How do you figure the value of a vintage home video game? Given the category's meteoric rise in collectability, it's a serious question for collectors and consigners alike. Children of the 80s and 90s, now grown up and leaning into nostalgia, are at the leading edge of a collectibles market that includes video games, comic books and trading cards, and they rely on certification and grading services to set that universal measure of quality. The service CGC (Certified Guaranty Company), long dominant in comics and more recently trading cards, announced last year that it would launch a video-game division. Video-game collectors and sellers (who also often trade in comics and cards) duly rejoiced. Up until now this burgeoning category was led only by grading services Wata and VGA. Already the leader in the video game market, Heritage offers the first cache of CGC-graded games in its January 20-21 Video Games Signature® Auction.
"CGC's entry into this market is a game-changer, no pun intended," says Valarie Spiegel, Managing Director of Video Games at Heritage
. "CGC revolutionized comic-book grading when it launched in 2000 and continues to define growing collectibles markets as it expands into new divisions. Heritage is thrilled to offer the first major auction-house event that includes CGC-graded games, and we have some excellent examples."
Do we like the new CGC slab? We do! CGC knows its archival slab cases and brings some innovation to the table. CGC added space wells at the corners to protect the sharp edges of the game packaging during encapsulation, let the case go horizontal when it should (for N64 and Super Nintendo games) and added a QR lookup code on the back of the case that links you to the game's CGA database entry. Following its comics grading scale, CGC also introduces a 9.9 grade for games.
Some of the CGC-graded titles Spiegel highlights in this event include the very first game graded by CGC: It's a 1987 NES The Legend of Zelda graded 9.4 A+. If you win this, you win a piece of collectibles history (in more ways than one). And speaking of that horizontal slab, here's a CGC 9.8 A++ 1996 Nintendo Mario Kart 64 and a CGC 9.6 A++ 2001 N64 Pokémon Stadium 2. And as we head into this season's Super Bowl, you can bid on a CGC-graded John Madden Football (Genesis Electronic Arts, 1990) with a 9.2 A+ rating.
These are just four of the thirty CGC-graded games in this auction, which also includes this Sonic the Hedgehog (CGC 9.6 A), a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters (CGC 9.8 A++) and a GoldenEye 007 (CGC 9.2 A+).
Despite this juicy CGC news, Wata's ongoing and crucial role in grading games continues in this event with some truly worthy titles. An early production ridged longbox copy of 1995's Twisted Metal (PS1 Sony, Wata 9.6 A+) is one highlight; a Sony PS2 Rockstar 2001 Grand Theft Auto III (Wata 10.0 A++) is another. And here's the first Nintendo game to feature a female protagonist, Samus Aran: 1987's Metroid (Wata 9.6 A+).
These along with hundreds of other lots and a fantastic collection of original game artworks by Jim Lee, Frank Cirocco, Mick McGinty and more make up a special Heritage event that's also a celebration of the long-awaited union of CGC and video games.