Game Over? New Vintage Video Game Store Could Revitalize the Industry
"The average gamer these days is over 30, and new releases reflect that," he said. "When most of these games were made, it was more than half that number. Buying these old systems is a great way to help introduce kids to video games with simpler controls and more family-friendly content."
He's right, of course. It would probably be a lot easier shelling out $65 for an old NES and a copy of Metal Storm than it would be explaining the moral ambiguities in God of War...or paying the therapy bills.
All these benefits paled, though, in comparison to a revelation we had while talking to Kaelin. As we mentioned, games are increasingly being sent directly to your PlayStation and Xbox. At first this seems like a fantastic thing. Going to a video game store with a toddler in tow is an exercise in testing the limits of your patience. The fact that stores like Gamestop have adopted the ultra-aggressive warranty-selling policies of Best Buy doesn't make the experience any more pleasant, either. So saving time, money and gas seems on the surface to be a win-win situation.
"People think they own those downloaded games," said Kaelin. "They don't. If you try and sell a PlayStation with 200 games downloaded to it, it isn't worth any more than if it had none. The next time a system upgrades, your games won't upgrade with it."
That's where Game Over comes in. They deal in physical, hard medium. For you 950 AM listeners out there, think of it this way. What you download onto your machine is money. What you have in the box is gold. It's yours forever, and no matter how up or down the market is, it will always have some resale value.
It comes with a cost, though. If you're a frequent buyer at Gamestop, utilizing its Power Card when you buy and sell back games, you are ultimately going to get more bang for your buck with Gamestop. Game Over puts a premium on the packaging, so if you're selling to them with nothing but the disc or cartridge, then your return can be a little disheartening. Turning in a collector's edition of the Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess strategy guide, a couple of Final Fantasies on DS and GBA, and a copy of Karaoke Revolution complete with the microphone controller and original case netted us only $10.
On the other hand, Gamestop wouldn't have bought half of that stuff anyway, so it's hard to tell which is the better deal from a purely economic standpoint.
Where the mainstream retailers can't compete, though, is in the atmosphere that is everywhere you look in the store. All aspects of video game culture are represented. Not only are you able to buy the systems and games, local artists leave game-themed crafts on consignment. There is a good selection of video game movies and soundtracks as well.