The way we play and consume classic video games has become a hot topic of late, thanks in large part to some pretty shady practices employed by collectors to increase the value of certain titles.
While some people want to increase the value of their collection while it’s on the shelf, those of us who simply want to play and enjoy video games are missing out, because in many cases the reason retro games are worth it. Much is due to the fact that there is literally no other way to play a given game than in its original form.
VGC posed this question to PlatinumGames’ Hideki Kamiya, an avid retro gamer and collector. He says he understands the appeal of obtaining a particular physical degree in the best possible conditions, but regrets that people who simply want to play games often miss out:
As a collector, I understand the appeal of wanting to have that set in the sealed package. People want the value of that package and not necessarily the game itself. But as a fan, it is a problem if someone wants to play a game but cannot get it because it is traded in these ridiculous markets.
He had particularly stern words to say about those companies that own the intellectual property of certain desirable games but do not make them available digitally at a reasonable price:
And the responsibility for keeping those games available belongs to the company that owns the intellectual property. If people want to play a classic game and they can’t, because it’s not available on new platforms and it can’t be found in its original form either, that’s like a threat … it’s holding back the culture of the game. The people who own the rights to these games must take active steps to preserve the culture of the game and make the games available to all who want to play them.
Ironically, Nintendo, one of Platinum’s most regular customers, is particularly bad at this. Carry Metroid Fusion as an example; with Metroid Dread Along the way, interest in the series has skyrocketed and loose cartridges are now fetching attractive prices online, mainly because it’s not (currently) possible to play the game on Nintendo’s newest system, the Switch (it is, however, available on the Wii U Virtual Console).
There are many other first-hand Nintendo games that are effectively “out of stock” right now. Nintendo’s strategy is usually to relaunch or remaster these games and sell them at a higher price (as it did with Zelda: Skyward Sword HD and Super Mario 3D All-Stars), but this often means that there is no way to play classic Nintendo titles unless you spend cash to buy the original hardware and the game, or emulate them on a PC or other platform, especially since the Virtual Console no longer is it availabe. something on Switch and has been superseded by Nintendo Switch Online, which currently offers a rather uneven selection of classic SNES and NES games via a paid subscription.