NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Grown-up gamers are flooding the market place as they hunt for the video games of their childhood. Some games are harder to find than others. The hunt is driving the price of the collectibles to new heights.

“We’re talking about six figures for some of these games,” pointed out Hector Gardea, News 2 photojournalist. “A lot of these collectors call those items, their ‘Holy Grail.'”

Gardea is a connoisseur of vintage video games.

“I got hit in the nostalgia and in the wallet. And my heartstrings got tugged on so hard that little eight-year-old Hector said, ‘I need to play this again.'”

Hector Gardea, News 2 photojournalist

It’s the memories, the rarity, the hunt, that fuels his passion.

“I think I’ll spend $200, to reacquire a piece of my childhood. That’s how, that’s how they get you,” he laughed.

There’s a community of grown-up gamers, like Hector, who look to acquire the items that made a mark so many years ago.

“We will swap, we’ll sell, we’ll trade, whatever it takes. And just for the sake of saying I have a complete collection of the original Nintendo or the original Sega, the original PlayStation,” he explained.

When COVID hit, Gardea explained a renewed interest in vintage games took hold. “The competition got fierce for these collectibles.”

While he never intended for his hobby to turn into an investment, it has!

“Wait a minute, it’s tripled in price.”

He owns a modest collection, but again, some games could fetch six figures.

“The original cards from the Nintendo World Championships, those command, the ultimate price.”

The identify of the buyers are not well known. “It is a very secret society.”

But for collectors who now have cherished consoles at their fingertips, worth a lot of cash, what will they do?

“I have a love for these games,” said Gardea.

And, since it was never about the money for him, Gardea will hold on to his memories instead.