Sunday, June 10, 2012

How To Complete Sets for Retro Video Games: Sega Nintendo Playstation

How to attack Complete Sets.

Completing a full set of any console can be a daunting task, that can sometimes be overwhelming, and frustrating. The question question I get the most aside from WHY? is, how do you do it? This is a very good question. Some people think that to get a full library all you need to do is go to eBay, type in the name of the game you want, and spend money. This is not the case, ever...EVER. I said it twice and bolded it so that you will believe me. Some of you still won't, so let me go over why it isn't true.

Before you go to eBay and start snapping up games you need to make a few decisions. These first decisions will act as a guide as you continue to buy games for which ever library you are trying to complete.

Decision 1: Are you going for complete copies or is a loose set fine? How complete are we talking? Every insert, or are you going with the standard Box, Manual, and Cart / Disc? Some Sets bare different considerations as the packaging for games on every system is a bit different..

Decision 2: Does Condition Matter? It will affect the price, but if money isn't your biggest obsticle you still need to consider condition. Some games are Hard to find or Rare, this means you may not see it in any initial searches, it also means that when you do find it, that is might be beat to hell.

From what I say happens in decision 2 you can probably start to see why you won't ever (Please read that as 99.9% of the time) be able to just “go to eBay and buy every game”. The simple answer is some games are actually rare, and that means they aren't always on eBay. If you want an example look at MiraclePiano for the Sega Genesis eBay. Miracle Piano is semi-rare, not the rarest game on the Genesis but still rare. The price, I have seen them at $150 to $300 for complete copies. That's in the range of Panzer Dragoon Saga; which, is to say expensive but not completely prohibitive to collectors. If you factor in condition, I have only seen one mint copy, and he wanted a grand, and I know people who would pay that, maybe more. So you can see how you don't actually have the ability to get it all from eBay, on truly rare pieces I would say you have to know some one, or be in community like Sega-16 or Nintendo / Sega Age or Racket Boy, Digitpress, Atari Age ect. IF you don't have access to hardcore collectors it could take you a very long time to complete sets for most systems.

It's True that not all systems libraries are as large as the Genesis or Nintendo NES. Sega CD is pretty small, but I still had problems finding all of those. The 32x was pretty easy and Virtual Boy can probably be done off of eBay right now, but not if you want it all mint, and if you want sealed, then you should settle in and get comfortable because you are going to be at it awhile...also bring your wallet and it better be thick.

Now that I have full discussed why eBay isn't the end all be all, let me get to the actual methods I use.

The first thing I do after I have decided what set I am going after is research. Yes, it can be boring but I assure you it is necessary. You need to learn about the set from a buyers point of view not a gamers point of view.

Things to look for:
What Games make the whole set?
Seems like you should just be able to google this question and find an answer, but it isn't that easy. Collectors argue constantly over which games are in a set, official vs licensed, pirates, Variants, re-releases, pack ins, accessory only games, competition games and the list goes on. My advice is to make a list out of all the available data that you are happy with, tinker with it and adjust it to suit your needs. Remember this is your set and despite what people say or argue there is no official guide. For me personal I stick to retail release games official or not. This usually makes for a clean concise list.

Variant, what are they and do you care?
The reason I didn't lump this into the what makes a whole set question is because I feel it is really a second set. If you like variants you are going to get these games in addition to all the regular release. Essential this gives you an add on to your complete set. Variants aren't for everyone and most of the time they are just more expensive versions of games you already own.

Does the system have any barrier games?
Barrier games are games that are so rare or so expensive that they either aren't realistic to obtain or are going to require a large amount time as well effort to obtain. We have all heard of games like these: Stadium Events NES, Outback Joey Genesis, Blockbuster Champ, Nintendo NWC Gray and Gold Challenge Carts, Magical Chase TG16 . Elemental Gearbolt Assassins Case PS1, Metal Slug Neo Geo. The list goes on. These games are all over 1k and some well over. Most of the time these aren't retail releases or they are so fringe you don't have to acquire them for the whole set. Notice I said most of the time not all of the time.

What are all the rare / expensive/ HTF games?
Since you have already located the potential barrier games for your system of choice,you should also have noticed some of the less expensive rare or HTF games that pop up on peoples lists. Write the names of these games down or highlight them if you already have a list. These games you will want to do further research on, so you don't over spend. I advise putting them on an eBay watch list and consulting completed auctions so you know a good deal when you see one.

What are the Niche Sets, Sub Sets, Mini Sets and Series?
The Niche Sets, Sub Sets, or Mini Sets as I call them are categories like RPGS, SHUMPS, Fighters Popular Game Series, or Games By Specific Publsihers. These are games that are getting consumed by collectors who aren't just interested in sets or playing games they like. You should watch out for genre specific collectors. These collectors  have SHUMPS/ RPGS/ Fighters on over 30 different systems and they are usually willing to pay. Series Collectors are another group that bears notice.You know people love Zelda, Sonic, Mario, Rachet & Clank, Shining Force, so on so and so forth. You also know that while common you are probably going to have to pay  premium for these games and people are competing against you.  Knowing what games fall in these categories helps you know how hard you may have to battle and who your competition is. Some of the games in this category wind up crossing over to rare / expensive games category, but this just about every category has cross over so don't let that worry you.

Buying Games
Now that the research portion is done, we are ready to go out and do some shopping. You have your favorite haunts, both local and online located. eBay and Amazon have tabs on your home page and now it's time to spend that money.

So what to buy first?
The first thing I suggest you buy are your Favorite games or the games you really want to play. Buying these are rewarding and the cost seems a lot less when you get hours of play. In addition to your favorites make sure you have eBay saved searches for all the expensive games. These games you want to buy as you find good deals and when you can afford them. If you save them for last you will find that even though you have complete 90% of a set you still have 70% of the spending to do.

Buying Lots.
After I have all of my favorite titles it can be very daunting to just go randomly buy games. At this point I normally only have 5 or so game purchased so I have lots of options available . This is a great time to start buying lots on eBay. I like to have a good bit of cash tucked away $200-$500 just to buy a few different lots from eBay and Craigslist. If I get real lucky maybe I find a few sweet deals at local garage sales, but that doesn't happen as often as I'd like, and not often enough to expect it. At this point in your collection lots won't net you tons of dupes so you get a lot for what you spend. Buying lots allows you to put meat on the bones of your collection. Remember you are going to have to buy tons of filler and if you are tackling a library for any system, far more of the games are garbage rather than gold. This is the ugly truth about collecting whole libraries the ratio of bad to good won't ever bee in your favor, not even for small sets like the 32X. The Saturn has a very good ratio, I'd say the best for Sega for sure and maybe the best for any system. ( I am also biased , the Saturn is my fav disc based system.)

Mini Sets, Making Goals, and Staying Motivated
Now that you have a solid base of games in your collection it's time to set some small goals or go for mini sets. I mentioned earlier about the Mini Sets  and when you buy lots you have a good chance of picking a few of these up to begin your sub sets. I personally like to focus on my favorite series on a system then all the RPGs, next  SHUMPS and then Fighters. Collecting small sets within a larger set helps keep you motivated. Accomplishing these mini goals gives you a sense of a accomplishment and  checking a box and giving yourself a mental gold star goes  a lot to keep you going.. It doesn't seem like much but if you are going after a large set then these small achievements act as progress markers on your journey, encouraging and helping you move forward. I know to some of you that just sounds stupid, but when you are buying your 10th Madden game that you won't ever play sometimes you need even the small wins, plus

 these goals allow you to be able to track your progress and see the things you have accomplished. Completing sets can be a long journey and it should be rewarding, building a library subset by subset allows you to stay focused or even taking breaks without loosing your place. For the Sega Genesis , I just completed a Black Grid Games  set as well as the Renovation Games Set, getting those out of the way gave me a nice boost to get through the last 100 or so Genesis games I need.

Finishing It Up.
After you finish building your subsets and snagging some of the expensive games at good prices, it is time to finish up. At this point you probably have filler and some one off games on your list and maybe the one Barrier Game one the system left. This is probably the hardest part of finishing a set. Aside from the Barrier Game and a few other expensive titles you have the filler and these games are common but not super common, they might even be uncommon. This is a problem because while they aren't expensive or rare they are titles people just don't have in bulk or you can't get from a single seller. This means you are going to have to scour places, at this point I am usually exclusively on eBay and Amazon. So this hoard of $10 to $15 dollar games stands between you and a complete set. Try your best to buy from as few sellers as possible, and make sure you are posting wanted lists on forums. If you try to buy all of these games as stand alones from eBay you are going to waste a ton on shipping and that is going to make buying the last few expensive games on your list difficult or it is going to prevent you from saving up to get that Barrier Game.

The Crown Jewel
At this point your set is pretty much done and you are just saving up or perhaps you have saved but you can't find the last game. If you have the money you should be contacting other collectors seeing if they know who might have it for sale or maybe they are at the point where they are ready to sell. At this stage the forum is your best friend. During the process of making your set hopefully you already had or created a deep pool of friends and contacts that you can rely on. These Barrier Games don't often show up on eBay and when they do bidding wars can happen extended the price well beyond your limits. Remember if you are looking for a game that means others are looking too, and some of them might just out crazy you and bid high on eBay.

The End
Buy a nice shelf to display your accomplishment on, write a blog, and make a video to post on youtube.

Good luck completing your Sets, It's not for everyone but some of you are crazy and won't be persuaded

As Always Thank You For Reading

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