Autograph collecting has experienced a surge in popularity post-pandemic and the public’s appetite for signed collectibles appears to be insatiable. Enthusiasts still enjoy collecting signed photos, posters, trading cards, and figures like Funko POPs, but one company is capitalizing on a new trend—signed video games.
The video game grading service WATA has targeted the signed video game market with their service WATAGraphs™ is a service that offers signed video games that are all witnessed, graded, and encapsulated. Collectors can rest assured that all of their games are signed in the presence of authorized WATAGraphs™ Witnesses. Each signed game from WATAGraphs™ features a uniquely numbered label for tracking and verification.
Signed Video Games: A Growing Trend
According to a report by Full Throttle FPS, WATA’s encapsulated video games have been raking in remarkable prices at auction, such as a sealed copy of Super Mario 64 (N64) that fetched a jaw-dropping $1.56 million. The market for collectible video games is growing in parallel with autograph collecting, so why shouldn’t both of these interests converge?
Online autograph-collecting forums and communities like the Tales From The Collection Facebook group have seen an increase in collectors sharing their video game-related autograph acquisitions. If you follow Tales From The Collection on TikTok or YouTube, then you’ve likely seen some of our own signed video games:
@talesfromthecollection Kyle Petty Responds to Fan Mail, Signs Super Nintendo Game #KylePetty #SNES #Autograph #NASCAR #VideoGames ♬ original sound – Tales From The Collection
Now, you might be asking, “What is a signed video game?” Quite simply, it’s a video game, whether it be the cartridge or disc, packaging, or even related ephemera like manuals or other pack-in material, that has been autographed by one or more of its creators. This can include anyone involved in production from game developers and voice actors to the athletes and graphic designers key to a game’s box art.
Detailed Explanation of WATAGraphs™
WATA’s new service WATAGraphs™ (not to be confused with the now defunct and disgraced Star Wars-focused autograph service Wattographs) is poised to capitalize on this fun new trend by being the only videogame-centric autograph service to offer an ironclad guarantee of authenticity in a market that is known for being rife with fraud and forgeries.
Indeed, one of the significant challenges in the autograph market is dealing with fraud. While there are plenty of third-party authentication (TPA) companies that can provide you with peace of mind through a certificate of authenticity (COA), it’s still an opinion rendered by an expert after the fact. Therefore, collectors are often left guessing about the authenticity of their prized autographs. This problem is further exacerbated in the online marketplace, where dishonest sellers can hide behind anonymity and prey on inexperienced and less savvy collectors.
Enter WATAGraphs™, which provides a trustworthy solution to the fraud that is rampant in the autograph-collecting hobby. The service uses a multi-pronged approach to ensure the legitimacy of each signed game.
- Witnessed Autographs: Each autograph is signed in the presence of an authorized WATAGraphs™ Witness. This ensures that every signature is real, as it’s directly observed by a certified professional. Collectors can trust that the autograph on their game was genuinely signed by the specified individual, eliminating any doubts about its authenticity.
- Unique Tracking System: All WATAGraphs™ products follow the industry standard and come with a uniquely numbered label for tracking and verification. By using this system, collectors can quickly and easily verify the authenticity of their signed games. This eliminates the need for guesswork and provides peace of mind for those investing in these valuable items.
- Grading and Encapsulation: After the signing process, each game undergoes grading and encapsulation. This not only preserves the game’s condition and autograph, but it also acts as COA. The encapsulation makes tampering evident and acts as a deterrent for potential fraudsters.
Through these processes, WATAGraphs™ provides an unmatched level of security and assurance when it comes to signed video games. Collectors can confidently invest in these unique items, knowing they possess a genuine piece of video game history, untouched by the shadow of forgery and deceit that often plagues this industry.
WATAGraphs™ Witnessed Signatures
Soon signed and graded video games will become synonymous with WATAGraphs™ just as CGC has for signed and graded comic books. WATAGraphs™ follows a very similar service model to CGC’s Signature Series, which offers witnessed, slabbed, and graded comics and magazines. So when you see the yellow Signature Series or WATAGraphs™ labels you’ll know exactly what you’re getting—an autograph signed in the presence of a trusted witness.
You might be wondering what this means for WATA and video games that have been signed away from the watchful eye of WATAGraphs™. Also like CGC, WATA does accept submissions of non-witnessed autographs. However, those will receive a regular WATA label which will denote if it’s authenticated by a TPA or not, but will not be receiving the WATAGraphs™ branding. The following is the kind of recordkeeping you can expect from WATA which highlights exactly when and where every item bearing a WATAGraphs™ label was signed.
Signed, Sealed, Delivered: WATA’s Encapsulation Process
In addition to the guaranteed authenticity that consumers get when purchasing signed games from WATAGraphs™, they also benefit from the high degree of protection that their encapsulation process provides. Encapsulation involves protecting autographed games in a specialized holder designed to ensure the safety, preservation, and visibility of the autograph and the game. Here’s a look at some of the key features of the encapsulation process:
- UV Protection: The cases used by WATAGraphs™ are crafted from high-quality Polycarbonate, a material known for its robust UV-blocking capabilities. This material blocks all UV wavelengths below 400nm, providing unparalleled protection against fading and the harmful effects of ultraviolet light. This feature is particularly crucial for autographed games, as over time, exposure to UV light can cause signatures to fade and disappear into nothing, regardless of what type of pen is used to sign the autograph. With WATA’s UV-protected cases, collectors can have peace of mind that their treasured autographs will remain vibrant and clear for many years to come, even under ambient light conditions.
- Accommodation of Various Games: The encapsulation cases are designed to accommodate a wide range of video game sizes and types. Whether you are a fan of PS Vita, PSP, Game Gear, 3DS, or other platforms, WATAGraphs™ has you covered. However, it’s worth noting that some specific games, such as Japanese N64, PC Small Box, or SNES cartridges, are encapsulated in a bespoke holder due to their unique size.
- Detailed Labels: The encapsulation case also features a detailed label that encapsulates the “DNA” of the WATA grading system. This label contains all the pertinent information about the game, including info about the signature, the grade, and a unique serial number for verification and tracking purposes.
By using top-tier technology and materials, WATAGraphs™ ensures that your video game collectibles are not only physically protected but come with a guarantee of authenticity that you can actually trust. The encapsulation process is a testament to WATAGraphs™ commitment to setting the standard in the industry and serving collectors with the highest level of service.
WATAGraphs™: A Trustworthy Source of Signed Video Games
In conclusion, the rise of signed video games has seen companies like Streamily cater to the market, but never with the same focus as WATA has committed itself to show with WATAGraphs™. The convergence of gaming and autograph collecting represents not only a unique investment opportunity but also an exciting new way for enthusiasts to connect with the creators they admire.
With the autograph market becoming more diverse and the gaming industry continuing its meteoric rise, WATAGraphs™ is uniquely positioned to lead the way. Its services—witnessed signings, unique tracking systems, and robust encapsulation process—provide collectors with a level of confidence, security, and protection that is unmatched in the industry.
As this niche area of collecting continues to grow, it’s clear that services like WATAGraphs™ are key to ensuring its integrity and success. So whether you’re a seasoned collector or just beginning your journey into the world of autographed video games, trust in WATAGraphs™ to provide you with high-quality, authenticated pieces that bring joy, nostalgia, and value into your life.