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Och, these prices!

sticker shock

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#1 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Dec 4, 2017 10:25 AM

https://flashbak.com...75-1986-390812/

 

"Atari to Nintendo: Home Electronic Games (1975-1986)"

 

I just can't wrap my head around how much these things cost when they were new. I totally understand my parents' reluctance to get me anything, especially with how prices dropped and everything was made obsolete so quickly. 

 

That $99 Odyssey game from 1975 would be like $440 today, ditto the Atari Pong unit. 

 

Two years later, Channel F would be almost $600 today (and that's after the $20 -- which is like $80 today -- discount)

 

1980's Intellivision launch at $270 would be over $770 today, ouch!!

 

The most painful of all, the Atari 800 home computer from 1982, with BASIC cartridge, self-teaching guide, reference manual, and 48K RAM ... $739 in 1982, which is like $1870 today!

 

Ow ow ow ow ow!



#2 sdamon OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Dec 4, 2017 10:33 AM

I remember that the Atari computers were OUTRAGEOUSLY expensive in the early 80's.  The model numbers (400 and 800) were very close to the actual prices ($400 and $800!)  I really, really wanted a 400, but it was way too much to ask for.  Had to settle for a Time Sinclair 1000 until prices came down on the Atari units in 1984 (when the 600XL came out.)



#3 CatPix OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Dec 4, 2017 11:02 AM

That reminds me when we do expos with our machines, we put little cards that explain the machine, year and release, and price.

 

gallery_35492_1633_415234.jpg

 

A Videopac, almost 1000€ at release. (and FYI, in Europe, the Atari 2600 was more expensive than a Videopac/Odyssey² for most of their retail life)

 

Some people are just "there is NO WAY it cost that much".

 

Even people that say "I got one for my kid BITD, it was nowhere near that expensive!"

 

Of course, as I explain to them, they most likely bough them at the end of their retail life, when the price was halved by almost two in some cases.

I suppose people would have the same reaction in 40 years when they'll see the PS3 was released fo $600... when most people bough it one year later for... $480 ?


Edited by CatPix, Mon Dec 4, 2017 11:08 AM.


#4 Keatah ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Dec 4, 2017 11:08 AM

Yup. Had to work all fall and part of winter to upgrade my Apple II to 64K by way of a 16K card.



#5 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Dec 4, 2017 11:14 AM

NINE HUNDRED EUROS FOR AN ODYSSEY TWO???? No wonder there were platform wars. 



#6 CatPix OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Dec 4, 2017 11:19 AM

And in France, the price for an Atari 2600 was first around 2500 FF, so about 1050€ !

 

But prices fell sharply, so by the official release of the Atari 2600 in France in 1981, a Videopac was sold... for 1500 FF if I recall right, so about 700€! No wonder why the Videopac was a greater success here :D



#7 F34R OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Dec 4, 2017 11:29 AM

I wonder what the actual real cost to make these old systems by the cost of today.  The real cost and not the inflation of what the price was back then.  

 

Example:

The pc I bought back in 1997 for $1300 is beaten spec wise by ten fold for $50.  What would it cost today to make a 100% authentic Atari 2600 today?  



#8 Keatah ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Dec 4, 2017 11:35 AM

Much more in adjusted dollars then back in the day, because, you'd have to build the factories (or retool them) so that exact parts can be made.



#9 spacecadet OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Dec 4, 2017 12:02 PM

My parents bought me an Intellivision at launch price. I think it actually was more than launch price; I think there was a little gouging going on that Christmas. I don't have my original box but I'm almost sure that I remember the price tag (which they either forgot to take off or actually wanted me to see) being higher than $270. I'm thinking it was either $280 or $299. (Or maybe $289.)

 

I had asked for one repeatedly but didn't really expect to get one because of both the price and the scarcity in our area. With no internet, shortages were very regional and it just seemed really hard to find in our area. So it was one of those big Christmas surprises and I still remember it pretty clearly. It was like "A Christmas Story".

 

It's not as old but I think the record for most expensive game console equalized for inflation still has to be the Neo Geo AES, which would be $1,256 in today's dollars.

 

Somebody should put together a complete inflation-adjusted list of console launch prices (if they haven't already).



#10 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Dec 4, 2017 12:22 PM

Ordering from Sears was kind of a last-ditch effort back then, at least at our house. The catalogs had a long lead time and didn't carry everything that a brick-and-mortar store would. You'd have to mail in an order form with a check, or give a credit card number over the telephone, then wait at least a week for shipping. The warehouse stores didn't have nearly the advantage that they do today, with instant "catalog" publishing over the internet, easy automated ordering, and very fast (often overnight) shipping. 

 

Calling around to different stores was probably almost fun back then ... I like to imagine retail employees were more into their jobs than they are now.

 

Intellivision was impossibly advanced and sophisticated to me back then. I didn't have one until the big crash. 



#11 spacecadet OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Dec 4, 2017 12:41 PM

Yeah I don't remember where my parents got mine. I do remember there was this weird catalog store in our area that I think was just called BEST that they really liked; I got my earlier Coleco Telstar Arcade from there. They had stores where you would go just to either order from the catalog or pick up stuff you'd ordered from the catalog. JC Penney had something like that too but they were usually either in actual JC Penneys or pharmacies and places like that. This BEST store is the only place I've seen where they have a whole retail storefront that's nothing but catalog stations and then a little desk in the back where you'd take the little card you filled out for ordering and/or pickup. I remember it was always packed, though.

 

So I have a feeling my Intellivision came from there. There was no real way to know if they had something just by looking in the store, so they were probably the one place nearby that I hadn't checked myself, but probably would have been one of the first places my parents would have.

 

In the mid 90's I worked for a catalog retailer as both a salesperson and then in customer service. I'm sure a lot of people still call stores to check stock and pricing today but that was at the tail end of the time when you *had* to. (In fact, right as I left, my store was just starting to make their ecommerce site.) So I talked to a lot of people who were frantically looking for a certain Christmas gift, including game consoles. I remember the N64 being the big one in 1996; that must have been the year I started. Got a lot of calls about that and took a lot of orders for it. My store would not have been the first that people thought of for a game console so most people were really relieved and surprised when they found out we had them.


Edited by spacecadet, Mon Dec 4, 2017 12:43 PM.


#12 AMenard OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Dec 4, 2017 12:42 PM

We had Sears, Eaton and Consumers Distributing in the good old days for catalog shopping here in Quebec. The last one was my favorite since you could actually go to the store, which only had about four standind counter/desk and an ordering counter, fill out the ordering form there and they'll go in the backstore to get your stuff. I got my Vic-20 and dataset there. 


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#13 jhd OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Dec 4, 2017 1:10 PM

We had Sears, Eaton and Consumers Distributing in the good old days for catalog shopping here in Quebec. 

 

It was much the same in Nova Scotia; I do not remember Sears ever selling video games, but many (most?) of my Atari cartridges came from Consumer's Distributing -- there was a location very close to my house. 

 

Eaton's sold the Colecovision and, later, the Genesis -- I remember playing demos of both consoles in store. They were sold in the (ground-floor) toy department; the electronics department was upsrtairs on the third floor (with furniture, rugs, etc.).

 

Did Eaton's still offer a catalogue into the 1980s? I do not recall having seen any after produced about the 1970s.



#14 digdugnate OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Dec 4, 2017 2:00 PM

i am a little younger than some gamers (born in 1978), so I can't speak to what my dad paid for our TI-99 4/A, C64, and C128- I do remember his purchases were a point of contention between him and my mom.

 

I do remember that the NES on release (with Super Mario/Duck Hunt!) was like $99.99, and then the SNES was $199 i'm pretty sure.   

 

Much begging was done when I was a kid. ;)



#15 pacman000 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Dec 4, 2017 2:01 PM

Console prices adjusted to 2013 dollars: http://www.videogameconsolelibrary.com/art-relative_price.htm

 

A few years old, but it'll still give you an idea of how prices have changed. And starting a new list would be harder than updating this.


Edited by pacman000, Mon Dec 4, 2017 2:02 PM.


#16 CatPix OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Dec 4, 2017 3:06 PM

1150$ for an Atari 2600? and about half for the Odyssey2. Wow. Of course, prices certainly went down for the VCS, but that's still a very steep entry price.

 



#17 Laner OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Dec 4, 2017 3:50 PM

The most painful of all, the Atari 800 home computer from 1982, with BASIC cartridge, self-teaching guide, reference manual, and 48K RAM ... $739 in 1982, which is like $1870 today!

 

 

 

I have distinct memories of messing with the Atari 800 kiosk at Sears, and realizing that it was far outside my parents' price range. It wasn't as bad as the Apple II line, but still... very pricey.



#18 Tanooki OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Dec 4, 2017 4:32 PM

Fun ads.  I've got a 1977 Mattel Electronics Hockey still, also a CIB 1980 Wildfire Pinball (it's actually fun), 1983 Coleco DK w/manual, Pacman, perma power pack, and DK Jr too (had the q-bert a year ago or two), and for their 1986 NES I had it in 85. :D  I miss those prices, but hell they even look high given the tech for then too even if some of them really weren't.  My mom also had that Fairchild Channel F2 system which I had inherited for years as well and was surprisingly fun.



#19 mbd30 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Dec 4, 2017 4:32 PM

The C64 was $200 cheaper than the Atari at launch and came with 64k of RAM. What was the advantage of getting an Atari 800?



#20 dj_convoy ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Dec 4, 2017 4:45 PM

I was born at the tail end of 1978, so I was probably a bit too young to have a computer of that era. My parents were (somewhat) willing to buy consoles (lucky for me, they were young enough to enjoy video games too), but I guess they never saw the utility in buying a computer for themselves, let alone for three or four year old me; neither of them were especially tech-savvy, so a console probably made more sense. They wanted to ride those consoles 'til the wheels fell off, so I can get their reluctance to get into some crummy computer that would be extinct or vastly outdated in a couple of years. Of course, a Commodore 64 or something would have probably been a better long term investment than my beloved Atari 5200 (our first console, bought probably in late 1982 or early 1983, whenever they changed it to have Pac-man as the pack in game), especially if they had waited until the price of the C64 came down considerably.

 

By the time my dad did buy me a computer, I was like 15 or 16, and he bought me a hugely underpowered machine (a 486sx, so no math co-processor!) at a hugely inflated price (he bought a bundle from like Sears or JC Penney or something). I think it was in the couple of thousand dollar range, and had no bells or whistles. I was so grateful to finally have a computer, but it could barely do anything besides run old 386 games, if I was lucky. Even he was bummed out buy it, when he'd go to buy me a game and couldn't understand why the machine he had just bought didn't have enough horsepower to run it. That money could have bought probably a way better rig even a few months later.



#21 ubersaurus OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Dec 4, 2017 6:19 PM

The prices were intense, but remember people tended to have more spending power at the time too. Easier to find a really well paying job without a college degree, and those with degrees could make serious bank.

#22 Laner OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Dec 4, 2017 8:04 PM

The C64 was $200 cheaper than the Atari at launch and came with 64k of RAM. What was the advantage of getting an Atari 800?

 

The 800 preceded the it by three years or so, so there's that :)  The 800XL was more of a direct competitor to the 64.  



#23 Keatah ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Dec 4, 2017 8:04 PM

Calling around to different stores was probably almost fun back then ... I like to imagine retail employees were more into their jobs than they are now.

 

It was.. wasn't it? I had a great time doing that. And I was elite enough to have a speakerphone in my bedroom/gameroom. I'd call, and be playing games while the clerk checked.

 

 

Intellivision was impossibly advanced and sophisticated to me back then. I didn't have one until the big crash. 

 

It was.. wasn't it? I told all my friends that only smart people knew how to play intellivision. The dumb ones had to go play VCS!



#24 Keatah ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Dec 4, 2017 8:10 PM

By the time my dad did buy me a computer, I was like 15 or 16, and he bought me a hugely underpowered machine (a 486sx, so no math co-processor!) at a hugely inflated price (he bought a bundle from like Sears or JC Penney or something). I think it was in the couple of thousand dollar range, and had no bells or whistles. I was so grateful to finally have a computer, but it could barely do anything besides run old 386 games, if I was lucky. Even he was bummed out buy it, when he'd go to buy me a game and couldn't understand why the machine he had just bought didn't have enough horsepower to run it. That money could have bought probably a way better rig even a few months later.

I was tracking prices intensely right before I got my DX2/50. I spent around 1800 - 2000 on it. I could have gotten it cheaper if I built it myself or went with a no-name brand. But I had to have a Gateway. The brochure did real number on me. And few hunnertbucks later I got B16 + ASP + CD + WB. And a 14.4 modem.

 

I didn't track prices after my purchase, I was too busy blowing money on games and even more busy playing them. Besides, I was going to be stuck with it for a while. So it would've been pointless.



#25 bojay1997 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Dec 4, 2017 8:15 PM

The prices were intense, but remember people tended to have more spending power at the time too. Easier to find a really well paying job without a college degree, and those with degrees could make serious bank.

Just not true.  I remember sitting at the computer store when my parents bought our first Apple II + and it was literally like going to a car dealership with credit forms and checklists and sitting in an office for extended periods of time.  Both of my parents worked good jobs and had advanced degrees and that computer was still far more as a proportion of of their income than similar computers or electronics are today.  The rise of cheap non-US manufacturing really changed everything with computers and other major electronics purchases.






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