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Comparing the Cost of Video Games Between Now and 1996

Comparing the Cost of Video Games Between Now and 1996

Gaming has become more expensive in 2023, and there’s no denying that. So how do prices compare between now and then for similar games?

A recent Reddit post showcases a Toys ‘R Us ad for video games in 1996. It features the prices of Nintendo 64 or PlayStation One games, which got us wondering. How do these prices compare to today?

The Nintendo 64 Is Incredibly Affordable

Nintendo consoles are generally on the lower end of the price spectrum. The Nintendo Switch, for example, runs $299.99. The new OLED model is $349.99. Compare that to the prices of other consoles at launch that range, on average, $500.

The Nintendo 64 seems like a steal, even for a Nintendo console. $149.99 was something even I could afford as a teenager. 

Fun fact: the week after I bought my Nintendo 64, it went on sale for $129.99 with an additional controller. 

Can You Believe That a Sony Console Used to Cost $149.99?

Everyone remembers the memes from the PlayStation 3 reveal: “599 US Dollars.”

We’re a long way away from sticker shock, but even today, a PlayStation 5 will cost you a pretty penny. A standard PS5 will run you $500. That’s over double the cost of the PlayStation one, which was only $150. 

Playstation One Games Are Surprisingly Cheap

With a higher console cost also comes a higher game cost. PS5 games today will run you $70. If you wanted to play the new Twisted Metal in 1996, it’s almost half the cost. $39.99 for a new PlayStation game seems impossible to comprehend. 

Even a sports game like NHL ’97 is only $49.99. What a steal compared to today’s prices!

The Two Movie Licensed Games For PS1 Cost a Little More

Two games stand out compared to others on PlayStation One: Independence Day and Die Hard Trilogy.

Is it a coincidence that the two games based on a movie cost more than the others? Possibly, but these are also the only PS1 games over $50. So there has to be a reason, right?

DOOM 64 is Way More Than DOOM Eternal 

On release in 2020, DOOM Eternal cost $59.99. Today, you can buy it on Steam for $39.99. Meanwhile, in 1996, DOOM 64 cost $75. DOOM 64 is one of the better DOOM games, but would you pay that much for it? 

Mario Kart 64 Is on Par With Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

When it was released for Nintendo Switch in 2017, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe cost $59.99. Today you can generally find it for $49.99. Compare that with Mario Kart 64, which had an MSRP of $59.99 in 1996.

The prices between these Mario Kart titles are comparable, but there is a paid DLC for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. That costs you an additional $24.99. It also comes free with a subscription to Nintendo Switch Online

Wave Race 64 Cost More Than Its Gamecube Sequel

When you think of the cost of a game recently, you probably think about it being $60. That was the case with Wave Race: Blue Storm, the Nintendo GameCube sequel to Wave Race 64. 

Believe it or not, Wave Race 64 had an MSRP of $64.99. So the older game was a little more expensive! Though some would argue that Wave Race 64 is a better game than Blue Storm. 

Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire Costs a Pretty Penny

If you’re looking for a popular franchise, look no further than Star Wars. The Star Wars games are usually the most popular titles, but how much would you pay for one?

Shadows of the Empire for the Nintendo 64 may not be the most expensive game in the ad. Still, at $69.99, would you be willing to pay that much?

Turok Makes Recent Nintendo Games Look Like a Bargain

DOOM 64 isn’t the only $75 Nintendo 64 game. Turok: Dinosaur Hunter costs the same, which is somewhat mindboggling.

Given the nature of Nintendo’s recent games feeling unfinished or incomplete, maybe $75 isn’t such a bad thing.

I’d rather pay a little more for a complete game than pay too much for an unfinished title. 




Written by Jake Valentine

I am the Editor-In-Chief of BossLevelGamer. I'm also a lover of video games, food, and beer.

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