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Thread: Local retro game stores

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    Default Local retro game stores

    What's the deal with the trend of the local retro game stores that have been popping up all over the place now? The ones locally here are all the same, they price everything with at least a 10% markup from the highest sold price on eBay, yet they still do decent business? Who are the people that are buying games from these places, is it the casual gamers that have bought into the hype of the retro gaming fad, and just get caught up in buying stuff on impulse?

    For example this place: http://www.yelp.com/biz/video-games-new-york-new-york. I've seen people astonished by the videos of this store on Facebook, but the big secret is that the reason they have so much cool stuff in stock is because it's priced way way way above what they are actually work. The store only stays in business thanks to trust fund hipsters that don't care about paying $15 for a copy of SMB / Duckhunt and $120 for an NES to play it on.

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    Every once in a while a store like this opens up in my area. They never last more than a year. I don't understand why they all follow the same piss poor business models and expect to do well.

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    I must be lucky, because I've got 4 local retro gaming stories within driving distance, and only 1 of them really over charges on everything. Another overcharges of rare games, but common and uncommon games are below ebay market price. I've found pretty good deals at all of them.
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    Unfortunately, my local game store recently closed after 14 years in business citing poor sales. It's bullshit, because that was the only retro game store within an hour's drive. They have a second location in the next city over which is about an hour and a half away, which is thriving, so if I want to buy anything now, I need to either look to find private sellers or drive over an hour.

    I wish there were game stores popping up. But not here in southern Ontario.
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    One part of your question is simple: online sellers and hobbyists don't have the overhead of a brick n' mortar location to pay for.

    You and I may be able to pick up SMB for a cheaper price somewhere else. You and I may also be able to resell it for minimal profit. Hell...we have the luxury of not having to profit off the sale at all. Brick n' mortar stores *have* to make profit. It's why they can't offer you the "market rate" for what you're wanting to sell to them, and why some have to price items above market rate when they put it on the shelf.

    As for who is buying this stuff, everyone. It's really tempting to tag someone paying higher prices for this stuff as "retro posers" who are "ruining the hobby". By all means, we've likely all met "that guy" who is a total douche that isn't into this for playing the games, yet wants everyone to check out his 20 NES games he doesn't enjoy. BUT the average person walking into a store isn't "that guy". They are likely not into prioritizing finding stuff online (or at swap meets/garage sales). They walk into a store, see SMB for 15 bucks and impulse off of it. Everyone loves SMB. Surely SMB, as an experience, is worth 15 bucks. If push came to shove, I think SMB...as a game experience...is worth every penny of that 15 bucks. Even though I could find the cart for much, much less at the "market" price.

    As a consumer I've been that average customer, but for other mediums such as music, movies, and books. I'm sure I could find a copy of some popular novel for cheap if I tried, but if I find it while browsing at a used book store...and I think the experience of reading it is worth whatever the price tag is, why not swallow the price? So what if I could find it for cheaper if I just dug into the Internet for a week or two waiting for the right FS thread or eBay listing to pop up. I want to read it now. I have the cash now. I don't mind paying that price now. Does that make me a poser book enthusiast ruining the retro novel hobby? No. It makes me someone interested in reading a good book.
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    There are two retro gaming stores by me. One has overly marked up prices, a piss poor selection, and staff that doesn't know gaming.

    The other one is stuffed from floor to ceiling with games and consoles (including rare ones), has a husband a wife team who run the store and know their product inside and out, and have good prices.

    One of these stores is empty every time I walk in and the other had to buy a warehouse to house all their games because they go through so many. I'll let you guess which is which.

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    Theres a few around my area too, and sometimes they mark things well, sometimes they dn't. I think its a good thing cuz u can find a ton of games ur looking for in one place, rather then having to scower the flea markets and garage sales.

    What I will say is that I prefer them a hell of a lot to Gamestop, not just cuz they have older stuff, but they're just better stores. Theyll have arcade machines, kiosks, all kindsa stuff u wont get at Gamestop.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sosage View Post
    One part of your question is simple: online sellers and hobbyists don't have the overhead of a brick n' mortar location to pay for.

    You and I may be able to pick up SMB for a cheaper price somewhere else. You and I may also be able to resell it for minimal profit. Hell...we have the luxury of not having to profit off the sale at all. Brick n' mortar stores *have* to make profit. It's why they can't offer you the "market rate" for what you're wanting to sell to them, and why some have to price items above market rate when they put it on the shelf.

    As for who is buying this stuff, everyone. It's really tempting to tag someone paying higher prices for this stuff as "retro posers" who are "ruining the hobby". By all means, we've likely all met "that guy" who is a total douche that isn't into this for playing the games, yet wants everyone to check out his 20 NES games he doesn't enjoy. BUT the average person walking into a store isn't "that guy". They are likely not into prioritizing finding stuff online (or at swap meets/garage sales). They walk into a store, see SMB for 15 bucks and impulse off of it. Everyone loves SMB. Surely SMB, as an experience, is worth 15 bucks. If push came to shove, I think SMB...as a game experience...is worth every penny of that 15 bucks. Even though I could find the cart for much, much less at the "market" price.

    As a consumer I've been that average customer, but for other mediums such as music, movies, and books. I'm sure I could find a copy of some popular novel for cheap if I tried, but if I find it while browsing at a used book store...and I think the experience of reading it is worth whatever the price tag is, why not swallow the price? So what if I could find it for cheaper if I just dug into the Internet for a week or two waiting for the right FS thread or eBay listing to pop up. I want to read it now. I have the cash now. I don't mind paying that price now. Does that make me a poser book enthusiast ruining the retro novel hobby? No. It makes me someone interested in reading a good book.
    I agree. I have no problem paying a good $20 for a game I will enjoy. I really dnt see this as people r elitists in retro gaming, I see it as cheapness.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arkanoid_Katamari View Post
    I agree. I have no problem paying a good $20 for a game I will enjoy. I really dnt see this as people r elitists in retro gaming, I see it as cheapness.
    Any time the C word comes out, it's elitism.

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    Adventurer you probably are just lucky. I moved back to KY 2 years ago so I was there still in CA with the boom and in both places there were/are stores. I've noticed something though between them is that the wave of greed at the local retail shops came at differing times. Back in CA around later 2011 through when i left in 2012 in the fall I saw a nasty little uptick. It wasn't exactly just retail but it was also the local craigslist and of course ebay. I think they're all just intertwined. The locals for awhile held out, but when they caught on to being poached by predators, they all heaved their prices nice and high to scare them off so they get paid well too.

    When I got back to KY late in 2012 it wasn't for another 6 months that I saw the price game go bad here. I had been in CA for 3 years, had lived here through most of the 00s before that. Places like this local chain and the national Half Price Books really were half the price of online, except in the cases on the stuff that's so low in value you have to cap it at $5 or you get baked which was of course fine. HPB started to get really greedy early in 2013, they started to instead follow the store motto, change it to Buy it Now(or Full) Price Books and at times go 10-20% over ebay. People started to pick stuff up from the good local store and locals on the whole and taking it in there to get paid, or online with craiglist, and it all shot up in an insanely short amount of time (3-4mo) to being like CA(lifornia.) It's very hard to find a nice priced item anymore, a good day is going in 10% under ebay or matching it minus the shipping fee.

    As it stands I took a stand and just quit buying local, let them die for all I care. I've know and do know locals (and not online) who run retail local shops and they seem to have a mix. Some will follow the trend, others buck it. I find those who follow they'll get by alright, but they find it harder to get the primo $50-300+ stuff in anymore as few are dumb enough to take 10% on that to see it on the shelf that day or a week later. There are others though who will sell for like 15-20% under ebay's average by condition factor, but they also will pay like 25-30%+ of the value, sometimes 50% or a hair over if it's super valuable and will flip fast. They sell quite well through stuff, have lots of happy one offs and regulars who return with the expensive games because the value gets them lots of cash or new stuff they desired. So it really can work both ways. There's no real reason to screw customers prison drama raw for video games, it's a choice, and a crappy one at that. Because I gave up, all I do now is stick with GBA and Famicom as they're not hosed, but I won't ignore a deal if I accident into it, but that's rare and I'm actually good with that. Recently I got back into Lego, buying a few sets here and there as it's relaxing unlike the gaming racket.

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    Theres 3 I can think of. One is North of me and is pretty over priced. I would think such a small location wouldn't charge so much for common games. Another would be in downtown, The Gamechasers actually went into this store and browsed through their inventory which is massive! it was actually last year when they went to Con Bravo in Canada and stopped at that store in downtown Toronto. Store is over priced as well. The last one is more west and this guy has great inventory but his prices are freaking insane. One can understand why he has so much stock since he probably can't sell his stuff. Im pretty sure he gets those people who dont care for rip off prices. He usually puts his pick up vids on his Youtube channel. Stores called Toyratt

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sosage View Post
    You and I may be able to pick up SMB for a cheaper price somewhere else. You and I may also be able to resell it for minimal profit. Hell...we have the luxury of not having to profit off the sale at all. Brick n' mortar stores *have* to make profit. It's why they can't offer you the "market rate" for what you're wanting to sell to them, and why some have to price items above market rate when they put it on the shelf.
    In a way that's kind of a cop-out. I get offering less money for games with trade-ins but to do that and price games above market value when selling just seems greedy.

    Using the excuse that they have to rip people off with both trade-ins and when selling just to pay the bills only goes so far. What if I said I had to sell broken lawn chairs or other freshly picked trash for $400 each to support myself financially? Would people gladly pay me my asking price to help me out?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sosage View Post
    As for who is buying this stuff, everyone. It's really tempting to tag someone paying higher prices for this stuff as "retro posers" who are "ruining the hobby". By all means, we've likely all met "that guy" who is a total douche that isn't into this for playing the games, yet wants everyone to check out his 20 NES games he doesn't enjoy. BUT the average person walking into a store isn't "that guy". They are likely not into prioritizing finding stuff online (or at swap meets/garage sales). They walk into a store, see SMB for 15 bucks and impulse off of it. Everyone loves SMB. Surely SMB, as an experience, is worth 15 bucks. If push came to shove, I think SMB...as a game experience...is worth every penny of that 15 bucks. Even though I could find the cart for much, much less at the "market" price.
    Honestly, from what I've seen it seems to be mostly parents or younger kids/teens that don't know any better. Now a high percentage of younger kids and teens think old games are cool(thanks to everyone using the internet now regardless of age), so when they ask their parents for a game for their birthday/any reason, parents just go to game stores and they'll buy it. Most parents don't want to waste too much time searching for things as they have better things to do, or they're not into games so they don't know where to buy them outside of searching the yellowpages for video game stores. Or it'll just be kids/teens, the ones too young to have credit cards or paypal accounts and can't purchase things online.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gameguy View Post
    In a way that's kind of a cop-out. I get offering less money for games with trade-ins but to do that and price games above market value when selling just seems greedy.

    Using the excuse that they have to rip people off with both trade-ins and when selling just to pay the bills only goes so far. What if I said I had to sell broken lawn chairs or other freshly picked trash for $400 each to support myself financially? Would people gladly pay me my asking price to help me out?
    If there were a market for broken lawn chairs and freshly picked trash, then your analogy would work...and my answer to you would then be, "Yes. You could." Would it sell? Would your price be outrageous? I dunno. What's the market price for a bag of trash in this imaginary world?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gameguy View Post
    Honestly, from what I've seen it seems to be mostly parents or younger kids/teens that don't know any better. Now a high percentage of younger kids and teens think old games are cool(thanks to everyone using the internet now regardless of age), so when they ask their parents for a game for their birthday/any reason, parents just go to game stores and they'll buy it. Most parents don't want to waste too much time searching for things as they have better things to do, or they're not into games so they don't know where to buy them outside of searching the yellowpages for video game stores. Or it'll just be kids/teens, the ones too young to have credit cards or paypal accounts and can't purchase things online.
    From what I've seen at the local used store, a lot of these customers do know better. We're in the age of having the Internet in your pocket. You can price check almost anything with 5-10 minutes of minimal effort. No one is capable of duping anyone over the value of anything these days.

    The chunk of customers that purchase a slightly more expensive game just don't care about dealing with the Internet and shipping. They see a game they want, mull over the few bucks extra for having it now vs. waiting for it to be shipped out (plus shipping costs), then make their purchase. You and I may not be into that, but you and I aren't exactly the average game store customer, either.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sosage View Post
    From what I've seen at the local used store, a lot of these customers do know better. We're in the age of having the Internet in your pocket. You can price check almost anything with 5-10 minutes of minimal effort. No one is capable of duping anyone over the value of anything these days.

    The chunk of customers that purchase a slightly more expensive game just don't care about dealing with the Internet and shipping. They see a game they want, mull over the few bucks extra for having it now vs. waiting for it to be shipped out (plus shipping costs), then make their purchase. You and I may not be into that, but you and I aren't exactly the average game store customer, either.
    Depends on the game store. When a store close to me offered $5 trade in for a loose NES Action 52 yet asks $100 for a loose NES Contra I don't consider that to be just slightly overpriced. Most game stores around my general area have similar pricing.

    The store I mentioned with the Contra mostly gets by with selling modern games for current systems or repairing consoles, the older stuff hardly moves. They just keep it to have their store stand out from the big box stores, it's the same view a previous nearby store had which went out of business years earlier. Whenever I've been there and actually seen old stuff sell, it's mostly just students or parents buying them. When a little kid broke his Gamecube controller, his mom bought a beat to shit yet working one for $25 as she couldn't find one anywhere else. She said she was just happy to find one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gameguy View Post
    Depends on the game store. When a store close to me offered $5 trade in for a loose NES Action 52 yet asks $100 for a loose NES Contra I don't consider that to be just slightly overpriced. Most game stores around my general area have similar pricing.

    The store I mentioned with the Contra mostly gets by with selling modern games for current systems or repairing consoles, the older stuff hardly moves. They just keep it to have their store stand out from the big box stores, it's the same view a previous nearby store had which went out of business years earlier. Whenever I've been there and actually seen old stuff sell, it's mostly just students or parents buying them. When a little kid broke his Gamecube controller, his mom bought a beat to shit yet working one for $25 as she couldn't find one anywhere else. She said she was just happy to find one.
    Where on earth is Contra selling for $100?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Einzelherz View Post
    Any time the C word comes out, it's elitism.
    Well, it seems more elitist of people who scoff at ppl for paying a full price on a game. That seems to happen a lot more then the other way around. U see all these videos on youtube of "pickups," where ppl gloat about all the good deals they just found or an old lady they ripped off for a box of N64 stuff. Then they turn around and call the ppl who pay $20 for Contra the worst thing to happen to video game collecting cuz it makes it that much harder for them to rip people off.

    I mean, I get it, I look for cheaper prices too, but why do people hafta look down on someone cuz they pay full price and call them chumps? Whats the big deal?

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    Well said, nothing wrong with no overpaying, and those who get mad over the deals, they're the elite and snobs, or just angry turds who didn't get it first to add it to the pile of stuff asking too much for.

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    I'm kinda lucky because my go to store is good on prices and has an insane amount of imports. Anyone need a complete N64 DD collection? The other few stores are hit and miss nothing outrageous. One is quite high but still worth poping in for a look around when over that way to check is they have something that I have been searching for.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gameguy View Post
    The store I mentioned with the Contra mostly gets by with selling modern games for current systems or repairing consoles, the older stuff hardly moves.
    Many, many years ago I helped run a Mom & Pop owned video store and although it may seem like apples and oranges, I can say that you're exactly right. New stuff rents/sells, old stuff sits gathering dust and any money brought in by it is just gravy on the top.

    One store near me has two locations, one dedicated brick & mortar and another lot in an indoor flea market vendor's mall type setup. On new stuff, or new aftermarket retro stuff the prices are around the same as anywhere else. While I often pop in and see carts I'd love to pick up as an impulse buy their prices are insane. I get that you're not going to get yard sale prices there but there's a point where you price yourself out of a sale. $40 for a loose Contra or Legend of Zelda? $100 Super Metroid and $250 Earthbound? What's even stranger is shit that sold millions of copies (Street Fighter II, Mortal Kombat) is priced at $25 and above.

    In particular there's a beat up loose ratty copy of The Earth Defend for Genesis I'd love to pick up since I'm a sucker for unlicensed trash and it's 20 bucks. You can buy new, sealed copies all day on ebay for $12.

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    That's kind of the point. These places have other sources of income. They'll pay like ten cents to the dollar on the 'valued' old stuff and they don't give a crap if it sells or not as it won't have an effect on their bottom line. It's window dressing of the cruel and most wasteful kind. You get in stuff people really want, but you ask a margin a bit (10-20%) or a lot over ebay because no one can see the teeny price stickers through the window from outside. It's to bait people in, then they get sticker shock, some walk out and leave. A lot annoyingly don't. They won't buy that game, but they'll buy something far newer used (or new from the current) or the store carries movies, music, toys, food, comics, and other fan stuff and they get paid there. They're happy with that, and if they can find a dumb dumb with more cash than brains, then it's gravy time on the spendy game.

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