The Overstreet Guide to Collecting Video Games (SEP161712) shines a spotlight on this booming hobby. Packed with insight, it showcases the many different ways of collecting, including collecting by developer, by console, and by character. It unlocks the history of video games and even suggests how to incorporate games into other collections. It's the latest entry in the "How-To" line from the publishers of The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide. Gemstone Publishing’s Assistant Editor Carrie Wood talked with PREVIEWSworld about The Overstreet Guide to Collecting Video Games, which is in comic shops January 11.
PREVIEWSworld: People have been playing video games for decades and now there is a collector's market. Give us a thumbnail about what your guide is all about?
Carrie Wood: Sure thing! As you mentioned, there’s a big collector’s market now. So I thought it was about time that there was a book available for that market, since there really wasn’t one out there that was effectively covering the hobby as a whole. People have been collecting video games for as long as they’ve been mass-produced, really. So it’s time that there’s a guidebook that serves that community, much in the same way the Gemstone’s other books serve the comic community.
The book’s going to cover a large variety of topics, but if you’re familiar with The Overstreet Guide to Collecting Comics, you may already know some of what to expect. We’ll go in-depth on collecting by developer, collecting by publisher, or collecting by character. My favorite thing is that each article comes complete with a little checklist that highlights the key entries in any given franchise that any collector would want to have in that sort of collection.
I hope that The Overstreet Guide to Collecting Video Games proves to be a solid entry point into the hobby for newcomers to video game collecting, but also that it is a solid resource for even the most seasoned collectors.
PREVIEWSworld: Will we learn about the history of video games in the guide?
Carrie Wood: Absolutely! I’ve been having a ton of fun researching the history of video gaming, so I’m excited to include that as part of the book. I think the most important part of being able to successfully collect anything, really, is being able to put it in perspective. The history of video gaming starts much earlier than many people realize. We first started seeing programs that fall into the video game category start popping up right after World War II. Once computer technology started to be researched, people wanted to see what they could do with it, and video games were sort of naturally born out of that desire to invent.
PREVIEWSworld: Tell us more about the range of pricing in the video game collector market? What are some of the more sought-after games?
Carrie Wood: It is truly all over the place. Much like comic book collecting, it’s easy to go into a game store and pay retail price for something and walk out satisfied. But then you have those – and I hate this term, but I’m going to use it anyway – “Holy Grail” kind of games. A good example is Stadium Events, which was published for the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1987. The reason why the game is so sought-after is because so few copies were even published to begin with – just about 200 – before it was rebranded and sold under a different name. Of those 200 copies, maybe 20 still exist as a complete set today. That rarity is what’s driven the price up so severely. One copy of Stadium Events sold on eBay for $41,300. Incredible when you consider the cost of a new game today.
There are lots of games that are worth significantly more now than they were when they first released. Earthbound for the Super Nintendo comes to mind – especially if it has the box with it. That game’s received somewhat of a cult status over the years, but since it wasn’t particularly popular when it released in the mid-90s, it didn’t end up with too many copies hitting the market. A complete-with-box copy of Earthbound goes for several hundred dollars these days, and the cartridge itself can still fetch a price far more than what it originally retailed for.
In the end, it’s all about supply versus demand, just like any other collecting hobby. You can walk into a game shop right now and find a bunch of games for less than $5, probably because no one is looking for those titles. But you’ve got the higher end of that spectrum now showing up in major auctions. It’s been incredible to watch.
PREVIEWSworld: Finally, what are some of your favorite video games that you've collected?
Carrie Wood: Personally, I’m a big Nintendo fan. The first video game my parents ever bought for me was Pokémon Red, after several weeks of incessant whining on my part finally got them to crack on it. The Pokémon franchise as a whole is still very near and dear to my heart, so I have a lot of Pokémon things in general, even outside of the games. Right now I’ve got the cool Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon steelbook dual pack on preorder, and I made sure to pick up the limited edition Nintendo 3DS handheld system they released for the franchise’s 20th anniversary. I honestly have more Pikachu in my office than should legally be allowed. That’s another thing we’ll be including in the guide – hitting on things outside of just games that can be included in a video game collection.
My other big favorite series is Golden Sun, which is a little role-playing game that released in 2001. They only made three games – I will forever be waiting for a fourth to wrap up the story – but I’ve done what I can to collect promotional materials and whatnot from it over the years. It’s not a particularly impressive collection, but with only so much to collect, I like to think I’ve done an okay job.
Learn even more about The Overstreet Guide to Collecting Video Games by watching the ComicWow! Q&A with Carrie Wood below!