Retrogaming Times
Issue #90 - We reached #90 - December 2013


Table of Contents
  01. Introduction
  02. Video Game Hunter


The holidays are upon us and with two new game systems out, it will be a video game holiday.  Personally, I am not getting either one, but then I have not seen a reason to make the move up.  Sure the graphics are nicer, but where is the WOW factor?  With the PS3 you had the leap to blu ray.  That meant better graphics, a ton more storage space and better sound.  But I have not seen anything on the PS4 or XBOX One that makes me want to go out and buy one.  That and I want to see which one gets the games that I want.  Not sure what those games are, but I will know them when I see them.

Video Game Hunter
There are spoiled kids and then there are really spoiled kids.  I encountered the latter when I received a call from a man about some video games for sale.  I arrived at a modest home of an older gentleman who had two grandsons that to say he spoiled them would be a gross understatement.  I went into his house to be greeted by two large stacks of video games.  One was two Atari 2600 game systems with all the controllers in duplicate as well as doubles of over 100 different carts.  Next to it was two Intellivisions with duplicates of 50 games and two Intellivoices.  And next to that was two Colecovisions with duplicates of another 50 games, plus two Atari Adapters and two sets of Super Action Controllers.  Everything was in nice shape and in alphabetical order.  The manuals were also all in order and in boxes as were the overlays.  As I stared at the Noah's Ark of game collections, I couldn't help but ask why he had two of each game.  He explained that he had two grandsons and it was easier to buy two of everything than to have them fight over games.  I am not sure I agree with this type of parenting, but they say it is a grandparent's job to spoil the kids and this man took his job serious.

We agreed upon a price (I think it was around $500.00) and before I could load the games, he took me for a tour of his house.  We went upstairs and he showed me the games that replaced these.  There were two large televisions, side by side.  Each one had a NES, Super NES and Sega Genesis with the CD hooked up.  On the right and left were large bookshelves filled with games for the systems.  As was the case downstairs, all the games were in duplicate.  There must have been four hundred games on each book shelf, with a total of 800 plus games.  I looked around at the guy's very modest house and realized he was spending all his money on video games.  I was floored when I started thinking how much money he spent and and how he could have saved if he taught the boys how to share.  I gave him a business card and told him to call me when he decided to move up to the next generation of game systems.

While there were no extremely rare games, the bulk and condition more than made up for it.  It did fill up the back seat and trunk of my car and made me glad the trip was not too far as I could barely see out the back window of the car.  The last thing I wanted to do is try to explain to a police office why I had a car full of video games.

Everything But The Games
When people talk about video game collecting, it is almost always talk about collecting the actual games.  But there are many other types of collecting when it comes to video games.  Over the years, I have come across collectors who collect various items.  Some are more unique than others.  So I will mention a different collectible every month.  It may be something that I collected myself or a collectible that someone else collected.  The nice thing about some of the other collectibles is they are much cheaper to buy and more fun to try and collect.

I will start with one that I collected and for a moment there, had a large collection of.  That is arcade marquees.  Also known as headers, these pieces of arcade memorabilia are among the rarest and least expensive collectibles.  The arcade machines were made in very limited quantities with the more popular games in the tens of thousands and some games in the hundreds.  While some games like Pac-Man had sales of 400,000 or more cabinets, it is the more the exception than the norm.  Take a game like Q*Bert, a very popular arcade game.  Think it sold a ton of cabinets and you would be wrong.  While alot of arcade cabinets were made (over 25,000), you can see how limited the marquees are.  Take a game like Zookeeper and you have around 3,000 cabinets sold.  Now you are seeing a very rare piece of memorabilia.  Not only were few made, but how many were destroyed?  Not every arcade machine that died was stripped for parts.  Many were thrown away whole. 

There are a few problems with collecting marquees.  The first one is the cost of having them shipped.  Sure, you can win a marquee on ebay for $10.00 or less, but it can cost that much or more to have it shipped to you.  They are heavy (some are made of heavy glass) and bulky.  They require odd sized boxes and lots of bubble wrap to arrive unbroken.   So expect to add $10.00 or more to your cost for shipping.  And if you get a strange marquee like Dragon's Lair or Space Ace, you may be paying quite a bit more. 

The second problem is displaying them.  You can prop them up against a wall or put them above a doorway, but expect them to fall and they can not only break, but hurt you.  With some imagination and a trip to the hardware store, you can come up with some good display ideas.  Just be prepared to put holes in the wall.

One of the best things about the marquees is the artwork.  While some only have text, the majority have good to great artwork.  Some of my favorites are Crazy Climber, Jungle King and Centipede.  

-Tom Zjaba (This issue was done while listening to Buckner & Garcia, Midnight Syndicate and Aerosmith).

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Tom Zjaba 1997 - 2015      

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