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Games Entertainment

Where Do You Get The Games? 133

rafemonkey writes: "After nearly ten years, sysadmining has finally broken me. It's not the computers or the long hours, it's the freakin' users ... But, that's beside the point. In looking for an escape route, I settled on the idea of opening a used/classic video game shop. I'm fairly comfortable with busines plans, taxes and all the "mechanical" things, but the big question is: How do you get your inventory to start? Are there places you can get a bulk order of atari 5200 carts? Are there suppliers in japan who will wholesale you the really cool stuff? Or do I have to spend the next six months at conventions and lurking on eBay? TIA!"
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Where Do You Get The Games?

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  • Go out and get yourself Spy Hunter, the big huge arcade game. Oh yes, that was the stuff! Minutes of fun (until I crashed in a flaming wreckage)
  • Most used game stores I've come across are chains. You can probably get started the franchise route a lot faster than starting it yourself.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Since he realized it's hypocritical of him to criticize Sony's copyright policies while still patronizing them.

    Oh yeah, he's got a stack of Who CD's to get rid of too.
  • by Ryan Koppenhaver ( 322154 ) on Tuesday March 06, 2001 @11:24AM (#380599) Homepage
    ..we steal our games. Why bother buying them when you can steal the ROMs online? After all, copyright law is evil when it gets in the way of us getting free stuff.

    I'm afraid your business model doesn't take into account the fact that people who are interested in your product are terrible thieves.
  • I've been dying to find a classic video game store that I can reliably order games and systems from. I don't like the idea of ordering on E-bay because of some previous experiences and forget about finding this stuff locally. I'm all over this when ever it finally goes live.

  •, oh and you'll need a CD writer too.

    Hope this helps

  • and I was looking to go into sysadmining because I can't take the lusers I have to help doing technical support.
  • by numb ( 241932 )
    Get me Great Giana Sisters on 5,25" for C64, and ill buy it from you ;) Just to get you a good start.
  • Where you get everything vintage, of course: Value Village.

    I've often seen piles of Atari 2600 cartridges in there, the odd Coleco, a few C64s, etc.

  • Unless you are going to be running a little kiosk or whatever using EBAY as a platform you are fuck'd, my friend.

    The overhead starting this up, anywhere in meatspace where people will come and buy the stuff, is staggering.

    That is why most games for "leet people" e.g. classic cult favorite games etc. get sold on the Net.

    Niche market.

    If you are selling the latest thing, then you have to compete with Best Buy.

    I wish you the best of luck, though. Perhaps you can find a meatspace location where the little kids down the street have industrious, thrifty parents who have not yet upgraded from their SNES and Atari systems, and thus are looking for games for them.

    Otherwise your market's folks who would be looking on the Net for convenience's sake in the first place. and they havent the overhead so their prices are lower too.

  • I would say your best best is to go to flea markets and garage sales and the like. It would probably take a little while, but you could get carts there for a low enough price to actually have a little margin.

    Also, long long ago when I worked at Gamestop we would occassionally have huge sales on used games just to clear inventory (usually after two or three kids came in with every Nintendo game ever made wanting to trade them for a new Playstation or something). You could pick up a LOT of really good games like that for well below market value there, too.

  • Dude, you want to open a business, but you don't have the first idea about how to start it? Why are you asking Slashdot? If we knew, or if it was easy to do, we'd do the same thing, and probably put you out of business. You see, the idea of a business is that you're offering goods or services that people don't or can't or don't know how to acquire for a dollar amount. If everybody knew where to get old games cheap, then guess what... you wouldn't have a business. Sorry. You can't Open Source business.

  • This site [] is a place i have come across somehow. It sells all kinds of weird old stuff. Atari carts and t-shirts and things like that included, all in bulk! It may be the answer you were looking for.
  • by mashy ( 135839 ) on Tuesday March 06, 2001 @11:29AM (#380609)
    this [] slashdot article was about a guy with millions of Atari games.
    maybe if you still hurry, you can buy them all out and resell them :P
  • The only things that I've seen out there that might be easily available are old arcade machines. A lot of game distributors, especially small ones, still keep them on hand, and are often willing to sell you older ones that they'll never bring to a bar or wherever for a song.

    For various cartridges, consoles, etc., there should be some large liquidators who have purchased those in the past and might have some on hand. Maybe you could contact the companies (if they still exist) to see if their sales records of old inventory are public.

    Wish I could help more than that, but I think that you've got an incredible idea, and I'd be the first in line with a checkbook to invest.

  • wait until you meet retail customers. Seriously, as a survivor of the retail business (3 looong years as a salesman and front-line face-to-face tech support), I'm here to tell you: You Ain't Seen Nothing, Yet (tm)!

    Well, good luck, cuz you're gonna need it. I just wish I could see the look on your face when you have to answer the question for the seventh time in the same day (NO! C64's DON'T run if you snap off the cartridge inside the computer), and realize that users actually aren't that bad :-)

  • The only things that I've seen out there that might be easily available are old arcade machines. A lot of game distributors, especially small ones, still keep them on hand, and are often willing to sell you older ones that they'll never bring to a bar or wherever for a song.

    For various cartridges, consoles, etc., there should be some large liquidators who have purchased those in the past and might have some on hand. Maybe you could contact the companies (if they still exist) to see if their sales records of old inventory are public.

    Wish I could help more than that, but I think that you've got an incredible idea, and I'd be the first in line with a checkbook to invest.

  • by bitchx ( 322767 ) on Tuesday March 06, 2001 @11:31AM (#380613)
    You'd be surprised the kind of stuff you can get from 363 bankrupcy sales. In addition to raiding your local urban center's weekly used junk sale (chelsea in NYC on Sundays has a wealth of sometimes valuable 2600 carts marked cheap) and scouring ebay/yahoo/whatever for mediumsized bulk auctions, check the fililings in the Deleware Bankrupcy Couty [] to see if any largish game retailers or manufactures go under. If they do, you can take the whole old inventory off them at the cheap.

    Additionally, if you offered people 1 NQA for their old games, I imagine you would get hundreds of takers. Some of the games you get in might actually be saleable.

  • by Bonker ( 243350 ) on Tuesday March 06, 2001 @11:31AM (#380614)
    The problem with owning and operating a classic-gaming shop is not going to be getting the games, I think, but competing with some of the very, very good game emulators out there.

    For example, I own an old Nintendo (Famicom) machine that I have kept in working order since childhood. Despite that fact, I play any Nintendo games I want to on Nesticle. Mario 3? Despite the fact that the Mario All-stars SNES (Supa Famicom) cartridge sits *on* my desk, I will load up SNES9x and play it, Zelda 3, Mario-Kart and all the other really great SNES games with my keyboard.

    Older games, especially arcade boxes, have fallen into a kind of legal swamp because they're not really public domain but are treated that way anyway. They're even more easy to come by. Dozens, if not hundreds of really good Mame Rom sites exist on the net right now. They're very rarely shut down, SFAIK. YOu can get even more on Usenet, IRC, and Hotline. Build-Your-Own upright Mame box instructions have been posted to /. in the past.

    Atari 2600-5200, NEC, and various other emulators are floating around out there. Considering the average speed and power of modern computers, they run the emulators easily while MP3's download in the background.

    If you're going to sell Classic Games, I reccomend that you cater to collectors and arcades, people who are interested in *having* rather than *playing*. Otherwise, you're going to have a very hard time.
  • You can always try otherwise, I do not know the legality of this, but couldn't you build an upright Mame box? Here is a link to an example, Like I said I do not know the legal issues that might be behind a Mame upright.
  • Well bad news is that all the real good stuff is at the local computer flea market. Good news is that there are some great finds.

    Ebay is the place to get your price check, just use your pda and compare. That will tell you when you are overpaying


    spambait e-mail
    my web site hip-hop news
    please help me make it better
  • This was posted on /. a while ago, this guy [] has millions of old atari games for sale at a buck apiece in quantity. Get in contact with him.

    Note that he also sells those styling oldskool orange Atari shirts. nice.

  • by MongooseCN ( 139203 ) on Tuesday March 06, 2001 @11:34AM (#380618) Homepage

    If you're worried about where you are going to get your product to sell and don't have any reliable source to get the product from, then this probably isn't a safe business. As far as I know no one makes Atari carts anymore so you are not going to be garaunteed a source of atari carts from anyone. What happens in the middle of your business when you run out of carts?

    Right now there is a limited set of cartriges out in the world. Everytime someone breaks one, looses one, stuffs one in the attic, the supply goes down, and down is the only direction the supply will ever go in. So the longer your business stays up, the harder it will be to get cartriges.

    You could make your own cartriges if you had the right hardware, but who knows what kind of legal implications this will get you into. Companies are not making these catriges anymore, yet they still feel the need that they should get money for their sales.

  • selling something you don't have

    You need to start with supliers and the supplies. then you can calculate your prices. and you need do some market research to find out if people will buy it.
    then you make a businessplan
    no the other way around
  • by LaNMaN2000 ( 173615 ) on Tuesday March 06, 2001 @11:37AM (#380620) Homepage
    On Ebay and other online auction sites, it seems there is only a market for old games that are rare or were only produced in limited quantities. Since people can download an emulator and roms to play most of the old games, there is no reason for them to keep an old atari hanging around. Also, they can download the roms for free.

    If you want to be profitable, you should try to obtain an inventory of only games that are collectors' items, and and old videogame memrobilia you can find. That's the stuff (along with old full-size game machines) that sells.

  • I remember reading an article in wired. This past year about a guy who but all of atari's old backstock of 2600 games. He has a big wherehouse and sells lot of weird things that he bought in bulk. I am sure that if you go to the library and look in the past articles you may find the info.

    I am sure someone out there knows the link.

    Also with the emu scene so strong do you think you really have a viable buisness plan.
  • Wow, you have seriously burned out if that is your plan. I mean, I've sometimes thought about chucking it all and becoming a movie projectionist but at least I wouldn't lose my shirt doing that. You should think seriously about whether there is a sustainable business doing this.
  • by cancrman ( 24472 ) on Tuesday March 06, 2001 @11:39AM (#380623) Homepage
    If you want to stay in business for more than a month or two, I would suggest you focus your inventory on the newer systems as this is where 95% of the market is right now. PS2, DC, N64 are where its at. Or at least where the money is at right now. If you deal with systems like this you have the advantage of high demand and relatively low prices for inventory. Before everyone starts screaming at me, let me explain...

    If you are a brick and mortar operation that buys stuff from folks who walk in, then you know that you'll be paying them probably 20% of what its worth (Don't agree with me? Try selling anything to funcoland or a used CD store). Plus there will be plenty of kids showing up with a pile of newer RPGs that they beat in a week who just want anything they can get for them. These are the same kids who want to buy the newer stuff, not the 5200 carts.

    Not that their isn't a market for the older stuff. Its just that you need to realize that the vintage games will be a small percentage of your business. In reality, if you want to move rarer items (original Tengen Tetris for NES for example) you will probably have to sell on eBay to get the price you want. That is the reality of the Niche business.

    Basically what I'm saying is that the bulk of your inventory (and $$$) will be tied up with the newer stuff. So don't worry about combing conventions for copies of Yar's Revenge with the missprinted label (no, I don't know if this exists)

    For what its worth.

  • I wish I hadn't thrown away the 7 Robotron carts for the Vic 20 I had. I would have given them to you.

    The guy I got them from would only sell me one if I agreed to take them all........

  • by Aggrazel ( 13616 ) <> on Tuesday March 06, 2001 @11:40AM (#380625) Journal
    I hear there's a place in New Mexico that has a horde of Atari games.

    Of course... you'd have to bring a shovel....
  • O'Shea [] has a bunch of Atari stuff--they bought all the remaining inventory when Atari sold out a few years back (see related Slashdot article []). I'm sure they'll cut you a wholesale deal.

    Used Video Games [], Video Game Liquidators []...many of these places also do auctions on eBay []; often you can contact them directly and get better deals than you would get from bidding, but the auctions themselves are a good way to find the wholesalers and their websites/contact info. Good luck!

  • Try garage sales and yard sales.

    Also, there's about 10 million ET cartridges buried somewhere in southern california, look for a landfill shaped like that pile of dirt in Close Encounters ;-)


  • However, you have to be in a area with a interest in retro gaming (or lots of geeks...:). You can get (used) games often times at garage sales or flea markets; new games, usually, are rarer, and you really have to either be lucky, or go to eBay or something like that. Also, some advice, (not requested, I know) Funcoland doesn't follow this.....don't screw your customers. *ahem* I had some bad economic experiences with them. (warning, ramblings continue) Also, put up a website. (but you probably know that already) Alot of people would LOVE a reliable retro gaming site. (I know this gamer would :)
  • Dude, you want to open a business, but you don't have the first idea about how to start it? Why are you asking Slashdot? If we knew, or if it was easy to do, we'd do the same thing, and probably put you out of business.
    He's asking Slashdot because there are smart peope who visit the site and contribute positively to it, unlike some, DUDE. Why would you assume that nobody within the Slashdot community hasn't opened their own business anyway? With a positive attitude like yours, the ability to type like you speak and the unwillingness to take a risk, I'm surprised we haven't yet seen you on the cover of Fortune Magazine.
  • Chill. See the problem with this logic is that not everyone in the world is up for opening their own business. I might know where to get these cheap old games, but I don't care to do all that work to bring it to fruition. Any good business idea requires the input of many people, not just one. In this case /. was chosen for the information. And if you want to compete with this plan, go for it. It's the beauty of capitalism. May the best man win.

  • I agree. However, if there were a place where people could go to play a wide variety of vintage games (for a pittance), while drinking beer and listening to music, I think it might be quite successful. I know my wife would be dragging me out of there on a regular basis.
  • by daveym ( 258550 ) on Tuesday March 06, 2001 @11:48AM (#380632)
    Since it seems that actually generating income from all of these classic games is going to be very difficult, why not re-direct your efforts (part-time, even) towards acquiring a complete "game-museum". Think how cool that would be--every single home gaming system ever made in one place, with every single title!

    Not only could visitors learn about the history of notable systems and games, but they could *play anything*! I don't know about you, but I would definitely pay 10 bucks to spend a day at such a place. Now, start-up costs would be high, but maybe you could get official help from the games companies. Tracking down some of the older, more obscure stuff could be difficult. But if you love games enough, you could pull it off, with fantastic results...
  • I agree, I think you might have something here. I would love a place to get rid of the old game that I have hanging around. Pick up or trade for something different. Keep us posted if you get this going!
  • Las Vegas usually holds various conventions/expos for merchants looking for merchandise to sell. People with large warehouses of goods usually go there to display their 'wares'. Incidentally, Las Vegas also publishes a huge tome of a directory with the names, phone numbers, addresses of those various dealers. The stuff you can get at bulk prices range from party novelty stuff to video games to pr0n tapes. For starters, look up the publication "Trade News".
  • I require M.U.L.E., Paradroid and Impossible Mission (Another visitor...)

    10 years ago I used to play these games while eating spaghetti... Now, I can't eat spaghetti without thinking of them. I also, tend to start salivating when the doorbell rings, but that's because I'm hoping it's Natalie P()rtman.



  • by ebh ( 116526 ) <edhorch&gmail,com> on Tuesday March 06, 2001 @11:57AM (#380636) Journal
    I'd be scared to death to open a franchise like this. We had a FuncoLand not far from us where I got all sorts of cool games, but the store is gone now. And look where their web site [] takes you. Good luck finding any more bricks or mortar.

    If I were going to do this sort of thing, I'd have two parts. The first would be an exchange for used modern games, sort of like FuncoLand was. The second would be the classic stuff including REAL(tm) arcade video games and pinball machines.

    The problem is whether there'd be enough time left over from running the store to do all the dealing and tinkering necessary for the arcade inventory. Oh, and if it were me, I'd go for premium-price, mint-condition games, instead of the $250 barely-works variety.

    It still amazes me how man Ms. Pac Man, Galaxian, Centipede, etc., arcade games are still around.

  • by wunderhorn1 ( 114559 ) on Tuesday March 06, 2001 @11:58AM (#380637)
    The only problem with being a franchise owner is that you are accountable to the corporate PHBs and generally have to conform to their business plans.

    I'm not sure how profitable a "classic games" shop would be. Maybe if he was in the right area (Si Valley) or if he combined his brick+mortar with a web and/or catalog business?

  • I like the idea of selling out the oldies.
    But what i really would like is to get the games in a some what decent condition.

    Clean up the games and machines (who likes buying anything covered in 2 inches of dust). Try to get original copies of the boxes (make duplicates or replicas) even replicate the goofy promotions that obviously are outdated.
    Sure it might be a little bit more expensive, but as a somewhat game collector thats what i buy the game for... The box and the manual.
  • In January, there was a story [] about a guy who at one point had 1 million Atari 2600 and 7800 games stored underground. He was selling them for about a buck each and he was even willing to help people locate the hardware to play them.
  • They use front page. I double dog dare someone to change their page to "All your bases are belong to us".
  • There are a few classic games that peple want, and would like legally. You could get into a niche by legally buying the rights to make copies of those classic games in the old formats. (of course paying a royalty, perhaps right to copy all their old games, and for every 10,000 in advance)

    Don't expect to get rights to put a atari cartrage on a disk, but you can at least copy the cartrage (easy to do if you can find those old chips anymore). I would think that a compitent hardware designer could modify stella to read from the cartrage given an adaptor you design and sell. Of course you have to do more work this way, but I think if you can make it work it is more likely to be a viable business model. (And if you have that cartrage adaptor let me know, I want one!)

  • What can be better than "All your base are belong to us!"
    if you don't know what i mean, here's a link: []
  • I spent some time lurking around in stores like GoodWill (a second hand donation store here in PA) and I found that stuff like video games sell for darn cheap. Firstly, the stores don't know the value. Secondly, they usually don't test the cartridges or equipment. So if you can by a pile of cartridges for $10, test them, then offer a place where ppl who are specifically looking for games can go to get them, then you should be in business. Usually, ppl don't go to second hand stores for games, especially if they are looking for specific games. It would just take too long to find what they are looking for.
  • I wouldn't bother... people just go online for that kind of stuff nowadays. The exception might be funcoland but remember they carry semi-recent stuff. *Especially* the kind of dorks who would want ancient video games as collector items and not the "latest and greatest" Maybe you could open up an internet shop.. that way no maintaining a storefront, etc.
  • The old-technology (or "classic") used video game store is a great business to get into because there is never a shortage of inventory available from bankruptcy and going-out-of-business sales. Heck, you can probably get a whole business, with merchandise already on shelves, at a suicide estate auction.

    As far as I know, they had a wharehouse full of Atari games (2600, 5200, 7200) going for around a buck a piece.

    They don't have a "classic" like Ninja Golf anymore, but it shoudl be a good start.
  • by scott1853 ( 194884 ) on Tuesday March 06, 2001 @12:09PM (#380647)
    Another small site gets /.ed again. How bout' a new poll:

    Average number of articles per day that you cannot discuss because the referenced site has been taken down?





    OR how bout:

    Average time it takes to post a message because /. is so overloaded?

    30 seconds

    1-4 minutes

    5+ minutes

    Never been able to actually get a post to go through


    In any case, my opinions are ignored anyways. Gotta love that moderation system. Only allow the Karma whores to moderate. That's akin to putting an oil cartel in charge of the EPA.

  • by Robotech_Master ( 14247 ) on Tuesday March 06, 2001 @12:09PM (#380648) Homepage Journal
    I've considered submitting this as an Ask Slashdot, but I doubt it would be approved, and here comes a topic that's almost perfect for discussing it anyway . . .

    What about the rent-a-computer-lab?

    A few blocks from me, sitting in the top floor of an old house which also houses an ISP, is a place called Springfield Powergames--sort of an Internet cafe without the cafe, a rent-time-on-a-computer center that offered a high-speed LAN and high-speed Internet connection with about 20 networked computers, for the purpose of playing first-person shooters or other network games against each other and/or other folks on-line.

    It just went out of business. Apparently the older hardware it offered couldn't compete with the cablemodem and DSL connections rolling out here in Springfield.

    Is there any market left for such a place? How would one make it profitable, what with the high cost of computer hardware and the ease of getting together in one's own home instead? There is something fun about playing in person--being able to hear the other guy swearing when you take his head off with a railgun--but how do you draw people out of their cablemodem-equipped homes and pay the bills at the same time?

  • More like:
    "Someone set us up the credit card debt!"
    "Judge Turn on."
    "Goodevening, paupers."
    "All your hard assets are belong to bank."
    "You have no change to mortgage, make your time."
  • There already is a place like that and its quite a successful chain with locations in Ft Lauderdale, DC, Chicago and others. Its called Dave and Busters. In my opnion however we could use a whole hella lot more of em.
  • by Golias ( 176380 ) on Tuesday March 06, 2001 @12:11PM (#380651)
    That post was probably just meant to be humorous, nostalgic, or an fp attempt, but he has a point.

    If you have not bought at least a game or two for yourself, you probably don't know the market as well as the people who have been collecting these games for a couple years.

    So the answer to your question is: Yes. Spend a few months getting into the game collector scene via eBay and other trading resources, as a hobbiest. After a few months of doing so, you might learn that there are reasons why nobody else has gotten rich doing this yet... or you might realize that it's a rich gold mine that few know about... or you might find a way to enter the business in a way that has not already been tried.

    In short, know the market first, then think about entering it.

    In the mean time, there might be something that you already know a lot about which you can use to start a business. Look at the guys at ThinkGeek. They turned a fondness for pithy little geek sig files into their own little T-shirt and bumper-sticker empire.

  • A friend of mine had an idea like this a while back and never went through with it. His house is stacked full of old Atari, Nintendo, Sega, Coleco, and even a few Jaguar games. He's bought a bit off of Ebay, but most of those have been because he personally wanted them. The rest came from flea markets, yard sales, etc. He's bought boxes full of games, 100+ Atari games for $5 one time. He's found some classic handheld games.. unopened Final Fantasy, etc at yard sales. If you're wanting to do this, you're gonna have to do some digging. Look around for yard sale signs and get there early, go out to the farmer's market (or whatever) on weekends. Most of the time, the people selling the stuff have no clue what they have, and will get rid of it dirt cheap. On a good day, $100 should bring you home a car load. :)
  • M.U.L.E.!!! Now THAT was a game!!!!!

    Remember F-16 Combat Pilot? ohhh, the flashbacks!
  • Remember this article []? Just write Saddam an email and ask him what he's doing with all the left-over games after he puts the PS2's interials into his SCUD missiles ;)
  • Starland has a store in the Northern Virginia area that I've been to a few times. They buy, sell, and repair just about anything video-game related -- Atari 2600, 5200, Colecovision, Sega Master System, Genesis, 32X, Saturn, Dreamcast, Nintendo, Super Nintendo, Nintendo 64, Gameboy, Virtual Boy, neogeo, Playstation, PS2, etc. and imports. They run not only a brick-and-mortar shop, but also a website, which you can check out here []. The guys that run the store are genuinely nice, and assuming you don't want to set up shop next door, might be able to provide you with some more specific direction....
  • Why don't you try this [] for starters. What would you do with 1,000,000 Atari games? It was an article Slashdot had out a while ago.
  • I disagree somewhat. If an arcade has some of the classic games IN GOOD CONDITION, it is a very different experience from playing it on a PC. The problem I find now adays is that most of the games out there are either first person shooters, fighting games, some tetris-like knock off, or a driving game. None of which I'm realy interested in playing.

    I think that we are suffering from the cheap materials/expensive labor problem. CPUs are fast and cheap, but programmers are expensive. Instead of hand-coded assembly platform games, we have higher level games that more or less look like they are done with the same engine. Just change the graphics and a little code to add new fighters into an already full genre.

    Sorry to stray so far off. Long story short, I think that classic games have something to offer that you can't get on a PC. Then there are the pinball machines...

  • The Dave and Buster's near me only has contemporary video games. If they had Space Harrier or Stargate, my take-home pay would no longer make it all the way home! ;)
  • There is a whole market out there of companies who deal in used and recycled electronics. Most of these Companies (like the one I work for) specialize in the ICs that are contained in electronics and resell them, very old electronics such ass apple classics and old video game consoles, these really have no component value and are recycled for plastics and metals. What I would do is get ahold of these companies and have them keep an eye out for you when these things come in. I'm sure most of them would sell them for next to nothing if you are a long term buyer (aka not looking for just one unit). Unfortunitly I don't have any now or I would offer them to you.(also I do not want to post my e-mail or company because I am afraid the number of calls I get looking for one unit) My other point to make is that you would almost have to offer these online to make money, your question looks like you were opening a store front only but I could be mistaken, unless you live in a very large city I doupt sales would be enough to stay open.... plus a website would give you a place to let sellers know you would be interested in buying these items. It would be lots of work but I belive it is feasable, I wish you the best of luck.
  • pederast n. A man who has a sexual relationship with a boy.

    ain't grand? ;-)
    I think....therefore I am
  • For some reason, they posted this one and rejected my very similar submission, which went:

    "Hi, I would like to make lots of money running my own business (maybe with something fun and `geeky' like games, so I can enjoy myself and become more popular with my adopted community as I make my fortune), but don't know how. Would you thousands of slashdot readers please all get together and spend your own unpaid time and effort to figure out how to make me rich?"
  • There are several versions of M.U.L.E. in various stages of development and many pages dedicated to it. I've yet to find something that plays the same tho (particularly without crashing.)

    I hacked M.U.L.E. on my 64 so it would play past the 12th month and amazingly saw economic cycles manifest themselves. The original designers put more into the game than met the eye, my guess is Electronic Arts had them limit it to 12 months. Whoever decided that, it was really sad. The game really gets going about month 18.


  • I would say that the demise of trading used games and collecting hard to find video games vie FuncoLand was FuncoLand's problem, not the used game industry in general. I used to work there, and how shall I say this... it sucked. It was shady and those in charge of the stores were not very bright to begin with or even had a clue about gaming. That's where it went wrong.

    But to answer the guy's question: I have a couple dozen Atari 7800 games, SuperNES, and a bunch of old computer games on CD (and 5.25 floppy!) if you're interested. ;)

  • Im a developer for a company that creates software for retail companies. Although I dont have a whole lot of info on where you can find your vendors, I can suggest you go take a look at Its the nation retail federations website. You can order books on vendors that work well with small companies. You should find a lot of other info at nrf handy. You did mention about not wanting to go to conferances, you still may want to go to some (if you can find a conferance where vendors for your market will show up). The reason is its always in your best interest to find the best price or the best companies to work with, it can mean the differnce from making money to losing your shirt.
  • Wizards of the Coast are quite successful at running network game centers. Everytime I go into one all the computers are occupied with players paying $6.00 an hour.

    I'm actually starting up a game center myself. Any suggestions on the kinds of things you'd like to see at a place like that would be great.


  • As other posters have said, doing meatspace retail for such a small market is difficult. Sure, sell old carts, but also old arcade consoles. There are a couple retro arcades here in Portland, OR, and kids love them - they're always packed. I like a good game of Tron every now and then :)

    Have the consoles setup to play for a quarter, but have a sale price on them. You'd get some revenue from plays, but there's no shortage of dot-com yuppies with 80's nostalgia, and more money than sense. Hell, start building them yourself.

    Get really nutty: sell espresso; have coin-op laundry; free 'net access. Above all, make your place attractive as a hang-out - regulars will do your marketing for you.

    question: is control controlled by its need to control?
    answer: yes
  • And don't forget this eBay auction: [] . Of course, the collection was probably sold, and ebay doesn't keep records of old auctions (or does it? Is there a way to search for closed auctions?). MrP- [] put up a mirror [].

    But people like The Optimizer [], drinkypoo [], rapett0 [], bungelo [], and JatTDB [] collect video games. The Optimizer has a huge collection.

    See also jakdin's account [] of old video games lying around in Tokyo shops


  • You could also sell new games as well. Make that your *primary* method of making money but still track down and sell old games. Kind of like a "specialty".

    Kids would come to your shop with their christmas money *just* for the latest id and blizzard titles and then see Mario 2 which got broken a long time ago when they were like 5 and they miss dearly. So they say "SHIT! gimme that too!"

    And then collectors would also come to your shop regularly *just* for the classics since you're the only store in town that has them and it's a lot more convenient (and probably cheaper) than ebay ;^)


  • Not really. I don't order from 'net unless I have to. I want my stuff NOW and I don't want to waste HOURS calling Purolator to redirect package or going to their office in the middle of nowhere to pick up a package or hunting the corporate person at work to see if the package is in. Also, unless you live in US, buying over the 'net is more expensive, more taxed and less convenient. I prefer my local shop, which is cheaper than EB and also lets you put your old games on consignment where you set the price tag and they get 25% of that price when it's sold.
  • See the Usenet newsgroups

  • <Homer Simpson Voice>

    Darn those slashdotters! Won't give a guy a lousy break! Now I'm going to do what I always should have done! But first I'm going down to Moe's.

    </Homer Simpson Voice>


  • "And, if everyone would please collaborate to write a business plan for me, I would appreciate it. I don't really know what I'm doing, but I'd appreciate it if the community created a business for me."

  • If you are really going to do this -- do it right.

    Most people (or at least those wanting to play at your location) have adaquate equipment. That means you'll need screaming equipment. Nice 19" or 21" monitors, Athlon T-Birds, GeForce 2 Ultras. People won't pay to play something they can play at home for free.

    Also, create a "space" for each player. Nice big, dark walls around the computers, definately a wall behind. Also, get good nice comfortable headphones. You're going to want them to immerse themselves in your enviroment so they lose track of time. Isolate the players, but provide a conference type phone in each "booth" for team games.

    It's gotta be comfortable, the computers gotta be fast, and the games are going to have to be good.

  • It just went out of business. Apparently the older hardware it offered couldn't compete with the cablemodem and DSL connections rolling out here in Springfield.

    Well, I think you just hit the nail on the head. You can get decent hardware pretty cheap now-a-days: a sub $1000 computer capable of playing modern games is totally possible, either building or buying retail. That, plus $40/month cable modem service means I can game for pretty cheap, at least compared to what it would have cost a few years ago. And it's yours: you can play whenever you want, and your not on the clock.

    The kind of person who would be interested in this sort of thing is also the kind of person likely to already have good hardware, for gaming reasons as well as other reasons. In short, geeks. Gamers who don't have that kind of hardware have probably gravitated over to console gaming.

    That's not to say there isn't a marketplace for this kind of thing. Obviously, it would be very attractive to a certain percentage of games to have access to a room with high-speed access and 8-10 cutting edge computers. Think gaming clans or tournaments. To recoup the costs, however, those machines would either have to have paying customers on them non-stop, or have customers willing to pay a premium price for the access. The startup costs are formidable, plus the internet access and hardware upgrades means the costs are on-going as well.

    I've often thought a dedicated gaming place like that would be a great business if I ever won the lottery or something. But to be feasible for the common man to venture into, we're going to have to see a big increase in the popularity of on-line gaming.
  • This sounds like the sanest plan I've heard so far in this discussion. All the local game shops that I frequent also do things like carry Pokemon stuff, CCG's and anime goodies. It's neat to walk in and buy a DVD-ROM drive and that Ryouko action figure you've been wanting all from the same place.
  • Yes, Mame and Nesticle allow people to avoid the hw, but what about a non-technical audience? Or playing against others? I don't know where to locate potential inventory (besides online auctions) but I do know a place where a classic games shop made a killing: my college town! For $20 you could pick up an old NES/SNES, grab a case a beer with your buddies, and have a helluva fun tuesday evening - or a post-bar Mario fest. We had a full-on 2600 Berzerk tournament going on in the dorms, with even "non-geeks" cheerfully revisiting the games of their youth. Greek dorms seemed to all have some retro-system hooked to their lounge tv's. And Mario-Kart mixed with beer can be like Spanish Fly!
  • I'll offer my $.02 since I've had experience with this kind of business...

    There used to be a local place kind of what you described. It was called Battlestations. They had about 25 gaming optimized computers hooked up to a 100Mb/s network. This place was in the back room of some local company with the cryptic name "CPL". For some reason or another, CPL had set up this little room to generate cash on the weekends when the building was empty. There was no sign, no advertising, no nothing it was all word of mouth. CPL was hidden somewhere in the maze of office buildings called The Industriplex (or as my friend describes it, "the place where people with boring jobs spend their time"). If you didn't know exactly where to go and what you were looking for it, you weren't going to accidentally stumble upon this place.

    Despite this not really being a business and CPL doing absolutely nothing to promote it, the place was *packed* every day it was open. Every high school kid who played games at home was more than happy to shell out $5 an hour to hang out with their friends instead of "i k1Ll3D k3NnY" at home playing the same games over the net, and when you're on a LAN with super high bandwidth who cares about ping? Fragged because of lag? I don't think so. Fragging your buddies and hearing them scream obscenities across the room is the most fun I've ever had playing any sort of game on the computer.

    I remember driving over with my friends at about 7 one rainy Friday night to find that there were barely enough open computers for us. 2 hours or so later the room in general decided to order some pizza and we all chipped in to pay for it, you could buy Cokes from the high school guy who kept things running (read: takes money every hour and runs servers for various games on the server box in the corner). Some nights we wouldn't leave until after midnight, not because they were closing but because we had run out of money to pay for another hour. Most of the guys who hung out there on the weekends were regulars and the guys who worked there were awesome and so good at Starcraft it was scary (Ben Monkey owns me ;).

    In other words, how do you draw people out of their homes? Simple: offer a hangout spot. It's really that simple. Even though I've got a brand new computer at home with a bigger monitor and a cable modem I'd still go down to Battlestations with my friends so I could kick their sorry asses all over the place. Unfortunately, Battlestations is now closed for some unknown reason (maybe CPL needed that back room? ;) but me and my friends still get nostalgic over good times we used to have just hanging out and kicking each others ass. So go forth and make one of these great places and open one in my area =).

  • Oh, we're doing all that. The gaming rigs will be 1.2 Ghz Athlons with 256 MB RAM, GeForce 2 Ultras, Razer Boomslang mice, and 19" trinitrons. They will all be configured exactly alike for tournament play, so no advantage from having a better rig (we'll be imaging the HDs and restoring them every night. Players will be able to store their personal configurations on the server).

  • Contrary to others' fast opinions, I think it can be done. There's a store in NYC, in the East Village, on St. Marks between 2nd and 3rd ave. I've been eyeing the 2600 paddle controllers in the window for the last few weeks now!
  • Only allow the Karma whores to moderate

    I got my first moderation points with less than 10 karma points.

  • Hotline sucks. I just tried it out and lemme say it doesn't get much worse than that... Give me IRC/Usenet anyday over some crappy "lets make software so people can share files and we'll make money off the annoying ad banners" type of deal.
  • by Sodium Attack ( 194559 ) on Tuesday March 06, 2001 @01:03PM (#380682)
    Average number of articles per day that you cannot discuss because the referenced site has been taken down?

    When has not reading the linked story ever stopped /.ers from discussing it?

  • While reading the comments attached to this story, I was torn between thinking this really could fly, or if it would go down the tubes in 2 months. Some big picture things that I think are vitally important:

    - Location, location, location. You need to be somewhere with a high-traffic flow of gen-X aged geeks. Silicon Valley between large company campuses and residential areas was the first place that sprung to mind.

    - Ambience. A place with a combination of retro arcade games and newer games opened near me and closed in under 6 months. The problem was that the old games were all beat up and stuck in the back. Someone earlier metioned to go for mint machines and not $250 cheapies. I couldn't agree more. There's nothing worse than playing Karate Champ on a machine with cigarette burns all over it reeking of 12 year old smoke. I went once and was turned off by the place. If you are going to have an arcade area, make it clean, spacious and inviting.

    - Selection. There's a million E.T. carts buried under New Mexico for a reason - the game sucked! You need to keep the best games in stock, and don't put 10 Combats on the shelf next to 1 Spy Hunter. You probably know which games will be easy to stock and which will be next to impossible. I still remember going into Microplay (Canadian game chain) and seeing 10 NES Karnov carts in the case - I can tell the game sucks without even have ever played it! Very unprofessional.

    -Box/Instructions. If I saw Yars Revenge in an unopened box for $20 next to just the cart for $3, I'd probably still buy the boxed one. Just the feeling of ripping open a 2600 box and looking at the game promotional catalogs is worth the money.

    -Knowledgable staff. Another poster mentioned how terrible the FuncoLand staff were. You need to find some employees who love the old games as much as you do. These people may not be easy to find (especially since a lot of them are well paid programmers these days), but it will be worth putting in the interviewing time.

    That's enough from me. I believe that if you tie in a web business too, this can work (Hell, I'd order from you). Congratulations on doing what you want to do. Now I'm going to go write a sitcom about a sassy robot!
  • You can't wall them off from the other players, because one of my favorite aspects about LAN partys is the ability to trash-talk to the other people there. That is one of the main reasons I rarely play games over the internet, but I very often play games with people in my dorm.
  • You're right.

    I'm going to start taking anger management classes. I feel I need more than 2048 characters to vent my frustrations with /.
  • I'm not sure what's so wrong with asking Slashdot for this kind of info. I've bought some games online from various sources, but I don't know about every single source out there. There are some things Google just misses.

    Take everybody on Slashdot who's gone on that crusade to find that one elusive game and put all of their findings in one spot - this discussion thread. Now there's one place to look for what all of these people have found out. I think that's what "Ask Slashdot" is here for.

    Most "Ask Slashdot" entries can be boiled down to somebody asking us all to help them with their jobs. Maybe it's a call for opinions on some software package, or the best way to implement a firewall... basically any info we give in response may be used by somebody to make some money. How is opening a video game shop different from using "Ask Slashdot" to help with a consulting job?

    Since this is an open forum, everybody else visiting the site can benefit from the info just as much, so I don't see any problem with it.


  • Here it is... O'Shea Unlimited []

    Guys name is Bill Houlehan.


  • I like your idea of dealing used arcade games. But you're right; the maintenance / refurbishment of these aging beasts would eat your profits.

    Perhaps the most lucrative solution would be to build arcade machines from scratch [] and equip them with some cheap amd box and a 19 inch tv set and a video-out card. Run ArcadeOS on it and include perhaps one demo ROM and package an actual old card that matches the ROM for legal reasons. Explain to the purchaser how they can install over 2000 of their own ROM files on the hard drive, but never provide these (again, for legal reasons). Make additional money by selling different controller panels [] with spinners, double (or quadruple) joysticks, trackballs, etc.

    Now there's a business plan.

  • Where I live, we have 3 or 4 places that offer this, one of them operated by a friend of mine, and they all have top of the line equipment and games.. At peak hours, they are always full, but they're still not making much money.

    The reason is that you need to keep the prices very low to attract anybody -- computers and fast internet connections are cheap these days, so you have to be cheap AND have better stuff than the average kid has.

    At $5-$6 per hour per computer, with 10-20 computers, you're just not making too much money to begin with, and when you subtract operating costs (rent, utilities, internet hookup, software, hardware upgrades, part-time staff, security, etc. etc.), you're not left with all that much.

  • If you like, contact me at [mailto]. I'd be really interested in talking to your friend about this. Maybe we could help each other out. My revenue predictions indicate you should be able to do quite well running one of these.

  • That was their big flagship location. The economics of these things don't scale to large, expensive installations. The overhead is too high. You need to be in a small space, with 20-30 machines. Most of the other small Wizards stores have game machines too, and they are opening more and more of them. If you've ever been to the big Wizards location in the U district, you can just imagine that the rent on that place alone probably cost more than what they were taking in. There was a lot of wasted space in that place

  • I just spent a year in Korea, where such "Vampire Nests" are everywhere, and packed sunup to sundown with Koreans and GIs slaughtering each other in StarCraft or Rouge Spear.

    The ultrafast LAN, decient connection to the net, large monitors, a headset intercommunication system and a guy who cleaned out the ash tray for ya where the big selling points. Did I mention the headset intercom system? It was small, cheap, analog and took Rouge Spear to a completely diffrent level. Ah, the days of playing Army all day, only to get off, run to the Nest, and play special forces on the computer... Real Life vs Games:-)

    But it was successfull because it was IRL. Clan wars where followed by a trip to the bar where everyone bragged about the long shot through the wall, or blowin away half the competition with a well placed C-4 charge. I would /LOVE/ to have such a place near me here. Put yourself next to a McDonalds or other watering hole. And you'll do great:-)

  • Problem with Atari-era stuff is that there's been an established collectors market for a number of years. The guys who really have the loot (like O'Shea's and the million cartridge cave) bought from distributers and surplus stores in the mid-80s. Now, it's all eBay auctions, so it has value, and you'll never make any money 'day-trading' Atari gear. (Which is not to say that you can't scour flea markets and thrift stores.)

    Atari also had the deadly problem of massive overproduction as well as strong-arming retailers to buy less desirable games. This means there's lots of stuff, way too much stuff out there. O'Shea sells carts at something like 80 cents a piece, for example. Nowdays, Sony et al have short run production and inventory turnover down to a science, so there's less likely to be a 'forgotten warehouse' full of games out there somewhere.

    So, the key is to grab a bunch of inventory, and sit on it hoping that a crowd develops later that decides that they want it. Somewhere out there there's a big lot of Sega Saturn or older Playstation stuff waiting for you to store in your warehouse for another 5 years. Will there be nostalgia value for old Saturn games? Well, you'll just have to wait and see.
  • Despite that fact, I play any Nintendo games I want to on Nesticle.

    NESticle's accuracy sucks Big Floppy Donkey Dick []; it can't emulate games that rely on precise timing. Use TuxNES [] or one of the better WinDOS-based emulators [] instead. The only reason I ever touch NESticle is to make sure NES software I write displays a warning message if it is run on NESticle; it takes only four lines of NES asm to detect NESticle, and from there I display an advertisement for LoopyNES.

    All your hallucinogen [] are belong to us.
  • 2. The cargo capacity of a 747 is 6025 cubic feet.

    The cargo capacity of a 747-400 is 24,952 cubic feet []. You were using the cargo capacity of a passenger model, not a freight model. And you were told to never underestimate.

    I also think that you miscalculated your 747 TB-m/sec. Did you forget to multiply km by 1,000 before dividing by 3,600 sec/hr to get m/sec? I got 1,622,745,002 TB-m/sec for the 747-400F. That makes the 747 equivalent to 24,965,307 T1s.

    0.0026041667 CD cu ft
    24952 747 cu ft
    9581568 CD/747
    670 MB/CD
    6419650560 MB/747
    910 km/hr
    3600 sec/hr
    252 m/sec
    1622745002 TB-m/sec
    65 T1 TB-m/sec
    24965307 T1/747

Reactor error - core dumped!