The pandemic-induced collectibles boom has made the retro gaming hobby a lot more competitive and expensive than it used to be. As a result, game companies and retailers have clearly taken notice. Nintendo recently debuted its own classic games library as part of the new Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack. Further, we’ve spotted an unprecedented number of Black Friday retro gaming deals this holiday shopping season.
Given the widespread availability of ROMs and high-quality emulation software nowadays, paying $49.99 per year for a Nintendo Switch Online subscription with the Expansion Pack add-on (or $79.99 per year for a family plan) feels a little bit redundant. It’s especially frustrating for many when there are currently only nine Nintendo 64 games and 14 Sega Genesis games to choose from. If you aren’t willing to pay a monthly fee for archaic games you probably owned at some point, there are plenty of other wallet-conscious ways to revisit those foundational titles that made you the gamer you are today.
Top Retro Gaming Deals from Black Friday 2021
- MarioRetro Controller Bundle for SNES, NES, PC, Raspberry Pi — Sale Price: $21.52 | Reg. Price: $25.99
- Nintendo Entertainment System Classic Mini Controller — Sale Price: $34.99 | Reg. Price: $65
- SEGA Genesis Classics (PS4) — Sale Price: $27.99 | Reg. Price: $29.99
- SEGA Genesis Mini — Sale Price: $205.78 | Reg. Price: $325.13
- SEGA Dreamcast (Renewed) — Sale Price: $209.99 | Reg. Price: $219.89
- SEGA Dreamcast Memory Unit, 128K — Sale Price: $13.60 | Reg. Price: $14.99
- HDMI Cable for the SEGA Genesis, SEGA CD, SEGA CDX, SEGA Nomad — Sale Price: $29.99 | Reg. Price: $34.99
- SEGA Dreamcast to HDMI Converter — Sale Price: $19.99 | Reg. Price: $22.99
- NEOGEO Mini International — Sale Price: $88.99 | Reg. Price: $109
- Atari Flashback 8 Gold Deluxe — Sale Price: $125.35 | Reg. Price: $188.02
- Atari Flashback Classics Collection Volume One (Xbox One) — Sale Price: $26.57 | Reg. Price: $29.99
- Bubble Bobble Micro Arcade Machine — Sale Price: $29.99 | Reg. Price: $39.99
- CICYSTORE Retro Game Console with 818 Retro Video Games — Sale Price: $40.99 | Reg. Price: $59.99
- RetroPie SD Card with 14,000 Preloaded Games for Raspberry Pi 4 & 400 — Sale Price: $49.93 | Reg. Price: $59.93
- LED Arcade Controller Parts Kit for Mame PC + Raspberry Pi — Sale Price: $27.99 | Reg. Price: $39.99
Affordable Retro Gaming Alternatives
If you’ve been waiting for a good deal before you dive back into the beloved games of yesteryear, Black Friday is a great time to save on legacy consoles and retro game compilations – if they’re available in retail stores. This emergent retro gaming boom may eventually lead to a wider selection of older games and accessories online and in stores, but some old-school titles can only be acquired through these “old-school methods.”
- Try your luck on the resale market. By definition, most “retro” discs and cartridges are long out of print and only available in used condition. While you might get lucky scouting local yard sales, there’s an even wider selection of vintage games circulating resale markets such as eBay and Facebook Marketplace. It’s easy to get excited the moment you spot a gently used copy of EarthBound, but don’t forget to do your research and use your best judgment. You don’t want to pay more than the game is worth or end up with a useless, expensive bootleg. Before you begin searching for a certain game or console, refer to price-tracking websites like PriceCharting and GameValueNow to find reputable sellers and get an idea of how much you should expect to pay.
- You can modify existing consoles. With a little bit of solder and know-how, many retro video game consoles can be jailbroken and modified to support extra titles, improve undesirable “old-school” features (who wants to relive trying to play a GameBoy in the dark?) and connect to modern displays. If you aren’t sure where to begin, look no further than the Slickdeals community — on a Deal Thread advertising a $20 PlayStation Classic console, Slickdealer TheBigDogz shared a handy jailbreak guide.
- Using your PC or another console as an emulator. The legality of emulation has always been a hot topic of debate among fans, developers and video game companies. Luckily, Nintendo’s curious new interest in reviving its old catalog is undoubtedly related to the breadth of easy, accessible emulation options available nowadays. There are still thousands of classic arcade, Nintendo, PlayStation and SEGA games that have yet to receive a rerelease or remaster — as it stands, emulation might be the only way to play these titles. While we don’t advocate breaking the law, know that it is not illegal to emulate copies of ROMs that you’ve already purchased, even if it was a few decades back.
If you haven’t seen any good discounts on your legacy console of choice, give it time – and set a Deal Alert, of course. When we see a deal within your price point, we’ll notify you right away.
More to consider: