Welcome to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! The Friday Five is a feature that I post every Friday in which I give my thoughts on a topic that’s related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games, as well as the real NBA, and other areas of interest to our community. The feature is presented as either a list of five items, or in the form of a Top 5 countdown. This week’s Five is a list of five old basketball games that have shot up in price on the collectors’ market in recent years.
When it comes to sourcing copies of old NBA Live and NBA 2K releases, you won’t end up paying too much. Got your hands on an Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3, and feel like taking a trip down memory lane with NBA Live 10? Even on eBay, you’ll likely pay less than ten dollars, Australian or US. Even games from the 90s – such as the Super Nintendo or Sega Genesis/Mega Drive version of NBA Live 95 – are generally cheap, as there are quite a number of copies in circulation. You might pay a little more for complete-in-box, but they’re mostly very affordable to collect.
And then, there are the old basketball games that have shot up in price. Last year I took a look at five old basketball games that are very expensive to collect, and there’s some overlap with this article. However, I’ve been made aware of some other titles that are tough to affordably source, at least through a market like eBay. Old basketball games are somewhat of a niche genre when it comes to video game collecting, and as I noted, many of them are too common to fetch a high price just because of their age. They’re still affected by the same trends as retro game collecting in general though, especially if they’re legitimately rare and highly sought after, as some of these are.
1. Disney Sports Basketball
This is actually the game that inspired this article, after cavs4872 brought it up in the Forum. As it turns out, this particular entry in the Disney Sports series of games is incredibly expensive. Amazon’s price guide lists it at $450 USD, and some of the listings I’ve found on eBay are around the $700 mark (over $900 AUD). This is a considerably higher price than other titles in the Disney Sports series, which still aren’t necessarily cheap (especially on eBay and in mint condition), but are far more affordable. I’ve never played Disney Sports Basketball, but cavs4872’s post piqued my interest, so I had to look into the situation to see what has made it so expensive.
As it turns out, TheGamer.com and Racketboy.com were able to shed some light on the matter. Disney Sports Basketball was poorly reviewed and assumed not to have sold well, making it a rare game. People didn’t pay much attention to it at first – as I said, old basketball games usually aren’t hot collectors’ items – and it was still very cheap as of 2015. According to the Racketboy.com article, its price shot up around 2017. This is a common occurrence in retro game collecting: people become aware of a rare title and develop an interest in it, which encourages potential sellers to jack up the price. Until/unless the bubble bursts, most collectors will probably forego this one.
2. NBA 2K10 (PC)
I discovered first-hand how the price has shot up for the PC version of NBA 2K10 when I went looking for a backup copy last year, after encountering some read errors with my copy purchased back in 2009. The console versions usually aren’t any more expensive than most other annual releases, with complete-in-box copies being sold on eBay for just a few bucks. Conversely, the PC version is often listed at anywhere between $30 and $70 AUD, sometimes with hefty postage depending on where it’s coming from. I’m guessing there are fewer PC copies in circulation owing to a Steam release and the popularity of consoles, but it still hardly qualifies as a rare game.
The sealed copies of NBA 2K10 PC are where it really gets crazy. I’ve found a couple of listings for brand new, sealed copies of NBA 2K10 for as much as $1000 USD (or over $1300 AUD). It’s certainly not uncommon to pay more for a brand new copy of a retro title, including old basketball games, but that’s an insane amount for what was literally the most commonly sold basketball game in 2009. Let’s be honest about the reason people are inflating the price: it has Kobe Bryant on the cover, and he passed away tragically last year. I can see how that makes an arguably rarer version of NBA 2K10 more valuable, but it’s still not “ultra rare”, and I find the motivation distasteful.
3. College Basketball Games in General
Although I’ve covered this in both my previous article about expensive games as well as my recent retrospectives of a few March Madness/NCAA Basketball and College Hoops games, it’s too obvious of an example to skip over. We haven’t had any new college basketball games since 2009, which means those old releases have shot up in price; depending on where you are and where you’re looking, of course. As I noted in my retrospective of College Hoops 2K8, I ended up paying around $100 AUD for it – which included postage – and that felt like a bargain. The same goes for EA’s titles. Sometimes you can get lucky with a cheap copy on eBay, but you have to be quick.
You can get lucky if you live in the United States or Canada and have a good local retro game store, however. Even as sought after games with a more limited quantity of copies owing to the lack of a worldwide release, they can be as cheap as an old NBA Live or NBA 2K title. The rest of us can almost always expect to pay way above the original retail price. There are exceptions: NCAA Basketball for the SNES is usually very cheap, to the point where you’ll usually pay more in postage if you’re importing it. On the other hand, NCAA College Basketball 2K3 for the GameCube is extremely rare being the only game in the series on the console, and has thus sold for thousands.
4. NBA Jam Tournament Edition
Until a few years ago, it never really occurred to me to collect old basketball games for the original PlayStation, as I don’t own the console. Of course, I realised that it wasn’t an issue given the backwards compatibility of the PS2, and thus have picked up a variety of PS1 hoops titles, while also investing in a couple of PS1 memory cards. However, one PS1 release that I probably won’t be getting any time soon is NBA Jam Tournament Edition. As you may recall from some of my previous features, NBA Jam TE is one of my all-time favourite games, and probably my second favourite in the NBA Jam series. Unfortunately, the trending price on eBay has really shot up.
It’s not at the level of a Disney Sports Basketball, an overpriced sealed copy of NBA 2K10 PC, or some of the more expensive listings for the college basketball titles. Glancing at eBay listings though, the price for both the PAL and NTSC releases is up around the $70 mark at least. The SNES versions of both Tournament Edition and the original NBA Jam have also increased, with TE sitting slightly below the PS1 version, and the first game generally listed at around $35 AUD. Boxed copies of TE on PC are approaching $100. I already own the PC and SNES versions of NBA Jam TE so I’m set in that regard, but the price on PS1 is definitely a deterrent from picking it up too.
5. NBA Full Court Press
Here’s one that surprised me. There are cheap copies of NBA Full Court Press on eBay, particularly if they only come in a jewel case. Even then there are listings priced at around $40, while complete-in-box copies are being listed for as much as $100 AUD, such as this sealed copy. Considering that there are quite a few boxed copies available on eBay alone, and several more listings that just include the disc and jewel case, I don’t think it’s accurate to say that NBA Full Court Press has become notably rare or difficult to track down. At the time of writing, 11 copies were listed on eBay – a few of them cheaply – and I’m sure it can be found in retro stores as well.
To put it in perspective, I picked up my copy (then brand new and sealed) in a bargain bin at a computer store for $20, circa 1998. Considering that there doesn’t seem to be much buzz around the game as a retro collectible, nor is it rare or considered a great release – check out my retrospective for more insights in that regard – I can only assume that it’s a regular case of inflated eBay prices because it’s old. The fact of the matter is that not everything is a priceless antique or valuable collectors’ item, and NBA Full Court Press definitely doesn’t qualify as one in terms of its quality or rarity. If you really want to check it out, save your money and opt for a cheaper listing.
Do you own any of these old basketball games? Have you sought them out for your collection? Do you know of any other retro hoops titles that have increased in price over the years? Let me know in the comments, and as always, feel free to take the discussion to the NLSC Forum! That’s all for this week, so thanks for checking in, have a great weekend, and please join me again next Friday for another Five.