’re patient you should be able to get a better deal than the average price. what i find interesting (and this is my geekiness coming through, prepare yourself) is seeing how particular events are reflected in immediate changes in price. for example, the chart for fire emblem: path of radiance is interesting b/c you can see the huge spike in price from november to december 2007 right before brawl was released; the game, of course, showcased path of radiance’s central protagonist, ike. and when you look at the chart of clubhouse games for the DS you see how the price stayed pretty high as the game became more rare, but then dropped drastically when the game was rereleased recently. it boggles my mind that publishers don’t use tools like this to rerelease games that are clearly in demand, e.g. tetris DS.
something that could use some more study is how the release of a game on the virtual console affects the selling price of the actual game. from my random spot checks it doesn’t seem like it affects it much at all, which leads me to believe that the people who are buying these retro games are for the most part retro fans who want to buy the actual cartridge to play on their actual systems (i.e. geeky people like me). the original harvest moon, on the SNES, was released on the VC in february 2008 and its price continued to rise steadily afterwards, the same as it had been doing before. the price of castlevania: symphony of the night, available on both XBLA and PSN, has been dropping steadily, but it was doing so even before the rereleases (march and july 2007 respectively). in contrast, though, the price of zelda: ocarina of time dipped sharply a couple of months after its february 2007 VC release, which could be b/c of all the un-nostalgic people who were happy with their VC copy and sold their old N64 copies. clearly there are a lot of factors at work here, but it would be, dare i say it, fascinating to see a more in-depth study that tried to make sense of at least some of the many variables. i read somewhere that annually video game prices tend to be their lowest during the summer, but i’ve forgotten where i read that, so if anyone has that link handy feel free to email me. [update: the vg price charts man himself posted a message saying that november is actually the best time to buy used games. i also just found out that he's been running a whole series of articles on price trends on the site's blog. sweet! more time wastage!]
the creator of the videogamepricecharts.com put together an article for vintagecomputing.com that looks at how much of a deal VC games are overall, given that they’re all consistently priced per platform on the VC even though some have become much rarer than others in the non-virtual world. his conclusion?
- “The original Nintendo is the only system where buying the cartridges would be cheaper than buying the virtual games because many games for the NES would cost less than a dollar. Every other system, especially the TurboGrafx-16, boasts higher average prices for the cartridges than the Wii’s VC downloads.”
ah, if only i weren’t such a retro gamer i’d buy way more of these VC releases instead of shelling out $40+ for used copies of games like super mario RPG (only $8 on the VC!). but there’s nothing like the smell of dusty old nintendo cartridges in the mornin’! mm hm!