Do you collect carts without boxes? If so, I hope this small article that I put together might change your mind:
The video games of today’s generation have very realistic graphics and on screen instructions. Atari games have very poor graphics and you have to be able to use your imagination to "see" what the game creator wants you to see, imagine or visualize. This is why Atari came up with these very colorful works of art, game descriptions and comic books. When you look at an Atari game box and read the story board it prepares your imagination to convert that "duck" in adventure into a fire breathing dragon ready to eat you alive. That little square is turned into an adventurer.
Most kids today think that these games are “stupid” because of this lack of graphics but that is what makes them so unique and special to people like us who can look beyond the poor graphics and actually use our imagination (something diminishing in our youth these days) This also made programmers focus on the most important aspect of the game, fun game play. I have seen many modern games with outstanding graphics have terrible game play which kills it instantly. Another great aspect of the games is their simplicity; one joystick, one button. You pop in the game and are able to play it within seconds. It took me over an hour to figure out how to get an X-BOX 360 game started and learn the controls. Sorry, a bit off topic but to continue:
Have you ever popped in a loose game without viewing a box or manual and say "what is that supposed to be?" I have many of times, and then curiosity grasps my mind and I find a manual or box scan on line and go "Ahhh, I get it now" These boxes, manuals, comics, posters etc. are just as much a part of the game as the binary code the chip inside holds. IT MUST BE COMPLETE! Every serious collector wants a game CIB. They may not verbalize these feelings I just shared with you but deep inside they make sense.
Another thing to take into account is the value of any (L) loose cart is 1/2-1/16th of the value of a game with the box and manual. In some cases (more than not) the box itself would be more valuable than the cart. This is a simple supply and demand concept. There are a lot of collectors out there and most of them want their games complete with boxes and there are not that many boxes available. Most kids at the time were so excited to play their new game that they just ripped the box open, pulled out the game and threw away the box. Out of the small percentage of people that did keep the boxes, how many were kept properly in good condition? Look at the Alien game by Xante on the first page of rarityguide.com. The loose cart is worth $860; add the box and manual and now magically it is worth $1,353. Does this mean that the box and manual is worth $493?
As you dig into this world of Atari collecting and study the concepts/trends in the current market, you start to realize how important boxes are. This is why I believe that EVERY homebrew game sold should at least have a "box option" and should ALWAYS come with a manual. Bare bones carts only appeal to cart collectors and I truly believe that the majority of the market is CIB collectors.
If you are a homebrew programmer and are thinking about releasing a game without a box, please contact me via pm and we can work something out for at least a “box option” that could be sold separately from the cart or together. I have A LOT of respect for you guys for the hard work and dedication you put into your games and they deserve a professional looking box.
Edited by ManCaveArcade, Sun Mar 4, 2012 10:17 AM.