Shopping online is always a gamble. Even with major websites, you do not always know what you are getting at the end of the day. When you are dealing with older items or things where the quality of being “new” is not guaranteed, you really have to pay attention.
Home is where the heart is – and when it comes to retro games – this could not be a truer saying. That is because you want to go to a retro gaming store that you can trust. Older video games are a very lucrative business, and you know what this means: fakes and phonies abound. But a good, reputable retro shop will weed out the fakes and keep the selection fresh and within your reach. Trust, community, and a deep catalog of awesome games are just a few of the aspects that bring us back time and time again to our favorite gaming stores.
Doing all of this online is an even tougher task, let alone ranking a list of favorites. Nonetheless, that is what I am trying to do here. I hope this list can help point you in the direction of some awesome stores and give you a lifeline to the retro gaming community that you might not have had previously.
As promised last month, here are the top five retro game shops online where you can currently get your nostalgia fix:
(Affiliate Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that – at no additional cost to you – if you click through and make a purchase, I may earn a commission. For more info, please check my affiliate disclosure page.)
Image courtesy of GameBytes
Easily one of the best features about Gamebytes is that they are an online shop that supports the Centre for Computing History, a charity dedicated to preserving and archiving electronic art and history as shown in video games. If you need more of a reason, their vast selection and great bargains should be more than enough to bring you back time and time again. One of the specialities of Gamebytes is its broad selection of British computer gaming rigs and accessories. You will not find a larger treasure trove anywhere on the Internet. We are talking about Commodore Amiga and the Sinclair Spectrum, among others. There is even a section for the ill-fated Philips CDi project. They also have a selection of electronic gadgets and accessories, if you are into that.
As of press, due to little sales, they are moving their efforts to Ebay Charity, but their praiseworthy project deserves support and visibility.
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Image courtesy of Play-Asia
Those of you that have been in the game a long, long time know all about Play-Asia. Easily one of the best resources for all things Japan, Play-Asia offers products way beyond just video games with soundtracks, wall art, and others to name a couple. Plus it has had a presence online longer than most and has consistently offered top-notch service and selection. If you are looking for a Japan market game that you have been unable to find anywhere else, Play-Asia might be your new home on the Internet. Aside from that, Play-Asia should appeal to those gamers that look beyond games to anime, manga, and related media. You will be hard pressed to find a larger, more curated selection than what Play-Asia has.
Image courtesy of GameWalhalla
An awesome membership tiered program as well as gaming deals that you will not find on other sites, Gamewalhalla focuses on the mainline systems but offers one of the most comprehensive selections of games for each. Looking for something that is hard to find? Try searching Gamewalhalla for it. Like I said, the prices are competitive and the rewards program for members really helps set this store apart from the others.
Image courtesy of DKOldies
Focusing primarily on Nintendo, Sega, Sony, and Microsoft, DKOldies offers a huge selection of retro games for the mainline systems and also gives its customers a great selection of bargain bundles and pricing options. Beyond that, DKOldies really takes a throwback approach to customer care with some of the best service you will find. In fact, you might be amazed at how willing they are to go above and beyond in helping their customers find whatever they need. Remember when we were talking about finding a home online? DKOldies tries to create that kind of welcoming atmosphere for its customers.
Special mention: eBay
It goes without saying that eBay is not a dedicated retro game shop. Given that, the online auction site is still a real contender when it comes to selection and pricing. There are a few caveats that come with shopping on eBay – such as you do not get the community feel that comes with the above stores – but you do trade that for selection and some killer deals. To each their own and eBay has no shame in their game, plus their buyer protection has you totally covered.
Special mention: AliExpress
Like eBay, AliExpress is not explicitly a retro store. It does offer a huge selection and occasionally has door-buster prices. Using AliExpress or eBay is a great alternative if you want to shop for things beyond gaming like clothing, antiques, and more. One thing that AliExpress and eBay do have in large quantities are consoles with games preloaded onto the machine.
Image courtesy of RetroGames
Prepare to be blown away by the sheer selection of games on offer here. Retrogames is one of the oldest in the business and they quickly show you why when you first land on their homepage. Rivaling eBay in terms of selection, Retrogames also gives you the assurance of quality customer care and a company that truly stands behind what it is selling. Amiga, Spectrum, or Commodore, or any of the mainline consoles, there is nothing that Retrogames does not offer its customers. For beginning collectors or veterans of the nostalgia trade, this online shop offers both customers a place to call home.
Final thoughts – we can still bring back the magic!
A kind of retro magic…
No matter where you buy your classic games, you know you are part of a huge and growing community around the world. In an era where everything is coming to emulator or online retro arcades, it is nice to know that some establishments are maintaining the flame for classic consoles and games. Like any enthusiast, gaming history relies upon the passion for preservation that exists among its most dedicated fans, and this is something that all retro stores understand on a spiritual level.