Recently I’ve noticed certain SNES games going for high prices online. One of the current hot titles is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles In Time, a scrolling fighter released in 1992. I first purchased this game (loose) on eBay around 8 years ago for about £10, and it’s been one of my most-played games ever since. It’s probably my favourite SNES game (I even wrote a review of it), and as such, I wouldn’t consider parting with it. Lately however, eBay listings for this game have gone a bit nuts. Like £80 for just the cart nuts. If you want it boxed, double it.
What’s causing this? A quick check on Pricecharting.com reveals the game’s prices spiked in 2007 (when the TMNT animated film was released), and then began to rise again from 2012 to present. It’s quite possible that the popularity of the recent movies have caused sellers to up their prices, but who is paying these prices for a game that was cheaper when first released, and can easily be emulated for free? I’m not getting into the debate about emulation vs original hardware/software, but I’m just saying it’s an option, and one that becomes more attractive when a game’s price gets pushed sky high like this.
The other question I have is why are prices in the UK so much higher? Pricecharting.com shows an average price for a loose TMNT IV cart being around $46 (£32) in the USA. You won’t find the PAL version over here for less than double that. What’s going on, have traders managed to buy up all the copies of the game, pushing demand – and therefore prices – up? I had a look through the first 3 pages of Google search results for “UK retro game online stores”, and not one of them had the game in stock. Maybe the game finally deserves the “RARE” description eBay sellers like to slap on every retro game listing. Lucky for me I bought the game while it was relatively cheap, I guess.
It’s not just online stores that seem to have hiked up SNES prices recently. I noticed one dealer at the Leeds fair this weekend was selling a boxed Street Fighter II for £35. The box wasn’t in great condition, and the game wasn’t even one of the Hyper/Super/Amazinglyincredible variants, it was just plain old Street Fighter II. This game was available (in the same condition) on a few online stores, each time for between £20 and £25. Buyers in the SNES game market need to be switched on in order to not get stung, it seems.
One SNES game I have been looking to purchase lately is Batman Returns. Another great scrolling fighter, this is one I’ve only played on an emulator, but would like to be able to play on my actual SNES. Prices for this one aren’t as bad as TMNT IV, but they are still rising.
Looking on eBay (apparently the only place to find it online in this country), a loose cart tends to go for at least £20. Again, more expensive than in America. Having come irritatingly close to getting one for £15 (see previous blog), I’ve become a bit obsessed with not overpaying for it. I want the game, but I’m not desperate enough to pay more than I think it’s worth. Stay tuned, I’ll let you know how it goes!
This weekend I had the pleasure of selling my pixel art at the Leeds Super Retro Games Fair. If you like games (and you’re here, so let’s assume you do) and haven’t been before, you should really look into it.
I managed to set up my stall with time to spare before the doors opened, so I thought I’d get a headstart on the public and check out the other stalls! I was only after 2 things – a Megadrive controller (mine is broken) and Dino Crisis 2 for PS1 (I have fond memories of playing it in my teens).
The first stall I came to had Dino Crisis 2 for £12. I took a mental note and moved on. The next stall was run by a local CEX-type chain and had a box of controllers, so I asked about the Megadrive one. The guy stood there checking on his phone (eBay? Store website? Footie results?) for a couple of minutes before telling me it was £12. I said thanks and moved along. No fricking way was I paying £12 for a Megadrive controller.
Ten paces later and I was at a stall being set up by 3 guys. Again, they had a box of controllers, and this time the Megadrive one was £6. Fair enough, I thought, and bought it. Into the next room and I find another Dino Crisis 2, this time for £15. Interesting, I thought, and kept going. It wasn’t long before I was at a huge stall run by a fairly well known game trader, and they had Dino Crisis 2 for £20. No thanks, I thought, and went back and bought the £15 one. Why didn’t I go for the cheapest, you ask? Well, that one didn’t have instructions, and I remember Dino Crisis being basically Resident Evil with dinosaurs, so a set of instructions would be useful.
So I only purchased 2 items, but came away spending £11 less than if I’d bought from the dealers with the worst prices. If you get the chance at these fairs, take your time to shop around.
I was only looking for the one game, but had an eBay purchase not gone sour on me just after the fair, I would have been on the lookout for Batman Returns (SNES) too. Over the weekend I had bought the game (loose) on eBay for £15 (Buy It Now), and paid via PayPal. Deal done, I thought. Soon enough, the seller emailed me, saying he hadn’t received the money, but had received an email saying he needed to claim the payment. I checked my PayPal account, and found it was set to “pay after delivery” – a common setting that is in place to protect the buyer. Like the email had said, the seller just had to click the “claim” option to receive his money from PayPal, who would then claim the money from me after I’d received the game. I explained this to him, and even sent him a screenshot of my account summary to show I’d sent the payment.
A day later I get an email from him saying he had never seen anything like this before, and that he’d forwarded the email to PayPal, who had told him it was probably fraudulent. He said he wasn’t comfortable dealing with me, and that he had relisted the item. I don’t think he was trying to get more money for it, as it went up at the same price on another Buy It Now listing. He genuinely thought I was some kind of crook, despite my weighty positive feedback rating. So I was annoyed. First I cancelled the payment (didn’t want him accidentally getting my money), then set about giving him some negative feedback on eBay. A lot of people are afraid to hit someone with negative feedback, for fear that they might get a negative back. Me, I don’t give a shit. eBay isn’t something I depend on, and I’ve got enough positive feedback to overshadow any petty negative that someone might give me. This guy had a feedback rating of 13. Might as well delete your account and start again, idiot. With the feedback, I left the comment “Seller cancelled and relisted after I paid. AVOID”. Unfortunately there is a tight character limit on comments, otherwise I would have been more colourful in my description. Immediately after posting that, I felt better.
The next day I felt even better when he emailed me to apologise for refusing the payment. Apologise all you like pal; once feedback has been submitted, it can’t be changed by anyone. Apparently the email he received was showing up as possibly fraudulent due to it not being in his safe list of senders. Welcome to the Internet, moron. So you turned down a sale and received negative feedback all because you don’t understand eBay, PayPal, or emails, apparently. Good job!
My hunt for Batman Returns continues…
My name is Iain and my addiction is making pixel bead art. My main inspirations are comics, video games and movies.