Money for nothing?

While many collect retro games purely to play them, there's a growing number of people who see vintage titles as an investment rather than entertainment. It's hardly surprising given that certain games are worth much more today than they were at the time of launch, and merely taking them out of their boxes could potentially result in a reduction in value.

Even so, it makes us kind of sad to think that people actually send away their games to be graded and sealed up in plastic cases, never be to opened or interacted with again. There's quite a sizeable business in retro game grading these days, with companies such as Video Game Authority and UK Graders charging a fee for inspecting, grading and encasing your treasured titles.

As you might imagine, this practice has attracted criticism from some quarters, with some even going as far as to accuse such activity as being little more than a pyramid scheme that has more to do with generating cash than preserving gaming history.

While this might seem like sour grapes over the fact that such companies are effectively preventing games from being played, YouTube user Dave Newton put the system to the test when he decided to open up a previously graded copy of Zelda II on the Game Boy Advance and re-submit it for appraisal with the same company.

As you can see, the game comes back with a higher grade than it previously had. You might assume people should be pleased about this - their games could be worth more than they expected - but it goes to show that the grading process is relatively arbitrary and by inflating value like this, it could result a rise in value which isn't actually reflective of the product itself. That means games could potentially rise in value and make collectors even more rich, making it harder for "players" to get their hands on titles; Newton could, if he so wished, put that copy of Zelda II on eBay for a higher price based on that new grading.

The real lesson from this is that these grading services don't seem to be entirely trustworthy, and therefore spending money on submitting your software to them is effectively a waste of cash - if the system can't be trusted, then why should collector's pay any attention to it? It also means that when you see a graded game for sale online, you can't be totally sure it's worth what's being asked.

Have you ever sent your games off to be graded by one of these services? What are your feelings on grading retro games? As ever, let us know what you think by posting a comment.