7 Easy Steps To Starting Your First Retro Gaming Collection

The collecting itch is a pervasive and consistent one. If you’ve been feeling that itch recently it might be time to give in and start your very own retro gaming collection. Thankfully we’re here, with 7 steps you can take right now to start your collection right. With such a wide field of potential, a quick look on eBay will reveal why retro video game collection can be overwhelming at the beginning. With the right amount of planning, and the best attitude however, you can achieve your own retro games den.

1. Work Out Why You Are Collecting

Once you figure out your motivations, it’ll be easy to stay on track with your purchases and sales. Are you in it for the investment, seeking a long term return further down the line? Keep an eye on price fluctuations and mint condition items but be prepared to splash out slightly more. Are you looking for a hobby? Take pride in your display for extra satisfaction and keep to a monthly budget to avoid getting carried away. Want to own a piece of the nostalgic history you remember for childhood? Make sure your consoles are in top condition and spend less time searching for pristine packaging, more time on making sure the game actually works.


If you are in it for the nostalgia make sure you limit yourself in these early days. Don’t jump in with a job lot and lose the motivation to play – buy the games that actually mean something to you and spread into uncharted territory from there.

2. Find A Focus

Once you’ve found your motivation, you need to find your focus. Unfortunately only a small percentage of the world can afford to collect everything. While it might be tempting, spreading yourself too thin can be expensive, time consuming and stressful. Find a console, era, franchise, character, or genre that you are already interested in and go from there.

Sega Dreamcast

3. Build A Database

In the early stages you will want to get your head around what you already have. Start building a spreadsheet or document where you can keep all the information on your collection for quick and easy viewing. Keep track of your finds here for quick reference, as well as compiling a list of games or pieces you need. It’s worth keeping reference of your doubles and how much they are worth so you can easily check in when trading.

4. Research Game and System Prices

Knowing how much a game is worth can help you spot a bargain and know when you’re being ripped off. Unfortunately, prices fluctuate fairly drastically these days so it’s worth keeping an eye on sites like PriceCharting for a rough idea on worth.


Make sure you know which systems are going to cost you more to collect for. As more collectors jump on the scene, some prices are getting heavy. Collecting for the NES might still be a costly affair due to the console’s cult status, but the SEGA Genesis and PS2 still remain price friendly.

5. Join Retro Collecting Groups

Retro collecting groups are vocal communities and can be incredibly tight. Jump in on Facebook, Twitter, and forums to join the trading action and get up to speed on trends. Local groups can be great for finding out the details of local buy and sell events, where you can be sure to form some connections in person.

6. Work On Your Display


Showing off your collection is a perk of the job, make sure you do it right. Shelving units prove perfect display cases for your finds, and you can easily pick some cheap stands to really show off your best finds. Think outside the box for an extra special den – mount your controllers on the wall or tie posters into your display sections.

7. Enjoy The Hunt

Retro video game collecting is incredibly rewarding and immensely satisfying. Making that perfect pick up after a long morning of scrounging through boot fairs is a feeling unparalleled , so make sure you take time to enjoy the hunt. Don’t rush out to eBay and spend your first year’s budget on two cartridges – you’ll quickly lose motivation and two dusty carts on a shelf don’t exactly make a retro collection. Take it easy and start small with the things you love, and your bank account will thank you later.


Don’t be afraid to pick up doubles though. If you see a good game for a good price, then grab it – doubles can be a powerful bartering tool and you might pick up better condition packaging or manuals for your own collection along the way.


10 thoughts on “7 Easy Steps To Starting Your First Retro Gaming Collection

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  1. These are all great points! I can say that your last tip about doubles definitely does work really well, which is why I’m a thrifting/yard sale fanatic. I’m always on the search for cheap games to trade at swaps and exchanges and have gotten quite a few great games through trading.

      1. Casually for most of my life, but much more seriously the past few years. I started this blog a year ago when things really picked up for my collecting hobby and I’ve been running with it ever since. How about you?

          1. Fair enough. There is lots of great stuff out there, so I hope you have some great luck finding it! I definitely don’t collect for completion, but rather for stuff that appeals to me as well. I like to play what I find and am not much for shelf pieces.

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