One description of my age is that I belong to “Generation Y”, but I like to look at it in a different way. The way I define my generation is “The Video Game Generation”. I was born in 1985, the same year the first “main stream” video game console, the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), launched in North America. To put it another way, there hasn’t been a time in my life that a major video game console has not existed.
When I was growing up I was interested in two things: sports and video games. While my interests have broadened a bit since then, video games still hold a special place in my heart. In particular I am very fond of classic video games. Some of my best childhood memories involve video games. I remember spending hours with my sister playing Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. I was in charge of controlling the character and she was my strategist, helping me to solve the puzzles in the game. (EDITOR’S NOTE: Me too!! Zelda and Kung Fu!)
Because of my love of video games, one of the first jobs I had was working for a large video game retailer. During this time I amassed a large cache of video games, video game consoles, and video game memorabilia. At one point I owned 18 video game consoles and thousands of games. My bedroom had four TVs in it and each TV had multiple consoles hooked to it at all times. This allowed me to get my fix at any time, reliving the joys of my childhood at the drop of a hat. It wasn’t until my college years that I realized I could parlay my knowledge and collection into an excellent side hustle.
Turning Passion into Profits
As a starving college student, something happened to me that we all probably encounter at one time or another: my priorities changed. I was in a transitional period in my life after having just gotten married, and now needed to start planning for the future. I wanted to be a dad someday, and between me and my wife our finances were a mess. The solution seemed pretty simple to me, I needed to get out of debt.
As I contemplated what I could do to help our debt problem, I realized I was sitting on a potential gold mine. I had acquired most of my video games at cost through my former employer and I knew I had several rare games as well. One example of this is the Super Nintendo game “Earthbound”. I had acquired the game for $5 and I could sell it on Ebay for approximately $150. I don’t know about you, but to me that seemed like a pretty good rate of return. While I wasn’t good at tracking everything, I know that I was able to pay off close to $2,000 in debt during my initial selloff. I estimate the total cost of those items to me to be around $500. That is $1,500 dollars in profit right there.
Is It Sustainable?
While I will admit that I had a large head start with my video game collection, I definitely think this is something that I can continue to do as a side hustle. Since working through my initial inventory the profits have slowed down a bit, but the opportunity is still there.
Every time I go to a flea market, yard sale, or pawn shop the first thing I look for is the video game section. I have discovered that most people don’t really know how much their classic video games are worth. There have even been cases where I have bought multiple video games for a dollar that I later sold for $50. While the income provided from this side hustle is not consistent, every little bit helps!
One word of warning: even though I have been successful with this side hustle, it may not be for everyone. You definitely have to have a pretty good understanding of which games are worth something, and how much they are worth. The key to this side hustle is patience, it may take a long time to find something worth purchasing. On the plus side, the barrier for entry is pretty low as you can usually get a pretty good deal on old video games.
Resources to Help You Get Started
Because this side hustle requires you to know which games are actually worth something, I thought it would be a good idea to include a few links to help you get started. That being said, the best resource is experience, so get out there and give it a try!
- Official Price Guide to Classic Video Games
- Classic 80s Home Video Games Identification & Value Guide
- Video Game Price Charting
Nick is 28 years old and is obviously a video game nerd. He is a recent college graduate and writes about his transition from college to the workforce at ayoungpro.com. Other interests include sports, personal finance, and above all his wife and daughter. Feel free to visit his blog or contact him at ayoungproblog (at) gmail (dot) com.
Here are the past 3 Side Hustles we’ve done:
Got one of your own to share with us? Let us know!
(Photo by freespamfree)