Collecting video games, retro consoles, and vintage game-related paraphernalia is a common hobby. Most gamers don't just play the latest games, but keep a curated stock of figures, games, gaming systems, and all manner of things from throughout gaming history. You might want to stockpile games from your past, or save up valuable items like a personal savings account you can brag about to your friends. What a lot of people don't think of, however, is where this stuff came from, and why it's floating around eBay instead of lovingly placed on the shelf of its original owner.
The truth is, most gamers got rid of stuff they probably shouldn't have. Some things seem worthless and then gain value over time, and other things seem like they shouldn't be valuable at all. Video games, consoles, and all sorts of things we may have owned once have been lost, thrown away, or sold. What if some of those things were worth a ton of money? Most vintage gaming stuff is worth very little, or has mostly personal value. Some things, though, you definitely shouldn't have ditched, because they could have paid your way through college or bought you a new car. Now, if you want to own the games you had when you were a kid, you'll need to take out a loan. Here are 15 things you probably threw out, even though it might have been one of the biggest mistakes of your life.
16 You Should Have Read The Instructions….
It makes sense that video games would be worth a lot of money, but the video game manuals? Who cares? Well, apparently a lot of people. While most of us kids ditched the instructions as soon as possible, but we probably should have held onto some of the game manuals instead of chucking them straight into the recycling. Some of them are actually worth money, even without the original games! Most game manual sales go to serious collectors, who will fight EBay auctions for months to get the entire original packaging of a game. Some manuals, though are worth plenty on their own, like the cult N64 Blockbuster Video Special Edition of Clay Fighter Sculptor's Cut, which can be worth up to $1,000! Chances are, if you have some old manuals laying around, they are at least worth the trouble of posting them on CraigsList.
15 Toys Aren’t Just For Kids
You know, if you have recently tried to snag a Zelda Amiibo on release day, that gamers take some toys very seriously. This is true, not only of recently released merchandise, but vintage stuff, too. Back when people actually played with their toys instead of leaving them “mint in box,” video game merchandise was for fun. Now, collectors are after the vintage toys from their childhoods, and gamers will pay high prices for the sweet taste of nostalgia. Old Nintendo backpacks, lunch boxes, action figures, and pretty much anything else are hot ticket items for gamers and hipsters alike. There’s even a special Golden Mario Statue from the ‘80s that has sold for up to $400! Unfortunately, you probably threw all your toys away like a normal adult. Tough luck!
14 Your Old Game Guides Could Be Hiding Some Expensive Secrets
There are not a lot of video game collectors who focus on collecting strategy guides, because a lot of them are in awful condition, aren’t that rare, or are “unofficial” guides that lack important information. But for those few who are crazy about game guides, they are willing to pay for the good stuff. Many of the pack-in guides for special edition games can fetch more money than they are probably worth. The guides for games that were not popular at the time, or were in low production, like Earthbound, can bring in upwards of $100 (especially if the scratch and sniff cards are still intact!). Most game guides will sell at a garage sale or a used bookstore, but some, like Final Fantasy, are still rising in value. Unfortunately, most people probably threw away their strategy guides, if they bought one at all.
13 What Good Is A Game If You Can’t Play It?
Collectors love to find old games and vintage consoles, but staring at games on the shelf is not exciting, you have to play them! Unfortunately, some components of vintage video gaming just don't hold up over the years. Have you ever lost a controller to a curious cat who really likes to chew on cords? Lost the controllers during a move? Had controllers randomly die while playing a game? It happens to everyone, which means some controllers are super rare and really, really expensive. Especially weird controllers that were made in limited runs or for specific games, like the Steel Battalion Controller set, which can be worth up to $200! Sure, there are third party controllers for almost everything, but sometimes nothing beats the original. You probably won't get much for your Guitar Hero drums, but some controllers are worth their weight in cash!
12 Some Games Gain Popularity Way Too Late
Earthbound is an RPG for the SNES. It was released pretty late in the game, when everyone had moved onto newer consoles, so most people who bought it were already behind the times. It wasn’t even the first game in the series, so the likelihood of it gaining value was really, really low. Unfortunately for the kids who bought, played, and then trashed this weird game, it is now one of the most expensive video games in SNES history, fetching anywhere from $200 to over $2000. The main character, Ness, was a hidden character later on in Smash Brothers. Fanboys latched onto the game and it became a cult classic, so prices skyrocketed. If you’re lucky enough to still have a random copy of this game, you are one of the very few people who bothered to hold onto it long enough for it to become popular.
11 If Only We Were Smart Enough To Keep These Games….
Every kid who loved video games was probably subjected at least once to “educational games” by well-meaning parents. They were popular for a while, in an attempt by video game companies to sway unsuspecting parents into letting their kids play regular video games that happened to be “educational,” Donkey Kong Jr. Math was one of the more popular games, because learning math is so much more fun when you’re learning it from your favorite cartoon apes. Once kids were done being tricked into learning basic math skills, though, they probably ditched Donkey Kong Jr. Math to play normal, better Donkey Kong games. Unfortunately, this learning game could have brought you not only excellent jungle-related math skills, but also up to $600. Too bad investment practice wasn't part of the game.
10 You Can “Charge” A Lot For Some Accessories
Collecting vintage consoles is a great hobby, but sometimes playing them can be tough— especially if you are missing key accessories, like charging cables and battery packs. Before charging docks were a thing, we were shoving AA batteries into our Gameboys before they died on us in the car, or waiting hours for our controllers to recharge. Hefty auxiliary battery packs were popular, even though they were gigantic and unwieldily. Consoles, like the Sage Nomad, cam be worth upwards of $600 in the box, but even a spare battery pack can fetch up to $60. Retro gamers who want to carry around their original Gameboy Color will pay $30-$50 for a rechargeable battery pack or an original AC adaptor. Even if your console has kicked the bucket, dig through that old box of cords to see if you have anything important.
9 Fake Games Are Worth Real Money
Everyone knows that knockoffs are nowhere near as valuable as the real thing, right? Nobody wants to buy a “Prado” bag or a “Guchi” suit. Video games, however, are sometimes a different story. Unofficial NES games were either weird knockoffs or crappy copies of popular video games, or games that did not receive the coveted Nintendo seal of approval. You might not have been the popular kid if you played weird knock-off games, and they probably went into the garage sale bin way before games that are worthless now, like over-produced game like Mario Duck Hunt. Copies of unlicensed games like Cheetahmen ($500) or 6-In-1 Myrian and Caltron (around $1000) are still valuable. Of course, the naughty games like Hot Slots are still worth about $600-$1000 too, but you probably got rid of those after puberty ran its course.
8 Virtual Bowling Is Virtually Impossible To Find
The Nintendo Virtual Boy seemed like a great idea for a video game system, but it didn’t manage to take off in popularity. It was only in production for about a year in the mid ‘90s, and the game library was pretty small. As with a lot of things that no one seemed to care about at the time, though, the Virtual Boy has grown in popularity as nostalgia takes over and the gamer kids of the ‘90s grow into adult collectors. One of the games for the Virtual Boy was Virtual Bowling. It wasn’t even the only bowling game for the Virtual Boy, and it could easily be replaced with an ages-old activity known as “real bowling,” so it wasn’t a big hit. Because of the low production run, though, this mediocre bowling game is now worth up to $900.
7 Pre-Order Bonus Bonus!
Pre-Ordering games is a relatively new practice, and gamers are constantly arguing whether pre-ordering is worth it or not. Pre-Ordering is great when you can get a pre-order bonus or snag a collector's edition or limited edition game by pre-ordering your copy of the game. If you were a collector who pre-ordered often, you might have some weird stuff left over from those days. Sometimes the stuff packed into a pre-order package was pretty questionable. If you held onto any of it though, it could be worth some money! There is a popular Zelda Master Quest game for Gamecube that came with a pre-order or a special subscription to Nintendo Power. It basically re-packaged older Zelda games, but now it is worth up to $100! Even the throwaway stuff, like posters or keychains, can fetch some cash if people missed out on the onus when it came out.
6 Some Special Cartridges Have Competitive Prices
E-Sports is a huge industry these days, with players all over the world competing in championships for almost every game, from Overwatch to Candy Crush. Back in the day, though, competitions went a little differently. Fortunate winners received special-edition game cartridges for their hard work and mastery of Nintendo games like Tetris, Donkey Kong, Red Racer, and Super Mario Bros. Like soccer trophies, report cards, and spelling bee medals, though, it’s fairly likely that your mom sold these at a garage sale, even if you were Donkey Kong champion. If you managed to win one of these rare games and hold onto it for this long (a lot of winners sold their cartridges right away— big mistake!), it could be worth anywhere from $4,000 to $21,000. If only all video game competitions brought in that kind of money!
5 The Rarest NES Game Ever Is Not What You Would Expect
In the early 2000’s, every soccer mom had to get her hands on a Wii Fit system, including the awkward sports games, accessories, and the coveted Wii Fit board. The video game workout system was a strange success, but it was not the first virtual fitness system. What most people don’t remember is. a little game called Family Fitness Stadium Events, which is the rarest NES game of all time. It’s nothing special— it was almost immediately recalled and repackaged with a new game, and that game is basically worthless. Because of its low production rate though, Family Fitness Stadium Events is ultra-rare and sought after by collectors. A man found one recently that he never opened, and he almost gave it away! If you have a random copy of this recalled game, prepare for the best— it’s worth up to $13,000. Don’t hold onto your Wii Fit pad, though, those will always be worthless.
4 Convention Exclusives Make Waiting In line Worth It
Con exclusives are a popular draw, from T-Shirts and plushes to posters, pins, and video games. Games and merchandise picked up at conventions can be super rare, depending on how popular the con and the exclusive items were, and are usually worth the long wait in line and the expensive con tickets. The most insane video game con exclusives are from Blizzard. From SDCC exclusive POP! Figures to E-Sports events shirts and pins, Blizzard know what fans want and is ready to give it to them— in highly sought after, very rare, exclusive ways. BlizzCon exclusives are the worst offenders. Just the digital codes from BlizzCon, even if its a few years old, can be worth hundreds. You can even sell the march bags for a huge profit. If you manage to get this stuff, even if it seems worthless, some nerd out there is ready to shell out for it, guaranteed.
3 Did You Own This Forgotten Console?
The Panasonic 3DO is one of the most famous “failed consoles” in history. It didn’t have a popular household name like Nintendo, and it was designed to be manufactured with different specs by different technology companies, which made distribution confusing for consumers, It also had a high price tag— about $700. It was designed to be a multi-media entertainment system, but It launched with lackluster games and just didn’t hold up in the market. The people who had one though, remember it fondly. It is an important component of a true gamer’s collection. Unfortunately, because it wasn't that popular, most people either got rid of it and played better games on a different system, or didn't buy one at all. If you were the unlucky kid on the block playing Lemmings on your 3DO, though, yours could be worth anywhere from $70-$300.
2 Most Of These Are Worthless, But Some Are Worth A Fortune!
Most of the vintage video game magazines are either completely deteriorated, ripped to pieces, or were used for kindling and hamster bedding years ago. If you held onto a box of old gaming magazines in the corner of your parents’ attic, though, they might be worth something. Most of them are worthless, but if you have certain issues of Nintendo Power, they could be worth up to $25! Some niche magazines, like old Blizzard magazines, are highly sought after by serious fans. Weirdly, old issues of Computer Gaming World have sold for up to $350! If you happen to have some old cheat codes or something special, you could be looking at some serious cash. It’s not a fortune, and most of the old mags are worthless, but if you have some old gaming magazines taking up space, someone probably wants them.
1 Duck Tales! (Woo Ooo)
Have you seen the new Duck Tales cartoon? With the rise in popularity of nostalgic video games comes all the regret of throwing out our old stuff. The Duck Tales 2 video game for the NES does not seem like it would be high on the list of valuable games, but some fans argue that it is one of the best video games of all time. It's a kid's game, though, and a sequel at that, so most of probably sold our copy at a garage sale when we outgrew our adorable obsession with cartoon ducks. If you happened to save yours, it could be worth anywhere from $30-$500, depending on the condition. Slabbed, perfect copies are sometimes valued at around $2000! Nostalgia definitely pays. If you held onto a copy, congratulations! For the rest of us, we can watch the new cartoon and dream of what might have been.