16/02/2018

☆ The Waiting Game "Let's Observe Retro Gaming Bubble" ☆ #Retrogaming

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I’ve been recently watching things with my eyes in regards to retro gaming collecting being ‘dead’. 
Of course, these are merely clickbait titles in relation to how, since retro gaming has exploded in the last few years with conventions,  officially launched consoles specialising in retro games (NES / SNES mini etc.), high-street stores selling retro gaming clothing and accessories etc. 
Retro gaming has become essentially more of a valid commodity as it gets absorbed into the mainstream culture. 

Re-sellers are abound (as they always have been, in some form) although now it’s more visible and quite often car-boot sales, charity shops, flea-markets  and the like are picked clean with astonishing speed and accuracy ending up on EBay in mere moments.
I can see how someone who enjoys casually picking up games and playing them or even someone who more meticulously wishes to amass a serious collection can be irked by what is seen as the vultures of the industry, people with no real love or respect for the games they are inhaling, but see them as a commodity to be sold on at inflated prices. 
I’ve witnessed it myself (and it made my eyes fill up with hot, poisoned, bubbling blood) at our local car boot sale. There was a house clearance stall and Faye and I picked up some nice Mega Drive games and a few Commodore cassettes, etc. and the owner of the stall mentioned that ‘we’d just missed out on a load of games, some bloke ‘over there’ had them all’. When I walked over to this other person, they had a gaming stall with some common titles spread out (over-priced), but the games he had just picked up for 20p each at the house clearance stall were all piled up behind him, I asked him if they were for sale and his reply was, “Nah, they’re for EBay, mate”. I glanced at the stack of games and saw Streets of Rage 3, Comix Zone, Rocket Knight Adventures, Maximum Carnage and a few others that are too painful to mention here.

One of my main pet peeves (aside from littering) are ticket touts. I hate ticket touts with a passion that I usually reserve for ritualistic serial child killers and they have a genuine, tangible impact on people’s enjoyment of the live concert medium. I wouldn’t quite put game re-sellers in the same category because yes, whilst I find someone cynically making money off someone else’s enjoyment, I know it’s just a waiting game. The retro game collecting bubble will burst as all bubbles burst and something else will replace it. People will become disillusioned, refuse to pay the astonishing costs and instead emulate (I’m a huge supporter of emulation due to the failure rate of cassettes, floppy disks and even CDs) or pick up consoles with hundreds or thousands of games built-in instead and others will decide they don’t want the space taken up by their collections and hugely downsize, others will get bored of collecting and sell everything, and the reasons go on and on.
Whilst it is sometimes dispiriting to see the ever-rising price of games and the inherent enjoyment of stumbling across them diminish as they get snapped up due to the current retro videogame frenzy, it’s also great to see people re-evaluating older games and playing them with their children, getting friends round for gaming nights again with old classics and generally getting hips-deep into the rich history that gaming has given us over the last four decades. I can’t help but feel that there are quite a few people who just dislike the fact that their hobby has been absorbed into the mainstream and now doesn’t feel as special for them as it used to and so they have a knee-jerk reaction to this emotional state, lashing out at ‘non-hardcore gamers / collectors’ (as if such things exist).
Going back to the channels and sites that rant and complain about gaming culture being ruined and invaded, it’s ironic to think that their very channels and content would have only been seen by a fraction of their current audience (and thus be far less monetisable) If retro gaming hadn’t exploded in the last few years in the way that it has.
As for me, I just let the entire thing wash over me in 8-bit pixel waves so that I don’t combust in an orgy of extreme neon violence (my third album). I was in my local retro game store a few months back and watched them completely rinse an old man of his game collection. He had a collection in a couple of suitcases clearly worth over a grand and they gave him just over £100 for them. I was so disgusted by it that I haven’t been back to the store since, but it hasn’t lessened my enjoyment of games and everything around them. I don’t feel the need to vent online because this is what humans do. Whenever something happens, there will always be the lowest common denominator to bring everything down and tarnish the whole proceedings.
YouTube culture breeds reactionary videos (as well as…..reaction videos), bluster and clickbait opinions, but for every thousand of these, there’s a Kim Justice, Gaming Historian or Last Gamer, people who talk on the subject with knowledge, humour and clear enjoyment that is infectious to the viewer and it’s these folks that it’s best to focus on as it’s a far more enriching experience than staring at people shrieking at cheap jump scares in horror games or crassly swearing their way through a needlessly harsh review to appear edgy.
The most I’ve ever spent on a game was thirty quid and I think for Faye it’s around fifty or so, but they were rare occasions as we tend to pick things up for a few quid here and there on our travels and we’ve been extremely lucky with people donating some really, really cool stuff to us over the years, it’s genuinely been quite touching.
And if the re-sellers take over and in a few years FIFA 2003 on the PS2 is forty quid? I’m happy to hang back and wait for the bubble to burst as I have quite a few games in my backlog to be getting on with anyway.


Right, I’m off to play Gitaroo man.