Packing Games to Survive the Mail!

Big Big Big topic here for any game collectors, as promised a post on this subject.

I get a lot of games sent to me in the mail, and I’d say probably 50% of them are invariably packed with almost no protection at all. Out of those, probably half have suffered some crush injury as a result. You can’t blame the postal system for this – they have a job to do, and I truly think they do it well. Fact is, your packet should be able to survive being at the bottom of a mail sack, with possibly even another mail sack on top of it. SNES and Gameboy games just aren’t designed for that sort of punishment.

I have been shipping games now for some time. Initially I had some teething problems with a few different packing techniques I tried, but I have settled on one which, to date, has resulted in no reported damage in the mail ever. I’m not here to gloat about it – I’m here to inform. This is how I would like my items to be packed when they arrive at my door please!! Read on..

A perfectly shaped unsquashed game, delivered to me, from me, in a test package!

A perfectly shaped unsquashed game, granted, I haven't posted it yet, but I know it will arrive safely.

Doesn’t look much to the eye, but it works.

There’s a few facts to note about damage in the postal system:

Impact
Items are sometimes dropped. Not very far, but probably from about a metre or so, or slung into a van inside a sack. To combat this, minimal protection needs to be given to the game, best tool for the job is bubble wrap. One layer over the game, one layer as part of the jiffy bag. No need for overkill. Note: For brittle game cases like the dreamcast or PS1 big box games (Final Fantasy for example) you really need a couple of layers. I’ve known them to chip when dropped even inside an envelope. In this case try to roll up the edges.  [next time I pack one such game I will post a photo to explain]

The Crush Injury
The most common and sadly most awful of the types of damage. Imagine standing on your favourite SNES game. This is what can happen if you don’t take a simple measure to reinforce the package. It makes me angry sad when I open a package containing a rare game that has been completely buckled on one edge. From a personal point of view, it’s gutting. From a professional point of view, the game is now worth a good chunk less!

The Snag
Unless you pay a guy with a moustache and a moped a lot of money, chances are your mail processing will involve a LOT of machinery. You don’t really want your parcel chewed by this machinery, the best way to avoid this is to use conventional packaging, with no loose bits hanging off it. To be fair, this problem doesn’t occur often, but it’s not unknown for an item to arrive in a plastic “We’re sorry” bag, looking like a tractor ran over it, then the plough, then the farmer’s boot. Machine inners bad. Avoid.


My solution

Solution presented as advice – you can and should adapt to your needs. It’s more important that you consider your packaging without blindly using brown paper and no padding or reinforcement, than that you follow my method. Any protection is better than none.

packing

Can you figure out the name of the game? It's an easy one!!

The perimeter wall of cardboard is simple and easy, and light, and strong. By using the cardboard end up, you’re able to put a lot of force on it before it bends. Double walled cardboard is a must – just use boxes, any boxes, cut them up with a knife.
Held from moving by the parcel tape, and then inserted into the correct sized jiffy bag (size 4 or F for snes games!), it’s quite possibly the cheapest and best way to mail a game. In my opinion and experience, of course.

Remember to ensure the centre of the game box is padded to survive any pressure there – this is important for boxes with no sturdy inners. Fill the void with bubble wrap or squished up newspaper.

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