made in 1961 and the first home console, the Magnavox Odyssey, came out in 1968. Gaming didn't really hit the mainstream until the Atari was released in the 70's and people quickly started amassing larger collections of games.
As new systems came out people added to their collections and tried to find games they had missed on previous consoles by going to flea markets and garage sales. People started to get an idea for which games were hard to find, which were fun and which games to avoid. The game collecting subculture needed a place where they could discuss games together and put all this information in a central place. Enter Joe Santulli and Sean Kelly.
first issue of Digital Press newsletter. The first edition contained a checklist of Atari 7800 games, a list of great games that people had forgotten about ('Closet Classics'), a comic, reviews, a classifieds section, and more. Future issues would add color images and eventually price guides and more comprehensive game lists for every console.
The newsletter publication would eventually become the DigitPress website, one of the biggest communities of game collectors online. The site contains a list of video games for every console, information about each game, and a rarity score for how hard it is to find.
That same year Sean Kelly started the first BBS (Bulletin Board System) for classic games and hosted it on his Amiga. It was the first time collectors from all over the country could discuss game collecting in one location, even if it was only electronic.
The Classic Gaming Expo is now the largest video game collecting convention in the country and is in it's 13th year.
As the hobby grew the amount of information and expertise required grew as well. There was demand for console specific collecting sites with more information like screenshots, cover art, more accurate rarity values, and a community that focused on a particular aspect of game collecting instead of the entire hobby.
In 2001 Albert Yaruss launched AtariAge which has become the pre-eminent site for Atari collectors. And in 2006 Dain Anderson started NintendoAge.com. NintendoAge alone has more than 8,500 members and six of the 26 Nintendo World Championships Gold cartridges are owned by NA members. Sega has its own community as well at Sega-16.com.
As game collecting as grown so have the prices collectors are willing to pay for the rarest games. In 2007 the Nintendo World Championships Gold was selling for $5,000. In 2009 a copy of Nintendo Campus Challenge sold for $20,100. Records continued to be broken in 2010 as a sealed copy of Stadium Events sold for $41,300.
Where will video game collecting go in the future? Will it become as popular and mainstream as coin, baseball, or stamp collecting? Let us know where you think game collecting is heading in the comments below.