As great as the internet's been for buying retro video games and whatnot, there's still nothing quite like attaining it right in front of you in "real life." I love eBay as much as the next guy, but CRAIGSLIST has been unbelievable to me. After this quick Q & A I'll share four experiences I had off CL....
What is Craigslist?
Think of CL as a garage sale, right in your backyard. It's free to place FS and WTB ads. You must leave your email or number so anyone interested may contact you. There is a different CL for each state and city
How safe is Craigslist?
Here's the beauty -- since you are looking for people in your area, you arrange a meeting time and place to do the in-person exchange. This practically eliminates the possibility of being swindled. And, sometimes, the people you meet are really interesting, as you'll see with my encounters
Hmmm, I like the internet anonymity. You never know in this day and age
Of course. That's why I prefer to meet my suitors outside a PUBLIC setting in broad day light. It eliminates the chance of anything going bad...
OK, so why should I check out CL?
I'm not kidding -- on ANY given day, you could find a dis-interested gamer dumping his gaming items for next to nil! The best thing though is the possibility of RARE and very hard-to-find things on offer for cheap
Shouldn't they know the value of their old things? Thus eliminating a bargain?
That's the great thing about it! A surprisingly LARGE amount of them (in my experiences, anyhow) just want to get rid of the clutter, not really caring about receiving equal value. eBay sellers tend to be more item-savvy while CL sellers seem more content to see their old, once-beloved items sent off to a good home
Sounds good, what's the site address?
I've done about 15-20 separate transactions on CL. Here are memoirs of six of my greatest scores and stories:
0. STOP THE PRESSES! MY FIRST OFFICIAL CRAIGSLIST TRANSACTION! Saturday, March 25, 2006 -12:27 PM-
Going through my records, I've discovered my first actual Craigslist transaction actually came on this day. The reason I forgot? The guy I met on CL, he owns his own gaming store. But in reality, it was through CL that I found out about his store. He made an ad on CL Friday March 24, 2006 about liquidating his old 16-Bit games. I emailed him that very day and he responded by asking me to come to his store (about a twenty-five minute drive) on Saturday to see which SNES games he had. He said he'd give me a good deal
And so the next morning I was off on yet another trek. I remember those early days very fondly. I had just come back into all things Super Nintendo. And having a want list of HUNDREDS meant a good chance I was always going to find something. It was a peaceful spring Saturday morning. Listening to my blaring music, driving all over town to reclaim bits and pieces of my childhood...
When I arrived, I met Aaron, the guy whom I had been in email contacts with. Homeboy looked oddly familiar... I couldn't escape that feeling that I'd seen this fool somewhere else before. As I browsed his SNES offerings it suddenly hit me. I had a college class with this guy Spring 2002! In fact, we were groupmates for the final! How's that for a weird little story? It had to be destiny
He was looking at me sort of funny too. It had been four years since we seen each other. Now I remember crystal clear, I thought to myself standing there. For our final, which we had to share with the class one of our hobbies/passions (it was a rec class), I talked about my love for playing basketball. At that time my love with the game was at its peak (thanks largely to Coach Butler and 9/11). Meanwhile, Aaron shared with the class his passion for video games, which included Nintendo, Sega and as I now recall it, the Atari Jaguar
"Finding everything good?"
I asked if he remembered that class we took
"Man, I knew you looked familiar. ... Steve, wasn't it? Yeah I totally remember that class... easiest A+ of my life! How the hell ya been?"
We chewed it up for a while. So random and so crazy! Turns out Aaron's dream has always been to own his own game store, and he does. He was the manager of this little store, at just 22 years young
I brought these four to the counter. I was so excited to finally dig up KNIGHTS OF THE ROUND; my first time spotting a copy in the wild. Good memories of it, as well as Super Baseball 2020. Never did really play the SNES port of POWER INSTINCT, but I'd always wanted to as I was a bit of a fan of the arcade. Aaron gave me a good little deal. KOTR was price tagged at $8 but he gave it to me for $6. PI was $8 but he took $4. SB 2020 went for just a measly $1 (!!!) and I got Super Soccer Champ for 2 bucks. What a wild trip, all courtesy of my checking Craigslist the night before, *just* to see if I might come across any enticing SNES ads. Little did I know... I would run into an old face from my early college days, see that he was doing well and that life had been good to him, and get a nice little deal in the process. Driving home that Saturday afternoon, I rolled down the windows, blasted the music, and just digested what had just gone down. I looked at the games sitting on my passenger seat, smiling as old fond memories of playing these games crept back up to the surface. It was the perfect drive home. Those early hunting days... man, I'll never forget 'em. The feeling of excitement in the air... reclaiming my childhood.... running into old faces... good times
All in all, 4 games for $13, not bad. KOTR at the time was scarce on eBay and went for anywhere from $12 to $18 even cart only, so to get it for just six bucks... mmmm!
1. MY FIRST (SHADOW)RUN Sunday, March 26, 2006 -late afternoon to evening-
Actually my second, officially. Drove about 45 minutes to meet a guy for Shadowrun (SNES) cartridge only. It wasn't the greatest deal ($10) and the game at the time was constantly going for about $15-$20 on eBay. So why did I drive so far, when gas would come out bout even?
It was a lazy Sunday and I felt like going for a drive, hitting up the local Game Crazy's in that region, looking for more SNES games. At that time, I was just a couple months into my Super NES resurrection. There were two GC's near his place, and I knew even if I found nothing, I still had Shadowrun to come home with. Good stuff, I figured. At the second GC stop I bought Inspector Gadget (pretty hard to find) for $5.39 cash. It's not mint, but I didn't mind
Then I drove to his place to pick up Shadowrun. His house was on this lone stretch, kind of isolated from town. I was a bit paranoid at first, but that "alarm in my gut" never went off
Just normal paranoia, this being my first time and all. But it was getting dark....
As I pulled up this long stretch of road, I saw him walking from out of the driveway. He looked nothing like what I imagined, based on our phone calls. Scruffy looking fella in his early 20's. I handed him a $10 bill, he handed me Shadowrun (which was in great condition), we thanked each other and I drove away, happy to be heading home at long last. It was a scenic drive and my friend called me (see Jessie's Girl) asking what I was up to. He had used CL for computer parts in the past
"Just had my first Craigslist deal go down"
And I had no idea it would become so compelling to check daily, make some calls and get some deals done....
2. RAINING GHOULS 'N GHOSTS Friday March 31, 2006 -3 PM-
Less than one week after my first CL experience, I was back at it again. This time it was a 20 minute drive. I was going to meet Kevin for exchange of some Genesis games for $20. Based on the titles he had, it was a hell of a deal
In February 2006, I bought a Genesis to complete my 16-bit journey. I felt it was only natural, but no sooner than seven months later, I sold my Genesis and all 130 games away. I just couldn't get back into it quite like I hoped -- not like I did the SNES. The last game I sold? Ghouls 'N Ghosts -- one of the games Kevin sold me
We agreed to meet up right outside the grocery store Albertson's
He said "Look for me in the red truck"
My God. It was raining like there was no tomorrow
I found him out front. He had with him a dog. We greeted and rather than just doing an exchange and running he felt nostalgic
He told me these games were bought back when they first came out. He told me how much he loved 'em but alas it was time to move on. He picked up Ghouls 'N Ghosts specifically and said "This is one of the best games I've ever played"
It was this experience that really tuned me into what CL was all about. There are a ton of old guys out there, who still have their old games lying around in the attic somewhere. They just don't have the time or whatever to list them on eBay, so instead dump 'em on CL, looking for the 1st suitor. And not really looking for equal value either
So there I was, holding an umbrella as the rain was falling like crazy. As I handed him a twenty, he told me he was happy they were going to finally get some use
Of course, I've since sold them all. Hopefully they've gone to good homes. I find it interesting to get back stories on where a game has been. It's rare to find old games these days which have only seen ONE owner in its history
I'll always remember this because it was a great deal, sure, but it was nice to meet the people behind the games as well. It's the human element -- something you can't get through eBay
Two days later... I had my 3rd CL experience, and boy... was this one something else....
3. THE PAUL GIAMATTI EXPERIENCE Sunday, April 2, 2006 -2:25 PM-
Around this time I was going through the final stages of getting rid of some excess Saturn games I no longer played. In particular, I had about 23 or so "crappy" US games complete, in their bulky cases. Saturn fans out there reading this now KNOW there's nothing that's a bigger pain in the butt than selling crappy complete Saturn games. Because they go for real cheap anyways, and their bulky cases make it difficult to ship. It's a hassle, in a nutshell
So after my two successful CL romps, Saturday April the 1st I posted an ad trying to get rid of all those "crappy" US Saturn games I bought back in the day "just to round out the collection." Chris called me Sunday morning around 10. He and I agreed on the price of $125
That meant I would get about $5.43 per title. Factoring in that he's coming here, I don't have to spend time packaging the games, wasting money on shipping -- I was more than happy with it. I don't know why he wanted such bad games, but he was clearly a Saturn fanatic
I was waiting outside my house talking to a friend on the phone. At 2:25 he pulled up with his girlfriend. She stayed in the car while he walked up to my porch to greet me. Wow. He looked EXACTLY like the actor Paul Giamatti. I couldn't believe my eyes, he looked just like that picture there. In fact, I was almost expecting Thomas Haden Church to come popping outta the backseat going "C'MON MILES! LET'S GO FIND SOME CHICKS!"
(Giamatti's been in SIDEWAYS, LADY IN THE WATER, etc.)
"Hey Conan, I love the SEGA Saturn!"
So I had the box of 23 Saturn titles lined out for him. He was a really nice guy and as he sat down opening the cases of each one he and I chatted about the Saturn and whatnot. He asked if I had Panzer Dragoon Saga -- assuming I might be one of those ex-gamers with "gold in the attic." I told him I had it, but it wasn't for sale =p
Halfway through the process, he told me, "Wow you've kept these games in great shape." He looked like a kid in a candy store as he was opening each case, removing the disc and examining them up to the light
The 23 games were
It was nice how everything fitted perfectly in that box. I threw in some extra's for him. He asked if I had any blank cases for sale with no cracks. I had five, sold him each for a buck. So in all, I walked away with $130, a lot less clutter off my mind and just another memorable experience courtesy of CL
Before he left, I asked him if the lady was his wife. He looked at me and said with a smile "I'm hoping so." I wished him the very best and watched as he carried the box to his trunk. His girlfriend waved at me and I waved back. What nice people
Another awesome CL deal in the books. It's more than simply exchanging goods... although that is the main goal... the rest is a mere bonus if you meet a guy as nice as Paul, er, Chris
4. THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASS... MAGAZINE Sunday, July 23, 2006 -high noon-
I had several more CL transactions in-between this and Mr. Giamatti, but nothing of real note. This one, however, was simply mind-blowing
So on Saturday morning I decided to check out CL electronics. I was a lucky guy I did. Someone posted an ad they were selling their entire NINTENDO POWER magazine collection, plus a TON of old guides. The guides were not listed, but I didn't care. I called him and we arranged to meet the next day
When I arrived, his house was in the middle of being renovated
I kid you not -- it looked like the small brother version of the Hewitt house! (Texas Chainsaw Massacre)
I greeted his father, who said his son would be home any minute -- he just had to drive over from the dorms he was staying at
About 10 minutes later, he showed up. Perfectly normal-looking guy, real nice. We chatted for a while before the deal was ever brought up. His sister's 19th surprise Birthday party was later that evening he told me, and we talked about college life and all that stuff
His dad eventually comes over and says "You're here for the stuff right?"
That be me
Then he asked me something that totally caught me off guard
"You wanna come upstairs and help me bring it down?"
I preach meeting outside a public setting if you at all possibly can (i.e. Starbucks, Hollywood Video, etc.) but here I am meeting people at their houses. I can't even take my own advice!
Anyway, being the huge horror movie fan that I am, and the fact that the house looked like it could be auditioning for a horror movie, I wanted nothing to do with going inside
The moment of silence was longer in my mind than it was in reality. His son butted in two seconds after his dad asked the question
"It's OK, Dad, we can bring it down ourselves"
I'm not going to lie nor am I ashamed of it, but I was so relieved when I heard that. Even though I love CL, and this family looked nice, you just NEVER know. I had read about people meeting up on CL just to mug the other person -- it's real all right. That stuff happens ALL the time
So I waited there on the porch, examining the decaying walls, the falling foundation. Man, would Leatherface love to live here or what...
I'm still a kid at heart, so my imagination can run away with itself. [Oh really? -Ed.]. My train of horror movie thought was broken when they came out. It was a HUGE box. The son showed me everything on offer. In addition to the 50 plus NP magazines, here were the rest:
Hmmm, Jeff Rovin, I thought to myself... why does his name seem so familiar? Oh yes. He's a comic book editor and wrote one of the coolest books ever -- my dad bought me it in the early 1990s at SUNCOAST I still remember vividly to this day =)
Me and my then best friend Nelson, we loved monsters and we LOVED this book to death. To this day, I still own it, albeit in less-than-stellar condition. Hey, it's been through many battles ;-)
The book was just flippin' awesome, 400 pages of sheer goodness. A-Z listing of practically every monster known to man. I remember gawking at the old advertisements. Ahhh, there's nothing like that 1950's B-Movie look...
I love their cheesy captions!
Jeff Rovin covered 'em all. He even gave love to monsters found in stories and legends... like the BUNYIP
Haha, I used to scare my little cousins with this picture!
Man, what great times. Me and my friends (specifically Nellie) used to go through this book 100 times over, talking excitedly about which movies we had to rent at the local mom n pop shop. It was so innocent back then...
[Ummmm... wasn't this Craigslist Memoirs? -Ed.]
Ah yes! Ah-ha, I digressed. These things happen, you see
So as he showed me more, he told me these were all originally bought by him back in the day, and that it was finally time to move 'em on. My God. It was a repeat of the Ghouls 'N Ghosts guy!
I couldn't believe all the old guides he had... it blew my mind. Some I never knew existed. Here's a look inside the Player's Guide...
"OH MY GOD.... I haven't looked through this in forever. Man, you don't know how many hours of my life this game ate back in the early 90's bro. And this guide, you can see I've used it a lot. *opens a map* Look at this stuff... wow"
I smiled. "I hear you, man. I mean, this whole summer I've been in a SNES state of mind, revisiting the past and exploring games I missed out on... like this one..."
He looked at me like I had six heads
"You never played Zelda III?!"
He shook his head. "You're gonna love it. This guide will be perfect"
As he shuffled through the Zelda guide and we talked about gaming and whatnot, there was a real odd sense of wonder to the whole experience. It seemed almost surreal. Here we have two college students taking one hell of a trip back to more innocent times... and what brought these two kids together?
Finally, he put the guide down and moved to the next
He opened this one and here's a peek at what we saw inside....
We became like two kids in a toy shop! Even his father looked over and said "Oh hell yeah I remember Metroid!"
We moved on to the next...
The increasing obscurity of each passing guide just never ceased to surprise me. Here's a peek inside...
The next book....
A peek inside...
There was one final guide at the bottom... he pulled it out and yelled "WOW!"
He admired it for what seemed like an eternity
"A whole decade ago," he started. "A whole summer bro. Summer of '96... was totally devoted to this game and this guide helped me like you wouldn't believe"
"I guess you haven't played this yet, either, right?"
"You are in for a treat. Damn"
We stood there recollecting past gaming memories, and how fast the years go on by. Finally, the discussion of price came up
"I tell you what, you can have everything for twenty five bucks"
Twenty five dollas?! Talk about a SAINT!
"Wow, you're cutting me one hell of a deal, bro"
"Ah don't worry about that. I know they're going to a great home, and that's all I could ever ask for them," he smiled. "Someone who I know will love 'em as much as I once did. That's what it's all about"
I had to pinch myself. Was this really happening? What madness!
Hell! The Chrono Trigger guide, which I was looking for at the time, one ended at $40 (just the guide alone!) on eBay a few weeks earlier!
He helped me carry the two boxes to my trunk, which included the crapload of Nintendo Power magazines from their glory 16-Bit days (not shown)
We chatted for another minute, I told him to enjoy the surprise BDay party tonight. He told me to take care of the guides. It was another great CL story
I cannot begin to describe what it was like driving home that day. It wasn't just the incredible deal he gave me.... it was the sheer experience itself. You definitely can't get that through online purchasing
5. THE GREAT EGM SCORE Wednesday, May 16, 2007
This was it. The final CL transaction of my career. At this point I already secured the 1992, '93 and '94 editions of EGM, but was lacking many of their '95 issues. Randomly, on this night, I decided to browse my local CL. As luck would have it, I found a guy selling off a lot of his old EGM issues, all of which were crackin' mint and even still had the wrapper on 'em! In all, he sold me 16 issues for $29. It was more than worth it. It was actually $20, but $9 added for shipping. The dude lived more than an hour away and so I trusted him. He seemed like a good guy, though you never know, but I listened to my gut. Thankfully, it was right for a change! The power of Craigslist, I doubt I would find a deal like this on eBay
EGM's quality started to decline in 1995, but they were still a decent read. In fact, they were pretty good until about 2003 or so, in my humble opinion. At any rate, I bought this lot mainly for the '95 issues, but the '94 mint doubles I won't complain with either!
I've had a handful more transactions courtesy of CL, but none were quite as riveting or noteworthy as these tales
Having most of what I want, I no longer check CL. But I'll never forget the great experiences I've had thanks to Craigslist. I've been more than lucky. Looking back at my experiences, I've met gracious ex-gamers, enthusiastic collectors still knee-deep in the game and even ran into an old college buddy of mine... freaking insane. CL is unlike eBay or any other online store, and it's definitely worth keeping a keen eye on
In closing, check out your local CL today. You just never know when the next great deal might take place... hell...