Treasure Hunting: Toronto Pawn Shops Edition

As I noted in the Inaugural Edition of Treasure Hunting, there some good (well, usually good) places to visit to find some deals on older games that can be a little harder to find than most. These places range from pawn shops to garage sales and doing some research on eBay for the best prices and the cheapest shipping. This past weekend I took a trip down to the pawn shop district here in Toronto—it’s not really called that, but seriously, there are about 8 pawn shops all together at one intersection near downtown Toronto and then none for miles. It’s kind of odd.

I went down to see what I could find and as I walked into the first place asking if they had any games for sale, they replied with a surly, brash, and half English “NO VIDEOGAMES.” Alright then. I left and went on the next place, which of course, was right next door. I entered and asked the same question and received the same reply, albeit much nicer and more coherent. After the third and fourth store gave me the same response, my treasure hunting was not going well and I was pretty sure I had just wasted my afternoon. As I was leaving the area, there were two stores left to try. After one of the previous stores told me that none of the pawn shops in the area sold videogames, I wasn’t too inclined to even bother looking and getting the same treatment that the rest of the stores offered.

I walked past and looked in and saw the usual display cases of cameras, gold watches, and jewelry, but decided to go in anyways. At the end of the counter, I was actually surprised to see that they had a few Xbox 360 and PS3 games. Nothing of note however, but they were games nonetheless. I asked if that was all the games they had and he pointed to a beat-up cardboard box on the floor behind the counter. I saw the tops of some N64 and SNES games in it, so I motioned for him to bring the box up on the counter so I could get a better look. There were about 12 different SNES games, 4 N64 games, 1 NES game and 2 PlayStation games. Most of the games (for all the systems) were sports games and I’m certain they had all been sitting behind the counter for quite some time. One of the games however was Final Fantasy Chronicles for the PSX that features both ChronoTrigger and Final Fantasy IV in one set.

Having never played ChronoTrigger before—I know, I’m a horrible man—I wanted to grab it just for that reason. Final Fantasy IV is a little easier to come by on just about any system—-I have a DS copy that I still haven’t played—-but it’s still a game that I want to play through eventually. So I figured what the hell; they were two games that I really wanted in my collection and although the jewel case was pretty badly beat up, the discs and instructions were there and surprisingly in great shape. After making sure there was nothing else of interest in the box, I pulled out the case, asked how much, and quickly, almost as if partially asking me, he said “ten dollars.”

I had only brought ten dollars as I was expecting to find some games that were two or three dollars each and be content with one of those, but for two games that I have always wanted to play, ten bucks was a fair price. If it wasn’t for the little box of years-old sports games behind the counter, the entire afternoon of treasure hunting would have been a bust, and make no mistake, that does happen quite often. It’s always nice that just when you think that you have wasted your time, you come across a great title that’s hidden away from the world.