5 Features to Look for When Buying Retro Gaming Merchandise

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5 Features to Look for When Buying Retro Gaming Merchandise

Retro gaming refers to the practice of playing computer or video games in their original format, on the consoles for which they were designed. While some may find this strange, especially since classic games are often released for contemporary consoles, retro gamers enjoy the history of gaming. Some indulge as it reminds them of their childhood and the consoles they once loved. Others simply enjoy seeing how video games have evolved and take pleasure in games as they were intended to be played when they were first designed. Other items, such as replica arcade cabinets, clothing, or mugs, are also available.

There are five important features to consider when buying retro gaming merchandise. The condition of the item, the original accessories, the price, game compatibility, and the history of the item should be taken into account. Retro gaming merchandise can be bought from specialist dealers and hobbyist shops, secondhand shops, charity shops, and online, from eBay.

Feature 1: Condition of Retro Gaming Merchandise

The condition of the item is the most important factor to consider when buying retro gaming merchandise. This includes anything from relatively new PlayStation models to Atari gaming consoles, games, and gaming memorabilia.

Working Order

Ask the seller whether the item works and whether it has been tested. Although some may claim that it worked last time it was used, that could be decades ago. Moisture corrodes electronic components and circuits, and dust can clog vents. The seller should be willing to test the item properly before selling it. If the seller specifies that the item is broken, but can be fixed easily, avoid the buy. If it is so easy to fix, then the seller could have done that rather than leaving the task to the buyer.

Signs of Wear and Damage

Check the item for obvious external signs of damage. If buying online, ask for photos that show the condition of the item clearly. Check for signs of damage from secondhand cigarette smoke, as electronics that were used in a smoke-filled environment tend to have evidence of tar residue. This can also damage components and be difficult to clean. Collector's items should be in good overall condition. Replica arcade games should be in working order without serious signs of damage. Ceramic items should not be chipped and the glaze should not show signs of fine cracks. Fabric items should not be faded, stained, or ripped.

Plugs and Connectors

Check or ask about the plugs and connectors, making sure they fit snugly. Loose fitting connectors and damaged plugs could be an indication that the device may break in the near future.

Feature 2: Accessories Included with Retro Consoles and Games

Ensure that all the original accessories are included with the item or that they can be sourced easily. When buying a console, check that the power supply and all controllers are included. When buying games, check whether a specific controller or accessory is required. If a power supply is not included, ask the seller if the console has been tested recently. Any cables that are used to connect the console to a television should also be present or easy to find.

Feature 3: Cost of Retro Gaming Merchandise

It is important to know the market value of retro gaming items. Although some games and consoles may be marked by the seller as rare, this should never be taken at face value. Very few items are rare or difficult to come by. In addition, check the cost of games before buying a console. Some tend to be fairly expensive and it is best not to be surprised by prices once the time comes to stock up on games.

Collector's items, such as limited edition replica arcade cabinets, may be more expensive, depending on their age and rarity value. With limited edition items, only a few hundred or thousand are made and sold. The fewer made, the more expensive the item.

Feature 4: Game Compatibility for Retro Gaming Consoles

Certain games were released only on particular platforms and for particular consoles. Those who are interested in the evolution of classic games should pay close attention to this. For example, " Sonic the Hedgehog" is associated with Sega games, while " Super Mario Bros. " is featured on Nintendo. Additionally, understanding the history of each game or character is important as it dictates which console and games should be bought.

Backwards Compatibility

Some consoles are backwards compatible. This means that games intended for a previous model can be played on a newer console. This is important to bear in mind, especially if the user wants to play different versions of the same title; this often makes it easier to see advances in graphics and gaming technologies.

Feature 5: History of Retro Gaming Merchandise

Research is crucial when it comes to buying retro gaming merchandise. Since this phrase is wide ranging, it is best to focus on a specific era. Know when consoles and games were released and what they looked like. Information about popular items is readily available and includes details about the games released for each console, the accessories bundled with the original item, and common issues with older systems. Doing adequate research also means that buyers are aware of the current market value and fair asking price, and can identify original merchandise easily.

Summary of Retro Gaming Consoles

To make the search slightly simpler, the table below lists 10 popular consoles, their year of release, and their most well known game titles.


Year Released

Popular Game Titles

Atari 2600



Yar's Revenge



Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)


Super Mario Bros.

The Legend of Zelda



Final Fantasy

Dragon Quest

Sega Master System


Action Fighter

Bomber Raid

Double Dragon

Snail Maze

Sonic the Hedgehog

Wonder Boy

Nintendo Game Boy



Radar Mission



Sony PlayStation


Tomba! 2: The Evil Swine Return

Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee

Silent Hill

Resident Evil 2

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2

Metal Gear Solid

Nintendo 64


Super Mario 64

Pilotwings 64

GoldenEye 007

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Sega Dreamcast


Sonic Adventure 2

Crazy Taxi


Phantasy Star Online


Marvel vs. Capcom 2

Newer consoles have hundreds and, in some cases, thousands of game titles to choose from. Games may be released by the manufacturer or by third parties. Choose games that the player enjoyed as a child, iconic versions from his or her favourite game designers, or those that are seen as innovators in a particular genre. For example, GoldenEye 007 is said to have revolutionised first-person shooter games. The most important thing to keep in mind is that retro gaming is meant to be fun; the player should enjoy his or her glimpse into a previous era.

When collecting gaming merchandise, such as cups, coasters, or posters, research the source and authenticity of the item if it is expensive. Less expensive novelty items are usually bought for the pleasure of owning them and a great deal of research is not required when buying these.

How to Buy Retro Gaming Merchandise on eBay

Finding retro gaming merchandise on eBay is simple. Type a key phrase, for example " Super NES ", into the search field, which is located conveniently on every page, to see the items available from eBay sellers. Refine your results by choosing the most suitable category and item specifications. To further narrow or expand your search, use the advanced search feature.

Before Buying on eBay

Before you buy on eBay, evaluate the item and the seller. All the information that you need to do this can be found on the item listing page, which is accessed by clicking on an individual listing. Here you can find information, such as the full item description, images, buying choices, payment options, postage and packaging costs, and the seller's feedback information. Always read the full item description and do not be afraid to ask the seller questions about the condition of the item, the accessories included, or to request more detailed photos. Click on the "Ask a question" link to contact the seller. Add the postage and packaging costs to the item's final selling price to work out the total cost of the product.

eBay's seller feedback feature makes it easy to get to know the seller before you buy. Buyers leave feedback about sellers' products and customer service at the conclusion of each transaction. Click on the number next to the seller's username to view this information.


Retro gaming merchandise is popular with those who want to revisit their childhood or are interested in the evolution of gaming. Although many older games and consoles may seem somewhat primitive, they were considered revolutionary and innovative in their time. Many gaming mechanics and development traditions have endured and it is interesting to see how and if they have changed over time.

A large selection of retro consoles, games, and accessories are available. When buying these items, it is important to evaluate their condition effectively. Always ask if items are in working condition and when and if they were tested. Items that had been in storage could be damaged, corroded, or contaminated with dust. Look for games and consoles that include all the original accessories or ensure that these can be sourced easily and are readily available at a fair price.

Check whether games are expensive for a specific console before buying to avoid unpleasant surprises at a later stage. Research game compatibility between platforms and console models. Some consoles are backwards compatible, making it easier to play different versions of the same title. Knowing the history of a specific family of retro items or specific models and releases ensures that the items bought are genuine and in good condition. eBay sellers offer a wide range of retro gaming merchandise, spanning a number of decades and manufacturers.

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