The collector’s fallacy

I kind of talked around this in Value is subjective.

Collector’s fallacy is the idea that two copies of the same thing have different values simply because they’re different versions. This applies to things that aren’t exceedingly valuable, just regularly valuable (whatever that means). However, I still feel that paying half a million or something for a first edition Harry Potter book is still pretty dumb.

An example. I bought a game this week (my first since Fallout 3). The game was Shadow of the Colossus. If you own a PS2 and have not played it yet, go out and buy it. Right now. Or do like I did and put it on the list of games you habitually look for whenever you enter a store that sells used games. Anyway. I found it for ten bucks. The thing with PS2 games is that they occasionally release a second version of a popular game with a red banner across the top proclaiming it to be a “Greatest Hit.” This was one such copy. These versions are generally regarded to be “less valuable” than their unbannered counterparts. The game is unchanged, it’s merely the game box and occasionally the game disk that are changed. That’s it.

Now, if you’re buying the game to keep, go ahead and be a little picky about it. I have an OCD about book series that way, I like to collect only the same editions so they look nice and uniform. If you’re just going to buy it, play it, and then sell it, fuck what it looks like. I’ve bought games that were merely a disk simply because it didn’t matter, I wouldn’t be keeping it.

I’ve heard the argument that “Greatest Hit” games have less resale value. If that’s true, it’s also irrelevant. I bought the game for ten god-damn bucks. Chances are high that if there is a price difference, I paid less for the GH version than I would have for a non-GH version. I’ll get less back for it, but the relative price is probably the same. Not buying a GH version because you can’t sell it back for as much is like not buying a Nissan Versa because the Mercedes Whatever has a better resale value. No shit, Sherlock, the Mercedes is a pricer car. The question isn’t do you get more money back, it’s do you get more money back relative to what you paid for it.

I see this with books, too. That’s nice, you have the first edition and I have a book club edition. So what, same damn book. It’s not missing anything, it’s just cheaper. I like cheap. Cheap is good. It means I get the same damn thing for less than you did.

If you’re going to be OCD about something that’s fine. But don’t look down at me with my book club editions and my PS2 Greatest Hits. Admit that it’s merely your OCD and that it’s not actually about the “value” of the book/game/car/whatever. I admit, the GH versions are butt fucking ugly. But I’ll take a butt fucking ugly version of Shadow of the Colossus for ten fucking bucks and be happy about it. It’s the data on the disk I care about.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some climbing around on giant stone behemoths to do.


2 Responses to “The collector’s fallacy”

  1. Dargon Says:

    Unlike you, I seldom sell my games, as I am quite prone to replaying, lending, and sharing them. Only if it sucked will I sell it, but then again, I don’t buy games that suck. That being said, I have no qualms buying a greatest hits, or even, science forbid, a used greatest hits with no box and no manual! It is the software that I care about.

    Now admittedly I do fall prey to being a bit of a collector when it comes to video games. Despite the wide availability of ROMs, I still purchase my favorites in cartridge/disc form when I find them. Mind you, I do actually play said cartridges/discs.

    Dammit, now you got me looking through my old games, I and feel quite compelled to pop Chip and Dale: Rescue Rangers into my NES.

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