Sad Man
"If only I had kept that copy of Panzer Dragoon Saga locked in the basement. I'm a fool. A damned fool" — Image: Andrea Piacquadio

We're quite reliant on the sun when you think about it. Not only does it provide the warmth our planet needs to sustain life, it also allows us to get nice tans when we're on holiday, and it illuminates the world so we can, you know, see where we're going. All in all, the sun is pretty good, if you ask us.

However, for those of you with an extensive collection of retro games, that blazing orb of fire has a more sinister side-effect – it's capable of bleaching the colour out of your precious horde of games.

Given that the games industry is now several decades old, there's a fair chance you've encountered this worrying phenomenon already. Like so many consumer goods, video games are displayed in shop windows and on shelves, exposing them to sun's powerful rays. It's not uncommon, then, to find that games purchased on the secondary market already exhibit some degree of 'sun fade' on their covers; a legacy of their time spent in retail outlets before finding a home.

Mega Drive Games
Image: Damien McFerran / Time Extension

However, even after the point of purchase, your games could be at risk from the sun's influence. We've got a sizeable collection of retro games in the Time Extension office and assumed (rather foolishly) that, because the sun was never shining directly into the office windows (they face north, which means the sun passes directly over our building), our beloved boxes would never fade.

We had a rather rude awakening a few months back when we discovered, to our horror, that some of the games closest to the windows had indeed begun to show noticeable signs of sun fade on their edges. We've since taken drastic action and installed blackout blinds in the windows which are closed whenever we're not in the office, massively cutting down the amount of sunlight that enters the room.

We discussed this move with Time Extension contributor Ashley Day when he visited the office recently, and he would later check his own collection for telltale signs of damage. He was somewhat disturbed to find that he had also been a victim of the sun's relentless luminosity, as you can see below.

Saturn Sun Fade
Image: Ashley Day

Now, unless you intend to keep your games locked away in a dark cupboard forever, some degree of sun fading is inevitable – especially when you're talking about games which are already 20, 30 or even 40 years old. Some of the games you own might already have sun fade through no fault of your own; we've certainly got a few examples in the office which, at the point of purchase, already had faded spines, presumably from the many months of sitting in shops or on someone else's shelf.

Even so, it begs the question: given that retro games are rising in value each year, should you consider taking steps to protect your investment for the years to come? Even if you're not in this hobby to make a quick buck, if you own a valuable video game, it stands to reason that you'd want it to maintain its value over time, so, should the day come that you're parted from it, it will be worth as much as possible.

Perhaps, like us, you've never actually considered this to be an issue until now? Perhaps you still don't think it's an issue? Whatever your viewpoint, we want to hear it – so be sure to vote in the poll below and leave a comment.

Are you worried about sun fade impacting your retro game collection? (223 votes)

  1. Yes62%
  2. No22%
  3. I'm not bothered either way, to be honest16%