Is The Goodwill Donation Center Still A Retro Gaming Goldmine?

For most, the Goodwill name is something we are very familiar with and there have been many times we found someone else’s trash and made it our treasure. The Goodwill Thrift Store for most was a place to find retro video game gold at prices far less than your local retro video game store and now that is questionable. What happened to Goodwill stores and why retro games are becoming a scarce commodity there.

Is the Goodwill Thrift store a dead-end for retro video game collectors to find retro video game gold?

As we approach 2019 I find myself going to Goodwill less and less because it seems like a time where you could find retro video game gold at really low prices is a thing of the past. A few years ago I remember finding NES, sega master system, genesis, SNES and your cd based systems at really low prices. There was a time when the shelves were full of them, stacks upon stacks and now there might be a few buried amongst the DVD shelves. Just yesterday I stopped at a couple of goodwill thrift stores, spent a few couple of hours at both and found very little. During those couple of hours, I found two Wii games, a few old kids pc games, Gun for PC, three Xbox 360 games, a DS game, One PS3 game, and a Blueray but none of which are sort after or great titles. I will name the games below with prices but one I want to take a look at in particular is Battlefield 4 for the PS3 which I didn’t pick up but they wanted $5 and if you search around the internet this game goes for just that. So even when you find games at the goodwill shop, you will find yourself paying retro video game store prices and they only difference here is there is no return policy at Goodwill.

Goodwill Thrift Store Pick-ups

  • Monster Jam: Path of Destruction for Wii ($1.99) (ebay: $8.99)
  • Virtual Tennis 3 for Xbox 360 ($2.97) ($3.99 disc only on ebay)
  • Harry Potter for Kinect ($2.97) ($9 on ebay)
  • Call of Duty Ghosts for Xbox 360 ($2.97) ($5 to $8 on ebay)
  • March of the Penguins for DS ($2.97) ($5 or less on ebay)
  • Monster High Ghoul Spirit for Wii New ($4.97) ($2 – $8 used on eBay)
  • Gun for PC ($3.97) ($8 on eBay)
  • Pac-Man Adventure in Time for PC ($1.99) ($4 – $8 eBay)
  • I Spy Junior Puppet Playhouse for PC ($1.99) ($3 – $7 on ebay)
  • Gubble 2 for PC ($1.99) (Can’t find this game anywhere!)
  • Math Blaster: Episode 1 – In Search of Spot for PC ($1.99) ( Selling for $8 on eBay)
  • The Magic School Bus: Explores the RainForest for PC ($1.99) (average price on eBay is about $4 – $6)
  • The Hunger Games on Blueray ($1.99)

What Is Responsible for the Retro Game Decline in the Goodwill Thrift Store?

I’d like to take hit at the retro video game collecting community and It would be rightfully so, but I want to be more specific than that! Unfortunately, the Goodwill Donation Center got wind of the retro video game craze in retail game store settings and online. They discovered that certain games were becoming rarer to find or far more popular which was driving the price up on many different retail platforms. Youtubers talking up the game and collectors with far too much money paying which also drove up the price of these games everywhere. Now because of all this craze Goodwill Auction, was born and Goodwill online bidding started. This is the very reason it is becoming harder and harder to find video games at really good prices at the Goodwill Donation Center and also why if you do happen to find some the price might reflect the retail market.

So Goodwill Is Online Now, What’s The Big Deal?

Well, in short, the only reason this is a bad thing for retro video game collectors is the hunt for reasonable prices at Goodwill has come to an end because the bidding on is extremely high. Apparently there are people out there with boatloads of cash and retro video games that you can’t return is worth 100s if not 1000s. It is very hard for someone looking for a deal, looking to pay what the game(s) should be worth and not giving away a fortune. Don’t forget if you win the big, receive the games and find that most don’t work, you can’t return. I one-time bid on an Atari 5200 with games, got the system and plugged it in only to find out it didn’t work. Goodwill did give me a little partial refund but I had a paper wait and that’s the risk you take! Personally, if I was getting a really good deal the risk is worth it but at the prices, some of these auctions are getting up to, is the risk really worth it? In my opinion no, not when there are no returns and you are chancing to receive broken products.

Finally Thoughts!

If I had to sit here and think of final thoughts it would be that even though Goodwill isn’t a complete loss you will find some gaming related items if you look at multiple stores but for the most part, you’re more then likely will find very little as far as retro video games are concerned. Most of the cheaply priced games found at a goodwill thrift store are nothing special and the ones that are will be more than likely priced to match retail such as the Call of Duty Battlefront that I found. Almost all of the games that come through the Goodwill Donation Center end up on and the bids sometime get out of most of our price range or force our retro collecting addiction to surface paying way to much for something we really want in our collection.

This leaves a burning question in most people trying to build up their retro collection and that is “If Goodwill is a bust for the most part, where can I find good deals on retro gaming gold?” That is a question best left for another post so don’t forget to bookmark, follow me on the social media of your choice and check out the We Deem Channel for more gaming and tech related content!

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I guess this is where application of what I was learning in economics really works, the laws of demand and supply, more is demanded prices go up and this is just being reflected by the bidding. Hopefully There will be an increase in supply otherwise I don’t really see the need to wait days or weeks for an order I paced whilst I can get it from a nearby store for just about the same price. 

Salvatore Jenkins Jr

My thoughts exactly, goodwill doesn’t have a return policy so if you receive broken on a non-working product you are pretty much stuck with it and this is why is such a bad purchase!



This is the result of advanced technology in online stores. People who tend to buy other products will also look for retro video games online. And when the demand is high sellers started to sell their games online. I personally don’t think that we will find retro video games for cheaper prices in Goodwill anymore. But maybe if someone started a new online store that sells video games for a cheaper price and with a return policy, maybe one day that would become a successful version of a Goodwill thrift store. That’s my thoughts on the matter. Let me know what do you think about this?

Salvatore Jenkins Jr

I think most of us would love to find a Video game store own by someone who loves video games and just wants to see those games get into the hands of others who share the love. However, a business is a business and most want to make as much money as possible. I guess if the market says something is worth a fortune even if we don’t agree that is what will be charged and it all depends on what you are will to pay.


Wow! wait a minute, goodwill store does not operate a return back policy? that is simply funny for me to know of. So, if I were to order for a product and it takes days to get to me and at the end, I discovered that the product is spoilt or broken, I will be the one to bear the cost. That is really bad considering that they lack proper hospitality for the consumers making use of the product. Thanks so much for review. 

Salvatore Jenkins Jr

I agree… it is a sold as is policy… As I said I purchased an Atari and it came to me broken and they wouldn’t refund my money so why would I bid high price for something that might be broken!


Goodwill donation store really sucks at most things but the part they failed woefully is not considering the interests of the buyers by not including a return policy. I see no reason why I should order from them and only to wait for days or weeks to get my orders when I can simply get them all by just approaching a store. True that there are lesser demands for retro games but people like us that still love to revisit our retros would be left hanging around without getting it all due to bad service from this goodwill donation center. thanks to you for pointing all these out about them. I will surely stay off them.

Salvatore Jenkins Jr

I agree… Goodwill Stores used to be a goldmine for retro video games at a cheap price and it has just come to an end!


Thank you for this very interesting article. The last time I was at Goodwill I was actually looking for some interesting old-fashioned clothing for a Halloween costume. I never thought they could have things like video games there but now that you mention it that could be a great place to get video games. Unfortunately it sounds like the availability of video games there has declined. Thank you for helping us find out how to get video games at great prices.

Salvatore Jenkins Jr

Unfortunately, there is a decline in video games at the Goodwill physical store… It is getting harder and harder to find reasonable prices as the retro video collecting community grows!

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