Video games were made to be played. No question about it. But there is something about an unopened, vintage game that still has the factory seal on it. Something that makes yourself question, “Should I Grade my Video Games?” Where do you stand on the Video Game Grading debate?
Should I Grade my Video Games?
I’ve seen the arguments on Reddit that it’s just an expensive case around a game and you should do it yourself. There’s also the argument that the cost to get things graded is causing the prices to increase and that grading does nothing to the value. I’ve also heard the most simplistic response: It’s Stupid. I get and understand the thought process there. I have my own opinions about grading video games, though. It all boils down to what YOU like. Collect what you like and you will be dandy. For those that are starting out or interested in the graded game world, here are some tips and things to consider about video game grading.
Do you like to play the games or see them on your shelf? Are you fully content with having an unopened boxed game? If that’s all it takes, you’re good! No need to get anything graded. If you are collecting for the pride of completing a set and owning nostalgia that’s lovely. There is a HUGE market for raw video games and it’s perfectly valid. On the other side, if you are someone who prides yourself in have the BEST version or something… That’s when you look to grading. Or, if you are using it for investment purposes, graded is almost a requirement. Generally, the cost of grading pays for itself because people are willing to pay more for a graded game than a raw game. There are a few reasons for that.
Video Game Grading: Validation
Have you ever bought something from Walmart or Wish and when you open the box it is NOT what is on the cover? That can happen with video games. I’m honestly not sure of how common it is, but I have heard about it. Grading companies like to make sure that the pieces all match. So unless the game is plastic-sealed, they will open to confirm (properly and safely). So when they do that – they will quickly catch when there is a fake product trying to pass itself off as a rare game.
We recently released a video on Instagram of Jeff busting open IMPs, which means Improperly Married Parts. What that means is that the box was from 1984, but the manual and/or cartridge was from 1986 or a later date. That is someone who mismatched pieces to make a CIB (complete in box) game to sell for a higher dollar but didn’t match the pieces. To those who collect graded games, IMPs are valued WAY less. Similarly to how restored comics sell for less than their blue-labeled counterparts. So if you like to know that what you have is in fact all from the year you want it to be from, grading can verify that.
You also will know the rarity of the grade that you have. Similar to how the one and only 9.4 Batman #1 sold for an insane amount – if you had the one and only highly graded video game, or at least one of few, you will get a lot more for that than a raw “at-your-word” best option. You will have a better idea of the price to charge when you can look at the going price for lower grades of your game.
Video Game Grading: Protection
Then you get to the point of protection. There is no denying that a WATA or VGA graded game is well protected. Can you do it at home? For sure! It goes back to the effort you want to put in. In that video I mentioned earlier, WATA points out that their cases are foolproof, meaning that you can’t break into them without having evidence that someone opened it. They do a good job! This means once a game is graded, buyers can rest assured that they are buying what was graded – people aren’t going to be able to get in, remove the game for the box, and put it into another box to get graded… Not going to happen. So if you are buying/selling people know the game is protected and are willing to pay a little more.
Creating your own box is fine – you’ll have to find the thick plastic that will protect from falls while also allowing you to SEE the game! You could also see companies that sell video game cases. Knowing what the cases protect the video game from is important – for both graded and raw games. Will you be placing your games where there is direct light? You’ll want UV protection in your case like WATA does. Are you prone to flooding? Want that EXTRA protection of waterproofing? Make sure you know who sells that type of case. Find out your needs, then find a case that will suit you.
So, Where Should I Grade my Game?
If your answer to the question, “Should I Grade my Video Games” is yes, the next question is WHERE. There are two major companies. VGA and WATA. I would compare VGA to CBCS and WATA to CGC. WATA is much more preferred as their grading technique is much more intensive. A WATA 9.8 A+ will sell for higher than a VGA 9.8 A+. There are SOLID fans of both – so look at what they offer – their costs and your needs and make that decision for yourself. Personally, if I were to get something graded I would go to WATA. They give a separate grade for the box, cartridge, and manual and then average out the grades. You really know about your grade. It would be like CGC/CBCS giving a separate grade for the cover, spine, and interior rather than the overall grade.
So, where do you stand? Are you a fan of graded video games or do you prefer your games accessible and playable? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!
If you want to see some recent Mario action – check out my last blog about crazy auction sales.