NES QUEST pt. 34: Early morning garage sale haul


When I first read that a garage sale in my area had more than 40 NES games for sale for $4 each, I made sure I planned to be there when the sale began. But I also came with little expectations, assuming they would all be gone by the time I would arrive.

Fortunately for me, the seller had shooed away early birds and had ten titles that I needed. The seller was also a collector, and so I was happy to make some polite chit-chat about our hobby. Like me a year or so prior, he had begun hoarding games more than collecting. And so he had about a 100 or so reasonably priced games for sale for me to browse.

As soon as I saw the NES stack, I first scanned it for any rare games. Nope. Usually, a collector knows what games are worth, but sometimes they overlook things. And when they do, I’m always more than eager to sweep in. That’s wasn’t the case here though. All the games were common, for $4, I had to take the time to knock off some common games from my wanted list.

So I pulled out my phone with my NES list. We were talking about our experience collecting and I mentioned that I was going after a complete NES collection and showed him my list. I spent about 10 minutes going through all of his games, looking for any game that I needed. I found ten total:

  1. Tetris 2
  2. Code Name Viper
  3. Adventures in the Magic Kingdom
  4. Dr Chaos
  5. Demon Sword
  6. Gyruss
  7. Skate or Die
  8. Super Spike Volleyball/ Nintendo World Cup
  9. Gotcha
  10. Racket Attack

Of all the games, the only one I had played before was Tetris 2, which was one of my very favorite games. Tetris has one of the most fascinating histories in all of gaming, in my opinion. And despite its many new iterations, the formula was almost perfect from the start. I remember playing Tetris 2 more than the original. But the entry that I played most as a kid was Tetris Plus for the Gameboy, which was strangely also released at the same time for Playstation and Sega Saturn.

This haul brings my collection from 290 to 300 NES games. For the rest of the entries of NES Quest, check them out right here on Retro Chronicle.


  • Congrats on hitting 300! I have yet to find that pile of NES games at a yardsale. In fact, if I find sales listed that mention NES games, I figure they will be either overprices or gone by the time I get there. So I always email the person to A) get more info and B)see if they will set the games aside for me if they are ones I need. So far all I ever get is a response that reads something like “We have a NES system and 6 games, we are asking $150, want to keep everything as a lot”. I figure my best bet is to just go to random sales and do the “Ask if they have any old games” technique, where they remember having old games in the basement. I’ve gotten Sega systems and Gamecube games this way, but am waiting for that day someone walks out of the house with a box full of NES games. As for early birds at rummage sales, I hate when a sale says “No early sales”, but then when I get there at the time it starts and ask for games, they go “Sorry, someone was here a half hour ago and bought them all”. But I can’t decide if I’m more upset at the person who disregards the “No Early Sales” request, the seller for breaking his own rules, or me for assuming that there is any honor in obeying those requests when I know a good majority of the people doing what I do won’t anyway, and I will miss out.

    Jason Kaphingst June 15, 2015 12:26 pm
    • Thanks for the congrats! Yes, I know your pain. I know of a lot of collectors who are really bitter about the other buyers who come way early to the sale and grab everything. Generally, the more aggressive the buyer, the more likely they are to get what they want. But I always consider how I would want to be treated in their position, and I very rarely arrive at a garage sale early. To me, any great garage sale finds are good for me, because I can always trade or sell anything for games that I am looking for.

      I think your technique is ideal– just go to the sales that you can and ask for what you’re looking for. I’ve had a lot of success with that.

      barryfallsjr June 15, 2015 3:11 pm