Retro gaming seems to be as popular as ever. Prices are continuously rising and in certain countries, games stores dedicated to retro gaming are popping up. During my travels, I’ve found them in London, Southend, Paris, Florence and across California and Nevada (I even wrote about my trip here). Having lived in London for several years, it was easy enough to get my hands on a lot of games (it’s how I’ve managed to rapidly grow my collection). However, Ireland seems to be a completely different kettle of fish. I’ve still managed to get my hands on some retro games but they are a lot harder to come by. Below I’ve listed some places where they can be found but sadly I’ve left out Player-1 Gaming as they have since become a victim of the economic woes caused by Covid-19. I’ve also excluded charity shops as there are a lot of them and I’ve often found it difficult to pick-up anything worthwhile in them here.
Let’s just get the most obvious one out of the way first. You can find almost anything on ebay so tracking down the retro games you want shouldn’t be too much hassle. Some will even come with pictures of the games so you can see them before you purchase them. I’d recommend never buying a retro game you can’t see any images of it first before hand. The site is probably the one with the most choice but it has its own drawbacks. There aren’t as many Irish sellers on the site as UK ones (for obvious reasons) which means the postage can be expensive (sometimes it’s ridiculous). Another drawback is that although there are British sellers available on the Irish site, they tend to be the more expensive ones as the cheaper sellers will only send it to the UK. You can get around this by using An Post’s AdressPal but I haven’t tried it yet so I don’t know the cost of it. Just be wary of reproduction carts as there seems to be an abundance of them, especially for GBA games.
I tend to get a few new games from Amazon but I’ve never purchased a retro one. They do sell them on behalf of third party sellers and at first glance, they do seem reasonably priced but when you click on “See More Buying Options”, it can be a nasty surprise. The cheapest price will be displayed and often it’ll be a loose disc or cart. As you can’t see the physical box, just a generic box art image, you have to rely on the sellers information. These two things have put me off buying from Amazon, especially since it seems to work out a bit more expensive than ebay.
We’re finally into the brick and mortar stores. Many in the UK will be familiar with Cex but the Irish store is a completely different beast. For one, its selection is severely reduced. It has no PlayStation 1 or Sega games and its prices vary heavily from its UK counterpart. Some games can be much more expensive while others are a lot cheaper. The quality of the games can be hit and miss also. I’ve ordered off them several times but did get some versions of a game that I didn’t want. They’ve always been helpful in changing them so it’s not so bad. Cex really does excel for PlayStation 2 games, with a large collection in each store. This is down to how popular the console was here versus the GameCube and Xbox (remember, no Sega). Overall, it’s a great place to wander around, picking up cheap games but you won’t find a bargain on anything Zelda or Paper Mario.
For retro game hunters in Dublin, The R.A.G.E. was probably your go-to place for retro games. Its store on Fade Street had a wide selection of games across multiple platforms and if they didn’t have what you were looking for, they would add you to a waiting list. Sadly, the physical store is no longer (another Covid-19 casualty) but the online store still exists. They don’t post pictures of the items on the website but you can contact them through Facebook and they do get back very quickly. I would recommend contacting them as while 99% of the items they have are in good nick, I know from my experience of visiting the store, they did have some items that weren’t in the best condition (these would often be heavily discounted). I’ve ordered a few items from them and they always seem to be speedily dispatched. Price wise, some games can be a bit overpriced but there are definitely a few bargains to be found if you keep an eye out. I would recommend browsing the site.
Update: Since this post was written, The R.A.G.E. has since reopened at 8 Crow Street, Temple Bar, Dublin.
Bookmart & Gamexchange
And here’s the other store you might have visited if you’re a retro games hunter from Dublin. Bookmart and Gamexchange is located on Talbot Street just behind Busáras. The store isn’t big but it does have a decent selection of games (and books). Often, they’ll display their best games in the window but they do have console games just inside the door on the left as you walk in and PC games on the right. They also keep the loose carts in behind the counter so it’s always worth asking. Their selection tends to be the more common games and, as a result, they tend to be on the cheaper side but you can find an odd diamond in the rough (for example Conker’s Bad Fur Day or Shinobi III). Their selection isn’t on the same level as The R.A.G.E. but its well worth a gander if you’re ever down that way.
Rewind Retro Gaming
It’s time for another online store – Rewind Retro Gaming. I recently discovered this site by accident and I’m glad I did. Their site has a good selection of games across multiple platforms and it’s easy to navigate around. They also split out games in to “boxed” and “unboxed” sections when you’re browsing. One thing I do like about this site is that they have pictures of the items up so that when you’re browsing, you see exactly what you’re getting. I have only ordered off them once but everything came individually wrapped in bubble wrap. In terms of price, nothing seems to be overpriced and I have found a few bargains. They also have a variety of different genres so there should be something for everyone. If they don’t have the item in stock, they can add you to a waiting list similar to The R.A.G.E.
Adverts.ie / Gumtree
To finish off this short blog post, I thought I’d mention two other marketplace websites – Adverts.ie and Gumtree. As of yet, I haven’t purchased anything from these sites (but I did find Rocky on Gumtree). Their prices vary widely from seller to seller, as with most marketplace sites. You can find some bargains but you do have to travel for them. This can be a pain if you live in the midlands as most of the decent stuff seems to be located in the cities on the coast. Ah well.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this brief blog post. I’ve probably missed out on a lot of great stores outside of Dublin (I know of one in Wexford and one in Dundalk) but if you’ve any recommendations, please let me know.