A non-glitzy page full of various resources for your retro gaming needs! Pick a topic below and dive in!
Local Retro Game Shops
- Arcade Legacy: https://www.arcadelegacyohio.com/
- 2 Main locations and one Barcade, this retro arcade has been a Cincinnati staple for the local fighting game community and nerds in general for over a decade! Their two main locations have a huge retro game shop fitted in that has all your US and Import gaming needs. You can find some rare stuff here, and generally unbeatable prices. If you live in or around Cincinnati, make sure to visit the main location in Forest Park - it's inside an almost derelict mall so it's worth a visit just to feel like you're in a Dead Rising zombie apocalypse!
- Roman Video Games and Electronic Repair: https://www.facebook.com/romangamesllc/ Instagram: @romangamesllc
- Awesome retro game shop owned by a local couple who have amassed a gargantuan collection of rare and collectible items to every common game you could want. They have a testing station where you can try out every game before you buy to see if you like it or to make sure it works. They also do light electronic repair - just don't expect them to replace the battery in your $600 copy of EarthBound - they won't take that sort of risk. Make sure to make a budget and take some cash with you. About 45 minutes from downtown Cincinnati.
- Nostalgic Games Thrift Shop: http://nostalgicvideogames.com/
- Another HUGE retro shop about 15 minutes south of downtown Cincinnati in Florence, KY. Prices are a little high on some items, but some are very reasonable. Beats dealing with Ebay, that's for sure. They also sell a decent selection of clone consoles, although you wont find anything from Analogue or the RetroUSB AVS - more of the emulator on a chip variety. Huge selection of controllers and peripherals as well. Definitely worth a stop.
- CGM Emporium: https://www.facebook.com/CGMEmporium
- Great retro and modern shop that sits just north of Cincinnati in the West Chester area. Small shop with a big heart. Spent a great deal of time talking to the owner last week, and the guy really cares about his customers. Despite the small size, he has some great hookups that keep rare items tricking in, but also doesn't gouge you with overblown prices for what he turns around and sells. Also deals in Magic the Gathering cards and merch, but retro games are the focus. Also has a decent selection of more modern systems as well.
- We Buy Games: https://www.facebook.com/wiibuygames/
- Diamond in the rough that sits about 25 minutes east of downtown Cincinnati. Store could use better organization as not all games for a particular console are kept together making browsing a bit of a chore. That said, they have the largest local selection of rare games I've seen, many in box and in great condition. They do not carry imports, which is sad, but if you're looking for US retro releases, this is the best resource in the city. They even have a good selection of Sega Master System games and systems (even a Master System 2).
All Etsy recommendations are based in the US and make their own custom reproductions. Nothing from China.
- RetroWorks Gaming: https://www.etsy.com/shop/RetroworksGaming
- Focusing mainly on CD based consoles, David's storefront is top-notch. He has a wide selection available, and is very responsive if you request a custom order. He's made me many reproduction cases for official discs, as well as custom reproduction sets. My very favorite is a reproduction of Panzer Dragoon Saga where he used the Japanese version as the base but the discs contain the US version of the game. High quality stuff. If you're looking for Saturn or Sega CD games, look no further!
- RetroGamerAndBackups: https://www.etsy.com/shop/RetroGamerAndBackups
- I can't recommend them high enough. On top of great customer service, the quality of the actual cartridge is unmatched! These are brand new, high quality boards and parts. Check out the images below to see the difference between a cheap, Chinese reproduction from ebay, and what you'll get from RetroGamer. Buy with confidence. Seller does take a few days to make the game, so be patient and of course kind if following up on your order. The quality is well worth it.
- RayTRO Games: https://www.etsy.com/shop/RayTroGAMES
- If you're looking for rom-hacks on a cartridge, look no further! High quality, responsive, and fast shipping. VERY pleased with my copy of Castlevania II: Simon's Quest Redacted.
- RetroGamersUS: https://www.etsy.com/shop/RetroGamersUS
- Big selection of hard to find titles and some high-quality rom-hacks (like Metroid Super Zero Mission) all at extremely reasonable prices. Be wary, I think these are resold from China as the quality varies by cartridge.
- GamesNDecals: https://www.etsy.com/shop/GamesNDecals
- Great selection of hard to find titles for SNES, Genesis/Mega Drive, NES, and even some Jaguar. High quality and professional. Rather than using new parts, these are made with official Sega boards and a parts that were salvaged from other games with the same rom size (usually sports games). Got my copy of Mega Man: The Wily Wars on Genesis from them and couldn't be happier.
Online Authentic Import Game Resources
- RetroGamesJapan: https://www.ebay.com/str/retrogamesjapancom?_pgn=3
- If you're looking for imports, this is one of the best resources you can find. Huge selection, good quality, and fast shipping from the US.
- Retro Saikou: https://www.ebay.com/str/retrosaikou
- Another great US seller that focuses on imports. Huge selection, and even a decent selection of Systems including Neo Geo.
- The Emporium Japan: This online store has some of the best prices on Japanese import retro games, and they also carry a large selection of Neo-Geo titles in great condition at great prices. They ship to the US, and while shipping cost is reasonable, I would recommend buying multiple items to get the best bang for your buck on shipping. Emporium Retro Store
Replacement Cases and Labels
- Custom Game Cases: https://www.customgamecases.com/
- High quality, truly custom cases that keep your SNES/Super Famicom carts nice and secure. They do not use the UGCs (universal game cases) that Retro Game Cases or other retailers use and they sell blank cases in bulk or individually with art for about half the price of Retro Game Cases. They also sell correctly sized reproduction Sega Genesis/Mega Drive cases to match that style as well as the UGCs are taller and do not securely hold the games. If you are looking for Super Famicom complete cases though, you are out of luck as they only offer US designs. They do not sell Famicom cases, but their NES cases are also top notch.
- Retro Game Cases: www.retrogamecases.com
- High quality reproduction plastic cases for just about every retro system imaginable. Mainly focuses on cartridge based formats. Huge selection of Super Famicom and Mega Drive case art as well as US versions. All are formatted to look great in your personal archive. Kinda pricy, but the quality is worth it. If you're looking for cases for Famicom carts though, you're out of luck.
- BitsPixels: https://www.ebay.com/str/bitspixels
- High quality reproduction plastic cases for your game collections. I've purchased many Famicom cases from them and have been very pleased with the quality. The look great on a shelf, and keep your games nice and protected. Prices are very good, but shipping is a little high if purchasing only one game - try to buy in bulk to save on shipping. Ships from Russia, so it could take a month or so to reach you. I typically wait around 2 weeks to receive a shipment. 100% worth the wait. As far as I've seen, they are the only seller of high quality Famicom cases.
- DorkUsOnEtsy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/DorkUsOnEtsy
- Good selection of reproduction plastic cases. I recommend them for special orders or for NES carts specifically as they are much cheaper than Retro Game Cases and use the same template for the cover art. The owner made me an amazing custom case for my rom-hack of Simon's Quest Redacted, and it far exceeded my expectations.
- The Cover Project: http://www.thecoverproject.net/
- If you're looking for high quality case art only, look no further. Over the last 10 or so years the contributors have amassed a huge selection of case and box art for you to use. Some is custom work, some match the retail releases. Many cases have US, PAL, and JPN variants, but not all. Obscure titles may not have any art, especially Japanese only releases. They still have a pretty active forum community if you have questions. Just, as always, approach with respect and read the noob disclaimer before asking a question. There are a TON of resources on the forms and your question probably already has an answer. :) This is a free, community run service. Their case art fits the cases found at customgamecases.com and I think there are some that also fit the UGC style cases. It really depends on who made the design, and what case they were targeting.
Neo-Geo collecting can be daunting, but it is an exciting world full of passionate and knowledgeable people - people who really care about the preservation of gaming. Below you'll discover where to find community, MVS or AES games and systems, system mods, and game conversions.
- Neo-Geo.com: A community of dedicated, hardcore gamers that dates all the way back to the mid-late 1990's. Sadly, once I got out of Neo-Geo collecting in the early aughts, my participation in the community dwindled. Getting back into the community in 2019, it is great to see so many members of the community not only still active, but have all gone on to further the community in ways that I would have never imagined. If you are at all interested in the Neo-Geo, this is your #1 destination. Neo-Geo.Com
Games and System Sales:
- NeoStore.com: A sister site to Neo-Geo.com, the Neo store was the official distributor for AES releases in the early aughts for all official SNK games and merchandise. You can find all manner of games, systems, and other rare video game wares. They focus on Neo-Geo and other hard to find/rare arcade pieces so you will not find any other retro games or systems that are not in the upper echelon of game collecting. NeoStore.Com
- Neotropolis: Long time Neo-Geo modder and community member KPJ mods and sells Neo-Geo systems (both AES and consolized MVS) as well as makes conversions of MVS games for play on AES systems. Their modded systems are well regarded as the Mercedes Benz of the gaming world. They also offer consolized versions of other multi-arcade PBCs, SuperGun Jamma Harnesses, and other arcade parts.
- If you are thinking of getting into the Neo-Geo, whether the AES or MVS, look here first!
- My "new" AES is their REI (Radically Enhanced Interface) model with a component video mod (which rivals RGB), S-Video, Composite, Stereo Audio, LED light under the reset button, and UniBios 4.0. The system is in great shape physically, and the electronics work is top notch. KPJ has long been a trusted name in the community, and his quality is shown throughout. Not only is the workmanship quality, the customer service and response time were also top notch. They went above and beyond to get this out the door to me as fast as possible so I could enjoy it the week of my vacation. A++
- Neotropolis.com and their Ebay Store : Their Ebay store has most of what they currently have on sale, but you can also send them special requests on their website for modded consoles or if you would like them to mod a console you already own.
- Ebay: Of course you can find tons of Neo-Geo items on Ebay, and this is a great resource for those hard to find titles or accessories you are looking for.
- Be VERY careful when purchasing Neo-Geo items from Ebay as many sellers will inflate the price on even more common titles due to general public ignorance of the current Neo-Geo market.
- You can often get great deals by actually participating in auctions rather than just using a buy-it-now option.
- You can often find great deals on bare cartridges - be aware that finding used cases or even the rare reproduction case will be like finding a needle in a hay-stack if you are looking to piece together a complete set.
- Don't purchase any games or systems with a stock photo on their listing unless it's from a reputable seller (like Neotropolis or SNKUSA - the neo-geo.com/NeoStore account).
- MVS Conversions: These are games that have had their authentic SNK rom chips removed from the cheaper MVS version and installed on authentic AES PCBs. While you typically spend less on a conversion than a high-priced authentic, be aware that TWO games are sacrificed in this process and sometimes the price differential is not worth it. For example, you can find a "true conversion" of Mark of the Wolves for around $800, but a full authentic Japanese copy runs between $950 and $1100. At that point, why not just buy the authentic game?
- Be wary of some sellers who will try to sell a conversion an authentic cartridge. I don't have any issue with conversions, but some sellers will try to sell a conversion to an unsuspecting buyer for the price of an authentic game and many get away with it.
- EPROM Conversions: Unlike MVS conversions, these carts use all new EPROMS flashed with the desired game's rom image. That said, at least one cartridge is scarified for the PCB boards, cartridge shell, and often the case. Many collectors will especially shun these conversions as you can have a $2000+game for less than $300. EPROMS don't deteriorate with use, and have a minimum shelf life of 20 years but typically lasting much longer. Just don't expose them to UV light or X-Ray's and you're fine. :)
- That said, be mindful of what you are purchasing and where you are purchasing it from. There are many Asian sellers on Ebay that try to get away with selling these as originals, or have very shoddy work. Reproductions will run between $200 and $450 depending on the game size, work involved, and what seller you purchase from. I recommend staying away from Ebay; I've run into a few bad deals there.
- Don't be afraid to order direct from Japan. Many sellers offer expedited or even free shipping, but generally games won't take more than 2 weeks to get to you regardless. I often get games delivered to the mid-west of the US in 4-5 days. You can find a lot of great deals this way, and Japanese editions are often much, much cheaper than the US/EU versions of AES games.