An indie store called Hey Bro Video Games in Houston, Texas recently celebrated an eye-catching retro trade-in on Instagram. The customer gave the store a limited edition Pikachu Nintendo 64 in the box, an original NES in the box, and several SNES classics in great condition. In exchange he got $700 and a Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom-themed Nintendo Switch. The customer seemed pretty happy about it. Everyone watching online thinks he was ripped off.
“Can’t believe my dude got robbed in broad daylight like this,” tweeted user hasanito in a post sharing the video that proceeded to blow up. “I’m crying.” Below it they shared a screenshot of an eBay listing for the same kind of Pikachu N64 sold to Hey Bro at $850 all by itself. The comments on the store’s Instagram post (via Gene Park) were similarly incredulous. “My guy lost,” wrote one person. “Hello Houston police I would like to report a robbery,” wrote another.
An employee at Hey Bro Video Games told Kotaku over the phone they weren’t even aware the post had started going viral. They also didn’t see what all the fuss was about. The person, who declined to give their name, said the store prides itself on offering 60 to 80 percent trade values on Nintendo and Pokémon-related merchandise in particular. The point of the video was to show that fans could bring in their retro collectibles and exchange them for new systems and “cold hard cash.”
“People are just idiots,” the employee said, referring to comments online. “It’s a mob of craziness.”
So was it a good deal or not? A Tears of the Kingdom Switch plus the cash comes out to $1,060 total. A cursory glance at orange-colored Pikachu N64s shows even ones in good condition with the box going for as little as $350 on eBay. An NES action set in the box has listings for even less, running around $250. As far as the games go, according to Pricecharts.com, Super Mario 64 in the original box is around $100, GoldenEye 007 is around $75, Mario Kart 64 is around $120, Super Mario All-Stars is around $60, and Super Mario Kart is around $75.
All total that’s about $1,030. Based on lowball estimates it seems like the customer actually came out on the better end of the deal, considering stores also have to account for how long products sit on their shelves collecting dust, the time value of money, and all those other fun financial things.
Not content with our own amateur collector math, Kotaku also consulted an expert. “Looks like roughly $1100 in retail value to me,” said Kelsey Lewin, Video Game History Foundation co-director and co-owner of the Pink Gorilla video game store, in a Twitter DM. “Seems right! Certainly not robbery.” Former Kotaku features editor, Chris Kohler, agreed.
So it turns out the person behind the counter was right. Maybe the internet peanut gallery was just being overly nostalgic for the Pokémon N64 they lost long ago. Maybe they’ve had their expectations thrown out of whack by the recent spike in speculative pricing around the most high-end, mint condition gaming collectibles. Or maybe they were just jealous that someone cleared out a bunch of extra space in their closet and now gets to enjoy Tears of the Kingdom on a sleek new Switch.
A classic NES in the box might only be worth $250, but a hundred hours spent making flaming dick robots is priceless.