Originally Posted by Wolfsbora
I'll be throwing rep to all of you folks that responded to my question about getting retro hardware! Thank you for the ideas. Here's the problem, Craigslist in Pittsburgh is like one of those flea markets that sells old stuffed cats and soda cans that commemorate the Pittsburgh Steelers of the 70's. It's a terrible place, a junkyard of filth, and creepiness. Who wants to buy a 20 year old Budweiser branded tailgate grill for $130?
Again, find your local games stores.
Try St. Vincents, Goodwill, Pawn America, and other secondhand stores/thrift stores/Pawn shops and chains. They are generally bad places to shop and spend your money but you can find deals/rarities occasionally. At Pawn America I got a CIB Golden Axe 2 for Genesis for $5. Best find I've had there.
Used games stores are a good option if you can find one with decent prices. I would also suggest talking to the employees and owner about retro games. You should be able to tell whether they're just a reseller hopping on the retro game bandwagon, looking to make a quick buck, or if they are retro game fans themselves that do it for the love of the hobby.
Case in point, one store here in town (the bad one) is called Preplayed Games. Their largest selection is of 360 and PS3 games but they also sell DVDs and Blu Rays (really cheap). They have a large retro game section but the games are really expensive. Most of the employees I've seen there look like they weren't even alive when the NES was out. They always have different people in the place, and I don't think I've ever seen the owner at either location. This place sucks. This is the place that wants $30 for loose Super Mario 3, and they usually have like 10 copies of it. Newsflash, if you have 10 copies of it it probably isn't worth that much. Nearly anything remotely good they put in a locked case and charge ridiculous prices for. There's really no decor in this place either, it looks like an old Blockbuster or something, just rows and rows of the tall shelves to hold games and DVDs.
On the other hand, the best game store in town is Video Game Xchange. The owner is Lance, just an awesome guy. An aging rocker/metal head. I've been going to his stores since I first moved to Madison in 1995, so I've been a customer for 20 years. Anyway, in the 90s he actually had 3 locations in town but now he just has one. He's told me that Pawn America and Preplayed are putting him under and really cutting into his business. This guy will talk to you for hours about games and gaming. Multiple times I've come in and he's had something cool, one time it was a Dreamcast hooked up via VGA to an old RGB monitor, it looked fantastic. Another time he was in the middle of trying to fix some Atari 2600's and soldering them. If he has no customers he'll just stand there and talk to you about games. Since he's known me so long, he gives me a 10% cash discount on everything I buy EXCEPT I never pay in cash, I pay with debit or whatever and he gives me the discount anyway. He has multiple arcade cabs in his store he is trying to fix up right now. Also, his whole store is like a collection of vintage gaming merchandise from the 80s and 90s, like the stuff you'd get from Nintendo fun club, Nintendo Power etc. He has a big case full of this stuff in the center of the store. We've had numerous discussions about his cans of Sonic the Hedgehog Spaghetti-Os and whether they'd be edible or not after 20+ years. He said he opened one once and it was brown and the noodles had just melted away and the meatballs were gone too. I'm guessing "not edible" on this one. He also has an unopened box of the Nintendo Cereal System that I really wanted to try as a kid but never got to.
Anyway. Find the good games stores.
Buy from the Lance's of the world, not
from the Preplayed's.