I write a lot here about businesses that have suffered due to COVID-19. But it’s rare that you hear about a business that actually GAINED a following because of the pandemic.

For instance, we know that it’s difficult to find bicycles. Apparently everyone and their mom started biking at the beginning of this pandemic. We also know that it’s difficult to find outdoor furniture.

Outdoor stores are killing it since people are entertaining at home. But who would’ve thought about video games? And now that I mention it, how did we NOT think of video games? People who love video games are going to spend more time in front of their various devices playing them when they’re stuck at home. And people who never liked video games before finally decided to dip their toe into the gaming world when they got tired of trying out new recipes, watching Netflix, and doing activities on Zoom.

So video game businesses have been on a roll. And it wasn’t just the games that people were after. Every system known to man was completely wiped off the shelves or the websites. Brand new systems, vintage systems — just try to find an Xbox One, PS4 or Nintendo Switch out in the wild.

Phil Harding owns a quaint little store on Cookman Avenue in Asbury Park called Kill Screen Games. When he was first forced to close his store at the beginning of the COVID-19 shutdown, he announced on social media that he would be available by appointment and he would also be selling his stuff on Amazon and eBay. And the rush was on.

Kill Screen buys and sells video games and systems. Because of the high demand, the value of these items have been going through the roof.

For example "Paper Mario; The Thousand-Year Door," an early 2000s GameCube game that originally sold for $40 now exceeds $120. Tons of other hot video games are exponentially increasing in value. Early 2000s games have particularly gone up in value because the kids who played those games back in the day, who are now adults in charge of their own wallets, want to relive them again. Nintendo‘s fitness game for the Switch, "Ring Fit Adventure" has an MSRP of $80, but during the height of the pandemic you could not find it on the secondhand market for less than $250.

So for certain businesses, like Kill Screen Games, it’s not all gloom and doom. The pandemic has brought some businesses to the forefront just as it has brought others to the ground.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco. Any opinions expressed are Judi's own.

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