Collecting video games is a hobby by definition, but that doesn’t make it easy. I myself am a video game collector, and I can tell you the Tylenol PM alone gets expensive when you’re trying to drug other potential buyers at yard sales. However, my personal achievements and questionable tactics are dwarfed when compared to what can be seen on retro collecting channel Bizznes17. With his series of impressive game hauls for staggeringly good prices, Justin is a master collector that any fan of consoles from before the Bush Administration should check out. How does one get this good? I got in touch with him to ask a few questions, before the Tylenol PM took effect:
Influential Gaming: For me, there’s a paper trail to see where collecting started. I was into Sonic as a kid, which got me into Sega consoles and eventually Smash Brothers Brawl, which opened up the doors to pretty much the whole world of video games. What got you into collecting video games in the first place? Was it something small that grew like that?
Justin: I’ve always been around video games. When I was just 3 or 4 years old, I was going to a daycare that had an NES, a SNES, and a bunch of games. That’s where I got my first experience playing games. My parents eventually bought me an NES and a SNES after they were slightly outdated, but one Christmas they bought me the N64 which was newer at the time. I gradually got games for all of those systems and most of them I hung onto into my college years when the nostalgia bug hit. My freshman year of college I ended up getting a couple overage checks for my tuition, most of which went to video games at our local Play-N-Trade store. My friend Ryan and I had this great business idea where we would buy broken retro systems, repair them, and flip them for a profit (that’s where the name bizzNES came from). The problem came when we fixed the systems and didn’t want to get rid of them – we wanted to play them. Before I knew it I had a collection that exceeded 2000 games.
IG: Do you have a particular favorite thing to collect? Games, consoles, accessories? Favorite console to collect for, or favorite genre of games to collect?
J: I’ve always been a Nintendo kid. As I mentioned above, it’s what my parents bought me when I was a kid. My grandpa had a Genesis that I played from time to time, and I had friends that owned Playstations, but for me it was always Nintendo. While I do collect Genesis and Playstation today, my true passion is still my Nintendo collections – NES, SNES, N64, Gamecube. But if I had to pick one, it would be Super Nintendo. The RPGs! Even if I don’t have time to dedicate 40+ hours into playing each SNES RPG, just seeing them displayed on my shelf and knowing that there are hundreds of hours of fun to be had is enough for me.
IG: What is the one thing you currently want the most in your collection?
J: I got asked this at the Midwest Gaming Classic a couple years ago, and I couldn’t think of an answer when I was put on the spot. After thinking about it, the item that I would absolutely love to have for my collection is a CIB copy of E.V.O The Search for Eden on the SNES. That is one of the SNES RPGs that has eluded me, and one that I rarely ever see for sale – even at conventions like the Midwest Gaming Classic.
IG The past ten or twelve years have seen a tremendous push towards digital games. How do you think this will impact game collecting in the future?
J: Well it won’t be long before physical games (and physical media in general) stops being produced. It’s impossible to predict the future, but I personally don’t think this switch to digital media is going to drastically affect game collecting, at least not retro game collecting. Ever since the retro boom, people who buy newer games and systems are finally realizing that maybe it’s a good idea to keep the original boxes. Because of this, I don’t believe XBOX One or PS4 games are ever going to be “collectible” like SNES and Genesis games are. I think that there are enough millennials into retro collecting nowadays that the switch to digital media won’t have a huge impact on retro collecting.
IG: Do you have any plans to expand your channel beyond game collecting?
J: If I did, it wouldn’t be with this specific YouTube channel. I’m not a huge YouTuber with 100,000,000+ subscribers. Plus, my channel has been almost exclusive pickup videos for over 6 years now. I’ve dabbled in other videos, but no one cares about them…at least on this channel. But with the way YouTube is headed these days, I’d much prefer moving to a different platform such as Twitch if I was ever going to make a big change.
IG: What tips do you have for aspiring young collectors?
J: I’ve got two tips for aspiring young collectors. Number one, never let yourself get talked into a “deal.” I’ve dealt with many sellers at pawn shops, or even locally on Facebook or Craigslist that are obviously looking to get top dollar for their games. If you don’t think you are getting a good deal when you a purchasing a game, you probably aren’t. Save your money for a better deal. Number two, don’t shell out big money for popular games just because they are staples to a video game collection. Games like Mario Kart or Smash Bros. sold millions and millions of copies. They go for big money on eBay because they are the popular titles that some people are willing to pay for just to have them right now. I can guarantee Mario Kart or Smash Bros. will come with the first N64 or Gamecube bundle you buy.
IG: I can’t find a copy of Kekcroc anywhere… where can I find it?
J: My local Pawn Shop had a copy awhile back for $2.99. I haven’t heard good things about it though so I passed.
IG: Anything else you would like to add?
J: Thanks for having me on for this interview! I experienced quite a bit of nostalgia while answering these questions – I reminded myself of why I got into collecting in the first place. While my collecting tactics and goals have definitely change since I started my channel, the passion is still there.