Editorial: My Personal Trade-In Woes

by Tim Turi on Oct 04, 2012 at 01:40 PM


Left to their own devices, kids don’t always make the best decisions. Children are often attracted to newer and shinier toys, leaving their old favorites behind to collect dust (e.g., the entire plot of Toy Story). However, some kids don’t just tuck away their old toys. Instead, they cash them in at a loss to raise money for something new. While this is a worthwhile option for some, the stupid, kid version of me lacked the foresight that my favorite games would age well and be perfect for late night, nostalgic time-travel. From the Game Boy to the N64, I’ve chronicled some of my biggest trade-in regrets.

Chasing Hedgehogs

I received a good deal of money when I had my first communion growing up. My Catholic family probably wanted me to spend the several hundred dollars on rosary beads or something, but I immediately marched into Funcoland. I played a great deal of Game Boy at my cousin’s house, falling in love with games like Kirby’s Dreamland and Star Wars. More importantly, it was the only system I could afford with my money. Plus, in a household that only had Sega systems, it was my portable ticket into the house of Mario and Mega Man. The Game Boy I purchased was packaged with Super Mario Land 2: Six Golden Coins, which was the closest I could get to the magical Super Mario World at the time. I also bought a couple of subpar Ren & Stimpy games (kids are dumb, remember?). I didn’t have a ton of games, but I had a great time with the handheld.

The love affair was interrupted when Sega’s Game Gear came along, with its sexy color screen and Sonic the Hedgehog games. I was obsessed with all the Sonic games on the Genesis at the time, and figured there were more great times to be had on the Game Gear. I was religiously reading Archie’s Sonic comics at the time, and new characters started appearing from Game Gear games like Sonic Triple Trouble. I felt like there was a whole world I was missing out on, and I needed to explore it. So, I handed over my Game Boy, the games, and a good chunk of lawn-mowing money to score a Game Gear. I still remember the immediate disappointment [http://gifrific.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/ive-made-a-huge-mistake-gob-arrested-development.gif]. Game Gear games were much prettier than Game Boy games at the time, but that’s when I learned an important lesson in video games: Graphics are not everything, not by a long shot. I also learned that the best Sonic games exist on the Genesis and that it’s not a good idea to trade something you love for quick cash. After many more cut lawns, my adventure in secondhand games cycled back to the Game Boy. The Game Boy and I reunited passionately with Pokémon, and I promise it’s still lying around somewhere.

Out With the N, in With the New

What is it with me and selling Nintendo systems? I loved my Nintendo 64. I remember sneaking into my parents’ room and peeking into their closet to make sure I was getting an N64 and GoldenEye 007 for Christmas. Despite the countless hours spent with Mario 64, Banjo Kazooie, and many more, I was tempted by the next-gen luster of the PlayStation 2. I remember skipping lunches during high school to save the cash and put it towards a PS2. Between that hoarded lunch money and the pittance I was offered for my N64, I was able to walk home with a PS2, but no games. I remember renting Unreal Tournament and being blown away by the DualShock 2 and incredible graphics. I continued to be astounded by early releases like Zone of the Enders and the packed-in Metal Gear Solid 2 demo. In fact, my PlayStation 2 and I went on to have a very happy, healthy relationship.

Sadly, I sold my N64 and hell of a lot of games and accessories to afford that PS2. It wasn’t long before I had the itch to return to the system’s amazing 3D platformers and relive a little console FPS action with Goldeneye. Unlike the portable fiasco, I didn’t trade-in my PS2 to win back my N64. I put my hard-earned dollars towards reclaiming the Nintendo hardware. I busted my ass bussing tables so I could buy back Perfect Dark, Mario Kart 64, and even guilty pleasures like Turok and Castlevania 64. I still have these games, and I’m not giving them up for anything.

These pawn-shop follies have made me the gamer I am today. I learned the hard way that I’m not the kind of gamer that should sell his games. I’m far too nostalgic to risk reaching towards my shelf for an old memory only to realize I sold it. Now I cling tightly to my original Game Boy, Nintendo 64, and every other piece of video game software and hardware. 

What are some of your personal trade-in regrets? 

[Full disclosure: GameStop is the parent company of Game Informer]