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How much will GameStop pay for your retro SEGA games?

So, you want to know how much GameStop will give you for you retro SEGA stuff, huh? I’ve got you covered, nerds!

As many of you know, on April 24 GameStop launched a pilot program in select markets to begin buying back retro consoles and games. I’m sure many people are out there wondering how much GameStop will give us cash-strapped retro gamers to buy our childhood memories. Since the GameStop website is not yet providing these answers (though it may any day now), I called one of the pilot programs stores in New York to do some digging. Here’s how it went…

The Requiem: Hi. I lost my son to cancer several years ago, and he left us with a bunch of his stuff like old games.

How_much_will GameStop_pay_for your_retro_SEGA_games_grave
Want to keep someone on the line without fear of them hanging up on you? Feed ’em the ol’ “dead cancer kid” line. Works every time… because journalism.

GameStop Employee: Oh, I’m very sorry to hear that sir.

The Requiem: Thanks, I appreciate that. I really do. Anyway, I heard that GameStop has just started buying retro video games again. I have several I’d like to get estimates on… if it’s not too much trouble?

GameStop Employee: No, not at all. Which games were you looking to sell?

Of course that “dead cancer kid” story was a lie, but as the greatest crack reporter SEGA Nerds has on staff, I felt it necessary to keep the New York GameStop employee’s sympathy on my side, because I had a lot of questions and I was going to get the answers I wanted, goddammit! Straight dope!

Well, here are those answers, in tabular form.

Name of Game/ConsoleGameStop's Trade-In Price (cash)GameStop's Trade-in Price (in-store credit)eStarland Trade-in Price (cash, loose game)
SEGA Genesis Console$16.00$20.00$20.00
Aladdin (Gen)$5.20$6.50$2.40
Altered Beast (Gen)$4.00$5.00$3.04
Castlevania: Bloodlines (Gen)$20.00$25.00$16.56
Sonic the Hedgehog (Gen)$4.00$5.00$2.31
SEGA Dreamcast Console$24.00$30.00$11.25
Cannon Spike (DC)$40.00$50.00$21.00
Crazy Taxi (DC)$4.00$5.00$1.65
Power Stone 2 (DC)$32.00$40.00$13.20
Sonic Adventure (DC)$7.20$9.00$3.00
Mega Man 2 (NES)$16.00$20.00$9.88
Super Mario Bros. (NES)*Will not accept trade-in*Will not accept trade-in$4.00
Super Mario Kart (SNES)$14.00$17.50$12.00
GoldenEye 007 (N64)$10.00$12.50$7.70
Super Mario 64 (N64)$16.00$20.00$13.50
Ninja Gaiden 2 (Xbox 360)$0.80$1.00$0.00 (yep, nada)
Call of Duty: Black Ops II (PS3)$4.80$6.00$4.00

Let me interpret the above table a bit. You’ll see both the cash and in-store credit trade-in values from GameStop, and for comparison, I added the trade-in value for a loose cart from another retro gaming reseller, eStarland. I asked GameStop about both a SEGA Genesis and Dreamcast console and several key games. And if you’re a good SEGA fan looking to unload some of your gray Nintendo games for babies, I asked about a couple of them, too.

How_much_will GameStop_pay_for your_retro_SEGA_games_super_mario_bros
GameStop says you can keep this piece of crap. Or melt it.

Interestingly, though GameStop has a well-deserved reputation for paying pittance for your used games, their trade-in prices are consistently quite a bit higher than eStarland’s prices. The only exception is the original Super Mario Bros. on NES, which GameStop told me they “would not accept for trade-in.” (Because it sucks, no doubt, right?)

There were also many other games I asked about, but I was told that these games weren’t in the GameStop system for whatever reason. These included Genesis games like Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle, John Madden 94 (Genesis), MUSHA, Splatterhouse 2, The Punisher and Mutant League Hockey. Dreamcast games not in the system were Mars Matrix, Project Justice, NFL 2K and Skies of Arcadia. Nintendo garbage not in the GameStop system was Stadium Events for NES and both Earthbound and Ninja Gaiden Trilogy on SNES.

How_much_will GameStop_pay_for your_retro_SEGA_games_rival_schools
Project Justice isn’t listed? Apparently even GameStop can’t put a price on this glorious pair of… boxing gloves.

See the pattern? Most of those unlisted games are either rare games or sports titles, with a few exceptions. My guess is that GameStop is worried about buying up the rarer games like MUSHA, Project Justice or Ninja Gaiden Trilogy for fear that they may inadvertently buy back bootleg copies instead of genuine ones. That’s not to say that they won’t eventually add these games to their catalog at some point, but that may depend on how GameStop ultimately deals with commonly bootlegged games. If you owned a store filled with generally untrained teenagers, would you want them offering hundreds of dollars for a copy of Stadium Events which you had no way to determine was genuine? Narp.

Not all of those games are high-dollar rarities, though. Splatterhouse 2 or Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle? Sure, Splatterhouse 2 is slightly in demand, but I’ve never seen anyone trying to sell a bootleg repro cart of the game. As for the sports games, though? Well, it’s possible that games like NFL 2K and Madden 94 will never be accepted as trade-in, because GameStop will likely have very little to show for it in the end considering how low demand is for them.

The Flip Side

How_much_will GameStop_pay_for your_retro_SEGA_games_Sonic_not_for_resale
“Not for resale?” GameStop makes the rules around here, bitch!

How much will GameStop be selling these games for? There’s no way to know for certain, yet, as they won’t be up for sale via the GameStop website for a couple more months. Still, I decided to speculate wildly (like any good video gaming journalist would) and come up with a completely unscientific process to predict their final sale price.

Looking at two modern games, Ninja Gaiden II on Xbox 360 and Call of Duty: Black Ops II for PlayStation 3. I ran some maths-magic and found that their trade-in to sale ratio was between %16 and %20, meaning that the final sale price is roughly 5X-6X the trade-in price. However, seeing as how very few gamers in their right minds would pay over twenty bucks for a loose cart of Sonic the Hedgehog or $200 for a loose disc of Cannon Spike, I’m going to give GameStop the benefit of the doubt and go with just an increase of 3X.

Name of Game/ConsoleGameStop's Trade-In Price (cash)Loose Price from PriceCharting.comPredicted GameStop Selling Price (Cash Trade-In x3)
SEGA Genesis Console$16.00$9.99-$20.50 (varies by version)$48.00
Aladdin (Gen)$5.20$8.50$15.60
Altered Beast (Gen)$4.00$6.95$12.00
Castlevania: Bloodlines (Gen)$20.00$40.00$60.00
Sonic the Hedgehog (Gen)$4.00$5.77$12.00
SEGA Dreamcast Console$24.00$35.00$72.00
Cannon Spike (DC)$40.00$81.01$120.00
Crazy Taxi (DC)$4.00$6.54$12.00
Power Stone 2 (DC)$32.00$58.79$96.00
Sonic Adventure (DC)$7.20$11.50$21.60
Mega Man 2 (NES)$16.00$15.50$48.00
Super Mario Bros. (NES)*Will not accept trade-in$8.76Door Prize/paperweight
Super Mario Kart (SNES)$14.00$30.35$42.00
GoldenEye 007 (N64)$10.00$15.34$30.00
Super Mario 64 (N64)$16.00$21.55$48.00
Ninja Gaiden 2 (Xbox 360)$0.80$3.60$4.99 (actual listed price)
Call of Duty: Black Ops II (PS3)$4.80$14.00$24.99 (actual listed price)

For comparison purposes, I listed the current loose price of each game according to PriceCharting.com, which lists an average of sales across a variety of online selling fronts. Not a perfect measure, to be sure, but it at least provides an idea. Even multiplying the trade-in price by three, many of GameStop’s prices look to be pretty steep compared to the Price Charting average. Many of GameStop’s prices look to be nearly twice as high, so it looks like I could have over-estimated with my predicted selling prices. However, it’s interesting to note that Black Ops II for PS3 has a Price Charting average of $14.00, while the current actual GameStop price is $25. Maybe I’m not so far off after all. What do you think?

How_much_will GameStop_pay_for your_retro_SEGA_games_cannon_spike
The low-print Capcom title Cannon Spike is one of the priciest Dreamcast games to track down.

Personally, I think GameStop may be offering a higher trade-in price right now at the beginning of their pilot program to build up stock, and that these prices will come down at some point. When Target entered the used game market, they offered some pretty high trade-in prices as well, so there is some historical case studies to suggest GameStop is perhaps doing something similar.

That’s that, nerds. Keep in mind, the only SEGA consoles GameStop is currently buying back are Genesis and Dreamcast, so no Master System or Saturn trade-ins. So, if you’re looking to make a few spare buck selling retro games and you live in either of the two test markets (New York City and Birmingham, Alabama), I suggest you do it sooner than later before GameStop realizes that four bucks for a loose copy of Sonic the Hedgehog won’t leave them much of a profit margin. Besides, if you’ve got a copy of Cannon Spike lying around, I’d be happy to give you $45 for it. Okay, maybe $46. I can do PayPal.

The Requiem

Having grown up with a SEGA Master System, The Requiem has been a lifelong SEGA fan. Favorite SEGA games include: Gunstar Heroes, Shinobi III, the House of the Dead: Overkill, Jet Set Radio, & Alex Kidd in Miracle World. Other game favorites include: Super Metroid (SNES), Tempest 2000 (Atari Jaguar), Mortal Kombat (Arcade) and Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery (iOS). The Requiem exists digitally as @UnboundRequiem on Twitter.

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  • AshleyAshes

    I think I’ll keep my dreamcast. Just waiting to get GDEMU and HDMI mods into it. 🙂

  • McHenryGames

    that’s how journalism works. I hope none of your kids ever develops cancer. Great article.

    • The Requiem

      Thanks for all the well-wishes for my kiddos! Glad you enjoyed the article, too! Hugs!

    • TheRequiem95

      Thanks for all the well-wishes for my kiddos! Glad you enjoyed the article, too! Hugs!

  • Helder Peres

    People here from Brazil will love to se this post. heheheh

  • Berto Yulianto

    Poor Saturn… Got the same fate as Super Mario Bros.(NES)…

  • Marcin

    Nice article! It’s interesting to see some of these prices GameStop has decided on for some of these games

    • cube_b3

      Yeah, they are actually decent.

  • Granted, you would probably do better from selling the games on eBay (even after eBay and PayPal fees), but its great to see that GameStop are at least adding value with restoration: http://mashable.com/2015/07/16/vintage-video-games-restoration/

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