Like most any other American gamer, I’m insanely jealous of Japanese gamers. Not only do they get all sorts of wacky games that will never come out stateside and all sorts of cool gaming collectibles, but they still have a vibrant arcade scene. Recently, though, I’ve discovered yet another reason to be jealous of Japanese gamers: They can get extremely good deals on good, used videogames.

The man behind my newfound jealousy is Wired game writer Chris Kohler, who recently created what he calls the “1000 Yen Challenge” to demonstrate just how far he (and others) could stretch their money in Japan’s many used-games shops. The results so far were astonishing to this American gamer. For the equivalent of about 10 U.S. dollars, these savvy Japanese shoppers were able to pick up a dozen games or more! Sure, some of the games were no-name, forgettable dreck, but the hauls so far have also included classics like Soulcalibur, Wave Race 64 and Resident Evil: Code Veronica, as well as obscure games of interest like Seaman and Vib-Ribbon. These games were going for prices as low as 20 yen. Twenty yen! That’s less than a quarter! As long as you aren’t particular about condition, and aim for systems that are old but not yet classic, it seems you can make a killing out there in the Japanese game market.

Too bad the American used-game market isn’t so amenable to ultra-cheap deals. Or is it? To find out, I decided to take on my own slightly modified version of the 1000 Yen Challenge in my own backyard. Here’s how it went.

(full article)