Video game collecting

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About a year ago I decided to start collecting video games. I have been playing games now for 20 years or so and counting, so i decided that with my recent connection to the internet ( and more importantly ebay ) i would now be able to purchase the old consoles and games that i have enjoyed over the years. I have so far managed to build a nice collection, but it is never ending really. A constant search for rare gems, bargains and obscurities that has resulted in this guide. I have decided to pass on a few tips to anyone new to collecting or is interested in starting. These tips are rules that i follow and in some cases have been learnt the hard way.

1: Always check out a sellers feedback score and if less than 100% read the feedback comments to find out why. I usually steer clear of anyone with feedback scores of less than 95%.

2: Read the item description carefully. If there is missing information then don't just assume, ask specific questions. Any decent seller will answer your questions.

3: Don't buy an item which doesn't have a photo. For obvious reasons really, especially if you're after mint condition stuff and you have to rely on a sellers interpretation of 'mint'. Generally speaking, a photo isn't used probably because the seller is lazy or the item is crap.

4: Check out the photos. Make sure it's a good clear picture and everything is there to be seen. If the picture isn't good enough then ask for more, i have done this on many occasions and most sellers are happy to help. Also if something is missing from the picture ie; manual, controller or cartridge trays for example, then ask the seller if they are available. Don't assume they are as you will probably end up dissapointed when it arrives through your door with items missing.

5: If you've found a game you're after don't automatically bid on it. Look around to see if  there are better examples available. If there are a few the same then compare them and choose the best one. Don't just settle for something, if you're not 100% committed to buying it then walk away, although 'watch' the item to see what it sells for, this helps for future price estimating.

6: If you've found a console you're after don't automatically bid on it ( deja vu ). I am particually fussy about the consoles. They have to be in the original boxes, inner and outer, with all the paperwork and all in very good or better condition. Believe it or not, i spent nine months searching for a mint sega Master System and Mega Drive. Obviously i looked at loads along the way but this is what it's all about, setting yourself a standard.

7: This is a favoured technique used by many an ebayer...don't bid until nearly the end. If you bid early then someone else will just come along and outbid you. This is obviously what an auction is all about but why inflate the price if you don't have to?

8: Set yourself a price limit and try not to get caught up in the 'must win' frame of mind. If you have done your homework properly you will have a good idea what the item should roughly sell for. If some sucker wants to pay well over the odds then thats their problem. There will always be another one like it come along.

So you've read my tips and are now ready to prowl the listings. Just remember, when you've finally won that game you were longing for and you play it for the first time in twelve years.....yes the frame rate was always that bad ( you're just spoilt nowadays ), the graphics were blurry, the sound was like listening to music underwater and yes the gameplay was highly repetitive but hell....they really were great games. 

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