Misunderstood game collectors have a public voice against those who demean or cheapen the thrill of the hunt. Enter Game Chasers, a YouTube/Retroware TV show siphoning History Channel’s American Pickers success wholesale, except surrounding the aura of game collecting.
The difference? Game Chasers‘ Billy and Jay are representative of everyday collectors. Scripting is eschewed for authentic, dirty finds and thrift stores where they come away empty handed… and often. A MagFest journey in 2012 led to a 22-hour drive from Texas to Washington with a single $5 N64 find, and honesty in that lackluster hunt is refreshing.
Mega-cable hits Pawn Stars and yes, American Pickers, slather the screen in historical artifacts in such quantity, amazement in their finds is diluted. No one, even professional pickers or pawn shop owners, come across items of such enormous value this frequently. Presentations lend an artificial layer to their daily dealings, even if objects themselves still hold weight.
Chasers are open collectors with lives and budgets, not the ones paying asinine prices on saturated eBay marketplaces. Those collectors are of a different breed. Billy and Jay shrug off $10 NES carts because $10 is too expensive. They barter, work with lots, and capture history in chunks, which is how the market plays. It is informative to the newcomer, and relevant to the longtime barterer. A clip of a Retroware wife spouting, “Another box of useless junk!” is more reality than most cable purporting to be so.
Retro gaming is at an incomprehensible peak. Seeking out older episodes of Game Chasers reveals prices for sought after games that have skyrocketed from what seemed substantial back when the finds were made in 2011. The show has hit as the market blossomed, a lucky stab at internet video that hopefully broadens the hobby.
Billy and Jay can come across as abrasive or crude. Take it for what it’s worth. Dealing with collectors locally for 15-years myself reveals personalities of similar types. Who knows what association depreciating humor and childish fart jokes have with game collecting. Welcome to our club.
Game Chasers is cycling through its third season, charting 27 episodes as of this writing, all of them worth watching. As a collector, the birth of reality “Pawn TV” has been enjoyable, although none more so than the show directly related to such contained interests.