Where to buy older portable/console games?
July 18, 2014 11:23 AM   Subscribe

Are there good places online to purchase old Game Boy Advance or DS games?

I've recently been getting more into playing games on my old Nintendo DS. I'd love to get some more games for it, but I've been surprised at what I've seen online. It looks like most sellers seem to be selling at near the original launch price of the games. Is this a market where only collectors are buying so there is a big premium, or am I just looking in the wrong places?
posted by pbh to Shopping (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Keep in mind that there are a limited amount of these cartridges, they're not being made anymore, so what you've got out there is all that there is. People who have lost their games may be looking to replace them, or people who have heard about the good ones are trying to buy them. I think the sellers realize that there is a limited supply, especially for the popular titles, and that there's no other alternative for acquiring them.

If you're willing to forego a mint-condition cartridge, box, and rulebook, you might find some of the more popular titles for sale on Ebay at a reduced price. Likely any specialty online games shop selling titles that are in demand but no longer being produced is going to overcharge. Some of the games may have been ported to the Nintendo eShop.
posted by the_wintry_mizzenmast at 11:38 AM on July 18, 2014

Do they still sell flash carts for the GBA? Because, cough cough, there's always that route...
posted by JoeZydeco at 11:57 AM on July 18, 2014 [2 favorites]

Some games like Phoenix wright have completely asinine prices because they're "rare", despite their always being tons of copies on eBay. Most games can be had cheap on eBay if you're willing to just buy a bare cart though. Not sure where else you were looking(amazon marketplace?) but buying that way on eBay can be pretty cheap. Look for ones without the box or anything.
posted by emptythought at 11:58 AM on July 18, 2014

I'm at work so I can't visit the site, but Game Over Videogames in Austin has a huge selection of everything and an online store. Very reputable and awesome store, I can't imagine their online service is anything less.

edit: also try shopgoodwill.org gameboy search

They're selling donations so they're not listing them at full value like a reseller on ebay probably would.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 12:31 PM on July 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

eBay, but I don't buy any games without box + manual because there's less of a risk that the cartridges were stolen at some point in their history. (I worked at GameStop for a while and would like to try to make up for my inadvertent involvement in the video game theft market.)

Downloadable games are convenient where they exist, but many of the best DS games haven't been rereleased that way, or the rereleases are inexplicably awful (I'm looking at you, Phoenix Wright iOS port (spoilers).) I bought a handful from this reseller and was happy with that, but none of those were particularly rare. I had to pay a steep price for my copy of The World Ends With You and am presumably contributing to keeping the price of that one high by refusing to sell it again because it's just too awesome to part with.
posted by asperity at 12:34 PM on July 18, 2014

The Phoenix Wright games can be found new on Amazon for under $20 each; they were recently reprinted and so are no longer as rare as they used to be.
posted by phatkitten at 2:15 PM on July 18, 2014

Also I think the 3DS release on those is probably pretty similar to the DS version. Just stay away from the iOS one!
posted by asperity at 4:05 PM on July 18, 2014

Amazon Warehouse Deals can be a pretty good way to get DS and GBA games for reasonable prices, provided you regularly check for new items.

Play-Asia for brand new DS games.

Apologies if you know this already, but if you're going to buy GBA games you really need to know how to detect counterfeit cartridges. There are a lot of them in circulation and getting one is a real disappointment. A few things to look at:
- The cart label should be glossy, high quality and correctly applied. Pirate carts often have faded, dirty and incorrectly applied, crooked labels. The art is often stretched out or distorted.
- Genuine carts should have a number stamped on the front label, visible if you tilt the cartridge to catch the light.
- Genuine carts have a custom tri-wing screw on the back, whereas pirate carts will often use a standard Phillips screw.
- Look at the connector pins at the bottom of the cart. Genuine carts will have the Nintendo logo stamped above the pins, and the pins will usually be clean and shiny (depending on age and condition). Pirate carts will not have the logo and the connector pins will often be dirty and tarnished.

Obviously it can be a bit difficult to check this by looking at an online listing, and a lot of sellers don't know or don't care about screening out pirate carts. So I second asperity's suggestion of only buying GBA games that are complete with box and manual - this significantly reduces the chance that you'll get a counterfeit cart.

GBA and DS are great systems to collect for, have fun!
posted by fearthehat at 4:38 PM on July 18, 2014

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