How to buy retro video games and consoles

Retro video games pack a combination of classic gaming fun with a touch of nostalgia, making them a super fun hobby.

Editor’s note: This article has been newly updated.

If you’re looking to invest in classic video games, it’s essential to establish your budget, and then plan around it, to get the most out of your buys. To get you started on the right foot, here’s a guide to buying used video games and classic video game consoles.

Deciding what to collect

Collecting retro video games can be an expensive hobby, and it’s important to plan around which games you most want to collect. To start, remember which games you loved years ago, which you always wished you could try, and which appeal to you now. With those in mind, check to see with which console or consoles those games will work. Because retro games are only compatible with specific classic game consoles, it’s best to invest in a console that will play as many of the games you want as possible. Then, you can continue to build your collection around that console, until you’re ready to invest in another. Still hung up on which console to choose? Take some time to review a retro console collectors’ guide to find the one that best suits you.

Finding the games you want

When you’re on the hunt for games to add to your collection, online is often the best place to look. Most retro games will be sold second-hand, and require some time to find. Classified sites like Kijiji make it simple to search for exactly the game you want and search ads across Canada instantly. Check ads carefully to find out what version a game is and with which retro game console it is compatible. Get to know the acronyms and slang used for buying and selling games, such as NIB for ‘New in Box’ or VGC for ‘very good condition’ as these can significantly affect whether the retro game is still playable. Even if you’re not actively searching for a particular game, it can be a good idea to monitor these ads to get a sense of fair prices for certain games and catch good deals early.

Check before you buy

Ideally, it is best to test old video games or a retro gaming system yourself before you buy it to be sure that it works. However, when purchasing online, this may not be possible. In this case, make sure to ask the seller about the condition of the game or console and verify that it works properly. If they are uncertain, ask if they can play it to make sure before you buy it. Check any photos carefully, looking for scratches or marks on disks or worn labels that indicate lots of use or abuse. If you want to see more before buying, don’t be afraid to ask the seller if they can send more photos.

This quick guide to buying retro video games should get you off to the right start on the pursuit of nostalgic gaming experiences. Keep in mind what classic video games you want to focus on, take your time browsing for the right buys, check your finds carefully before investing, and you’ll be ready to game!

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