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Thread: Are flea markets good places for finding older games at a good price?

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    Default Are flea markets good places for finding older games at a good price?

    This topic might already be on here somewhere, so my apologies if it is. I'm simply wondering if flea markets are places where you can pick up older games? It doesn't matter if they're boxed w/books, just cartridges, factory sealed, used, or whatever. I'm looking for any random games from the NES era up until the PS1 era. Obviously I would prefer games that are complete with everything and in good shape. I'm just tired of going into Indy game stores and online and seeing a boxed TMNT: In time for $70!

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    There's about a hundred threads like this and the answer is usually the same: Plenty of places sell vintage gaming stuff, but the prices are usually ass. Be prepared to pay "ebay prices" or possibly higher.
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    flea markets are the best for older games, good luck. Don't buy from the dedicated game vendors, buy from the regular folks, you'll get a great deal because most the time they don't know the value of their stuff.
    Last edited by buzz_n64; 04-07-2010 at 12:09 PM.

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    I've had good luck with flea markets in the past. A few examples of things I've picked up...

    Sega CD model 2- $15.00
    Virtual Boy w/ game- $20.00
    Boxed, unopened Game Boy with Link's Awakening pack-in- $20.00
    Atari Lynx- $5.00

    Though keep in mind these finds aren't every day occurrences and you'll likely find junk more often than not, but you'll never know if you don't go.

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    I'd say about 75% of my games came from flea markets and i'm well over 2000 games so i'd say so. You just have to be patient when looking thru a flea market and look under and behind everything cause you never know what you'll find.

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    Unless you come across a true junk vendor, good prices are hard to find. From time to time you'll still find some gems that slip through the cracks at the dedicated game vendors, but don't count on it. Good deals are harder and harder to find on classic games. Everyone has the internet and they research just about everything they bring in.

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    I recently went to a large flea market and found most of the games to be above E-bay prices. You do have to weed through a lot of sports games (Madden etc.) to actually find games you want. There may be a few hidden treasures there from time to time, but I would have to go on several return trips to find them.

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    You're missing out If you haven't been going to flea markets. You have to go on a regular basis to find anything good, but check both the regular game sellers for something that they might have misprinted, and the people who are there for the weekend only to get rid of their excess junk and/or junk that their children used to own.
    I picked up three boxed Game & Watch handhelds and a bunch of older games from a lady that was in the second category one time, you just have to keep going and looking around.
    Last edited by pseudonym; 04-08-2010 at 04:13 AM.

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    Well, They have potential. My best finds were at yard sales, goodwills and random stores but I've had my days at flea markets. The most notable is probably a complete Nintendo NES Power Set with two or three boxed/complete games for $10. If you can go through a flea market rather quickly I say give it a whirl.
    Last edited by Slate; 04-07-2010 at 01:33 PM.

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    A large part of my older collection came from flea markets. I used to go to a local market every week and pick up a bunch of unboxed (and sometimes boxed) games. That was years ago, before online buying and selling was as popular as it is today. I started going again recently but I rarely even come across anything game related, other than the odd PS2 or Xbox, and when I do come across something it's usually ridiculously priced. I guess ebay has killed the fun of looking through peoples junk.

    It's all down to being lucky though. A few weeks ago I picked up a ZX Spectrum +2 with about 30 cassettes and the voice synthesis module for just 10, when a thrift store down the street is selling just the console for 35.

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    Quote Originally Posted by buzz_n64 View Post
    flea markets are the best for older games, good luck. Don't buy from the dedicated game vendors, buy from the regular folks, you'll get a great deal because most the time they don't know the value of their stuff.
    This is the problem I face partly because I live in the big city. The indy game stores around here know what's rare and they price it accordingly. When I walk into some of these places and see Suikoden II for $80-$100 or more, that doesn't surprise me. However, when I see Silent Hill 2 going for $50 used, that just makes me shake my head in disbelief. Flea markets in the urban areas are hit and miss. Sometimes like you say the dedicated game vendors will price some games fairly high, and sometimes not. But, it's definitely the "regular folks" where you can find the deals. I have found most flea markets and indy game stores in smaller towns to be more affordable.

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    It really depends on the particular flea market and understanding the different types of vendors there. There are really three basic categories of vendors at flea markets. (1) The career vendors: These are vendors who make their living at flea markets. As far as those that specifically sell video games, I would stay away from them as they are usually overpriced (as stated above). They buy and sell video games from the flea market. (2) The garage resell vendors: These vendors get their product from going to garage sales and reselling that product at the flea market. These vendors are pretty good for finding deals as they usually want to sell through their product over the weekend. I bought a Secret of Mana cartridge for like 8 dollars from one before. (3) The traditional flea market vendors: These are individuals who go to flea markets only like once or twice a year to sell off their items like most people normally would at garage sales. I say traditional, but here in Texas they are the rarest vendors nowadays. These are the best to buy from in that you get garage sale deals.

    Large flea markets have predominately more category 1 and 2 vendors, while small flea markets have more category 3. Try to stick to the small flea markets for the best deals. Another thing about category 1 and 2 vendors: They leave their product out in the sun every weekend, meaning that the video games and consoles have noticeable fading and yellowing.

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    Are flea markets good for old games at a good price?

    That's like asking is a casino a good place to make money. Sure, I suppose there's that chance, but often it's just luck and most of what you see you can't be too sure about.

    I, personally, have had bouts of great luck at flea markets and thrift stores... but it's a gamble. More than 75% of the time I find almost nothing, yet some days I hit the jackpot.
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    Sometimes they can be fantastic. A lot of the time you come up empty, but I've walked into flea markets and bought Guardian Heroes for $5 or a box with an NES, some games, and a Sega Genesis for about $5. I got a a CDI for $20 because a lady thought it was just a CD player. I know that's not the greatest deal but she probably thought she was overcharging me and I thought it was a good price for something I never saw in the wild in my area. I found an Interactor vest complete in box and other weird stuff. It really all comes down to luck but it's one of the few places you can get lucky, its just not going to happen on Ebay and in vintage game stores where you have sellers and buyers who know their stuff and are focused on games. You can also find comparable deals at yard sales and in some, not many, pawn shops.
    Last edited by shopkins; 04-07-2010 at 03:46 PM.

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    sometimes i waste my time going there.. the other time i get home with 5 bags full of games and systems at crazy prices
    it really differs.. you only need luck

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    Default Flea Market 101

    The pre-answer, answer: Coincidink, I walked by my collection this morning and thought to myself about how 90% of my pre-PS2 collection came from a flea market. I'm 500 deep in my NES collection and I guarantee 450 of those were from the flea market.

    The short answer to these threads is, "yes".

    The medium answer is that you need to know how to work it. Some flea markets are lost causes right off the bat (in my experience: Tucson). Some are lost causes that require a lot of time investment (in my experience: San Jose). Others are goldmines as long as you play them right (in my experience: I'm not telling). All require that you "play the game".

    The longer answer: All of them require that you play two games rolled into one bigger meta scavenger hunt. The "beat the vendors" game and the "work with the sellers" game. Here are the rules:

    -Vendors want your finds more so than you do

    -Therefore, Vendors are working against you

    -Joe Blow random Sellers hate vendors (Free market, capitalism, blah blah blah! The reality is that selling something, just to see the buyer walk ten entire feet away before slapping a price tag for 3-4 times the price, is not a very good feeling. It makes people feel like they were con'd and then had it flaunted in front of them. It makes the seller feel embarrassed and stupid while making the buyer look like a dick.)

    -Joe Blow random Sellers will be suspicious that you are a vendor (buying games in bulk will do that...be prepared to "assplane yo' self").

    -Joe Blow random Sellers are usually like you and I...they want a good deal...haggle, but learn the subtleties. Get use to shrugging off the word "eBay".

    Pro-tips:

    -Every flea market is different, so you may need to disregard every pro-tip dropped here

    -Go early. I mean EARLY. When people are just starting to set up. Vendors will send their people out looking for shit constantly throughout the day, but this is usually the most important sweep. They can gut every damn game in the market system for the rest of the day just off hitting all the Joe Blows in that first hour.

    -Learn to quickly identify video game stuff on the surface. You need to be the fucking Terminator here, because again time is crucial during that first hour. Radio? VCR? Tapes? Controller?! *SCREEECH*

    -When you have found something, put your hand on it. Even if you're not sure, put your damn hand on it. This doesn't just establish that you are possibly interested in it, but it is also the universal "I was here first, fuckers" flea market signal. Box of possible games that no one is near. B-Line and put your hand in it. Controller? Crouch down and pick it up. Even if you're following the wires visually to find the system/games. Vendors WILL step in as soon as you have "untouched" the item. If you're piling games to one side that you're interested in, you need to make sure they are close to your body. Everyone has had the, "I put those there because I am going to buy them...I was here FIRST"/"but your hand wasn't on it" incident.

    -Learn your vendors. Really. A month or two in at least be able to identify them and their people in the crowd, because in my experience, they will damn well know you (if not following you...or racing to get ahead of you).

    -Also get to know them because they can be friendly and occasionally kick down deals. They aren't all "the enemy"...they aren't all assholes, but you are both working against each other at the same time.

    -Some people have said "go late". This only worked for me once, hitting twice on one day, but I hit big (Chiller, OK...not rare but not exactly SMB/DH either and a N64 Prototype). Some people unpack shit late. Some just don't want to repack shit back into the van/truck/pack mule, so they're willing to let stuff go for a song. Other regular Joe Blows (not quite a video game vendor, not really Joe Blow clearing out the garage...some folks are like "garage sale" wholeseller, selling all kinds of crap they found throughout the week from various garage sales, instead of just one thing...anyways) know about the vendor game and wait till later in the day to let the game stuff out.

    -Read people. Really. That's kinda the secret sauce to the entire thing.

    Someone else pro-tip haggling and working with sellers. I've spent too much time writing this stupid post this far. >:P
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    Quote Originally Posted by phreakindee View Post
    Are flea markets good for old games at a good price?

    That's like asking is a casino a good place to make money. Sure, I suppose there's that chance, but often it's just luck and most of what you see you can't be too sure about.

    I, personally, have had bouts of great luck at flea markets and thrift stores... but it's a gamble. More than 75% of the time I find almost nothing, yet some days I hit the jackpot.
    Yeah I guess it's really hit or miss. I've only been to a flea market a few times in the last 10-15 years and really haven't found much. At the same time, I've found some gems in pawn shops for dirt cheap. A few examples are a mint black label, complete Silent Hill for PS1 for $10, and Metal Gear Solid w/ box and book for Gameboy Color for $5. I rarely go into the indy game stores around here anymore, simply because their prices are beyond retarded.

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    I've only been to two flea market and been to a few "weekend flea markets (Open for a day or two)."

    At the established flea market I remember seeing a ton of games and got a few good deals. Nothing completely rare though. As others have said, there probably isn't any reason to go to the established dealers, stick to the garage sale type people if there are any. Or at least go to them first since I guess I did find a few good things from established dealers.

    The "weekend flea markets" seem to be hit and miss. I've went to some where I got some deals, and others where I walked around just trying to find something to buy. I do believe I got better deals at these places though, probably because they are mostly filled with the garage sale type people.

    So in short yes.
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    Get there when it opens or shortly before, or it's worthless. Other vendors/deal hunters will buy all the deals and mark them up for their own stands. Ask people setting up if they have any old Atari/Nintendo games.

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