Where have the old games gone? The title of the post is a bit of a misnomer -- I do still see a decent collection of games at fleas, but they are increasingly at a stand/store dedicated to gaming rather than individual stands, where you could occasionally bag a find or two before. Between these flea stores and real gaming stores, I wonder if the increased "value" of used games, more accurately described as "ready money for used games," hasn't killed the game hunter's supply. That is, now people go trade in used games for nothing at EB rather than keep them in a box to put in their driveway.
Matt has an interesting story of being caught in a line at one such store hearing a lady trading in a GBA on an SP and being offered a price low enough that Matt himself had to consider beating it. Did she trade it in anyway? Value is now more about the "ready" in ready money, not absolute value.
Still, it's not like games have quite yet disappeared in spite of the efforts of GameTap and other virtual rare book rooms. Where are they going? More directly, what have EB and Rhino and friends done with the games they've taken out of circulation as unsellable? They 're sure not showing up at neighborhood yard sales like they used to.
What I think happens is that the flea market stall folks buy up all the garage sale games, around here at least.
In support of Zachary's comment, I'd have to ask if you're in or near a major metropolis. Chances are that these sales are being cruised by resellers; some of them may even be making "pre-emptive strikes" (contacting people a day before the tag sale and offering a price on the lot).
Consider it a market top. I remember when vintage clothing became "hot" as well. The same story surfaced: initially, you easily found nice gear at the local Goodwill/Salvation Army. Eventually, the pros won out cos they were focused on constant scouring missions; I recall visiting a vintage shop in NYC in the mid-90s and seeing garbage bags full of "booty", and it was explained to me that they regularly recieved it from "agents" operating in the Tri-State periphery.
In sum, if you're really just a collector you might just have to wait till the vintage game market "corrects". This should happen soon enough; just wait.
Remember Funcoland? Their trade-in values were usurious at best, but they're more fair than what's being offered at Gamestop IMHO. I recall at least two incidents where I made a "sidewalk deal" with a stranger instead of either of us getting bent over by the for-profit store. I say "sidewalk" because their policy prohibited you from conducting such business in their store.
I really dislike Gamestop as a chain, but I'm confident that online distribution will eventually put them under. Unfortunately, the used media market would probably go down with them.
Zachary: nice Shiba! I've got a Jindo here with me, and he looks like your dog's tougher older brother.
The same story surfaced: initially, you easily found nice gear at the local Goodwill/Salvation Army. Eventually, the pros won out cos they were focused on constant scouring missions;
Still I wonder about yard sales. Sure, there were the requisite folk there that morning in their beat up yard sale hoppers (trucks) casing each joint, but I don't *think* they were rounding up games for EB. I understand why the fleas have changed a bit -- that's why the title is partial a misnomer -- but is it that "ready money" is sucking up all of the household games? That is, is the scarcity at the 'Army & Goodwill also part of the new value [thanks to EB et al] of used games?