Out and about this morning doing my usual crawl of garage sales - there's a guy who runs a Facebook group who compiles a list of them based off several sources, and other people can post theirs as well, for the entire Horsham area, which is super handy - then to the Library to fetch more books for Duncan. I try and hit the sales every weekend in the hopes of picking up some retro gaming gear for cheaper than the exorbitant prices people want on Gumtree/eBay.
The first garage sale we went to had a bunch of gaming stuff, but all much newer than I was specifically looking for (I'm basically trying to track down a Saturn, a Master System, a Nintendo 64, and a working NES): first and second generation Xbox systems and a bunch of games. I looked at the prices ($50 for an 360, $40 for an OG, $15 each for games) and decided it was a bit more than I wanted to spend, even if I did decided to start collecting Microsoft consoles as well (having only played one a handful of times, it's not high on my list of priorities). I ended up leaving, and posting a message on our local buy/swap/sell group in case anyone else might be interested in it, thinking I'd done my good deed for the day.
We got home, had some lunch, and I got to thinking... they were about 30 minutes from closing up, if by some chance they still had it I wonder if they would entertain lowball offers? So I drove back out there, and sure enough the first thing the guy says to me is "make an offer, we're over this". They'd sold all the games, but still had the two consoles.
I thought about what I was willing to part with, considering that I'm not really interested in Xbox stuff. The owner told me they both worked, and that he'd take $25 for the OG, and $40 for the 360, so I offered $50 for both, which he accepted.
Brought them home and tested them out - the original Xbox boots, but has no games. It doesn't appear to be modded but is upgraded to the latest dashboard. The 360 is long out of date, and had a game still in the drive: Assassin's Creed 2. Both came with two controllers each, and the 360 came with two headsets. I estimate I got them for about half what I'd have paid on eBay or Gumtree, which isn't too bad - if I decide to get rid of one or both of them I stand a non-zero chance of making money on the deal.
I spent a little while looking at the idea of flashing the 360s drive to allow it to play pirate software, but I don't think I care enough to. Duncan is old enough to treat the discs with care, so the original concerns for modding the Wii are gone. Not really being familiar with that territory, there's a chance I'd brick the console and most of my investment would be worthless. And perhaps most influentially, I can't find out for sure whether it's possible to mod them without buying hardware (one guide didn't mention the hardware directly, all others assume you have it) - considering that I really only want to play a handful of exclusives that I wouldn't have played being a Sony user, it doesn't make financial sense to spend money to mod the console when the exclusives I want to play probably add up to less than the investment.
The OG Xbox will need modding though, as I can't find anywhere reasonable to buy the only real exclusives I'd want to play on that (Halo 2, and maybe the Banjo Kazooie game), but modding an Xbox seems decidedly less risky than a 360.
Getting into collecting game consoles has made me super-excited to go to the USA though - it'll be interesting to go through all my old stuff and see what's still there and still working. I'm reasonably sure I have a GBA SP (with Pokemon Leaf Green), at least one functioning Dreamcast, a Genesis 2, Sabriena's NTSC SNES and about 20 games, a Game Gear, and I might still have a Lynx but I reckon I sold it.
We'll have to see.