A "collectible" computer game is a Golden Age (1979 - 1992) game that is more valuable than the average game that can be purchased in the store today.  GOTCHA does not presume to determine prices for classic games; instead "value" is used here as a measurement of desirability for classic gaming enthusiasts.  Game value will constantly fluctuate based upon the whims of collectors; however, a classic game generally will have greater value if it meets one of these criteria:

1)    It is a great game.  A great game is like a great work of art.  Veteran gamers still remember and desire these games.  Future generations will learn about them as classics.
2)    It is a rare game.  More people start collecting computer games every day.  As more people become involved, less classic games will be available for the others. Therefore the games that were produced in lower quantities or with low survival rates are often highly sought after.  Just like any business, there is a law of supply and demand that can raise a game’s value.  Keep in mind that not all rare games are valuable.  If a game was not a great game (see #1) it may have been "rare" for a good reason...nobody wanted it.  If that is the case, it still may be unwanted.
3)    It is a particularly old game.  In computer gaming terms, anything from 1983 or earlier fits this category.  Old games are generally desirable because they were often produced in lower quantities and have lower survival rates (see #2).  While many of them may not be great (see #1) by today's standards, they are often groundbreaking and therefore deserve recognition.  Much like Edison's original films, they have historical value if not artistic value.  Old games are not necessarily rare.  For example, 1979's Star Raiders is still readily available, mostly because it was a great game and very popular.  It also came in cartridge format and durable packaging, which gives it a very good survival rate.
4)    It is in good condition.  A game's condition probably has the most profound effect on its value.  See GOTCHA's Conditions page for the various grades.  Obviously, the better the condition, the more valuable the game.  However, condition alone can't make a game collectible.  Condition is a modifier of value on an already collectible game.

Of course, the most valuable games meet all four criteria above.

It goes without saying that all of the GOTCHA nominees (especially the winners) are considered valuable collectibles.  These are all great games.  Anything produced in the Golden Age by any of the featured Developers or Publishers are also worthy collectibles. These are often great games, but even when they aren't, they come from great sources, which are the closest thing the gaming industry has to stars.  Beyond that, GOTCHA considers the items listed in this (Collectibles) section the most collectible pieces in its museum.

Most of the games found in this section of the GOTCHA Museum were obtained for the specific purpose of archival.  These games are usually in Very Good (VG) to Sealed condition and have historical significance to a collector:  EA flat boxes, early Ultima series, other collectable games, and miscellaneous items (such as betas, magazines, hint books, knick-knacks, etc.) that may or may not be of interest to the collector/historian.  All games listed in the GOTCHA Museum are originals (not pirated copies).  

Please see the Conditions page for a list of "Condition" abbreviations and their meanings.  Also, in 1999, GOTCHA became the first ever "Shareware Web Site."   If you find yourself using this site regularly, please send GOTCHA a game currently on the Want List or its equivalent value in cash.  For the record, I am disappointed with the current level of participation in this ground-breaking venture :-) 

These pages were generated from a database used to track the GOTCHA Museum archives.  For the sake of space and time, I haven't included all the pertinent information here.  Information currently not included (but may be included in the future):  rating, developer, and picture.

Recently, I received several letters from a reader who calls himself "Number 5."  Number 5 keeps requesting "more input."  Well, for Number 5 and anyone else interested, you can read this article on 10 innovative games that changed history.  Also, be sure to check out my CNET Radio interview on the same article.  You'll need RealAudio to hear it, and the file is about 1.2 MB.  Both items are copyright CNET, Inc.  While you're at it, please see my articles on PC Game Collecting, Gaming's Triumphs and Tragedies and the many reviews I've listed in my Gaming Dossier.  As for Number 5, thanks for the last letter... I hope Ally Sheedy and Steve Guttenberg had a great time at the El DeBarge concert and have gotten back safely.  Stay in touch!


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