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Retro gaming bubble, and how deep are we in it?

retro console bubble invest

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#26 Dr Manhattan OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 2, 2017 2:51 PM

I think the retro gaming bubble is part of the larger pop culture bubble that will surely burst sometime in the very near future. There's just too much of everything, the public is getting overwhelmed and cynical. It's almost become fashionable to hate things that are popular. Eventually all the comic book movies, video games, fantasy TV shows, fad toys and yes, even retro gaming products, will come crashing down in spectacular fashion.

 

I even believe the mighty video game industry is headed for another dramatic "market adjustment." 

 

With that said I'm fine with whatever happens. I'm just here to play games. I don't collect them nor do I give a flying Flip Wilson about their value. I scoff at hoarders who never play their stuff. I don't care for homebrew devs and content creators who deliberately make their stuff limited just for the sake of saying it's rare. 

 

Back in the day I literally never stopped playing classic consoles. Even when new hardware came along I still kept my old classics hooked up to another TV. They always appealed to me. And when I started to hunt for games in earnest the thrill for me was just finding something cool to play. In the late 80's and early 90's nobody really gave a damn about this stuff, and I bought most of my library for pennies on the dollar. In the early 90s I actually used to drive around in my 86 Toyota with a 19" color TV, a 2600 and a bag full of games in the trunk. It was a great time in my life. 

 

So if the whole thing comes crashing down, so be it. I'll be like Nero playing the fiddle while Rome burns, because I simply don't care. 



#27 hizzy OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 2, 2017 3:06 PM

Because I'm into 2600 stuff, I don't really see much of a bubble. The games I like are pretty cheap, outside of homebrews. This is the least expensive hobby I've participated in. The most money I've spent is on arcade parts for building custom Atari sticks. 



#28 high voltage OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 2, 2017 3:35 PM

John Travolta lived in a bubble



#29 Keatah ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 2, 2017 3:36 PM

I don't really care what happens to the industry or 2nd hand market. If it up and up disappeared tomorrow I could care less.



#30 tdp OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 2, 2017 3:36 PM

Thanks for the responses guys. Some interesting views.

 

I don't care for homebrew devs and content creators who deliberately make their stuff limited just for the sake of saying it's rare. 

 

THIS!!!!!!!!! I really hate when dev's do this.


Edited by tdp, Wed Aug 2, 2017 3:37 PM.


#31 Flojomojo ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 2, 2017 3:39 PM

John Travolta lived in a bubble

 

good times, great soundtrack

John-Travolta-Hairspray.jpg



#32 DrSidneyZweibel ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 2, 2017 3:43 PM

New technology can be frustrating because it is oversimplified. And more restricting. Modern companies cater to the nincompoop more now than ever before.

didnt you spend the whole day yesterday telling me that the 2600 is outdated and we need a new console for Atari games?

#33 Keatah ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 2, 2017 4:12 PM

I did.



#34 Good_Times OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 2, 2017 4:19 PM

John Travolta lived in a bubble

 

Whaddya mean "lived"?  He still lives in a bubble - a bubble of denial!

 

John-Travolta-gay-celebrity-kisses-15143610-300-300.jpg

 

;)



#35 DrVenkman ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 2, 2017 4:56 PM

Because I'm into 2600 stuff, I don't really see much of a bubble. The games I like are pretty cheap, outside of homebrews. This is the least expensive hobby I've participated in. The most money I've spent is on arcade parts for building custom Atari sticks. 

 

I am a player/hobbyist first, collector second, but in the several years I've been building up my 2600 collection, I've watched prices go nuts, even on common games. When the hell did Adventure turn into a $9-$10 game plus shipping, just for instance?  Found a cheap, good condition copy of H.E.R.O. or Pitfall II?  I bought a 4-Switch Woody for $15 shipped a couple years ago, and a Light Sixer for $30. Those were good prices but not unheard of. Not anymore. Price an 800 computer lately? Several years ago I got one boxed from a local shop for $50 and the price was in line for eBay. Now they're $150 - $250.  1200XL machines went from $50 - $75 15 years ago when I bought mine to over $300 lately. Crazy. No, this hobby isn't as expensive as my Martin guitars or my fondness for firearms, but it's not nearly as cheap as it used to be.

 

Prices are going up on Atari stuff due to a perfect storm of GenX middle-aged nostalgia (we ARE Generation 8-bit after all), disposable hobby money (see the "middle-aged" part), retro-themed pop culture like the Dump Dig documentary, the book Ready Player One (soon to be a major motion picture, which makes it worse), the horrible Pixels movie, Stranger Things, and curious millennial nerds who want to see how their parents gamed and computed.

 

I hope this "bubble" pops but I don't see it happening for a few years at least, not with Ready Player One hitting theaters next year combined with physically-wearing out consoles, carts and computers driving up overall scarcity. Sadly, I think most of us will be deep in retirement planning and fighting for whatever remains of "health care" in the U.S. before this bubble well and truly pops, and then only because the original generation of enthusiasts will literally be dying off. :(



#36 hizzy OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 2, 2017 5:09 PM

There's a certain inevitability that comes with prices going up a bit in every hobby. I don't see as much stuff around at flea markets & second-hand shops as I used to. There are some local shops that don't touch 2600 stuff, which is sad. 

 

I also collect records. There was a time when you couldn't turn around without finding a good James Brown album in nice shape. They were dollar records. There's no infinite supply of these things, though, and they eventually became less common. Prices went up. They aren't sky high, but there's a definite increase from a couple of bucks. I hear from old DJ's all the time that they are stunned by current prices. I do this, too. I think I must sound like a grandpa to young people. :) To a point, gaming might be experiencing a similar phenomenon.

 

On line, I'm generally happy with the prices I get. The worst prices I find are from people who think they've discovered something valuable. Everyone thinks they've struck gold when they find an old game. :P

 

Whatever is going on in the world of gaming, I hope it doesn't have a negative impact on Atari Age. This is the only part of retro gaming I would hate to see disappear. Bubble or no bubble, long live AA!



#37 zzip ONLINE  

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Posted Thu Aug 3, 2017 7:38 AM

I think the retro gaming bubble is part of the larger pop culture bubble that will surely burst sometime in the very near future. There's just too much of everything, the public is getting overwhelmed and cynical. It's almost become fashionable to hate things that are popular.


it was always fashionable to hate on popular things.


Eventually all the comic book movies, video games, fantasy TV shows, fad toys and yes, even retro gaming products, will come crashing down in spectacular fashion.
 
I even believe the mighty video game industry is headed for another dramatic "market adjustment."


Tastes change, so comic book movies would be replaced by something else. But I can't see the entirety of pop culture crashing without some dramatic external shock occurring on the scale of nuclear war or asteroid impact or something. When people get tired of the current stuff, pop culture just changes, just like it always has.

#38 Flojomojo ONLINE  

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Posted Thu Aug 3, 2017 9:33 AM

WHAT IF I TOLD YOU there were so many superhero movies out there, because that's what brings butts into seats?



#39 djour OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Aug 3, 2017 11:02 AM

 

Prices are going up on Atari stuff due to a perfect storm of GenX middle-aged nostalgia (we ARE Generation 8-bit after all), disposable hobby money (see the "middle-aged" part), retro-themed pop culture like the Dump Dig documentary, the book Ready Player One (soon to be a major motion picture, which makes it worse), the horrible Pixels movie, Stranger Things, and curious millennial nerds who want to see how their parents gamed and computed.

Exactly.

 

I just try to be patient and wait until the Fad wears out. Prices will come down, but it will be years before they return to the bargain bin level.



#40 imstarryeyed OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Aug 3, 2017 1:37 PM

Excellent write up, I agree with him on many of the points.  Thank you for your thoughts.



#41 PhoenixMoonPatrol OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Aug 3, 2017 7:14 PM

Is it possible that "retro" got popular because new tech got so boring? Some people love gadgets and there use to be lots of cool new gadgets, but now our phones are doing almost everything, and every new phone is just a minor incremental improvement on the old. So people are looking elsewhere for their gadget fix?

 

Sort of.  Everything at the stores is all about 4K tvs,new upcoming consoles with services and exclusivity marketing deals,blah,blah,blah.  

Yet they can't do the simple things right like releasing a game that doesn't need countless patching? Or some nice box art without having labels all over it?

How about a sweet color manual? No? How about just a manual then? No?  Too much to ask I guess?

 

But yeah you nailed it in your first sentence. Some of us find modern gaming a little boring. Games feel sort of soul less,or "gutted" for a better word.   

Its like buying an mp3,there's just nothing there. Would much rather have the CD or better yet - the vinyl. Where its a crafted piece of work, a story to what that person or team behind the vision was trying to show. Games are that way for me. Retro gaming is all about that. Its got this sacred, untainted feel to it.  Where it feels good to know that you can look at the vision, hold it, and see what they were trying to say. It'll always be about that.

 

Ok I'm getting loopy but you know what I mean. It feels allot more genuine. ;-)    

 

I got off topic but so to answer the op's question. Well as long as people have their childhood memories,the games have a lock on them. But yeah its getting out of hand with what things are selling for. I'm just amazed something like these small boxed raspberry pi's haven't taken over the market to replace some of that hardware and financial investments that casuals are going through just to return to their beloved childhood. I've seen newcomers buy up a storm and post their hauls over at FaceBook. I mean it looks nice,but thats allot of maintenance and storage to take on later. I sometimes wonder if people think about that before buying these huge lots. I think that would probably start to kill their enthusiasm allot quicker than the upfront financial investment would. It can be a drag to store so much software and hardware at times,unless youre a serious collector and are in this for the long haul. :thumbsup:   



#42 tdp OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Aug 4, 2017 12:10 AM

Look at music for a parallel, we used to collect our music on Vinyl records, then 8-tracks, then cassettes, then CDs, and finally digital. So now our music collections are all in one place, and as a result the act of music collecting has gotten so boring that today's kids have rediscovered vinyl!

Maybe todays tech has gotten so boring kids are rediscovering retro too? Maybe this also explains why Switch is so popular, and why Ataribox has gained so much attention.. People are craving something new.

 

Interesting point about the amazing regrowth of vinyl. However, there's one universal truth, physicality. When you work had to get the money to buy something. Even if it is music, most people will what something physical. Mp3s done not give you the same feeling as ritual of taking a record out the sleeve, putting it on the turntable, lining up the stylus. Yes mp3 are a million times more convenient. But they do not sound as good as a well pressed record on a top quality stereo system, with top quality cables (we are dealing with analogue here.

 

Also, one factor of the resurgence of older games consoles is the whole coming of age thing. Most people that enjoyed the Atari 2600 first hand as kid is now in their 40's and 50's. The chances are that their kids have left home or at uni. They have developed a career, and as such have disposable income to enjoy. The one time when clearing out some old stuff at their parent's home, they find their 2600 Jr (this was me). Memories flood back. Playing games for hours on end with your mates. And once they get a tasty side order of those member-berries, you gonna want more. I think this has helped to bring these old consoles back to life.

 

As a weird theory, I also think mobile phone gaming as made what retro games had to offer more palatable to the younger generation. Mobile phone games tend to be pretty short, with very simple objectives. Some mobile games are very deep and advanced, but most are pretty simple. Like Atari 2600 games. Think about flappy bird. It was digital crack for a lot of people for a time. A game that very easily shoe-horns on to a 2600. Infinite runner games, dime a dozen on mobiles - these can be implemented on a 2600.

 

What do you think?



#43 spacecadet OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Aug 4, 2017 11:30 AM

One thing I didn't see mentioned (unless I missed it) is the possibility that, you know, maybe the retro game market was artificially *depressed* for a while. Maybe where it is now is where it naturally should have always been.

 

It's always been in game companies' interests to tell you that the old stuff sucks, you need this NEW thing. That's how they make money. The gaming press plays along because they want to sell magazines and internet ads too. They need that hype train, and they need new stuff to keep it going.

 

So for a bunch of years we all grew up believing the old stuff just sucks and everything new is better, and it's mostly because that's what we were told and we believed it.

 

But now people have discovered that that's wrong. A lot of the old stuff is good. It's not only nostalgia; the games are often (not always) just as much fun as they always were. (In cases where they're not, I pretty firmly believe they never were, but were subject to the same sorts of hype back then and consequently people convinced themselves that they were good games. Now we have the benefit of separating the wheat from the chaff on our own.)

 

There was a time when this would not have been good business for anybody, so they tried to suppress it. And in the pre-internet days, that would have been pretty easy to do - just get the press on board. But nowadays, we can all talk amongst ourselves online, and many game makers have started figuring out how to make money off their older titles.

 

So maybe the market right now is as it always should have been. Which is another argument against a "bubble". Maybe this isn't a bubble, maybe 20 years ago was the opposite. Kind of an intentional depression in the retro market that we're only still coming out of, initially against the will of the industry but now with their help in many cases.



#44 tdp OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Aug 4, 2017 12:20 PM

@SpaceCadet

 

Some interesting views. I don't believe the market was suppressed artificiality. What you are describing is progress. Car companies do it. Mobile phone makers do it. Even Coke did it with the "new and improved Cola". So the market was not so much as suppressed, but pushed forward. In the 8-bit days, we lusted after arcade quality graphics. In the 16-bits days, he hardware that was closer to arcade graphics, So Atari, Sega and others then filled the arcades 3D games. 16-bits machines couldn't do that, so we again lusted after arcade quality graphics. Then the Playstation came. Not only did we get current arcade quality graphics, we also an arcade board in console form in our house (Namco system 11 board). Tekken was almost arcade perfect. So, naturally the megadrive and Atari 2600 didn't factor in peoples minds as much. It was an exciting time, because each generation showed a very huge jump. imagine the audio visual jump from Atari 2600 to Atari 7800 to PC engine to snes to Playstation.

 

So during the above time, really gains could be seen. But lookat consoles now. Yeah they still improve with each generation, not in the same jarring way. Companies talk about shifting from PS3's 1080 gaming the PS4 Pro 4K gaming. And yeah you can see the difference. But picture back in the day moving from a megadrive or pc engine to a Playstation or N64. Everything changed in a big way. The Playstation was capable of doing games that neither the snes or megadrive could do. Not so much today. Any game on the PS4 could be done on the PS3, to a lesser degree of course, but it could be done. 

 

So while I don't believe the retro market was talked down in the terms you define it. The retro market most definitely is being talked up. We all seen Youtubers who used only review and the latest and greatest, now jumping on the retro band wagon. Suddenly they are experts. This is classic bubble behaviour. When people queued up to buy their Playstation, they did not have designs to sell it on. They did not buy it thinking, this will be worth a few bob in a few years. They bought it for new gaming experience. Now, how many people that will buy the snes classic plan on keeping it? See...... weather it cost £10 or £100,000 - any item can become an investment opportunity. And more people jump on board, and the more "fad-like" it seems, more likely you are looking down the barrel of a bubble.


Edited by tdp, Fri Aug 4, 2017 12:22 PM.


#45 Keatah ONLINE  

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Posted Fri Aug 4, 2017 2:39 PM

I think any apparent depression in the market (then or now) would be the result of shifting technology and waiting for new ideas to take hold.

 

In the 1990's it was the dot-com era, computers, and the internet.

In the late 1980's it was the 16-bit "movement". Developers simply did know what way the added capability of the new hardware should've been utilized.



#46 Keatah ONLINE  

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Posted Fri Aug 4, 2017 7:01 PM

Sort of.  Everything at the stores is all about 4K tvs,new upcoming consoles with services and exclusivity marketing deals,blah,blah,blah.  

Yet they can't do the simple things right like releasing a game that doesn't need countless patching? Or some nice box art without having labels all over it?

How about a sweet color manual? No? How about just a manual then? No?  Too much to ask I guess?

 

Well that's likely because the they of today is different from the they of years ago. The they of years ago were people more interested in the hobby part - even if they were businessmen. Today, well, you got every schmuck and shyster in on the fracas.

 

It kinda sucks, because the general buying public doesn't have the willpower to reject any substandard, "manual-less" or "patch-less" game. Let alone be discerning with box artwork.

 

By labels I assume you mean the name of 5 different "studios" and their mascots. Plastered prominently like it's supposed to mean something. Yes? I don't know when and where that started, but I dislike it.

 

And the issue with manuals, well, even programs that ship with, .CHM or .PDF files are on the chopping block. Developers are still trying to wiggle out of keeping them up to date. Can't tell you how many open source projects I've written to the developers of, and asked them to keep the discrete documentation  as is. None of this online bullshit.

 

Don't know what the pull is, what the draw is, but it seems everything has to be "online" in 10 different ways, patches, score keeping, documentation, extra content, DRM, usage metrics, and more.

 

When I used to play Flag Capture on the VCS I didn't have to worry about ANY of that shit!



#47 Keatah ONLINE  

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Posted Fri Aug 4, 2017 7:14 PM

I got off topic but so to answer the op's question. Well as long as people have their childhood memories,the games have a lock on them. But yeah its getting out of hand with what things are selling for. I'm just amazed something like these small boxed raspberry pi's haven't taken over the market to replace some of that hardware and financial investments that casuals are going through just to return to their beloved childhood. I've seen newcomers buy up a storm and post their hauls over at FaceBook. I mean it looks nice,but thats allot of maintenance and storage to take on later. I sometimes wonder if people think about that before buying these huge lots. I think that would probably start to kill their enthusiasm allot quicker than the upfront financial investment would. It can be a drag to store so much software and hardware at times,unless youre a serious collector and are in this for the long haul. :thumbsup:   

 

It might be as simple as technical know-how. R-Pi isn't the easiest thing to setup for the complete and total novice. Some knowledge of wires and circuits, Linux, and the art of configuration is involved. That's what makes those shitbox YAEBs so popular on kickstarter.

 

I also think these noobs that buy everything in sight have not yet learned that there are other options available to them. Or are still afraid to try other solutions.

 

The rapid accumulation of junk should be a deterrent. Having to resort to cheap sagging plastic from wal-mart to hold it all it.. That's yet another warning sign. And the idiots plow forward getting more, raising prices, getting more. Getting 5 copies of the same damned thing. Over and over.. Ridiculous.



#48 Shawn OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Aug 4, 2017 9:17 PM

 

Whaddya mean "lived"?  He still lives in a bubble - a bubble of denial!

 

attachicon.gifJohn-Travolta-gay-celebrity-kisses-15143610-300-300.jpg

 

;)

 

Ya, I was about to say it's not a bubble but a closet he's been living in. 



#49 Keatah ONLINE  

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Posted Fri Aug 4, 2017 10:37 PM

 

Whaddya mean "lived"?  He still lives in a bubble - a bubble of denial!

 

attachicon.gifJohn-Travolta-gay-celebrity-kisses-15143610-300-300.jpg

 

;)

 

I knew he was a "pretty boy" and all that. But when did he come out?


Edited by Keatah, Fri Aug 4, 2017 10:37 PM.


#50 Shawn OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Aug 4, 2017 10:56 PM

 

I knew he was a "pretty boy" and all that. But when did he come out?

 

It's been rumored for many years. At the end of the day who cares who he chooses to love. It's nobody's business but his own. I heard that it was kept unwraps not to damage his marketability. That ship has long sailed. I myself am a lot more worried about his cult of choice versus his lover of choice. 







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