We just got back from two days of lots of driving and lots of exciting video game hunting. I am exhausted but excited about how things played out, so I will take the time to post about it while it’s still fresh in my mind.
As planned, on the way to the actual game exchange, we ventured to a huge flea/antique market. There are normally two video game vendors there: a nice one, and the most horrible human being in the entire history of time that also happens to sell a massive collection of excellent video games. We visited the nice guy first, but he didn’t really have anything special at all. Eventually, we went to see the Evil One. Every interaction I’ve ever had with this guy has been negative. On a previous trip to his booth, he asked me if I had just been by his booth with another guy not long before in front of my boyfriend. When I said no, he went on and on about how it had to have been me and started naming off all the games “I” had wanted. At the time, my relationship with my current boyfriend was brand new, so it was mildly awkward to say the least. My second past encounter involved me asking him a price on Link’s Awakening for Game Boy, and he had abruptly told me it was $60 for just the cartridge. As I was trying to negotiate with him, he started talking to another customer who wanted a different game altogether, and the price of that one was also $60…. can you see a pattern here? Anyway, this particular time, I tried to use his $60 trick against him by asking him the cost of a few PS1 games (which were all conveniently $60) and then asking him the price on something significantly more expensive. I was trying to get him to sell me Lunar: Silver Star Story for PS1 for $60. When I asked, he drew an imaginary line in his case and told me that all the games above that were very expensive. He gave me a hard price of $225 for Lunar. I almost laughed out loud at how dickish he is. He apparently knows stuff about the games he sells, but intentionally overcharges everyone that wouldn’t know any better. When I told him it wasn’t worth quite that much, I got a whole spiel about how it was, how everything was in mint condition, how I was a nice lady with impeccable taste in games but how I didn’t know what I was talking about… etc. Defeated, we left the market and continued on our way to our destination.
The game exchange was the next morning, and as I mentioned previously, we had been in touch with the organizer who offered us free tickets to the event because we had travelled so far to attend. By the time we arrived, there were already massive lines. We walked by everyone and went up to the desk. I was pretty nervous because I was afraid the organizer more on his mind than remembering me, but sure enough, he smiled, shook both our hands, and handed over our tickets. We got in about 30 minutes later, and it was just… vast in there. I’ve been to a few of these events in the past, and this was considerably bigger than anything I’d been to previously.
My intention was to find EarthBound. The last event we attended had none at all, and it was disappointing since I had been ready to buy at that point. We found a table selling SNES, so I inquired about it, and sure enough, they had a copy! The downside: it had a damaged label. I was torn (pardon the pun) because I didn’t want to lose the opportunity to buy it if it was the only copy at the event. I had also seen prices as high as $300 for this game and at $250 damaged occasionally, so I reluctantly bit the bullet. I had brought some games to trade: Super Mario World, Illusion of Gaia, Lufia & the Fortress of Doom, Super Mario Kart and Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars (keep in mind that we got these as part of a huge lot of 189 games and 16 consoles for $340 total, so the games came to me for practically nothing, about $1.80 each!) When he added up what he felt those were worth, it came out to $230, and he wanted $250 for the game. I paid him $20, and off I went. Not all that long later, I saw another vendor that had a pristine copy of the game that also wanted $250. I don’t think I’ve ever felt my heart hit the floor so fast or so hard. I asked the guy if he’d trade me with a little extra cash for his good label copy, and he said he would need at least $80 to cover the “difference” because of the label damage. I was a bit floored and felt ripped off by the other vendor, and that feeling didn’t really leave me for the rest of the swap. I was tempted to confront the guys I had traded with but decided against it. I am not particulary confrontational by nature, and after all, I did agree to the deal. My boyfriend and I rationalized the shitty feelings with a few thoughts: (a) I buy games to play and not to flip so the condition doesn’t matter, (b) I didn’t actually sink $250 into it (it was more like $30), and (c) the other guy might not have even taken my trades at the value the other guy did. Exhale. It was fine, and I now own EarthBound, even if it is a little ugly.
There are several other purchases from the day to mention, including StarTropics for NES. I had watched a review on the game recently and wanted to pick it up. I had avoided it until now because always thought it had something to do with army guys (Tropic Thunder?), but apparently not! It looks like a really cute little RPG. For the PS1, I also got Grandia and Lunar: Silver Star Story for $50 and $110, respectively. Lunar was in excellent condition and came complete with the cloth map and its box. I have a tremendous urge to use the map as a handkerchief since it looks and feels like one, but I won’t. Handkerchiefs are gross. I also picked up two GBA games: The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap and Golden Sun: The Lost Ages. Until recently, I hadn’t heard at all about Golden Sun and its successors, but I was swung by a good review on those games as well (I picked up the first one a few weeks ago at the thrift store). The Minish Cap looks absolutely adorable, and I am really looking forward to playing through that one. Each of those two games came to me for $25. I saw some copies of Four Swords today, but I really want to play the GameCube version instead. I heard that it’s a longer version of the GBA version with more story. I like story! I only saw one GameCube copy that had gotten swept up by the time I came back around again. Oh well!
For anyone who might be wondering, my boyfriend got a big box copy of Half-Life for PC, as well as Rampage for Sega Master System and some shooting game for Genesis whose name escapes me at the moment (he bought the light gun and bought the game simply to have a chance to use it!) Here’s a picture of all the things I got at the swap.
In addition to the aforementioned, I also picked up a few manuals for Zelda games that I already own for $5 each. I finally found the one for A Link to the Past. I’ve had the cartridge in the box for many years but have never had the pleasure of owning the manual. I think one of the things that got me smiling the most in the entire day’s adventure was finding the mouse for the SNES. I’ve seen them around bundled with Mario Paint for at least $30, and I snagged this one by itself for $5! I grabbed it off the table when someone else was eyeballing it and gave the vendors my long-winded story about not being able to play Mario Paint at all for the last few years. They politely smiled and nodded as good vendors normally do. I also got Might and Magic III recently and it also requires a mouse, which makes the timing of this find pretty perfect!
The only thing that I have yet to see if I’ll kick myself over after a good night’s sleep is not picking up E.V.O. today for $250. That was the cheapest I’ve ever seen it, but I passed in the end. $250 straight up for a game is a little more than I’m willing to spend. Bringing trade bait and dealing in game currency is normally good by me, but trade bait is hard to come by. I’m officially out of good doubles to trade with, but I’m sure more will come. Maybe that game will come down in price soon. I’ve seen the downward trend with other popular games like Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask. They were at least $10-$20 more a few swaps ago.
Well, that just about sums it up. Today was very up and down, but at the end of it, I don’t have regrets. I literally got EarthBound for $30, along with a whole bunch of other really awesome games. I also had a lovely weekend away with my boyfriend doing something we really love together. I can’t wait for the next one.
Thanks for reading, as always!