Buying and Playing A Few “Expensive” Retro Games- Gotcha Force, Moto Racer Advance, and College Hoops 2k8

Game collecting has been booming since the pandemic started. Even before the pandemic the retro gaming scene has been on quite the come-up but right now things are pretty wild. One of the weird things that happens with video games is that certain games unexpectedly get pricey. I try to not to spend more than sixty dollars on any game purchase (which makes the new generation’s 70 dollar price tag less than ideal). The thought of buying an old Gameboy Advance game for sixty dollars is perplexing to a lot of people but I look at it the same I look at buying a new game for full price, the experience is worth it. If I put in the time and really enjoy a game regardless of when it’s released, it’s worth the money. The pandemic really got me delving deep into the retro gaming space and I was lucky enough to find some expensive game available to buy in person. The three games I have had the pleasure of playing are Gotcha Force for the Nintendo Gamecube, Moto Racer Advance for the Gameboy Advance, and College Hoops 2k8 for the PS3/Xbox360.

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My local game store had a copy of Gotcha Force just sitting in the Gamecube section like a normal game. They priced it accordingly though at $127.00. Gotcha Force is a rare NGC Capcom fighting game. It’s value is so high because it was released at the end of the consoles lifespan and also released to middling reviews. Since then, the game has really garnered a cult following. Every Youtube or Reddit list of best Gamecube games or Forgotten gems list includes Gotcha Force. I think the love for Gotcha Force is warranted. It’s a really simple 3D arena righter but the hook is each character is unique and is acquired randomly after matches in the story mode (hence the Gotcha). The story is serviceable but the control and art style really carry the game to lofty heights. Every fighter is a different toy with very clear toy-like elements like wind-up dials and visible screws. There is so much color on the screen at all times it really is a sight to behold. That said, the game suffers from some of the same issues as Virtual-On in that the camera can be unwieldy at times but much like Virtual-On they give you the tools to work through it.

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That said, handling expensive Gamecube games is a nightmare. The discs feel so small and fragile. I play them on a Wii and watching the Wii’s mouth swallow the tiny expensive disc is consistently unnerving. I bought a reproduction case for Gotcha Force but I think I will keep it. I love mech games and I love fighting games…Gotcha Force is very charming. I also feel like I am in some weird club owning the game while so many collectors pine for it. It sells for over $200.00 now and that price will probably go up as the game isn’t getting any less rare. Capcom is really good at making rare expensive mech fighting games at the end of console life cycles…Tech Romancer for the Dreamcast is genuinely one of the best games I have ever played. For some reason these games haven’t been re-released or ported anywhere.

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Moto Racer Advance cost $127 when I purchased it and sells for anywhere from $100 to $1,999.00 sealed and graded. It’s a Gameboy Advance game. Moto Racer Advance is another game that came out at the end of the systems life and just wasn’t released in high volume. It’s one of the few games that was put on my radar that I genuinely couldn’t find. Lots of expensive games are “rare” compared to regular releases but aren’t actually hard to find. I can find Gotcha Force. I can find NCAA Football 14, it just sells for $200 or more. Moto Racer Advance, especially US copies of the game are incredibly hard to find. I visit shops, check all the major online retailers and keep beacons out with my collector friends and this game just isn’t easy to find. I think it’s partly because the game is rare but also because the game is amazing. I bought it to eventually resell but it’s so good. Moto Racer Advance is a mode 7 style motorcycle racing game. You play rally cross with dirt bikes, moto GP modes with racing bikes and then street bike racing with traffic. All the modes play really well and the graphics are amazing. The draw distance on this game is nuts, you can see the track for ages. There is no slowdown and the details of the tracks are great. The trade off for the performance is there is no music. You don’t miss it, but every once in a while when you’re in the lead you realize that there is no music and it’s so odd. If you see this game, check it out.

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NCAA College Hoops 2K8 is an $80.00-$100.00 PS3/Xbox 360 title and all I really have to say about this game is that it’s a really good basketball game but 2K7 is better in every way and cost less than $15.00. I don’t like what 2K did with the ball handling and controls in 2K8 compared to 2K7. The graphics and presentation are nearly identical. You don’t even get a roster update because they don’t use actual players. This is an easy game to find and the price fluctuates a lot. It’s findable cheap. I actually found it with a PS3 for sale. They wanted $120 for the PS3 and 4 games. It was a great deal. After playing College Hoops 2K7, it really seems hard to justify buying 2K8 at such a high cost. The Playstation 2 version of College Hoops 2K8 is affordable and fantastic as well. Buying expensive disc based games is a really interesting affair. It’s hard to see how a CD looks online. It’s a big risk. I have a really nice disc resurfacing machine at home but I also don’t want to ruin a $100 game by resurfacing it too much either. This is a game you should be able to find in person. Buy it now. It’s only going to go up in price as College Basketball season starts the lack of NCAA games becomes apparent again.

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Now is a good time to dabble in some pricey games if you’re interested. I have been able to grab them and resell them very quickly which then allows me the chance to experience some of the rarer games out. I can’t really afford to keep these games. I will sadly have to sell Moto Racer Advance but I have a few other rare DS games I want to check out with that money. I know emulation exists. I think there is something uniquely special about playing games on their intended hardware. The medium matters. Gameboy Advance games weren’t meant to be played on my giant PC monitor. Gamecube games looks great on my CRT. There is also something gratifying about putting the physical media into it’s player. I have a gaming PC and it’s great but all my Steam games feel ethereal… double click and it’s on. I enjoy pushing the cart down, pressing power and praying it works. Good luck in your retro gaming hunt and Thanks for reading!

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My education is in Counseling (M. Ed). I love the Browns, Knicks, Retro Gaming, and Pro Wrestling. I've been a student affairs professional for a decade.

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