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When baseball card collecting became too expensive, Eric Naierman turned to classic video games to form a collection that would rank among the best in the world, reports The Washington Post. Considering his $1 million transaction on classic games last month, he may well be on his way to doing just that.
Naierman was able to secure these games with the help of a small group of partners called the Video Game Club. Given their pristine condition, some experts consider his collection to be top-tier in terms of overall value and rarity.
"These are some of the holy grails and cream of the crop in terms of having this historic value," said Deniz Kahn, president and chief executive of Wata Games, a company that specializes in grading vintage video games.
Kahn was referring to Naierman's "black-box" and "sticker-sealed" copies of NES games, including the 1986's Mario Bros. arcade edition, one known copy of Gumshoe and Balloon Fight, and the only two known copies of 1985's Golf.
Although exchanges of such kind (and magnitude) aren't tracked by a single source, the sale of these video games is said to be one of the largest in the hobby's history. Valarie McLeckie, the video game consignment director at Heritage Auctions, termed it "a classic case of supply and demand," pointing towards a market growth fueled by an increasing interest from people for these games combined with the difficulty in acquiring them in such a condition.
"The hobby has transformed from being this relic of nostalgia," said Kahn, adding that people aren't buying them just for their memory of playing the game, but rather as a celebration of the games' history and their impact on pop culture.
"Judging from everything I’ve seen in collecting over the years, there’s no reason that this shouldn’t develop into a hobby like baseball cards or comic books," said Naierman as he drew a comparison between comic books and video games. "I mean, comic books, you tell me what they have that a video game doesn’t. They have the box art. They have the same nostalgia. If comic books can sell for $1 million, there’s no reason a video game shouldn’t be able to do the same."
Image Credit: Dya Pardo for The Washington Post