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So what is the deal with Earthbound pricing?


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#1 MetalSlugger

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 08:50 PM

Seriously, why are Earthbound carts selling for so much right now?  It's only $10 for the Virtual Console version and there are tons of carts available around the web, yet they're still selling for $100-200 on a daily basis.  I get that collectors want the original release and I understand why the boxed version sells for so much, but it blows my mind how much the market for this has shot up in the past few years.  When I bought my pawn shop copy in 2007 the high price was $50-60.  I was kicking myself at the time for paying top dollar, but now...not so much.


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#2 Billytwoshoes

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 06:06 PM

SNES collecting has really gone up in the past 3 years or so, that is even trickling into the N64 and Gamecube eras as well.  Earthbound makes the logical choice as the rite of passage game for serious SNES collectors, so people just accept that they will pay a premium just to have the cart in their collection, regardless of supply.

 

Every day that goes by, more and more people in their late 20s to 30s start to become nostalgic, and further adds to the pool of demands from collectors, much more so than previous collectors going the opposite direction and adding more inventory to the marketplace.

 

But I'm with you, I'd much rather have the $10 VC release than the physical cart, but playing the game and showcasing the cart on your shelf are two very different things, so I imagine there will always be a big disparity in the values.



#3 MetalSlugger

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 08:58 PM

Yeah, it's pretty crazy how much cart prices have shot up.  I remember debating about selling my Pocky & Rocky 2 fourish years ago for $60...now that sucker sells for $150 solid.  When I was building my collection 8-10 years ago I always planned on the games increasing in value over time but definitely not to the degree they have lately.

 

The funny thing is that the games I did end up selling (both Lufias, Ogre Battle) have held their value almost exactly while all of the games I ended up keeping (Earthbound, P&R2, Hagane) have skyrocketed.

 

The shitty thing about this is that there won't be any thrift store/flea market/etc. finds anymore...getting great carts for $2-5 each in bulk was awesome.  Now every thrift store around me locks up each and every cart and charges out the ass for them (the worst I ever saw was SMB/Duck Hunt for $20).  I also miss the days of people offloading their system lots on eBay for a fraction of what they'd go for now...ugh.


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#4 Richard Kain

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 10:47 PM

Part of this is demand. The word about Earthbound has gotten around by now, and the collecting crowd knows it is one of the SNES games to have. And there are other factors at play. Nintendo's refusal to make a proper localized commercial release of Mother 1 or 3 means that Earthbound is STILL the only game from that series commercially available in the U.S. Then there have been all of the rumors about consoles shifting to all-digital formats, which is going to make older physical copies that much more valuable. And then there's the fact that most of the people who are old enough to fondly remember those older consoles also now have the disposable income necessary to bolster a more robust collector's market.

 

I've seen titles like Demon's Crest going for upwards of $150. Hard-to-find SNES titles are in very high demand these days. The SNES is very highly regarded by most older gamers as the home console with the best, most memorable library. At my favorite used game store in my area they have a copy of Panzer Dragoon Saga that they're charging $300 for. I recently paid $40 for a copy of King's Quest for the Sega Master System. The days of picking up huge lots of cartridges from yard sales are over. Most people understand that there is some level of value to these older games.

 

Oddly, release on digital services only decreases the value of a cart temporarily. Once more people are aware of a game through digital downloads, the value of the cart will eventually spike to reflect that exposure.



#5 my2k2zx2

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 12:03 AM

Yeah, it's pretty crazy how much cart prices have shot up.  I remember debating about selling my Pocky & Rocky 2 fourish years ago for $60...now that sucker sells for $150 solid.  When I was building my collection 8-10 years ago I always planned on the games increasing in value over time but definitely not to the degree they have lately.

 

You mentioned Pocky & Rocky 2 and I had to get out my collection.  I have the original, not 2.  Picked it up for $2.99 a long time ago from Goodwill.


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#6 MetalSlugger

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 03:08 AM

You mentioned Pocky & Rocky 2 and I had to get out my collection. I have the original, not 2. Picked it up for $2.99 a long time ago from Goodwill.



My copy was $3 from a flea market guy that also sold Nazi relics. He was weird as Fuck but had great cart prices.

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#7 ludus

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 08:56 PM

It's because people want the real deal. Virtual versions are the same, but not in feel because you're playing it on a completely different console. I prefer playing classic games on the actual console to the digital versions on current consoles. 

 

There are a lot of collectors who just buy classic retro games to build up their collection, and yes a lot of these games are priced a lot, which I don't like, but what can you really do? 


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#8 MetalSlugger

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 11:15 PM

I get why people buy original carts since I'm one of them; what I'm wondering is why specifically SNES games are through the roof while other systems' games (NES/Genesis/etc.) have kept the same prices for years.  Plus it's only certain SNES games; the few games I did end up selling (the Lufias, Ogre Battle) haven't gone up at all.  With Earthbound it made sense since the original cart was the only way to play it but now there's a digital version and the price is still going up.

 

I've noticed Saturn games creeping up as well.  Panzer Dragoon Saga was at $150-200 for years, but lately it's been selling for $300 solid.


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#9 OswaldZ

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 05:11 AM

It's all just demand I guess :/



#10 SuavePeanuts

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 03:28 PM

I get why people buy original carts since I'm one of them; what I'm wondering is why specifically SNES games are through the roof while other systems' games (NES/Genesis/etc.) have kept the same prices for years.  Plus it's only certain SNES games; the few games I did end up selling (the Lufias, Ogre Battle) haven't gone up at all.  With Earthbound it made sense since the original cart was the only way to play it but now there's a digital version and the price is still going up.

 

I've noticed Saturn games creeping up as well.  Panzer Dragoon Saga was at $150-200 for years, but lately it's been selling for $300 solid.

It's all about nostalgia at this point. Kids of the 90's are now in there 20's-30's and want to relive what they had when they were a kid. So they search out games that they played when they were kids. Yes you could just pay 15$ for the Virtual console versions, But for those who have not felt the need to get a Wii U at this time it is cheaper to buy the cart and system. Granted in the long run it would be cheaper to just get the Wii U.

 

Then you have people like myself who have recently gotten into collecting and playing older games. Granted I fit into the Nostalgia category But there is something to be said to owning a physical copy of a game.

 

Take for example the new duck tales game. Yes it has been out on the virtual console for a while. Even though the Physical Copy is only a download code with a case it is still something you can display and hold. 

 

Give it a few years and you will see that the games from the 90's consoles (SNES, n64, etc...) will go down in value as less people will want them and games from the PS2/XBOX/Dreamcast/Gamecube Era will Sky rocket. (even though some of them already have)



#11 TheOSGVault

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 09:25 PM

Many collector's want the actual cartridge, and are willing to pay good money for a nice copy with Saves.  It will be interesting to see if the value of Earthbound cartridge drops due to it selling in Wii U eShop.  I know when mega man V was availbe for download in the Wii store the prices for the cartridges dropped, and now Mega Man V is selling higher than ever. Go figure.


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#12 Richard Kain

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 05:23 PM

I know when mega man V was availbe for download in the Wii store the prices for the cartridges dropped, and now Mega Man V is selling higher than ever. Go figure.

 

It's a matter of exposure. A lot of the times, these games are obscure enough that only the more serious collectors know about them. When the titles are released and promoted on services like the Virtual Console, it provides them with exposure to a broader audience. When those new gamers play and enjoy the game, it creates a new crop of fans who might be interested in acquiring original copies.



#13 TheOSGVault

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 09:15 PM

It's a matter of exposure. A lot of the times, these games are obscure enough that only the more serious collectors know about them. When the titles are released and promoted on services like the Virtual Console, it provides them with exposure to a broader audience. When those new gamers play and enjoy the game, it creates a new crop of fans who might be interested in acquiring original copies.

 

Sure never thought of it that way, but makes perfect sense :bow:


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#14 Richard Kain

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 09:27 PM

I saw a similar phenomenon with Anime DVDs in the early 00's. Shows that didn't have very broad exposure might go for a decent price on-line, but were overall reasonably priced. As soon as one of those shows was featured on Toonami or Adult Swim (Cartoon Network's usual blocks for airing anime shows) the value of the DVDs would skyrocket. Dedicated anime fans would know about shows like Cowboy Bebop and Outlaw Star, and the price for the DVDs would be slightly higher than normal. As soon as the general audience became aware of these shows thanks to screenings on a major cable channel, the demand for the DVDs went through the roof, and prices for those discs remained abnormally high for years on end.

 

We're seeing a similar reaction to some of these classic games. When people become enthusiastic about a particular title, it is not unusual for them to research it. And while some might be content with their digital versions, enthusiastic fans will often want to have original copies. It's just a natural response for fans of a series to have, even if they only recently became fans. The broad accessibility of digital distribution allows for a much larger fanbase, as it becomes easier and more affordable for more people to enjoy the game.

 

There's nothing wrong with this. It's great that more people are able to have access to some of these classic titles. But one of the consequences is that the price of the original copies skyrockets due to the sudden upswing in demand. It's likely that this increased price will also remain relatively stable, as most of these original copies have a very limited supply. It's just the price we have to pay for our hobby gaining broader acceptance and popularity.



#15 MetalSlugger

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 12:21 PM

I've been getting back into N64 collecting over the past month, and compared to SNES prices it's actually surprisingly affordable.  There are exceptions (Conker), but for the most part games seem to be $40 or less cart-only.  I thought that Mischief Makers was going to be spendy but most copies go for ~$10-20.  I wonder when this market will shoot up.

 

Boxed copies are pretty insane though...NBD for me since I'm going the Ultimate Game Case route eventually.


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#16 MSUHitman

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 05:04 PM

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#17 MetalSlugger

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 08:31 PM

Awesome, thanks for posting.  I watched up through the point when the far left guy started talking about cosmic rays or whatever.  Funny that they mention Earthbound specifically near the end.  Good stuff, everything they mentioned is totally on point. 

 

The one thing that I would add in about the role eBay had in inflating values is that the shift from auction-style "worldwide garage sale" listings to buy-it-now fixed price listings came from eBay itself after Meg Whitman left; the new CEO came in and changed eBay to Amazon-lite, giving large scale resellers free reign to Fuck over collectors and charge premium prices.  They also fucked over smaller sellers with their obtuse fee structure; now a small seller can expect 10-20% off the top just from eBay/PayPal fees alone, not counting shipping/packing/etc (which drives up prices even further).  From 05-spring 08 I used to buy old game hardware from thrift stores on the cheap, clean it up, repair if necessary and resell at a modest markup (to cover my labor).  For example I'd buy an NES controller for $2, clean the circuit board and all of the components while watching TV, test it out and sell it for $10-12 shipped.  I used to have a spreadsheet documenting my net profit after every sale, and during 2008 you could see the exact moment when eBay started to railroad small sellers.  I ended up trading in all of my remaining inventory to a local mom&pop and never looked back.  I still buy from them occasionally but I only sell there once or twice a year, and only as a last resort.

 

I'm getting really worried about cartridge counterfeiting.  It practically destroyed AES/MVS collecting and now it's starting to pop up in NES/SNES games.


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#18 8bitArtist

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 03:28 PM

I was kicking myself at the time for paying top dollar, but now...not so much.

 

thats nothing, i remember back in 2006 seeing the cart of the nes game Little Samson for $20 and thinking that was too high... FML. hahaha


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