Hi guys, I have been collecting sealed Pokémon games for years! With wata releasing pop reports, I have been hunting down the owners and documenting the stories of the top high grade pokemon games!
For those that aren’t familiar with the grading scales wata and CGC use a split scale grading both box and seal separately. The box rating influenced by the comic grading scale (out of 10). And the seal rating a letter ranging from C-A++.
VGA has a scale influenced by the toy scale (out of 100). Both seal and box grade is combined into 1, with “good” condition games typically falling in the 85+ range, and the grades above that become very difficult to obtain on cardboard games. 90 / 90+ are typically really nice and 95 / 95+ / 100 are basically impossible.
I am aiming to track the copies at are in the top 15-20% of copies on the pop reports. Based on the June 2023 wata pop reports, the following are the grades that I am tracking :
With the prices dropping to realistic levels, I am having as much as ever hunting down these high grade games, and I strongly believe if graded games interest you, there will likely be a time where these grail level games will no longer be attainable!
Are you tracking the Japanese prices as well? That would be very interesting to me, especially considering the Heritage auction results from this week and how it was a concentrated pump by a group of individuals.
I’m not tracking the JPN side, and honestly the JPN games scare me because VGA hasn’t published its pop reports, so I have no idea on the relative rarity!
I do feel that some of those HA prices seem like they would be difficult to replicate, similar to how we saw the top of the NA market act at the top of the market. But I don’t follow closely enough honestly!
I am just getting into collecting WATA Pokemon games but Japanese to fit the rest of my collection. They make really nice display pieces. The Stadium one I graded myself with WATA and the other I picked up from a friend on IG. A little late to the sealed game collecting scene, but will keep an eye out for more!
It actually is massive for the vast vast majority of tcg collectors to drop 10k on one item. But there are hundreds of thousands to millions of TCG collectors. If 1% of collectors afford a 10k card, that’s 5000 people for every half a million.
Even then, there are plenty of those people that can buy a $5k card once and their next 100 purchase will be way less than $5k
That foundation of lower cost options keeps the TCG healthy. To engage seriously with graded game collecting, every purchase will be on the order of $1000. There really is a lack of lower cost options. It’s also not treated seriously by most video games enthusiasts - in fact the average sentiment is disdain for both graded games and the collectors that enjoy them.
It’s a rough environment when you need spend $1000+ per purchase and you’re simultaneously being told you’re an idiot by the people who should be the most enthusiastic about your purchases.
Just to add my $0.02, there’s games selling well under $1000 across modern and retro. The issue is console game libraries aren’t nearly as diverse or populous as TCGs, mainly in graded pop, and retained sealed copies after print runs end. It’s also a relatively young sector of the hobby compared to grading in cards, coins, currency, etc. Coupled with the poor optics created from videos during the pandemic really made all the fence sitters feel justified in thinking grading games is some moral & social crime. Funny enough, the same people who feel that way, also tend to feel the same about card and comic grading. lol
It’s true in theory but not in practice. Generally you’d have to have played a game to want it.
An ebay search for “wata Nintendo 64” bin only gives me this:
Cheapest game that would be generally recognizable:
Its CIB though and pretty poor condition
Cheapest that is not CIB:
The lowest end here is $400-600. It also requires accepting a lower condition item. Any game with significant name recognition is generally going to start at $1000. I realize N64 is only a portion of the market, but it’s where a lot of Pokemon tcg demographic will overlap. It’s hard to get “into” video games as a collectible when you’re paying so much and simultaneously making a lot of compromises.
Another major problem with video game collecting is that 5 graded games is the equivalent of like 1000 graded cards in terms of size. My own personal hypothesis is that the success of trading cards generally as collectibles is due to their small, thin size - similar to stamps and coins
The Japanese sealed games don’t give me much nostalgia because they’re different, but man do they look good. I’ve been wanting to get some Japanese Pokemon games for a while now. Not really into graded games at all though.
You hit it on the head! Video games libraries are much more limited. New pokemon sets have almost the same amount of cards as every n64 game released in NA.
I think the smaller selection makes video games are harder to collect within a community. For example, cart collecting is very affordable, but graded games are the opposite, making them more polarizing. Where in trading cards, pokemon especially, there are plenty of junk slabs. In fact many solid cards are a better value purchased graded right now vs raw. Mainly because the selection and buyer pool is more varied.
Anyway I think video games are here to stay! I love collecting them just like cards! But they are younger and the limited selection creates more polarization towards graded games.
These were my thoughts on the graded video game market. I might be more interested in several years when pop reports are a bit more flushed out and we see what is laying around.
I just have to believe that there are thousands of sealed copies scattered across the world, and that makes me nervous when I see these games selling for thousands of dollars. I don’t think the average consumer truly understands the potential size of the sealed population.