My journey into video game journalism started with one game that changed my life forever, Final Fantasy VIII. Most gamers point to Final Fantasy VII or Final Fantasy IX as the best games in the Final Fantasy franchise. But the game that stole my heart and showed me the narrative power of video games was the story of the quiet and brooding Squall and his quest to save the world and the girl who stole his heart.
Since then, it’s been hard for me to find games that presented such a powerful story.
Moving into the 21st century it seemed like all the stories presented in JRPGs became formulaic and bland. While there are tons of beautiful and heart-wrenching games being produced, the video games of the 90s and early 2000s will always be close and dear to my heart. Thus began my incredible journey into retro video game collecting.
It started with a single shoe box filled with every Final Fantasy game on the Playstation 1 and blossomed into a library worth thousands of dollars, an online eBay store, an online Amazon store, and eventually video game journalism. Transitioning from a small-time video game collector to a reseller and now a video games journalist, I hit a lot of speed bumps along the way. Hopefully this five must-know tips and terms guide for retro game collectors will help you avoid some of the problems I, and many video game collectors like me, have experienced in the past.
What does CIB mean in video game collecting?
CIB stands for “complete in box”. When an online listing says a game is CIB, it means that the game should come with everything it came with when it was commercially released in retail stores. Typically, that means the game should include the game disc or cartridge, the case, the artwork for the case, the manual, and inserts.
I emphasize the word should because not all sellers adhere to this rule. Some people, will list games as CIB as long as they have the case, artwork, disc or cart, and manual. I usually didn’t care about the inserts because most buyers don’t care about them. Many retro games originally came with inserts like the developer’s contact information, advertisements for future releases, etc. If you value these inserts, always ask if they are included in the game. Some sellers on Facebook or classifieds sites may be parents selling games for their children, and don’t know how specific buyers can be.
What does BNIB, BNIP, or SEALED mean in video game collecting?
BNIB stands for “brand new in box” and BNIP stands for “brand new in plastic”. The terms “BNIB”, “BNIP” and “sealed” are more cut and dried and easier to deal with. These terms have no room for interpretation when used correctly. If a game is listed as BNIB/BNIP or “sealed” then it should be exactly in the same condition as it was when the game was sent to retail stores and sold commercially. This means the game should be sealed in the original manufacturer's seal.
Seals can differ by console and by publisher, but usually will be sealed with a y-fold at the top and bottom of the case.
What does OBO mean in video game collecting?
OBO stands for “or best offer”. For example, if a game price is listed as $40 OBO, that means the seller wants forty dollars, but might accept a lower price if offered. Now, this term will strike a chord with every collector that’s tried to buy games on classifieds sites like Craigslist or Kijiji or even on Facebook. Because many people will list OBO on their price list, never accept a lower price, but would accept a higher one. Sometimes sellers only accept lower prices when you buy multiple games.
4. AS IS
What does AS IS mean in video game collecting?
When a seller lists an item with “as is” in the description or title it usually means that the product is either in very poor condition, or not functional. Sometimes “as is” could mean that the game loads to a certain point, but then freezes and crashes. Sometimes discs with scratches or cartridgess with dirty contacts can be cleaned or repaired and will return to functional condition.
5. Original Xbox vs. Xbox One
What is the difference between the original Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Xbox One S and Xbox One X?
The marketing/branding team over at Microsoft must have had a hard time explaining their naming choices for the newest line of Xbox consoles. Retro gamers will be looking for games for the Xbox or Xbox 360, Microsoft’s first two gaming consoles. Because some genius at Microsoft decided to name their newest console the Xbox One, it caused confusion for people trying to buy and sell games for the Xbox. These days, games for Microsoft’s first console, the Xbox, are listed as “Original Xbox” games.
To clarify, the official titles of Microsoft’s gaming consoles in order of release are as follows: Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Xbox One S, Xbox One X.
6. Nintendo 3DS vs. New Nintendo 3DS
What is the difference between the Nintendo 2DS, Nintendo 3DS, New Nintendo 2DS XL and New Nintendo 3DS (XL)?
Another migraine-inducing branding choice was the release of the “New” Nintendo 3DS. After the initial launch of the first Nintendo 3DS consoles, many gamers claimed that the 3D function was unstable and induced headaches when used for long periods of time. In response to gamer feedback, Nintendo came out with a line of Nintendo 2DS consoles.
What is the Nintendo 2DS?
The Nintendo 2DS is a wedge-shaped portable console which is capable of playing all the games released for the original Nintendo 3DS. As the title insinuates, the Nintendo 2DS has no 3D capability. The console was released for people who don’t like the 3D gaming function and for young children. Younger children are more susceptible to eye damage when using the 3D function for long periods of time. Since the console has no 3D function, the Nintendo 2DS is much lower in cost than other Nintendo 3DS models.
What is the “New” Nintendo 3DS
The “New” Nintendo 3DS is a more powerful console than the original Nintendo 3DS. It comes with an improved and stabilized 3D function, a second joystick, and a more powerful processor. The “New” Nintendo 3DS can play all of the games released on the original Nintendo 3DS. However, some games are labeled “New” Nintendo 3DS on the packaging. If your game has this label it means that it is only playable on “New” Nintendo 3DS and “New” Nintendo 2DS consoles. Examples of this are Xenoblade Chronicles 3D and Fire Emblem: Warriors.
Most “New” Nintendo 3DS consoles are XL consoles. The “New” Nintendo 3DS XL is the most commonly sold model in retail stores. However, some special edition “New” Nintendo 3DS consoles are available in the regular non-XL size.
What is the “New” Nintendo 2DS XL
The “New” Nintendo 2DS is pretty much the same console as the “New” Nintendo 3DS, minus the 3D function. At the moment, there is no non-XL version of the console. Again, since there is no 3D function, the “New” Nintendo 2DS XL is much cheaper than the “New” Nintendo 3DS XL.
Please note: all of the Nintendo consoles mentioned above are backwards compatible. For retro gamers, this is a godsend. All original Nintendo DS games are playable on 2DS and 3DS consoles.
What does REPRO or REPRODUCTION mean in video game collecting?
In our capitalist world, if profits can be made many people are willing to do whatever it takes to exploit the market. Unfortunately, the retro gaming industry is no exception. About five to ten years ago, the retro gaming scene was booming in North America. I remember selling cartridge-only (no case or manual) copies of Pokémon Red, and other first-generation Gameboy Pokémon games for upwards of fifty dollars each.
Because of the rise in demand, black market manufacturers and sellers from China illegally reproduced copies of rare cartridge games. Games all the way from the Nintendo Entertainment System to the Nintendo DS have been illegally reproduced and sold on online websites like eBay or AliExpress.
If a game is listed as a repro or reproduction copy, it means that the game is a bootleg copy. While repro cartridges usually work and play just like the originals, they are illegal. Please be careful when buying expensive cartridge games and make sure you’re buying an official copy and not a reproduction cartridge.
8. Region Locked
What does REGION LOCKED mean in video game collecting?
If a game is region locked that game can only be played on a console matching its region. An example of this is the PlayStation 1 and PlayStation 2. Japanese PlayStation 1 and PlayStation 2 games will not work on western consoles and vice versa.
Imported games make up a large part of the retro gaming scene. When a game is exclusive to a specific region, it is, therefore, rarer and often desirable to hardcore collectors. When buying imported games, make sure that the games/consoles are not region-locked.
If you’re getting into retro game collecting, please keep these terms in mind while hunting for games online or in the wild. Did you enjoy our must-know tips and terms guide for retro game collectors? Got some tips of your own? Let us and our readers know in the comments below.