The video game market in the late 70’s and early 80’s may have been overblown, but that doesn’t mean that hanging onto those classics games was a bad idea. But what was better than keeping those games in pristine condition was keeping the systems you played them on. Depending on what you bought, kept and what condition they are in, you could be sitting on a minor (or major) goldmine! Here are 9 consoles you might have owned during those times that have appreciated greatly in value over the last decade or two.
Note: I purposely did not include the Dreamcast, N64 or the PS1 and XBox since they were released after 1999.
#9 Sega Saturn
Release date: May 11, 1995
The fifth generation of consoles from Sega is still popular among the retro community. An unopened system can fetch around $260 to the right buyer. Because the system was short lived (it only lasted for 3 years) the games for it are even rarer making it a good starting point to build a collection around.
#8 Nintendo 64
Release date: September 26, 1996
Named for its 64-bit processing unit, the N64 was the last cartridge-based system Nintendo would manufacture. The N64 enjoyed positive reviews from around the gaming world not just for its unique controller design but also for games such as Super Mario 64 which many consider ‘one of the greatest games‘ ever made. Because the system sold over 40 million units worldwide, finding one shouldn’t be too hard. If you have one complete in its box it can fetch you somewhere in the neighborhood of $300. Not bad considering the system dropped in price to a measly $69.99 by 2009.
#7 Philips CD-i
Release Date: May 11, 1992
Despite being branded as an interactive multimedia player, the CD-i is often sought after by collectors because of it’s hybrid features as a functional audio/cd player and game console. While the system lacked big name titles, it’s unique concept made it a good talking point for anyone lucky (or unlucky) enough to have purchased one. A complete system can fetch you around $320 to the right buyer.
#6 Sega Genesis
Release Date: August 14, 1989
With its main competitor, the SNES, players were bombarded with a large library of games that helped usher in the start of the infamous console wars of the late 80’s and 90’s. While there are a plethora of Sega Genesis systems readily available, the ones complete in boxes are not so easy to find. If you happen to have one fully complete with box and manuals, then consider yourself lucky. One was recently auctioned off for over $325 on eBay.
#5 Super Nintendo (SNES)
Release Date: August 23, 1991
The system that reinvigorated the video game industry and why many people credit the SNES as the catalyst to their long love affair with games. A recent survey indicated that one out of every four households owned a SNES during the video game boom and that many never held on to it (or simply tossed it out) after the 16-bit era died. While a SNES isn’t hard to find, acquiring a working one in immaculate condition is. If you happen to have one (or come across one) that works and is complete in its box, you may want to hold on to it. A recent one was sold for $350 which was only for the system.
#4 Atari Jaguar
Release Date: November 23, 1993
Atari dared you to ‘do the math!’ claiming superiority over the existing systems by marketing the Jaguar as the “first and true” 64-bit system available. And who could argue with logic? I mean a 32-bit architecture + 32-bit RISC processor had to equal 64-bit, right? Unfortunately, Atari’s numbers just didn’t add up and gamers from all over validated it with less than impressive reviews of many of the Jaguar’s library of games. Despite its downfall, the Jaguar is a good system to hold on to especially when you consider its the only American made console of the bunch. A sealed and fully complete one was sold for $750. Not bad for a system many deemed to be just slightly more powerful than a Sega 32X.
#3 Turbo Grafx
Release Date: August 1, 1994
Known in Japan as the PC Engine it enjoyed mild success with our friends from the East. Out here, however, the Turbo Grafx didn’t really fare too well. While it was slightly superior to the Genesis and SNES, poor marketing by NEC ultimately led to its demise in May of 1994. NEC launched another system but it was only released in Japan making this a good system to hang on to if you have one around. A sealed one was recently auctioned on eBay for $750.
#2 Panasonic 3DO
Manufacturer: Panasonic, Goldstar, Sanyo
Release Date: October 3, 1993
The only system on our list manufactured by three different companies. The 3DO was a 32-bit system capable of displaying impressive 3D graphics and sound which helped push the 32-bit generation forward and ultimately put an end to the 16-bit era. Despite its favorable share of success, the initial price point of $699 was too taxing for many players. While the system comes in three versions, the FZ-1 by Panasonic is probably the most popular one, followed by Sanyo and the Goldstar version. A sealed 3D0 can fetch you $860 to the right buyer.
#1 Neo Geo
Release Date: April 1990
Let’s face it if you were a hardcore gamer then you probably owned (or wanted to own) a Neo Geo which is the only console on our list that was branded to port arcade games perfectly to your home TV. On top of it being the most powerful system of the bunch, it was also the most expensive with MVS and AES games averaging roughly between $250 – $350 each. If you have one of these bad boys tucked away neatly in your closet (as I do) I don’t need to remind you to hang onto it. A completely sealed Neo Geo was reported to have been auctioned off for over $5,500 dollars.