PC game collecting can certainly be a very different beast when compared to console game collecting.
PC game collecting has made huge strides in recent years. If you’re an old-school PC gamer who is trying to connect with your youth, or if you’re a new collector who’s interested in game history, here’s a list of ten tips to help you on your journey.
Message ebay sellers and tell them to ship your games in boxes.
It only takes one game delivered in a bubble mailer for this tip to make sense. The USPS will stack every anvil they have on top of your package. Most of the time, sellers make this mistake because of ignorance; they don’t think that game boxes have any value . Sometimes it’s laziness. Either way, a polite message informing them that box quality is important to you usually settles it. If they ask you to pay a little extra – pay it.
You really want to finish that Ultima collection you’ve been working on, and there’s a copy of Ultima I on ebay for 1,000 bucks. Control yourself, and take a breath. You will find a cheaper copy eventually. Watch auctions instead of jumping on the first buy-it-now you see.
Protect your disks.
This one has a double meaning. First: always write-protect your diskettes when you’re using them. It’s surprising the number of disks I get in the mail that aren’t write-protected. Doing this can go a long way to keeping your disks working for a long time, and it saves you from accidental copying mishaps. Second: put them in bags or those plastic disk protectors when storing them, especially if your going to be moving the box around. That metal slide on 3.5″ disks can get wedged between the plastic of the other disks around it and scratch the magnetic disk inside. If this happens the disk is ruined.
Check the board games in thrift stores.
I learned this watching LGR Thrifts videos; always look in the board games section of Goodwill or thrift stores. Most employees don’t know what big box PC games are, so they just lump them in with table-top games. I have found several 50 cent games this way.
Look for signs of reshrinking on sealed games.
Buying sealed games is a tricky, and everyone will get burned at least once. I tend to be weary of games that don’t have price stickers on them. If they’re lacking price stickers, look for glue residue from fallen off stickers. If that’s missing, look for dirt on the plastic wrap that’s impossible to fake. Otherwise, assume it’s a reshrink. Also, if the price is too good to be true – be weary. For games that are sealed using those circular stickers: always assume these are fake because those stickers are readily available from U-Line.
Network with other collectors.
There is precious little information out on the internet about how much games are worth and what they should include. This is where a community can be helpful. Even if you’re just a lurker, you will pick-up information on how much you should be paying and what to look out for. If you’re reading this and you don’t know what a Slash release is (like I didn’t), then you need to network with some knowledgeable folks.
Do your research on what games are supposed to include before buying.
Nothing sucks worse than buying a copy of Leisure Suit Larry only to discover later that it was supposed to include a napkin. If you’re as anal retentive as I am, this knowledge will drive you nuts. This is where your collector network will come in handy. If you’re lacking that try looking at other auctions or even Google image searches. This will give you an idea of what to expect.
Piece together harder to find games.
During your collecting adventures, you will amass a mountain of manuals, maps, reference cards, and random disks. Keep this stuff. Not only can you trade them with people who may need them, but you can also buy games that are missing components cheaper. Sometimes you can buy 2 incomplete copies for the same price as one complete copy, and trade or sell the spare to make up the difference.
Open your sealed games if you have to.
There’s a few reasons you should not be afraid to open your sealed games. One: if you absolutely have to confirm if it’s a reshrink or not. Two: because shrink-wrap continues to shrink over time. This is a big problem with flimsy boxes, because the shrinking can actually damage the box. Buying sealed games has its place; they’re guaranteed to be complete. That peace of mind is what you’re actually paying for. Once you have it, do that flimsy cardboard box a favor and open it.
Bag your boxes if at all possible.
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Comic book, magazine, and Life Magazine size bags are invaluable for protecting boxes. Pulling your boxes off the shelf wears down the print on the box. With acid free bags, you can pull those games down as often as you like. If you do bag your boxes, make sure to remove the tape completely when taking it out of the bag. It’s not worth it saving tape if it catches the box and removes some print.