GameStop is taking things back to the past. Despite a heavy focus on the most immediate generations over the last few years, the company is now entering the retro gaming scene Hints of this project began back in March, when GameStops started accepting PS2 trade-ins again. Now we find it was only the beginning, as about 250 stores in the New York City and Birmingham markets prepare to accept all retro systems back to the NES era. This of course, is horrible news for us.
That may be a strange thing to say. The concept of easily accessible, retro games seems wonderful in theory. Just because a system stops getting support doesn’t mean it should be abandoned. Having easy access to these gems should be a delight. We should look forward to it. Except this is GameStop handling things.
Have you ever shopped at GameStop? The chains’ used games sell at quite a mark-up. You can do far better buying used from independent stores, eBay, or Amazon. Imagine what the store will charge for older games and systems that aren’t being made anymore. These could be considered “premium,” and priced accordingly.
And it’s not like it would even be worth trading in these retro gems to GameStop. The company offers a pittance for games that are only a few months old. Imagine what it will offer for games that are five, ten, or even twenty years old. That, combined with the inevitable attempt to cash in on in-demand titles, can only result in heartbreak.
The thing is, some people are stupid. They’ll go ahead and sell to GameStop, not knowing what the games or systems are worth. This will make it difficult to find these items at reasonable prices, which could lead to a situation where it’s challenging to stumble across treasures at places like garage sales.
But wait! At least there’s the knowledge that the consoles will have been to a GameStop Refurbishment Operations Center to ensure they’re in proper working order. If only that meant something. Have you ever bought a used system from GameStop? I have. Two, to be honest. One was a used PS2, which broke after three weeks. The other was a backwards compatible PS3. To GameStop’s credit, the PS3 did last a bit longer, but inevitably also failed. The point is, used systems are always a gamble, especially with age.
It’s difficult to look at this GameStop experiment and not feel cynical. We all know what the company is like when it comes to used games and systems. Even though a chance at getting easier access to retro titles and consoles would be appreciated, GameStop isn’t a company you could trust to handle this the right way. It’s going to attempt to capitalize on nostalgia, and that isn’t going to go well for anyone genuinely interested in old school titles.