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Starting A GameBoy Collection
By Matthias

If like me, you love to collect and source for video game related memorabilia, then you'll know that it's a task that requires a lot of time and patience. Such a collection isn't for everyone, and is a passion usually reserved for those hard-core video game addicts who eat, live, breathe and play video games.

I am saying this because not everyone understands the mentality of a video game collector. A lot of people laugh and call us junk collectors. Even those who play video games misunderstand, and consider people like us extreme.

How do you know if your a video game collector? Well, if you finish a game and just toss the cartridge somewhere under your bed and forget about it, then you're probably not. A collector on the other hand, always takes pride in his games and consoles. He or she will preserve the original packing, box and all, and carefully store a finished game together with those played a year or even five years ago.

In short, a video game collector doesn't just enjoy playing video games. For them, video games are a passion, or even an obsession, since they enjoy it on a different level, a level that not only entails the appreciation of the game or console itself, but also its history and anything else that may be associated with it.

In truth, it is very hard to describe the mentality of a video game collector, since there are many different kinds of collectors with varying degrees of passion and obsession. Anyway, the purpose of my article isn't to understand or categorize them, but to give you a short description of how and why I started my own GameBoy collection of video game memorabilia. In the process, I hope that it will help those budding GameBoy enthusiasts who are thinking of starting their own collection.

"For them, video games are a passion, or even an obsession, since they enjoy it on a different level..."

It was ten years ago, when I first read about the GameBoy in a magazine called "ASM", which unfortunately, doesn't exist anymore. At that time, I thought, "Wow, that's so great. Too bad I will never have one".

In those days, GameBoy was only available in Japan. It was in my opinion, the best video game invention, and I was sad to think that it might not be exported to the rest of the world. There were of course, other handhelds with replaceable cartridges back then, but none had such a high-resolution display that featured gray scales rather than just black and white. As such, the ones available seemed to pale beside Nintendo's newly released "state-of-the-art" portable game-machine.

Luckily, and although it took some time, the GameBoy was made officially available in Germany. Guess what? Yes, I immediately went out and bought one. I felt so happy! Those of you who remember buying your first GameBoy will understand my feelings of joy and wonder. That day not only marked my new status as a GameBoy owner, but it also sparked my passion for collecting nearly everything that was GameBoy related. The rest as they say, is history.

"In those days, GameBoy was only available in Japan. It was in my opinion, the best video game invention..."

I know that many of the Crew and visitors of EAGB already have a cool collection of GameBoy stuff. In fact, if we pooled all our stuff together, we could probably open a GameBoy collection that would be as big as the biggest art collection in the world.

Now, the biggest problem for a collector is knowing where to find or source for old and cool GameBoy stuff. In this aspect, the internet is one of the best resource for a collector. One place I recommend is
Ebay, an auction site where many people are constantly getting rid of old video game related items. Remember to search regularly and diligently, since some video game items up for grabs are often put in the wrong categories. You can see the below the cool "Nintendo Super Stars" display which I was able to get at Ebay for only 1,- DM (1,- DM is about 55 cents). If you keep your eyes open you will definitely find similar bargains. Don't limit your search to just U.S. sites, but also try on-line auctions sites from other countries like maybe www.funstuff.de, which is based in Europe and is a good source for video game items.

Another good place to find cool things are the video game shops themselves. Most of them get all kinds of goodies like promotional material, posters, standees and display cupboards from game manufacturers. Usually, these are thrown out after a promotion, so it's a good idea to stake them out and ask the owners nicely if you can have them. The Nintendo cupboards below were 50,- DM each (about 28 USD), and I got them from an out-of-business game shop in Germany.

I also got this cool GameBoy display below, which included two GameBoys for only 75,- DM (about 40 USD). Of course, such things don't come new. The GameBoy Display was quite dusty, and it had some broken bulbs, but if you're a true collector, then these are simple things to fix. In took some time, but I managed to restore the display to its original condition.

If you are interested, the shop where I got these stuff from still has some other items left. You can visit the page at www.bigtower.de, but unfortunately it is in German only.

Another way to get good stuff for your collection is by visiting your local flea-markets. The problem, however, is that the good and rare stuff is always in demand and are difficult to find. Most of the time, the vendors will ask for exorbitant prices, and so you must be ready to bargain or walk away.

As you can see, starting a GameBoy collection is rather difficult. My only advise is to never give-up hope, and to never let your passion turn into a mad obsession at the expense of everything else.

let me know if you have any other sources for video game stuff and if you'd like to share your contacts or collection with everyone here at EAGB. In the meantime, keep your eyes peeled, and remember that another man's junk, could be a video game collector's jewel. Enjoy the search!