Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Collecting Video Game Strategy Guides

Strategy guides are a relic of a bygone era. The beautiful artwork, well-constructed writing, and detailed maps of these guides have since been replaced with wiki’s, GameFAQ’s, and YouTube “Let’s Play”'s. These guides are still being made today but the heart and soul hasn’t survived. Older strategy guides are often examples of well-crafted additions to games that should be just as sought-out and collected as the games they represent. 

Why don’t people collect Strategy Guides? Well, for one, a lot of them aren’t as great as I originally alluded to. Most “Unofficial” or “Unauthorized” guides are missing key points of information or just plain wrong about things. Even the official guides are lacking; the Prima guide to Mortal Kombat (2011) even went so far as failing to list correct input combinations for special moves. These publications are never perfect and 2nd print runs are uncommon.

The limited nature of these items does add to the value, though. “Collector Edition” strategy guides are also popping up with every AAA release. This advent of “Collector Edition’s” does mean one thing, there is an emerging market. People are slowly starting to collect these things as the pack-in’s included are usually worth more than the guide itself. Common pack-in’s include a hardbound cover, a map, a poster, special DLC, or other unique items that you can’t obtain elsewhere. The resell value on these “Collector Edition” guides is much higher than the normal variants, assuming it comes complete.

Wait a minute, what about all the old guides? You know what I mean, is my guide for Final Fantasy VII worth anything? Sadly, no. Most older guides can be found in second-hand book stores, eBay, and Amazon for less than $10 dollars (including shipping). Ouch, so does this make Strategy Guides a worthless item not worth collecting? No, not at all. Believe it or not, there are some guides that have increased in value. 

Finding and collecting data for this article is hard because no one seems to be paying attention to this market even though it is healthy and growing but I noticed a few trends. Games worth a lot of money are often accompanied by guides that are just as valuable. Consistently, Nintendo Power Player’s Guides for SNES classic games and guides to RPG’s sell for more than any other type of guide on the market currently. Nostalgia is the most likely driver of these price increases.

By and large, one strategy guide continues to bully out every other pretender to the throne of “Most Valuable”. This guide consistently sells for around $100 no matter what condition it is in ~ EarthBound Player’s Guide from Nintendo Power. 

This is a unique piece, it was a pack-in itself with every new purchase of EarthBound and acted more or less as the manual for this title. What really made this guide unique was that it had 6 scratch-and-sniff cards included. One of these could be torn out and mailed to Nintendo for an air freshener (also worth insane amounts of money). You will be hard pressed to find a copy with all these cards intact and still attached to the guide itself. 


Anonymous said...

When I reluctantly sold my Earthbound guide a few years ago it still had the scratch and sniff cards still attached. It was still in the hands of the original owner too when sold for $100. It will be a good day when I find another guide. Strategy guides need more love.

Unknown said...

Most people who collect guides go the pennied out route at places like Gamestop and Best Buy. When the collectors are basically getting guides for free, it's hard to imagine anyone will pay much of anything at all for any random guide from the past 2 generations.

The real guide collecting scene is with SNES and earlier guides as mentioned. Most were not in stores and had to be ordered by mail.

Anonymous said...

Uh, final fantasy vii Versus strategy guide is still worth far from "nothing.". Still goes for around $100 if it's in nice condition with the poster intact. You missed a good opportunity to highlight a few strategy guides that routinely break the $75 mark. I've collected guides for years, and while most have dipped down some, many of the standard heavier hitters remain in a respectably collectible price range.

Spencer Cardinal said...

Awesome article! I've noticed the guides published by DoubleJump books tend to be quite pricey after a few years. Heck, the strategy guide for Shin Megami Tensei Nocturne is worth TWICE what the game sells for, and its getting more expensive by the day.

Shadow Hado said...

Does anyone know if there's a resource for pricing Strategy Guides, other than checking eBay's completed sales? I've got a lot of guides, and while I've found out that some are valuable while others are not worth much at all, there's still some that I can't find values for at all.

Secondly, does anyone know of a website, forums, etc. that deals with rare / hard-to-find collectibles? I mean things like posters, pre-order gifts, signage, etc. I haven't been able to find anything like that.


JJ Hendricks said...

@shadow_hado - Thanks for your questions and comments. We have plans to add strategy guide pricing to at some point, but it has not been one of the more popular features users have requested. If you would like this feature or others, please let us know. said...

Ok so How much are these worth?... i have old playstaion guides for final fantasy and etc... are they worth money? are they like comics?

JJ Hendricks said...

Some strategy guides are worth quite a bit. I've personally sold some for $40-50. But there are also quite a few that sell for $0.50. Unfortunately I can't give a blanket statement that all are worth something but there are definitely quite a few valuable strategy guides.

Kirk Bradford Myers said...

Chiming in a bit late here, but just wanted to express my relief at having the foresight to never tear those scratch -n- sniff cards out of the copy of the Earthbound Player's Guide I own, which might I add has been barely read and kept in storage since I bought it in 1998 and is in pristine condition. I bought that and the Earthbound game together for about $15 at a secondhand shop, never thinking that one day they'd skyrocket in value. Lucky me. So for now, dark storage is where these bad boys will be staying until the value skyrockets well into the four digits. ;)

Anonymous said...

Official Nintendo Power Pikmin 2 Strategy guides are super hard to find especially in good shape. I would love to a Rarity/Price chart for official guides of this type!

Alan Z said...

Is there any site for a price list of old school game guides ?

Post a Comment



Login | Create Account