Archive for the 'Collecting' Category

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Father Pac-Time Gobbles up the New Year

Monday, December 31st, 2007

Pac-Man Watch Ad - 1983With floating disc technology, “Pac-Man watches gobble all day long for you.”

Happy 2008!

[ Scanned from Electronic Games, December 1983 ]

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Yikes. $9000 Video Game Collection

Friday, November 9th, 2007

If one guy can get $9000 for this on eBay…

$9000 Video Game Collection

…what do you think I could get for this? Not to mention the bajillions of games, controllers, and accessories not on that list. I just want to know what to put on my insurance claim form if my house burns down.

[Special thanks to Chris for sending this my way.]

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] 46 Odyssey² Games

Monday, October 8th, 2007

46 Odyssey 2 GamesHow many of these games have you played?

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TV/GAME Switch Overload

Monday, October 8th, 2007

It happens to the best of us.

TV Game Switches on eBay

How many of these puppies do you have sitting around? A fellow on eBay is selling a lot of 36. I’ll have to admit: I have a box of a few dozen myself.

TV Game SwitchThe object in question, of course, is the once-essential manual RF switch, commonly known as a “TV/GAME” switch. Such switches were used to alternate between RF video/audio input from a video game system or home computer and a broadcast (or cable) TV antenna signal. They went the way of the dodo in the mid-1980s — first in Japan with the introduction of Nintendo’s innovative automatic RF switch box (it came packaged with every Famicom produced from 1983-1993), and then in the US around 1985 with the introduction of the NES (which included an automatic switch box with every unit sold). Later, RF switches in general became endangered once nearly all consumer TV sets started shipping with separate A/V jacks for composite video and stereo audio. The choice was natural, as video quality through an RF antenna input is inferior to a composite video connection.

Atari 2600Even among collectors, manual TV/GAME switches are mostly useless these days because most of us try to make at least composite (or better) video connections to our TVs, either via special cables or modifications to the systems themselves. Still, if you want to play classic machines like the Atari VCS without video hacks, you’ll probably need to use one.

Does anybody out there collect these things? We’d love to hear from you.

New Fairchild Channel F Prototypes Discovered

Wednesday, September 26th, 2007

Fairchild Channel F[ In Jonathan Signor’s first contribution to VC&G, he describes an incredible find that any collector of vintage games can appreciate. ]

For those of us who strive to remember or rediscover vintage computers and video games, it is rewarding to see how far we have come in such a short amount of time. However, this hobby has one disadvantage: you generally can’t walk into a used game store and find an obscure, twenty year-old title. You must go out of your way (and usually pay a hefty price) to find something interesting.

Fairchild Channel F Games in CaseI keep track of the Computer, Electronics, and Toys “For Sale” listings of my local Craigslist through RSS feeds of each section. A few weeks ago I saw someone was selling a Fairchild Channel F, with 25 games and game carry case. I emailed the seller and we set up a place and time to meet. He advised me that the Channel F wasn’t working at the time, but I still wanted to buy the system and add it to my collection. Since I didn’t know much about the Channel F at the time, I didn’t really pay too much attention to what games were included.

[ Continue reading New Fairchild Channel F Prototypes Discovered » ]

Name That Stuff: Benj’s Computer Room in 1996

Friday, September 14th, 2007

Benj Edwards' Computer Room Floor in 1996Yep. Some things never change.

Rising like a phoenix from the ashes of my heretofore mostly forgotten digital archives comes this rare look into my collecting past. I shot this with a video camera and a Snappy Video Snapshot, which was an early still-frame video capture device that attached to a PC’s parallel port. Behold the floor of my computer room circa November 1996, as it lay covered with a diverse mixture of vintage computer and video game equipment.

Pop quiz! Study the picture. How many items and accessories can you name by manufaturer or model? Bonus points to anyone who manages to name the early XT clone on the left.

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Eight Ways to Play Q*Bert

Monday, September 10th, 2007
Parker Brothers Q*Bert Advertisement

And you thought EA Games held the record for simultaneous multi-platform game publication. Ha! Back in my day, you had yer Atari 5200, yer TI-99/4a, yer Atari 400/800/600XL, yer Intellivision, yer Commodore Vic-20, yer Atari 2600, yer Commodore 64, and yer Colecovision. And we liked it.

[ From Personal Computing, December 1983 ]

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VC&G Review: Nintendo Power Mints

Sunday, August 19th, 2007

Nintendo Power MintsWhile strolling through my local World Market store last year, a familiar-looking candy tin caught my eye. Upon further inspection, I realized that it was shaped like a NES control pad. Trying to avoid another impulse purchase, I passed up the opportunity.

Fast forward to yesterday, when my wife comes home from shopping and announces that she has a present for me.

“Close your eyes, and put out your hand.”

I reluctantly comply.

“Now spin around three times.”

As I slow down, she places a cold, rattling metal box on my palm. I open my eyes. To my astonishment, I find a brand new tin of Nintendo Power mints floating in thin air — just above the floor, as I collapse.

It was particularly good gift, since I had co-incidentally been thinking about them recently because of my last “Game Boy Bubble Gum” Retro Scan. Some gifts are worth a bruise or two.

The Tin’s the Thing

Nintendo Power MintsFor $1.49 (US), you get about 84 white, pill-shaped mints in a stylish metal package. Unfortunately, I found the mints’ flavor to be somewhat lacking: unlike Altoids, these are “curiously weak” mints with a slightly unpleasant chalky consistency. But the tin alone is probably worth the price. Therein lies all the novelty, of course, and the real reason anyone would buy this product.

The tin’s two-part design of smooth, rounded aluminum closes firmly and is well-constructed. It’s about the same size as a real NES controller, which is particularly cool. The printed control-pad effect is significantly enhanced by the slightly embossed buttons and D-pad on the lid of the tin. And after you finish all your mints, you can store your Nintendo DS games and extra styluses in it. Or dead bugs — it’s your choice.

Why the manufacturer branded these mints with “Nintendo Power” (the official magazine of all things Nintendo) is unknown to me. It would have been much cooler if they referenced the Nintendo Entertainment System (in words) somewhere on the package. Barring that, they could have at least called it the “Mintendo Entertainment System.”

Now you’re eating with power. Minty power.

The Skinny: Nintendo Power Mints
Good Features: Awesome NES control pad-shaped tin. Inexpensive. Very few calories. Useful for Nintendo DS game storage.
Bad Features: Mints have an authentic left-over-from-the-1980s chalky taste. They’re called “Nintendo Power” mints for some reason.
VC Rating:
(10 Being Best)
[ 7 out of 10 ] Shiny Marbles – Very Good

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Game Boy Bubble Gum

Monday, August 13th, 2007
Game Boy Bubble Gum Container

I bought this nifty bubble gum pack at an Eckerd Drug store for 89 cents (US) sometime in the early 1990s. If you haven’t noticed, it resembles a Nintendo Game Boy unit. I can’t remember the shape of its contents (long since chewed), but most likely the gum took the form of flat pink floppy Game Boys. Each pack also contained three trading cards featuring artwork from popular Game Boy games on the front and tips for each game on the back. It’s fun to see where Nintendo merchandising ends up.

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[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Zelda: Ocarina of Time Merchandise

Monday, July 30th, 2007
Zelda Ocarina of Time Merchandise

This mini-pamphlet came with my copy of The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time back in 1998. I was pleasantly surprised when it turned up recently while going through some old papers. I love the action figures; they’d be worth having now. But what I want to know is, does anyone own the official Zelda pocket watch?

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