Classic video games can be hard to find. And even when you do find them, will they function?
Blowing into that copy of “Duck Hunt” you found at the garage sale down the block isn’t going to clean out 30 years of dust, no matter how hard you try.
The world’s largest game retailer, GameStop, is trying to solve this issue. Starting on April 25, GameStop locations in the New York City and Birmingham regions (around 250 stores) started accepting classic games and game consoles for trade-in: the original Nintendo Entertainment System, the Super Nintendo, Sega’s Genesis and Dreamcast, as well as the first PlayStation and Nintendo 64.
More importantly, about two months from now, GameStop’s website is set to roll out a section dedicated to the sale of the aforementioned classic game consoles and compatible games. Translation: GameStop.com will start selling fixed up, classic game consoles and games in about two months.
Those consoles and games come with the usual 30-day guarantee GameStop gives all its used merchandise; the company’s able to do that because every single classic game console or game traded in has to go through GameStop’s refurbishment center.
“For hardware, we’ll put it through a full triage: identify any issues, any cleaning that has to happen, any parts replacement that has to be done. On cartridges, we’re gonna be cleaning, testing, and also taking a look at the batteries in there,” GameStop senior director of pre-owned merchandising Jon Haes told Business Insider.
That means you’re not just buying classic consoles, but classic consoles that are running at 100%, and guaranteed to work — a major step up from the wilderness of eBay.
The company’s hoping to expand its trade-in program to the national level, but is intentionally holding back to test the system. What if it costs too much money to refurbish old hardware? What if consoles fail soon after people bring them home? Are replacement parts even available for the Nintendo Entertainment System — a console that originally launched nearly 30 years ago?
“We’re holding ourselves back a little bit so we can learn some of these things, answer some of the questions that you just asked,” Haes said. “We’ve got a lot to learn about what the condition of this product is gonna be like.”
There isn’t a solution for making old game consoles compatibile with new televisions either. While the original NES connects via the same plug that brings cable TV to your living room, consoles like the Sega Dreamcast are dependent on yellow/red/white inputs (“RCA” cables). Some modern TVs simply don’t have an RCA input, meaning you’ll need to buy a converter of some type.
And if all of that sounds like a bit too much work for you, we understand — there are always modern takes of old game consoles like Hyperkin’s Retron 5.