Have you been curious about video game collecting and found yourself lost in CIBs and IPMs and give up? Here are some common video game collecting terms that you should know as you become an expert Video Game Collector.

There are a couple places, like WATA and Heritage, that have a glossary of terms. I'm going to go over just a few of them.

Video Game Collecting Terms

When you are looking at games on eBay or auction house, they may describe the condition with one of these terms. Here is the difference in those terms. There are two terms that cross over collectibles: Raw and Graded. Raw means a video game that hasn't been graded and graded means it has! It's that simple.


Loose means that it is the cartridge by itself - no case/box and no manual or inserts.


CIB stands for Complete In Box. This means that the game has all the components. The box/case, manual/inserts, and cartridge. You will only know if a CIB game has all its components after it gets graded. Once it's graded, all the pieces will be verified that they are all from the same time frame. To learn more about this check out my last blog all about good reasons to get games graded.


New/Sealed is quite literally a new and/or sealed game. This is a game that has never been opened. The BEST of these are the ones that are sealed with the original plastic wrap. Those are the most ideal to collectors and investors.


IMP means Incorrect Married Part. This refers to a CIB game that has improperly matched pieces. So, someone trying to sell their game was missing a piece to make it complete. Rather than finding the correct piece, that person replaces it with a newer option. Maybe it's a newer cartridge or possibly a newer manual. Then you go to grade it and get the dreaded IMP. Unfortunately these are pretty difficult to spot unless you know what you are looking for.

3/5 Screw

This refers to the number of screws on the game. Originally, 5 screws were used. In an effort to save money, that number was reduced to 3. This is a big deal to collectors. 5-screw games go for a lot more than their 3-screw counterparts.


SOQ means Seal of Quality. Typically, you will see this in reference to the shape. Some brands, most notably Nintendo, change the shape of their seal, so it matters what shape is on the box. It helps to pin down the release year also. Typically, this seal shape is also on the cartridge. This may be an easy way to see if the cartridge is the same release year as the box. If the box and cart have different seals - IMP!


SPM means Sealed Post Manufacturing. You might also see this referred to asĀ resealed. Either way, this refers to a game that someone opened then tried to reseal it by gluing the tops down and placing new shrink wrap over it. WATA does make it a point to try to find SPM games. If you submit a game that they think is an SPM they will notify you and ask if you want them to open the game. your two options would be to have them not open and return the game to you - or to have them open but the game will then be graded as a CIB rather than New/Sealed.

Video Game Collecting Terms Wrap Up

There you have it! That's my list of terms every video game collector needs to know. There are PLENTY more so think of this as the beginning. Where there any terms that I missed that you think are very important? Leave them in the comments! If you want to check out more terms, again you can head over to WATA or Heritage for their lists.


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