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RetroCollect Video Game Database

Welcome to our glossary. Here you will find definitions or explanations of the terms used on our site. Please note that this directory is constantly being updated. Not all relevant terms may yet be covered, we apologize for any inconvenience.

Computer Game

See Video Game

Electronic Game

See Video Game


A game in our database is a grouping of all publications of a distinct video game, describing common features of all these publications. Distinct here means that two publications get grouped together if they are of the same video game. How we decide if they are the same can be found in the entry for video game.


A port in our database is a grouping of all publications of a distinct video game on a specific platform. In other words, it refers to a game on a certain platform.


Rarity is value assigned to releases in our database which reflect how hard it is to acquire this release, averaged over a long time period. Contrary to popular belief, it is not possible to measure rarity. As we can usually not know the exact number of items in existence, this assessment is based on long term availability. The rarities are assigned by experienced collectors of the respective system. Ideally, these collectors already own the complete set so they can judge the rarity unbiased. The scale we rate games on is as follows

  • Not classified

    Unfortunately, due to the effort required, not all releases have yet been rated.

  • Very Common

    These are games that will be part of almost every bundle you can purchase. The games everyone with the system owned.

  • Common

    Always just a click away, these games hardly present a challenge.

  • Uncommon

    While not common at all, these games are hardly rare either. Games you won’t find online on any given day but should be there within a week or two of watching.

  • Rare

    These are the games that still pop up regularly (every month or two), but require a bit of patience.

  • Very Rare

    Games in this category require dedication. You may have to wait up to a year to even see a copy up for grabs.

  • Extremely Rare

    These are the holy grails of every collection, games of which only a few dozen copies or less are in circulation.


A release describes all publications of a port in a specific zone. This is best explained with an example. Take a console game like Super Mario World on the Super Nintendo. The North American publication(s) form one release, the European publication(s) another, and the Japanese ones yet a third.

Video Game

What is a game? Many academics from various fields have tried to answer this question, and they all found different answers. We don't assume we know better than them. Instead, we are going the pragmatic route and set up a few rules that decide whether or not something belongs in our game database. Please note that we use the term video game as it is the de-facto standard and has long pushed aside terms like electronic game or computer game. When we speak of video games, we mean all those things, even if it's technically not always the accurate term.

Any publication on a hardware platform (initially) only intended for and marketed as a gaming platform that is a) licensed by the console manufacturer and sold in the standard boxes of that platform, or b) on a platform without a licensing model, automatically counts as a video game. Any other publication must be or contain a distinct section fitting the following criteria:

  1. It has to utilize a display device or audio device to give reason for and feedback to the user input
  2. User interaction is needed more than once and different user input can lead to different feedback.
  3. User input must get digitized.
  4. The result of the user input must be purely rule-based and calculated, although that calculation may involve pseudo-randomness
  5. It or its platform needs electric energy to run.
  6. There are no intrinsic long term real life consequences to it.
  7. Different outcomes of the user interaction are comparable and allow defining successful interaction.

It might sound trivial at first, but one of the key difficulties in documenting game history is deciding what makes two publications publications of the same video game. Is the Game Boy publication of Tetris the same video game as the Electronika 60 publication, or not? We decide this according to the following rules. Two publications are of the same video game if:

  1. Basic mechanics are the same
  2. Main user viewpoint is the same


Console manufacturers, tv standards, retailers, legislations, publishers, these all used to and sometimes still do split up the world into market regions. This often results in different box design and incompatible libraries. Due to this, gamers and collectors themselves tend to split the market the same way, speaking of "imports" when referring to other parts of the world where all games on a certain platform differ in some respect. We call these market regions zones. Only by making them part of our design was it even possible for you to do something like see if you own the full European "collection". We split up the world into eight zones, based on historical market distinctions and collector conventions. Take a look at this world map to see the zones.

  • Europe
  • North America
  • Japan
  • Eastern Asia
  • Latin America
  • Southern Asia
  • Greater Middle East
  • Africa

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