Retro Games
Image: Nintendo Life

The way we play and consume classic video games has become a hot topic of late, thanks largely to some rather shady practices being employed by collectors to boost the value of certain titles.

While some people are keen to increase the value of their collection while it sits on the shelf, those of us who simply want to play and enjoy video games are losing out – because, in a lot of cases, the reason retro games are worth so much is down to the fact that there's literally no other means of playing a certain game other than in its original form.

VGC posed this question to PlatinumGames' Hideki Kamiya, an avid retro gamer and collector. He says that he understands the appeal of getting a particular physical title in the best possible condition, but laments that people who simply want to play games are often missing out:

As a collector myself, I understand the lure of wanting to have that game in the sealed package. People want the value of that package and not necessarily of the game itself. But as a fan, it’s a problem if somebody wants to play a game but they can’t get it because it’s being traded in these ridiculous marketplaces.

He had particularly stern words to say about those companies which own the IP to certain desirable games but don't make them available digitally at a reasonable price:

And the responsibility for keeping those games available belongs to the company that owns the IP. If people want to play a classic game and they can’t, because it’s not available on new platforms and can’t be found in its original form either, that’s like a threat… it’s holding game culture back. The people who own the rights to these games should be actively making moves to preserve game culture and making games available to everyone who wants to play them.

Ironically, Nintendo – one of Platinum's most regular clients – is particularly bad at this. Take Metroid Fusion as an example; with Metroid Dread on the way, interest in the series has gone through the roof and loose cartridges are now fetching handsome prices online, mainly because it's not (currently) possible to play the game on Nintendo's most recent system, the Switch (it is, however, available on the Wii U Virtual Console).

There are numerous other first-party Nintendo games that are effectively "out of print" right now. Nintendo's strategy is usually to re-release or remaster these games and sell them at a premium price (as it did with Zelda: Skyward Sword HD and Super Mario 3D All-Stars), but this often means that there's no way to play classic Nintendo titles unless you either stump up the cash to buy the original hardware and the game, or you emulate them on a PC or other platform – especially as the Virtual Console is no longer a thing on Switch and has been replaced by Nintendo Switch Online, which currently offers a rather uneven selection of classic SNES and NES games via a paid subscription.