Almost every day I get asked the same question. “How do you guys sell so many rare cartridge games when people can just use emulators to play the games?” There are actually multiple answers I give to people about this.
First, emulators do not always give a true representation of the game. Timing, graphics, etc can be extremely different on an emulator vs the actual game cartridge it came from. Many RPGs and fighting games (among many others) are just not playable due to the timing differences. Sometimes we are only talking about milliseconds, but that is all it takes to change the outcome of certain games. Second, emulators give some people the reassurance they need to drop big bucks on a game they have been wanting, but could not justify spending the cash just to see if they like it. For example, let’s say someone has been hearing about this awesome game called “Earthbound”, but has watched it get more expensive each year and still hasn’t gotten a chance to try it. Rather than dropping the $200+ dollars it would take to snag a copy and possibly not like it, they can try it on an emulator to at least get the basic idea of how good or bad the game is. This will make it much easier for them to justify the high price tag on the cartridge.
Lastly, just like the old saying about land, “they aren’t making any more of it.” With more and more people starting to collect each year, most classic games are steadily going up in price as fewer copies are too be found. As in the previous example, a $200 copy of Earthbound will only increase in value as time goes by.