Overpriced PC Games are the bane of every big box PC game collector.
Collecting big box PC games is expensive enough without overpriced pc games littering ebay. PC collectors tend to be more particular in regards to boxes, inserts (gotta have that registration card), and condition. This makes collecting PC games seem a bit more expensive than collecting console games.
There are two metrics which determine value. One is desirability. The other is rarity. You need both in order to get the big money sales. For example, Uncle Henry’s Playhouse is exceedingly rare, but it commands low prices because no one wants it. Myst is a highly desirable game, but it’s way too common to sell for very much.
This is, of course, a subjective list. Some of these games may be worth it to some collectors. So, without further ado, here’s the list (in no particular order)
Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis
Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis is lackluster game. It was so unexciting that the PC and X-Box versions are particularly difficult to find. Once word of this got out, prices rose to $100 or more on ebay. It has been joked about in the group that there is someone sitting on a pile of these in a warehouse somewhere laughing his ass off. Some men just want to watch the world burn…
Abuse was a shareware title released in 1996 by Crack Dot Com. The game was fairly good, but has the “shareware curse”. Big box copies are uncommon. As of this writing, the game sells for around $150 on ebay. Why so much? Not sure, but the pictured sticker on a copy currently for sale tells the tale of why it’s on this particular list.
I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream
I Have No Mouth is an adventure game co-designed by Harlan Ellison, the writer of the story by the same name. The game was released in 1995 by Cyber Dreams. It got decent reviews, and it became something of a cult classic. Unfortunately, sales were very poor. There is an urban legend surrounding what happened to all the unsold copies of the game that I can’t verify, but somehow all the remaining copies ended up with Harlan Ellison himself. While people buy the game on ebay for $100+, you can still (as of this writing) get the game on Ellison’s online store for $32.
Doom certainly needs no introduction. Its one of the greatest PC games ever made. Doom is another shareware title which commands high prices. The registered version is quite rare, and it’s often on ebay for quite a bit. It’s the boxed shareware version that lands it on this list. Ignorant sellers list the more common shareware box for the same price.
Ultimate doom is another common big box release which also sells for high prices. There were also off-brand “expansions” that were released by Wizardworks, such as D-Zone! Those are shovelware at it’s worst, and I’ve seen those go for high prices as well.
Neverwinter Nights (SSI Gold Box)
The old SSI gold box release of this game is quite rare. It is one of the first MMORPG like games playable on AOL. Since it was limited to only users of AOL, the potential customer base was also limited to those people. The game was considered a hit, and it’s remembered more now for what it kick-started rather than the game itself. It pops up on ebay occasionally for $300-$500, and it usually stays there for months without buyers. The game is valuable, but that’s obviously more than most are willing to pay for a complete boxed copy of the game.
The Bioware release is most definitely not rare. Do NOT pay a lot for that game.
Aliens Ate My Babysitter
Aliens Ate My Babysitter is an absolute classic Commander Keen action game. Released by id in 1990, it also followed the shareware model. Big box copies of this game are definitely rare and sought after.
Pricing for this game is all over the place. Right this second, there are two sold listings on ebay. One is $199. The other is $1,025. Granted the $1,025 one is the 5.25″ disk version. But, jeez, that’s a spread right there. Note: That copy was sold by Romero himself.
Day of the Tentacle – Triangle Box Release
PC game collectors love their weirdly shaped boxes. It harkens back to a time when the shelves at Babages were lined with all sorts of odd shapes. Maniac Mansion: Day of the Tentacle was released in a normal LucasArts box, as well as a tall triangle shaped box. The Triangle box is more rare, and when it does pop-up on ebay it fetches prices around $300.
The game itself is sought after enough, and it’s a bit overpriced. The odd shaped box really pushes this one over the edge.
Do not get me wrong. Original copies of Ultima I are mega-valuable. The offender here is the 1987 remake. It’s desirable, for sure. I’d even say it’s uncommon, especially complete with the coins. This boxed edition routinely sells for $400-$500 for the PC version. That seems like a lot of money for a reissue. The non-pc versions, such as Commodore and Atari, tend do sell for a bit less. For a “rare” game, there are always copies of this on ebay for sale – a sure sign that a game isn’t as rare as people think it is.
While I’m picking on Ultima, I might as well mention the trilogy releases which sometimes sell for $100 plus.
Another shareware game, Wolfenstein made FPS games famous. There was a big box release in stores released by our good friends at GT Interactive. The game is uncommon, but prices for both this and Spear of Destiney can hit upwards of $200 at times. The original mail-order releases are valuable, but no GT Interactive release should be worth that much. One of those releases was on CD, and I’m looking at a sold listing right this second for $189.
All the Tex Murphy games are sought after by fans of the series, but Martian Memorandum gets particularly high prices. It can sell for anywhere between $100-$300. I’m not particularly sure why people pay $300 for it (or more). $50 to $100 should probably be where this game lands.
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