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Retro video games auction for millions of dollars more than 30 years later

Yahoo Finance's Dan Howley discusses the demand for retro video games among collectors.

Video Transcript


RACHELLE AKUFFO: All right, well, moving on to another collector's market, retro video games. Now, they've proven to be quite lucrative as well. For more, we have Yahoo Finance's resident gamer, Dan Howley. Good to see you, Dan. I myself used to get the blisters on my thumbs from overdoing it on the Nintendo as well.

DAN HOWLEY: That's right, Rachelle. And basically what's going on here is we're seeing more people getting into retro gaming. We saw an explosion during the pandemic, along with the rest of gaming, where people had needed something to do when they were essentially glued to their couch for months on hand-- on end. And so they reached for their games. If they didn't have them, they went back and looked for older games that they may have played and wanted to get back into. So we've seen this kind of growth in the market, and we have a few stats on some of the best-selling games that-- in terms of price that you've seen in history.

There have been some that have gone for several thousand dollars, millions of dollars. Obviously that Mario Brothers game right there, and then that Super Mario 64 game. But we also have the consoles. And so I'm personally building my own collection with my wife. We're not getting anything that's worth a million dollars or anywhere near there, but, you know, we're doing what we can. And so I have a few of them right here. I'll just go down the line from the latest-- just a few of them.

We have an original Playstation here that we still have. We actually managed to buy this. We have an old Super Nintendo. I actually just bought this from someone off of Reddit. But unfortunately, it's broken, so I'm going to be sending that back to them. And then, this is the one that we picked up. We were in Canada, we happened to stop by a store. So we have an original Nintendo here. And so the big deal with a lot of these is that, you know, if you can get them in great condition-- these are all used, and, you know, there's some scuffs on them and things along those lines. One obviously doesn't work.

But if you can get one that's in great condition, if it still has the box, if it still has some of the wrapping, and it looks good, I mean, you can pick these up for $1,700, something along those lines. There's a game, in particular, for the Super Nintendo that you can pick up for around $3,000 with the original box. And the game itself is selling for $300. So we're not going there. You know, ideally, if we had all the money in the world, we would. But for us, we're going to stick to the ones with some of the nicks and scrapes.

- Well, Dan, real quick, you've clearly had a lot of experience with this. What are one or two things people can do if they want to buy those retro games?

DAN HOWLEY: Yeah, it's really about making sure that what you get works. You know, as I said, the Super Nintendo that I have, I picked it up, $180 bucks for this and three games. Not bad, but since it's older, it just doesn't work anymore. There's some pins in here that are corroded. And so it's not going to be playing any games. I don't have the technical know-how to actually start resoldering stuff, so it's not going to happen. So obviously I'm getting my money back. I think one of the big things that people have to look for is making sure that, when they're buying something, it's tested, and it works. That's the big deal.

If there's any issues with them as far as plugs, maybe there's some things that are loose, make sure that that's not the case because you want them to last for a long time. I mean, look, this Nintendo is going to be 40 years old soon, right? They came out in '85, so they're not exactly brand new. You can see the coloring is a little bit worn. But, you know, you could still get them to work. I was playing Super Mario Brothers 3 on it last night. And the other thing is if you have older Super Nintendo games, they have actual watch batteries built into them. So you can save-- some of those die over time. If you have something like a Playstation with a disk, just make sure the disk isn't too degraded.

- All right, Dan Howley, lots of good stuff. I was never a big gamer, were you?

- Yeah, Super Mario Brothers. Still play some Mario Kart.

- Yeah, the original Nintendo was the only one that I played, which if it debuted in '85, it was a little old by the time I was playing it. But Rachelle, it sounds like you were a huge gamer though too, you and Howley.

RACHELLE AKUFFO: You already know I love my retro tech. So I still have my original Nintendo and the second generation one as well. Still have all the games in pristine condition in my parents' house. When I used to play for hours, blisters on my fingers, I have-- I have my whole collection. I won't give them up.

- All right.

RACHELLE AKUFFO: Or you know what, I'll see what the prices say.

- Yeah, exactly. You can hold on to it now for a few more years to see, maybe, how much you might be able to sell for one day, right?