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No more E.T bashing, there are games that are really garbage, ET is not one


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#26 up2knowgood OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jul 22, 2017 12:15 PM

Fire Fly...*twitch* *twitch* that just might be the worst game I've ever played. Star Fox is up there though.

I don't know if anyone else out there does this, but in various game stores they ask each other, "what's the worst Atari 2600 game you've ever played?" If they say E.T., we know they're a new Atari player, if they say any other game, then we know they're a more serious Atari player.

#27 zzip OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 24, 2017 8:22 AM

I get tired of hearing 2600 pacman and donkey kong getting bashed. They aren't great but IMO are fun in their own right and are not anywhere near the worst on the system.


Pacman deserves it. Atari shipped a 'proof of concept'. If you fell in love with the arcade, the 2600 version was a kick in the groin.

Donkey Kong- an argument can be made that they put in a good effort.

#28 LionHearted78 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 24, 2017 8:35 AM

Worse than ET:

Swordquest Fireworld
Swordquest Earthworld
Probably Waterworld too, but I've never played it.
2600 Pacman



I thought the visuals of Sneak n' Peek were close to what the box promised. And the game is simple hide and seek. But I think maybe the problem there was that Hide and Seek isn't a game that translates well to videogames? Especially when one player is forced to close their eyes.

I hate it when people rate ET as the worst game on the console, when games like 2600 Pacman exist. Great list, I couldn't agree more. 



#29 zzip OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 24, 2017 8:55 AM

But there wasn't really a crash. The market was over saturated, but the products weren't increasing in quality. So people started buying home computers, and went back to the arcades until 1985, when NES, Sega, and later Atari came back to home consoles with higher quality games.


There was definitely a crash. Videogame revenue fell from $3.2 billion in 1983 to $100 million in 1985, that's devastating if accurate. Oversaturation doesn't cause a drop like that. Gaming is far more saturated now. But that only causes the weak to fold and the strong to survive, not a 97% fall in revenue for the entire industry. Something else was at work.

Remember how 'Pokémon Go' was all the rage last summer? This year only die-hards still play it, while everyone else has moved onto 'fidget spinners' it seems. Well that was videogames in the 80s after Pacman hit. It became a craze that everybody wanted a piece of, but by 1983 people started moving onto Rubiks Cubes or Breakdancing or Cabbage Patch Kids or Trivial Pursuit-- whichever fad came next. Only the die-hards were left playing, and many of them moved to computers.

But the market crash only affected North America. Mass entertainment was far less globalized back then, and the videogame industry developed differently in different parts of the world.

#30 up2knowgood OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 24, 2017 6:44 PM

There was definitely a crash. Videogame revenue fell from $3.2 billion in 1983 to $100 million in 1985, that's devastating if accurate. Oversaturation doesn't cause a drop like that. Gaming is far more saturated now. But that only causes the weak to fold and the strong to survive, not a 97% fall in revenue for the entire industry. Something else was at work.

Remember how 'Pokémon Go' was all the rage last summer? This year only die-hards still play it, while everyone else has moved onto 'fidget spinners' it seems. Well that was videogames in the 80s after Pacman hit. It became a craze that everybody wanted a piece of, but by 1983 people started moving onto Rubiks Cubes or Breakdancing or Cabbage Patch Kids or Trivial Pursuit-- whichever fad came next. Only the die-hards were left playing, and many of them moved to computers.

But the market crash only affected North America. Mass entertainment was far less globalized back then, and the videogame industry developed differently in different parts of the world.


Say what? There are 3 main home consoles now, and home computers. In 1982 there were at least 6, plus home computers, and several clones. Things were terribly bloated compared to now. And good Lord the number of companies making games. I read a report, and I think it was David Crane himself who commented that from 2 CES the number of 3rd party developers went from 3 to 30. Mind you, these shows were 6 months apart! Just read the trade and economic magazine of the time, it's clear there were issues, and once that house of cards started to go, it went fast!

#31 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 24, 2017 8:18 PM

Say what? There are 3 main home consoles now, and home computers. In 1982 there were at least 6, plus home computers, and several clones. Things were terribly bloated compared to now. And good Lord the number of companies making games. I read a report, and I think it was David Crane himself who commented that from 2 CES the number of 3rd party developers went from 3 to 30. Mind you, these shows were 6 months apart! Just read the trade and economic magazine of the time, it's clear there were issues, and once that house of cards started to go, it went fast!

 

Windows PC (with Steam, Blizzard, Windows store, Origin, Ubi, Facebook, etc)

Macintosh PC (w/many of the above)

Linux PC (many variants)

Microsoft Xbox One/Xbox 360

Sony Playstation 4

Nintendo Switch

Nintendo 3DS

iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, AppleTV)

Android (phones, tablets, GoogleTV)

Kindle Fire (and TV)

 

Mobile gaming generates half the money in the games industry today, across many different platforms. Further market consolidation is likely, but a crash seems unthinkable, and none of these big players are likely to drop out anytime soon. 



#32 zzip OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 25, 2017 8:43 AM

Say what? There are 3 main home consoles now, and home computers. In 1982 there were at least 6, plus home computers, and several clones. Things were terribly bloated compared to now. And good Lord the number of companies making games. I read a report, and I think it was David Crane himself who commented that from 2 CES the number of 3rd party developers went from 3 to 30. Mind you, these shows were 6 months apart! Just read the trade and economic magazine of the time, it's clear there were issues, and once that house of cards started to go, it went fast!


As @Flojomojo points out below, there are more gaming platforms today. At the time of the crash, the computer game market wasn't yet much of a market. I mean that was around the time Lord British was selling games in Ziploc baggies!

With regard to oversaturation. The 2600 had somewhere between 500-600 games total, and half of those came out after 1982 when the crash is said to have started. So we'll say the 2600 had 300 games released between 1977 and 82, with a large number hitting the shelves in 82. Is that really oversaturation? Look at how many games are on Steam. Walk into Gamestop and see how many titles they stock for PS4/XB1. In 1982 walk into a video store or record store and see how much content they had. Lots of content is good thing for your platform, lack of content is what kills it.

When a market oversaturates what typically happens is the weaker players are forced out and the stronger players survive. Revenues stay roughly even, they don't drop 97%! When Sony entered the console market, Atari exited. When Microsoft entered, Sega left. No market crash, only individual players hurt.
Then people say "oh but the discounting". But bargain bins exist in music, video, and books too, and that doesn't destroy those industries

Or people say "the games were bad". Look at the list of games released between 1982 and 85, lots of gems in there, they weren't all bad. Also the market started to crash just as Coleco started delivering arcade-quality visuals to the home, which is something just about everyone wanted.

I find all those explanations lacking. The real problem was not oversupply, but lack of demand. Demand simply dried up. It was an influx of what we now call casuals between 80 and 82-- they are enamored by the latest things, but don't have the attention span to stick with it. Same thing happened to Wii- all the rage in 2006, few cared by 2009.

#33 AlwaysOnPlanetPatrol OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 25, 2017 12:50 PM

Fire Fly...*twitch* *twitch* that just might be the worst game I've ever played. Star Fox is up there though.

I don't know if anyone else out there does this, but in various game stores they ask each other, "what's the worst Atari 2600 game you've ever played?" If they say E.T., we know they're a new Atari player, if they say any other game, then we know they're a more serious Atari player.

Agreed, that story has been perpetuated for way too long.

 

Anyways, my vote for the worst game is Burgertime.  Terrible graphics and gameplay, especially in contrast to the Intellivision version (perhaps suffered through the same "sabotage" as the 2600 DK with Coleco).



#34 Bill Loguidice OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 25, 2017 1:05 PM

Agreed, that story has been perpetuated for way too long.

 

Anyways, my vote for the worst game is Burgertime.  Terrible graphics and gameplay, especially in contrast to the Intellivision version (perhaps suffered through the same "sabotage" as the 2600 DK with Coleco).

 

Ironically, you're perpetuating something yourself that has gone on for way too long. There's zero evidence there was any intentional crippling of Coleco's ports to the Atari 2600 or Intellivision or any of the other plaforms they supported (Atari 8-bit and C-64). They had good games and bad games, just like any other publisher, which came down to all the usual reasons, i.e., programmer skill, time for the project, budget, etc. If Coleco really wanted to sabotage the Atari 2600 or Intellivision they simply wouldn't make the games in the first place. You don't need to purposely make bad games to make your own company look bad.



#35 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 25, 2017 1:20 PM

Fire Fly...*twitch* *twitch* that just might be the worst game I've ever played. Star Fox is up there though.

Every time I see someone talking about this, which really does suck,

 

32102-star-fox-atari-2600-media.jpg

 

I think about this, which is great.

 

82455aa7ce2e8ab190f2d28d1b555d9f--v-games-star-fox.jpg

 

Then I remind myself, no no, it's the Atari VCS game, which makes me think of this, which is not the same thing at all. 

 

61w0ipovaeL._SY355_.jpg

 

And it had this wonderful advertisement. 

 

5097212-solar+fox+2.jpg

 

Similarly, imagine my disappointment when this crap is under discussion, or on a "coming soon" game list!

 

wipeout.jpg

 

When I'm expecting this. 

 

WipEoutCover.jpg



#36 Swami OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 25, 2017 1:29 PM

I remember being in the Columbia House Atari 2600 Video Game Club. Basically like one of those record clubs that offer you a decent deal in the beginning and then send you mini-catalogs with a selection of the month you have to opt out of or they send it to you. Anyhow. I remember the crash as them sending me a letter saying it was becoming difficult to find video games anymore, so they were ending the club and selling their games aand including a clearance sale mini-catalog. I also remember several months before that my cousins getting an Atari 2600 for $25 about htree years after my mom paid $179 for one on sale. I remember when we got the atari, my mom asking one of the KMart workers if they thought it might be available cheaper in the future and the worker said that it probably would not because that was the cheapest they'd seen it selling for. I also remember my sister and I arguing over what game to get. I think I wanted space invaders and she wanted pac-man and we ended up compromising with Asteroids. Then a few weeks later my sister borrowed Pitfall from her boyfriend and we knew we were living the dream.



#37 Swami OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 25, 2017 1:34 PM

Every time I see someone talking about this, which really does suck,

 

attachicon.gif32102-star-fox-atari-2600-media.jpg

 

I think about this, which is great.

 

attachicon.gif82455aa7ce2e8ab190f2d28d1b555d9f--v-games-star-fox.jpg

 

Then I remind myself, no no, it's the Atari VCS game, which makes me think of this, which is not the same thing at all. 

 

attachicon.gif61w0ipovaeL._SY355_.jpg

 

And it had this wonderful advertisement. 

 

attachicon.gif5097212-solar+fox+2.jpg

 

Similarly, imagine my disappointment when this crap is under discussion, or on a "coming soon" game list!

 

attachicon.gifwipeout.jpg

 

When I'm expecting this. 

 

attachicon.gifWipEoutCover.jpg

What. you mean you didn't like hopping and batting around to the Kinect versions of WipeOut? :-D

 

(Did she just call the pilot Solar Fox, LOL?)



#38 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 25, 2017 1:41 PM

clearance sale mini-catalog

Oh jeez, wouldn't it be great to see that again? I wonder if anyone has a scan of it. 

 

Those things were such a bait and switch ripoff. Low prices up front, big prices on the back end. Just like cable TV packages. $5/month for the next 12 months, forty bazillion dollars per month starting in month 13. 

 

caa37e4175430bc3eff81fd409abac5d.jpg



#39 zzip OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 25, 2017 2:00 PM

Those things were such a bait and switch ripoff. Low prices up front, big prices on the back end. Just like cable TV packages. $5/month for the next 12 months, forty bazillion dollars per month starting in month 13.


With the record clubs, it depended on how you played it. They often had buy 1 get 2 free sales. Of course the first one was overpriced, but if you average it out it was still cheaper than the stores even when you add in shipping.

The real scam there was the "selection of the month" which they sent out automatically if you forgot to send back your card (easy to forget). And of course the selection of the month was overpriced with no freebies.

#40 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 25, 2017 2:05 PM

It was also easy to defraud them -- get the initial shipment, then run!



#41 frankodragon OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 25, 2017 3:41 PM

 

 

 

And it had this wonderful advertisement. 

 

attachicon.gif5097212-solar+fox+2.jpg

 

 

I was too young to understand competition back then so what if Solar Fox made a mockery of Mythicon Star Fox?

 

gallery_18158_784_399757.jpg



#42 AlwaysOnPlanetPatrol OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 25, 2017 5:18 PM

 

Ironically, you're perpetuating something yourself that has gone on for way too long. There's zero evidence there was any intentional crippling of Coleco's ports to the Atari 2600 or Intellivision or any of the other plaforms they supported (Atari 8-bit and C-64). They had good games and bad games, just like any other publisher, which came down to all the usual reasons, i.e., programmer skill, time for the project, budget, etc. If Coleco really wanted to sabotage the Atari 2600 or Intellivision they simply wouldn't make the games in the first place. You don't need to purposely make bad games to make your own company look bad.

 

Fair enough, that is a good point and yes, I suppose I contribute to that myth.

Still Burgertime is one of the games I think is garbage, although I would not same the about DK, Zaxxon or any of the other Coleco games for the matter.  Mattel/INTV have certainly a mixed bag in their offerings.

I completely understand that with the benefit of hindsight, it's easy to pass judgement.  For instance Garry Kit\chen ended up programming two top-notch games for Activision; Keystone Kapers and Pressure Cooker.  One could argue that the culture at Activision which was seemed to pride itself in quality, but also the supporting structure was probably better than what programmers had at Coleco (for the Atari games at least).  Like anything else in life, there were most likely other factors at play; timelines, limiting storage size (Garry said so himself), initial starting pains in ramping up development and perhaps Coleco's making Atari titles probably secondary to their own console's offerings.  I do recall when it first came out how much of a big deal they made of their own DK version to sell their consoles.



#43 up2knowgood OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 25, 2017 8:06 PM

 

Windows PC (with Steam, Blizzard, Windows store, Origin, Ubi, Facebook, etc)

Macintosh PC (w/many of the above)

Linux PC (many variants)

Microsoft Xbox One/Xbox 360

Sony Playstation 4

Nintendo Switch

Nintendo 3DS

iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, AppleTV)

Android (phones, tablets, GoogleTV)

Kindle Fire (and TV)

 

Mobile gaming generates half the money in the games industry today, across many different platforms. Further market consolidation is likely, but a crash seems unthinkable, and none of these big players are likely to drop out anytime soon. 

 

 

As @Flojomojo points out below, there are more gaming platforms today. At the time of the crash, the computer game market wasn't yet much of a market. I mean that was around the time Lord British was selling games in Ziploc baggies!

With regard to oversaturation. The 2600 had somewhere between 500-600 games total, and half of those came out after 1982 when the crash is said to have started. So we'll say the 2600 had 300 games released between 1977 and 82, with a large number hitting the shelves in 82. Is that really oversaturation? Look at how many games are on Steam. Walk into Gamestop and see how many titles they stock for PS4/XB1. In 1982 walk into a video store or record store and see how much content they had. Lots of content is good thing for your platform, lack of content is what kills it.

When a market oversaturates what typically happens is the weaker players are forced out and the stronger players survive. Revenues stay roughly even, they don't drop 97%! When Sony entered the console market, Atari exited. When Microsoft entered, Sega left. No market crash, only individual players hurt.
Then people say "oh but the discounting". But bargain bins exist in music, video, and books too, and that doesn't destroy those industries

Or people say "the games were bad". Look at the list of games released between 1982 and 85, lots of gems in there, they weren't all bad. Also the market started to crash just as Coleco started delivering arcade-quality visuals to the home, which is something just about everyone wanted.

I find all those explanations lacking. The real problem was not oversupply, but lack of demand. Demand simply dried up. It was an influx of what we now call casuals between 80 and 82-- they are enamored by the latest things, but don't have the attention span to stick with it. Same thing happened to Wii- all the rage in 2006, few cared by 2009.

 

That's great, but you two are both still thinking in 2017 terms, when Amazon is the biggest retailer in the World but didn't own a single brick and mortar store until here recently.  Turn back time 35 years, to when it took two grown men and a dolly to move a TV, when Sears was the largest retailer in America, and come with me on a journey.  (I'm trying to make this fun, bear with me.) 

 

You mention the games on phones, games that literally take up no space what-so-ever, this is not the case here in 1982.  Every game and system takes up space, RETAIL space, because remember, we aren't going directly to consumer, we are going to a store.  Now this store has to find space for the Atari 2600, Atari 5200, Magnavox Odyssey 2, Coleco Colecovision, Mattel Intellivision, Emerson Radio Corporation Arcadia 2001, *inhales* Vectrex, Bally Astrocade, and the Fairchild Channel F.  Oh, and by the way, all have their own library of games, and very few games are ported onto more than three of these consoles, and the systems are all really really different, oh, and I forgot to mention the clones.  The Coleco Gemini, Sear Telegames Video Arcade and Video Arcade II which are all 2600 clones, Sears Telegames Super Video Arcade and Radio Shack Tandyvision for the Intellivison just to name a few, oh, and the adapters and add-ons.  The 5200, Colecovision, and Intellivision all have mods to allow them to play 2600 games, which is as close to similar libraries as you're going to get.   Oh, and how could I forget the computers?  Did I mention that unlike in 2017 there is almost no software compatibility between computers?  Well, there isn't, and I won't go into how many there are, but Commodore 64 is big one. 

 

Now think of the games.  Stock the games for all these systems and computers now.  Now imagine the number of games doubling in a year, which I might add is a CONSERVATIVE estimate by how much the number game cartridges increased in 1982, and most don't sell.  Now what do you do?  Try to return the games to the producers for replacements or your money back, only to find out they don't have either, or are out of business.  Crap, now you're stuck with them.  Put them in the discount bin and hope to sell them quickly.  I'd like to point out, you are now instead of making a profit, to accepting a loss on all this merchandise.  How likely are you to buy more games?  Not likely until you get rid of those you already have clogging up your back store room, and trust me on this, I've worked retail, it can be HORRIFYING how much stuff can be crammed back there just waiting to be stocked out front.  If the retailer doesn't buy more games, the consumer can't buy new games, the backlog becomes an issue.  Add in a bubble of over inflated values, years of questionable business practices, ludicrous corporate atmosphere, and truly BIZARRE work practices and we have the making of a disaster! 

 

Back to 2017 land.  iOS and Android have almost identical markets, no physical marketplace, its all digital so they can double(or even quadruple) the current number of games and the only problem would be load times for updates, and if you buy a game for your phone, you can play your tablet too, no need to re-buy it, just download it, might take a few minutes but that's the extent of your hassles.  Plus thanks to ads, there are free games, which didn't exist in 1982.  Same for Steam, which again, has no physical marketplace or need for a brick and mortar store and is pretty much compatible with all operating systems in use.  So yeah, a few operating systems out there, but with very few exceptions, they can all play the same games, and run the same programs.  The difference between Xbox One and PlayStation 4 is also minimal, almost all the games released for are ported for both, and the graphics and sound are pretty much identical, or so close the human eye and ear can't tell a difference. 

 

A lot has changed since 1982, its a different World.  You both have valid points, but I feel you're both looking at it backwards, and not forwards.  You're looking back at 1982 from today, not thinking would it would be like then. 



#44 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 25, 2017 8:14 PM

All I really know is I'm much happier hoarding digital apps than hunting plastic cartridges. I think I'm in the minority among retro gamers for that preference -- at least according to the noise the collectors make.

#45 up2knowgood OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 25, 2017 8:38 PM

Every time I see someone talking about this, which really does suck,

 

attachicon.gif32102-star-fox-atari-2600-media.jpg

 

I think about this, which is great.

 

attachicon.gif82455aa7ce2e8ab190f2d28d1b555d9f--v-games-star-fox.jpg

 

Then I remind myself, no no, it's the Atari VCS game, which makes me think of this, which is not the same thing at all. 

 

attachicon.gif61w0ipovaeL._SY355_.jpg

 

And it had this wonderful advertisement. 

 

attachicon.gif5097212-solar+fox+2.jpg

 

Similarly, imagine my disappointment when this crap is under discussion, or on a "coming soon" game list!

 

attachicon.gifwipeout.jpg

 

When I'm expecting this. 

 

attachicon.gifWipEoutCover.jpg

Gaming World Problems. :P



#46 up2knowgood OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 25, 2017 9:05 PM

All I really know is I'm much happier hoarding digital apps than hunting plastic cartridges. I think I'm in the minority among retro gamers for that preference -- at least according to the noise the collectors make.

 

Eh, not really.  I know a lot of people who only do emulators, and are completely baffled that I don't use them at all. 

 

Problem for me is, I'm not a very tech savvy guy, I struggle with emulators.  I prefer plug and play.  And sometimes, plug, unplug, blow on the contacts, plug and play. 



#47 zzip OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 26, 2017 9:26 AM

You mention the games on phones, games that literally take up no space what-so-ever, this is not the case here in 1982.  Every game and system takes up space, RETAIL space, because remember, we aren't going directly to consumer, we are going to a store.  Now this store has to find space for the Atari 2600, Atari 5200, Magnavox Odyssey 2, Coleco Colecovision, Mattel Intellivision, Emerson Radio Corporation Arcadia 2001, *inhales* Vectrex, Bally Astrocade, and the Fairchild Channel F.  Oh, and by the way, all have their own library of games, and very few games are ported onto more than three of these consoles, and the systems are all really really different, oh, and I forgot to mention the clones.  The Coleco Gemini, Sear Telegames Video Arcade and Video Arcade II which are all 2600 clones, Sears Telegames Super Video Arcade and Radio Shack Tandyvision for the Intellivison just to name a few, oh, and the adapters and add-ons.  The 5200, Colecovision, and Intellivision all have mods to allow them to play 2600 games, which is as close to similar libraries as you're going to get.   Oh, and how could I forget the computers?  Did I mention that unlike in 2017 there is almost no software compatibility between computers?  Well, there isn't, and I won't go into how many there are, but Commodore 64 is big one.


Retailers never did stock everything. In 1982, you did not see Channel F systems on the shelf, at all. Nor Astrocade. Odyssey 2 was falling by the wayside.

Now think of the games.  Stock the games for all these systems and computers now.  Now imagine the number of games doubling in a year, which I might add is a CONSERVATIVE estimate by how much the number game cartridges increased in 1982, and most don't sell.  Now what do you do?  Try to return the games to the producers for replacements or your money back, only to find out they don't have either, or are out of business.  Crap, now you're stuck with them.


This was always a risk in retailing though. By rights those retailers would normally have known better than buy all those titles from unproven publishers. But they believed the 2600 was so hot they could sell literally anything that plugged into it. So they took a risk that didn't pay off.

Put them in the discount bin and hope to sell them quickly.  I'd like to point out, you are now instead of making a profit, to accepting a loss on all this merchandise.  How likely are you to buy more games?  Not likely until you get rid of those you already have clogging up your back store room, and trust me on this, I've worked retail, it can be HORRIFYING how much stuff can be crammed back there just waiting to be stocked out front.  If the retailer doesn't buy more games, the consumer can't buy new games, the backlog becomes an issue.  Add in a bubble of over inflated values, years of questionable business practices, ludicrous corporate atmosphere, and truly BIZARRE work practices and we have the making of a disaster!

 
Again, bargain bins were nothing new. You found them in music/books stores and video stores as well.

Here is how retailers would have behaved in simple oversupply:
1. Discontinue systems that flopped, like Vectrex, Arcadia, etc
2. Stop buying games from companies like US Games, Games by Apollo, etc that weren't selling
3. Closeout what you need to
4. Continue stocking systems that actually sell like Atari, Coleco, Mattel and games from reputable publishers.

Number 4 is telling because many retailers discontinued these too. That means they couldn't even sell them, since demand for games had dropped so much.

Over-supply doesn't destroy markets. It leads to a shakeout of weak players. Like I said before: Sony enters, Atari leaves. Microsoft Enters, Sega leaves. Market doesn't die, instead it grows. That's normal

Bad content doesn't destroy markets. Bad albums get released all the time, even highly disappointing ones. They might cause sales slumps and earnings misses, but the industry keeps ticking. And again why would INTV or Colecovision players care if ET sucked or the 2600 was flooded with fly by night publishers? Colecovision players should have been too busy with their exciting new system and arcade-quality graphics. But the fact that these systems were hit with slow sales shows that the typical narrative about the crash is lacking.

The answer is Pacman created a videogame craze, a bubble, a fad-- whatever you want to call it. It was obvious in the pop culture at the time. Suddenly you had pacman and donkey kong cereal, donkey kong trading cards, mediocre pop songs like "Pacman Fever" on the chart. Videogame cartoons on Saturday morning. It was all everybody in school talked about.

But fads have a shelf life of 18-24 months tops, and that's roughly how long it was from when "Pacman fever" hit to the videogame crash. Kids were no longer talking about games everyday, they were now as I recall, more into MTV, Madonna, breakdancing, Motley Crue, Def Leppard, etc. Many of the new arcades that sprung up were starting to close. Again, if the problem was too many bad 2600 games at retail, why would arcades be affected at all? They should have been the refuge from the home crap.

I don't understand why so many people want to ignore the "faddish" aspects of the early 80s game market and instead believe media narratives that we already know are are revisionist with regards to ET? We've seen the same pattern repeat with the Wii and Pokémon GO.

I've seen people believe the media explanation and claim for years that the games industry is about to crash again from oversupply and shovelware. But the crash never comes because they ignore this critical aspect. Gaming is now a hobbie/lifestyle for gamers. They aren't all going to leave the market en-masse like what happens when a fad ends.

#48 Bill Loguidice OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 26, 2017 9:37 AM

I've seen people believe the media explanation and claim for years that the games industry is about to crash again from oversupply and shovelware. But the crash never comes because they ignore this critical aspect. Gaming is now a hobbie/lifestyle for gamers. They aren't all going to leave the market en-masse like what happens when a fad ends.

 

Yeah, I've been hearing from certain people about another Crash since at least the late 1990s (some of those same people were the ones touting iPhone sales will drop and Apple will start losing money several iPhones back, so I think that says a little something about their intent biases as well). To state that Crash idea even then (late 1990s) shows a certain ignorance to the current market realities versus what they once were and how ingrained videogames have become in our culture. There will of course be peaks and valleys and companies will come and go as with any media, but we just won't have the same devastating marketing reset like we had in 83/84. And of course, how we play games and what we play them on will continue to evolve, again, just like every other form of media.



#49 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 26, 2017 11:34 AM

Good post zzip. You're dead on about retail realities, it's a hard business even if you're not trying to sell objects d'fad. When I think back on the places where I'd see games showcased, they're gone or mostly gone. Zayre, Murphy Mart, Ames, Montgomery Ward, Toys R Us, Sears, Kmart.

 

Retailers never did stock everything. In 1982, you did not see Channel F systems on the shelf, at all. Nor Astrocade. Odyssey 2 was falling by the wayside.

 

 

This reminds me of my boring personal story with this ... Even though I had an Odyssey 2 and a mess of games, I don't think I had ever seen one in a store. My family bought "our" (my) O2 from a friend's family when they upgraded to ColecoVision. They had purchased everything from a Magnavox store the next town over, probably where they bought their televisions and other home entertainment stuff of the day. I got a few new games via mail order (mostly through ordering Power Lords but receiving two "sorry, it's delayed, pick two free games instead" vouchers) but it was pretty much a games desert for me.

 

All my friends had Atari stuff. The things that were advertised in all the magazines and comics I read, and TV shows I watched. Much envy. 

 

I bought my Intellivision on closeout from a DRUGSTORE. That's how deep the retail penetration was for video games back then. They were at grocery stores, too -- something we saw briefly with NES, but never again (apart from the seasonal AtGames stuff at Walgreens). That's the power of fad working. 



#50 moycon OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 26, 2017 11:52 AM

They were at grocery stores, too --  

I remember the summer I was visiting my grandmother in Wisconsin and we took a trip to the local Red Owl grocery store.

Near the checkout was a big cardboard bin of US Games for $7. She said I could pick out any one I wanted, so after careful consideration, I grabbed Commando Raid.

It would be weeks before I actually got to play it. I didn't have my Atari 2600 with me that year, so I probably read the manual 50 times, just knowing it was going to be the best Atari 2600 ever! 






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