Let’s now explore where you can buy an N64 module for yourself. Although much of this information may be familiar, there are still valuable tips and tricks to consider when specifically purchasing an N64 controller.
How to source a stick
We are currently experiencing a significant boom in the retro video game market. Finding reasonably priced, good-quality controllers has become challenging. Particularly when it comes to sealed or unused controllers in their original boxes. As more individuals become aware of the rising value in the retro video game market, they tend to sell their stock at excessively high prices, even if the quality is subpar.
If you haven’t watched Karl’s video on the state of the video game market, I highly recommend it.
Exposing FRAUD And DECEPTION In The Retro Video Game Market – Karl Jobst
It offers valuable insights and illuminates the reasons behind the inflated prices at which retro games are now being sold.
When purchasing controllers, games, or accessories, always remember that if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. Take a close look at the advertisement and the person selling the item. Additionally, opt for payment methods like BACS or Paypal as they offer tracking and the possibility of reversing or disputing a transaction in case of any issues. If you’re unsure, don’t hesitate to seek input from the communities you’re a part of. Other gamers can provide a fresh perspective and spot things you might have missed. When it comes to controllers, unless you personally know the seller or they have an excellent reputation, there is still a level of uncertainty involved, as photos alone can only convey so much information.
Just be smart people and you won’t get burned.
eBay serves as a valuable resource for finding new sticks; be prepared to pay a premium price for decent sticks, especially if they are being shipped from overseas. Generally, Japan tends to offer the best-quality sticks, although collectors who know the value of their items may also sell them. While it may be an investment, at least you can have confidence in what you’re getting.
Avoid listings that use the term “Refurbished.” These sticks may be GameCube sticks or cheap optical/pot replacements. Genuine refurbished sticks, such as those with Steelstick bowls or parts, will explicitly state so. If a listing claims to be refurbished, make sure to request photos for verification.
I highly recommend requesting a video from the seller where they lightly prod the stick before purchasing it as a general rule of thumb.
Be cautious of sellers who simply state that the stick is “okay,” “good,” or “a tad wobbly but in great condition,” as these descriptions can be vague.
Instead, prioritize sellers who provide more detailed information, such as “Box never opened,” “Stick does not move when touched,” “It belonged to my son/husband/father, and they never used it,” “Original packaging,” “Mint condition,” and similar phrases. These specific statements are a good starting point for a reliable purchase.
Local listings (Facebook Marketplace/Craigslist/Jumble sales etc)
I adore FB Marketplace as it’s a goldmine for people who are unaware of the true value of their items. Take advantage of this when searching for top-notch gear. Furthermore, if you come across a good stick at a low price, you might even cover the cost of collection since the seller simply wants to get rid of it.
Just follow the aforementioned indicators of what a good stick looks like, and you’ll be on the safe side.
I strongly recommend not purchasing a stick unless the seller provides a video demonstrating a gentle prod of the stick.
Avoid any sticks that appear wobbly, as they may be worse than they appear.
Stay away from listings that use the term “Refurbished.” These sticks could be GameCube sticks or cheap optical/pot replacements.
Be cautious of sellers who describe the stick as “okay,” “good,” or “a tad wobbly but in great condition,” as these descriptions can be misleading.
Opt for sellers who use phrases such as “Box never opened,” “Stick does not move when touched,” “It belonged to my son/husband/father, and they never used it,” “Original packaging,” “Mint condition,” and similar expressions. These particular statements are excellent starting points.
Additionally, consider reaching out to speedrunning communities and gaming groups for assistance. The SM64 Discord group has sellers who source parts for their communities can help you as well.
Retro game stores
This is a great option because they are likely to offer returns if you’re not satisfied. They probably won’t lie when you inquire about the condition of the stick or whether it has been refurbished. If you’re unhappy with your purchase, you can easily return it, as I mentioned before.
One problem with retro game stores is you often have to pay a steep price for controllers in average condition. For example, CEX, the prominent buy-and-sell store for games, DVDs, and various other items in the UK, sells N64 controllers. However, upon closer examination, you may notice signs of bowl wear and usage. They charge a flat fee based on the product category. For instance, a 1/10 Grey controller will be priced the same as a 10/10 Grey controller. Unfortunately, there is no way to know the actual condition unless you test it.
Overall, the experience could be good or not-so-good. On the bright side, you can likely test the product in-store and return it if needed.