LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Grown-up gamers are flooding the marketplace as they hunt for the video games of their childhood. This hunt is driving the price of the collectibles to new heights.

More and more gamers are gaining wealth not by playing, but by collecting.

“Started collecting since college, been going strong since then,” said vintage game collector, Jonathan Nickles.

Nickles works at 8 News Now as a web graphic designer, however on his time off, he is a connoisseur of vintage video games.

“My grandmother bought my first gaming console, Super Nintendo when I was 4 or 5, and I have been gaming ever since,” said Nickles.

He said that it is the memory, the rarity, and the hunt that fuels his passion.

There is a community of grown-up gamers that look to acquire the items that made a mark many years ago and when COVID-19 hit.

During the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was an increase of 37% in spending across video game hardware, software, and accessories.

Over the past few years, the competition has gotten fierce for collectors.

“Games that I thought would go down, have just continued to increase,” Nickles said. “Some of the most expensive things in my collection are Super Nintendo, Earthbound are upwards of 3000 or more dollars.”

Every hobby has its enthusiastic collectors who will pay ridiculous prices for rare memorabilia. This often means in the world of video games rare cartridges, limited edition merchandise, and long-lost artifacts form an era before anyone knew how high gaming was going to get.

“If I had one that was worth hundreds of thousands, I would probably sell it,” Nickles stated.

For collectors like Nickles who have cherished these games and memories, it is harder to cash out.