Why are you a collector? What’s the most meaningful piece in your collection? I recently asked members of the Denver Retro Gamers these questions and here are some of their stories.
An Amazing Garage Sale Find Sparks a Lifelong Passion
Jesse K. had been casually collecting for a couple of years when a Craigslist garage sale post led to a deal of a lifetime that stoked what has become a lifelong hobby. As Jesse describes it:
Back in 2010, I was browsing Craigslist for garage sales when I came across one in Broomfield near where I lived at the time. The pictures in the ad revealed a few PS1 games on a table. From what I could see in the picture there was a copy of Tekken 3, Legend of Dragoon, and Xenogears, the latter two being enough to motivate me to wake up at 9AM and get there as they were setting up. However, as fate would have it, I was not at my apartment when I found this ad but all the way in Parker. I woke my tired ass up at 7:30AM the next day and made the trip up, hopeful that I would be the one to score these gems. Little did I know while driving there I would be in for far more than I bargained for.
Upon arriving, the garage sale was being set up by an older couple who had many items you’d expect to see at a garage sale being held by two sexagenarians. Yet, I spotted the familiar stack of game on a table towards the top of their driveway. I rushed over there and sure enough Legend of Dragoon was sitting right on top and a sense of relief washed over me. Grabbing the game revealed the next game on the stack: Final Fantasy VIII. It hadn’t been pictured in the Craigslist ad! My eyes must’ve popped out of my head as I made my way through the rest of the stack. Valyrie Profile, Parasite Eve II, Suikoden…oh…my…
I was literally shaking from excitement and barely able to hold the games in my hands as I walked toward the man. He told me that the games had belonged to his now-adult son who’d left them at home after leaving for college and they’d sat in the basement for years. I asked him how much he wanted for the whole stack, and when he said $20 I nearly jumped 10 feet in the air!
Making my way back to Parker, the games I’d just found sat in my passenger seat as if enjoying a car ride with a beloved friend. It was the single event that really opened my eyes to the fact that I didn’t have to pay out the teeth on eBay to collect and that collecting was within my budget so long as I searched garage sales, flea markets, and thrift stores. It was this day that I caught the game chasing bug and, while collecting has becomes saturated these past few years, it’s still relatively strong and keeps me coming back to garage sales in hopes that I can relive that day again!
For Jesse, these games will always bring him back to a specific time, that day, at that garage sale, and help him the joy he felt when he became a collector. For Michele B., it’s a game she bought many years earlier which means the most to her.
A Snowball Becomes an Avalanche
Many years before meeting her future husband (full disclosure: me!) and marrying into a collection craze, Michele B. made an innocent purchase which became the inspirational center of a huge collection.
The Magical Quest Starring Mickey Mouse is the only game I had when I met my husband in 2002. I didn’t know about game value or “complete in box” back then. I simply bought this game because I looooooove Disney and it was on sale at Blockbuster! Funny, I don’t think I’ve actually ever played this game either. I kept it with me in a storage bin for years as I grew up and moved from city to city. Years later, after my husband and I started collecting, we unearthed it. It was special to think that for all the games we now owned, here was a valuable game that was the start of our collection and we didn’t even know it at the time! I can say this is the only game that I’ve contributed to my husband’s retro gaming collection, but it’s among the most meaningful.
Michele and her husband will be playing that game this weekend. It will be her first time playing it 20 years after she bought it.
Often times it’s not the most valuable piece of a collection that means the most to a collector. And sometimes it’s the least valuable pieces that are the most cherished. For Kenn S., a copy of NES Monopoly is the most irreplaceable game he owns.
Memories of a Father
Kenn S. owns boxed copies of all the Mega Man games and many others who’s value is in the hundreds of dollars. So why is a measly $15 copy of Monopoly infinitely more valuable than any of those? He explains:
One time when I was little, I was very sick with the flu. I’d received my Nintendo as a Christmas present a few months earlier and, while I would sometimes fake being sick just to stay home and play it, this time I was really sick. Late one evening I woke up in a haze and there was a game sitting there next to me. It was Monopoly. My dad worked at King Soopers and it turns out he’d brought it home from work for me. It was one of the few instances when my dad would do something like this for no reason whatsoever. It was one of those things; I know your sick, you missed a lot of school but here is a present for no reason.
I never really felt my dad and I were very close. There were moments when he was a great father and others not so much. I remember he’d bought me games and other things in the past, but Monopoly was really the first time I can remember him giving me a game just…because. March 1st, 2015, marked the 11th anniversary of my dad’s passing from prostate cancer. It’s very hard to believe how fast time has flown by and how much has happened since then. It really feels like it was yesterday, but I can look back and remember all the great times I had with my father. From the video games, to being on a bowling team together or when I was little and he and I would make our own Halloween costumes. My Shredder costume in 5th grade won best in school that year!
As for Monopoly, well, it’s just Monopoly. A decent translation of the board game, never have to worry about losing the pieces or money like I did with the board game. Over the last few years, as my personal collection has blossomed, friends would gawk over Earthbound or Super Mario RPG or whatever. For me, I am most proud of Monopoly because my dad gave it to me. Not a day goes by where I don’t think of him and miss him, and I hope he is proud of me.
I can’t think of a better reason to hang on to a game.
What game is most precious in your collection. Leave a comment below and perhaps you’ll be a featured on Collectors’ Corner!