Way back in 2001, when I was in between stints of gainful employment, I found a little online auction house called eBay, and began to stock up on some collectibles which had been on my wish list for a long time. After an orgy of collection acquisition, it occurred to me that I could sell off some of my unwanted stuff on that site, and with a little luck, make enough to buy even more of what I wanted.
A few months later, in 2002, I realized that I was making more money than I was spending, and there just might be a business model hiding in my hobby time. I registered my trademark and began operating as a business, always known as magisterrex.com officially, although eBay’s many labyrinthine rule changes eventually required me to call myself magisterrex Retro Games if I wanted to stay selling there. For many years eBay was a good partner, and I paid my fees dutifully and happily, becoming one of their Power Sellers and staying that way until I left.
2004 is the earliest screenshot Wayback Machine has for magisterrex.com, forwarded to my eBay listings from the http://www.magisterrex.com URL.
Eventually, as the market transformed, I found eBay too restrictive and too little value for the money, and left for greener pastures. Before then, and after, I dabbled in other online venues: Bidville, Bonanzle, Dawdle, iOffer, Overstock, Amazon, eCrater, eBid, and others, with limited success. Some of these names you might not even recall anymore, as they have disappeared from the vast online retail landscape.
What did work was running my own website, which permitted me much more time to devote to inventory acquisition and listing, rather the artificial emergencies of eBay. I learned how to code in HTML, which was the norm of the day, and put up what now would be an ugly, barely functional eCommerce site…but it did the job. Within a year of moving the bulk of my inventory to the website, sales matched my eBay sales, and two years later blew them out of the water, prompting me to shut down my eBay store altogether.
Here’s the earliest screenshot that the Wayback Machine has of the actual magisterrex.com website, a marvel of HTML.
A few years later my website’s stodgy look prompted me to contact a trusted website designer to bring magisterrex.com closer to the modern age. She designed my robot and overall look of the site, and delivered what, for the most part, you see today.
A new look for magisterrex.com, and a more familiar one for current visitors.
Yet the world continues to turn, and things are changing within the retrogaming community. There are fewer and fewer people who want to have the actual, original games in hand, preferring to purchase digital, virtual versions. The rise of digital delivery has meant that GOG and other sites like it can offer someone a game at a few dollars, send it to them electronically, and no one waits for the mail to arrive. Microsoft offers the same type of product through their Live service, as do Nintendo and Sony on their own networks. This, it seems, is a very attractive process to many people, though I still cannot bring myself to participate. Unfortunately, original game resellers are soon to be a distant memory because of companies like GOG, as the bills still need to be paid, regardless if no one wants to buy a game that day.
Which brings me to my point.
I’ve had a great run, and I know I’ve mailed out a lot of happiness to a lot of people over the last decade. I’m content with that, but I do need to feed and clothe the children, and provide some measure of a lifestyle beyond the poverty level for my family. So, I have accepted an offer from a company to return to work doing what I did a decade ago. My website will stay live for some time yet, as I slowly clear out my inventory and give people the chance to buy what they want, but eventually I will shutter the windows and lock the doors.
So, a profound THANK-YOU to everyone who has purchased from my store over the past ten years. Because of your patronage, I was able to live out and pursue a dream, which is far more than many others get to do. I’ll still hang around Twitter from time-to-time, as my new schedule and responsibilities permit, and I hope to put up a blog post or two that someone might find of interest. All good things come to an end, and this…this was a great thing. Thanks for reading and remember: keep it retro!
Filed under: Rants and Miscellany | Tagged: closing, goodbye, history, magisterrex.com | 9 Comments »