Every year, trends and products that had their heyday decades ago roar back onto the scene. It makes sense, really—nostalgic things are familiar and comforting. This is especially true when it comes to retro video gaming. The kids who spent endless hours playing as Mario, Sonic and Samus are now grown up and working for a living. They’re glad for reminders of their youth, and the musical click of a cartridge locking into a game console takes them right back to those long days in front of an old TV. That’s why selling and shipping retro video games has become such a big market today. And, if it’s one you’re looking to get into, here’s the 5 supplies you’ll need to ship video games right.
What You’ll Need
- Flat Boxes
- Poly Bubble Mailers
- Packing Foam Sheets or Pouches (Anti-Static is a great choice)
- Bubble Cushion
- Packing Tape or Water-Activated Tape
Use New Packaging Supplies
This is important for anything you’re packing up, but doubly so for shipping retro video games. While older equipment is usually built well enough to last, its inherent value means you don’t want to take any chances. A new corrugated box that’s free of dents or water damage is your best bet here. Its undamaged structure will handle the rigors of shipping much better than a box that’s already faced its time out in world. As a gamer, nothing takes the wind out of your sails quite like opening a box to find your retro video games in pieces.
Shipping Retro Game Video Cartridges
Cartridges tend to be more valuable than game consoles due to limited runs or special edition packaging. That means you’ve got to pack them up safely and smartly, or risk ruining a strong opportunity for profit.
Is the cartridge packaging intact? That’s advantageous, but also a risk when it’s out for delivery. Use flat boxes to ship that rare example of cardboard casing. Wrap the cartridge box in some foam to protect the printing, then wrap it again in bubble cushion to protect its edges from crush and dent damage. Fill any empty space with void fill, and then seal the box with the carton sealing tape of your choice.
Is it just the cartridge you’re sending? Depending on the video game’s value, you can again use a flat box, or you can substitute a poly bubble mailer in its place. Since you’re not worried about protecting a retro box, the bubble lining will protect the cartridge just fine. Remember, wrap it in foam first.
If you’re packing multiple cartridges into one shipment, stick with a flat box (regardless of whether they’ve got their original packaging or not). Put each one into pink anti-static foam pouches (which will dissipate any static build-up) and ensure no game scratches another.
Shipping Retro Game Consoles
They’re older, they’re cosmetically-vulnerable, and they’re likely heavy. That means you’ll want to reduce the console’s ability to move around during shipping, while doing all you can to minimize the eventual hit you’ll take with dimensional shipping costs. Flat boxes are again your best choice here—their lower profile means you’ll use less void fill, and minimize the shipping footprint when it comes time for delivery. Measure the console box (or just the console if it’s all you have), and choose your flat corrugated box accordingly.
If the game console and its accessories are still in the original box (a rarity these days), you’ve saved yourself some packing time. Simply wrap it up in a good layer or two of bubble cushion, which will hopefully make the bundle big enough to fill the inside area of the shipping box. Fill any extra space with wadded up bubble cushion or packing peanuts.
If you’ve just got the console and its accessories, but not the original box, you’ll need to take a little more care with your packing technique. Wrap the console in packing foam to start—this will help protect it from any surface damage or abrasion. Then wrap your newly cradled console in a few layers of bubble cushion. Repeat this process for any accessories you have, then arrange everything in your shipping container. Try to group things together so they won’t move, but without crushing each other (it’s like playing Tetris all over again!).
At a minimum, use quality packing tape to seal up your boxes. For extra security and protection, water-activated tape will keep everything in place, and act as tamper-evident packaging.
Consider Priority Shipping
Since you’re shipping valuable merchandise, give thought to using priority shipping options. Your games and accessories will get to their final destinations faster, spending less time out in the wild and at risk of suffering damage. Nobody wins if a rare and retro video game suffers during its delivery.
No matter what brand you’re loyal to, shipping retro video games takes a little time and effort to do correctly. But with this guide and The Packaging Company as your packaging partner, all those games, consoles and wacky accessories are in the right hands.