One of the hobbies I picked up over the years was buying retro video games. These games came from such a simpler time, where you only needed to punch two(or four) buttons to complete a game.
After university, and definitely after I moved overseas, I just didn’t have the time to fully commit to a modern video game. At best i’d try for a week before giving up and never playing it again.
The last ‘modern’ video game I got super excited about and tried to play was Starcraft II (2010!). There was such a huge buzz about it that I (like everyone else) had to give it a shot. After a week of playing, I never touched it again. These games just require such an incredibly long commitment and dedication to be fun. Particularly when games are all ‘online only’, to stand a chance against the other competition you need to be pretty darn good from the start.
As a kid I always found it weird when people in their 20s (my older brothers) didn’t play video games, or didn’t see the fun in it. I can kind of relate now.
Exceptions for me have been Pokemon Go, which was a four week period of farming in the office, followed by after work and dinner sessions at the local park. But I mean, who wasn’t playing this game for at least a few weeks before it died out?
I also picked up a 3DS in 2016 to try relive the joy again. I managed to beat Pokemon Black and X in about 6-7 hours each. Either I am a more intelligent form of my 8 year old self, or the games are getting much easier to complete.
So that’s the backstory to why over the years I have done some collecting of old game consoles from the Famicom / Gameboy era. Particularly with the Famicom, I appreciate being able to switch it on to do some button mashing for 5-10 minutes here and there. No need for commitment, just a little bit of fun. The GameBoy was more of a business venture, shipping boxes of old units from Japan to repair and resell on eBay.
From what I’ve read, its much easier as a hobby if you live in the United States, where Goodwills, op shops, and garage sales are the way to go. In markets like Japan its incredibly easy to get yourself addicted due to the mass resale market. But if you live in a country like Singapore or Australia and want to continue the hobby of buying plastic crap for nostalgic value, then you can try the following sources (Though i have stopped here because of a lack of space in the studio!)
Buying Retro Video Games – Japan Resale Market
Due to the popularity of the video game market to the masses in the 80s and 90s in Japan, there is an abundance of second hand video game products out there. Also, the Japanese tend to keep things pretty in check so the condition of these products are generally very good (though you get some exceptions).
If you are in Japan for a holiday then you are in luck (click here for my guide)
If not, you need to rely on Yahoo Auctions, and most likely use an intermediary to ship items to your final location. Yahoo is definitely not dead in Japan, and is thriving as the ‘eBay’ of choice for them. Unfortunately its all in Japanese, so you will need to use a bit of Google Translate magic to make it all work.
Buyee.jp is a site you can use, whereby it overlays itself over the Yahoo Auctions item database so that its in English. Though its not the best translation, you can buy items direct from there and they will ship it internationally.
The problem is that they ship per individual item (last i checked), so the shipping costs can get expensive. Instead i used a company called Goody Japan (https://www.goody-japan.com). Similar to old school PayPal, you deposit funds into an account, which you can use to make bids on items in Yahoo Auctions. Its a pretty basic / rudimentary type service, being a simple form where you fill out details like the auction URL, the name of the seller, and the max amount you want to bid on the item. From that point on its a gamble whether you win or not. They do alert you via email if you have been outbid on an item.
Buying Retro Video Games – Second Hand Dealers
That means eBay for Australians, and Carousell in Singapore
eBay is self explanatory. Just look for your item, search International Listings, then cry when you see the cost of postage from non Asian countries.
Carousell is something very local to Singapore. Like in Japan, eBay never seemed to have capitalised market so other providers like Carousell have jumped in. Just looking through the listings now there is quite an abundance of second hand retro video games. Most sellers only offer pickup / meetup to exchange, but some are willing to post if you ask nicely.