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Collecting Manuals, Path to Satisfaction? Or Disappointment?

manual manuals

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#1 MeatWithGravy OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 23, 2018 11:17 AM

I'm fairly new to the hobby, just two years in, with a very modest budget. Shortly after I got reacquainted with the VCS, I stumbled onto a few manuals. Once I had those few manuals, the carts in my collection without manuals seemed incomplete. That's how it began. Innocently enough. Since then, I've been collecting manuals along with carts (no boxes). But I'm beginning to wonder if I should get out of the manuals-game before I get any deeper.

 

There's a lot to like about manuals, obviously. But perhaps I'm in over my head. The following goes without saying but warrants emphasis: the decision to collect manuals doubles the number of collectables to target. Which not only drives the expense of the hobby waaay up, there's also the added challenge of organizing and storing all of those manuals -- which, I foolishly thought, would be simple. Until I discovered there are plenty of manuals out there that are just a tiny bit longer than my 5" x 7" photo sleeves fitted into D-ring binders. Still not sure how to address those.  :ponder:

 

To my mind, the biggest challenge comes with those rarer carts that one needs and encounters without a manual. How do you, AtariAge veterans, handle this scenario? I've got a couple of "rare" carts in my collection without the manual, a few fives on the Rarity Guide and a couple of sixes. Nothing more scarce than that. Combing eBay, I never see a manual -- by itself -- come up for these titles. They do however, come up semi-frequently together, cart and manual. And even more often CIB. So, what do you do? Do you buy the combo and then sell off what you don't need, or do you continue to wait in hopes a manual pops up a la carte someday down the road? Or do you buy it and just keep it all, amassing multiple carts, manuals, and boxes of every title?

 

I guess ultimately, if the goal is a complete collection of carts with their corresponding manual, the bigger question is can it even be done? Is there anybody on AtariAge with a complete set of official 2600 releases -- forget homebrews for a second -- with their corresponding manual, but without boxes? Has anybody done it? Hell, how many have a complete collection of just official carts alone? How many have even done THAT? And CIB? Well, I can't even imagine it.



#2 BassGuitari OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 23, 2018 11:32 AM

I only actively collect manuals for games made by Atari. I have many manuals for third-party games I've acquired over the years, but I'm not out to get every manual for every game ever. Gotta draw the line somewhere.  :)

I don't ordinarily collect boxes either, though I do have quite a few.



#3 MeatWithGravy OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 23, 2018 11:53 AM

I only actively collect manuals for games made by Atari. I have many manuals for third-party games I've acquired over the years, but I'm not out to get every manual for every game ever. Gotta draw the line somewhere.  :)

I don't ordinarily collect boxes either, though I do have quite a few.

 

You sound super chilled-out about it. That sounds like a healthy approach.  :thumbsup:

 

I wish I sounded more like that.   :lolblue:



#4 jhd OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 23, 2018 11:53 AM

I have manuals (and boxes) for roughly half of the 2600 games in my collection; the bulk of the manuals were in the box when I bought the game (new or used), a few were loose. Granted, I have not seen a CIB game for sale in probably 12 or 15 years, but I started collecting back in the early-1990s. 

 

If you want to have even more fun, try collecting variant manuals -- e.g. most Atari-brand games released in Canada included European multi-lingual manuals, but some included separate French-language manuals.   :twisted:  There are also the Zellers store-brand games where the "manual" is printed on the back of the box.

 

As for storage, I like file folders. You can sort the manuals by manufacturer, by tile, or by whatever criteria you choose. I also use folders for storing printed ephemera (mainly catalogues). Folders keep everything stored flat, and they are readily obtainable. 



#5 BassGuitari OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 23, 2018 1:52 PM

If you want to have even more fun, try collecting variant manuals -- e.g. most Atari-brand games released in Canada included European multi-lingual manuals, but some included separate French-language manuals.   :twisted:

 

Nah. Leave that to the Intellivision people.

 

:P :-D



#6 TheVgaTv OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 23, 2018 2:39 PM

99% of the time manuals are the only affordable things you find out in the wild.  Lots of game shops will just throw them into a dollar bin regardless of rarity, while the games will be through the roof.  I'm up to 317 (including brand variations Atari/Sears/etc) to go along with my games and boxes.  It's gotten to the point where I've had to create a spreadsheet checklist to keep track of everything I have so I can look on my phone when I'm digging through stacks of manuals.  I....I might have a problem



#7 save2600 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 23, 2018 2:51 PM

I'm only missing a small handful of manuals and boxes for my collection. It's been gratifying marrying things up like that throughout the years, but have been fairly passive about it. Reminds me, I should bump my 2600 box/manual want thread. :)

I'm not as particular about my 7800 collection that way though. If something came with a box and/or manual, great - but I'm not going out my way to track those things down. And as nice as they are, kinda wish the latest homebrews would be offered as cart and manual only, like they used to. To keep costs down and running out of space!

#8 cvga OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 23, 2018 8:50 PM

I love collecting manuals. They don't take up much space and usually show the same artwork that is on the box. I've purchased games that I've already had in order to get the manual.



#9 RamrodHare OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 23, 2018 8:54 PM

For me, collecting is like an addiction. I give myself two choices, either I get a complete collection or I get rid of what I have. I've learned from years of experience that once I complete a collection, I lose interest in it. Since I have very little money to spend, I find it better to sell partial collections of things, than to save up and hunt down more things I really don't need. I find I can part with most items I have, provided I don't have some emotional connection to them. I got a lot of 2600 manuals when I got most of my Atari stuff. It was nice having them, but knowing that I can download digital copies of them, it seemed crazy to have the physical ones taking up space when there were people out there who would appreciate them. I'd like to think that one day I'll get over the need for material things, but that's just wishful thinking. The reality is that one day I may no longer have any material things, but it won't be by choice. :P



#10 cmart604 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 23, 2018 9:05 PM

 
Nah. Leave that to the Intellivision people.
 
:P :-D


Lol! I resemble that remark. 😂

#11 --- Ω --- OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 23, 2018 9:26 PM

I've always been partial to PDF's myself.  Many of the decades out-of-date, out-of-print and unobtanium manuals could be scanned in by helpful people and turned into manuals the 'Average Joe' could download, look at or even print up on their home printer.



#12 TheVgaTv OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 23, 2018 9:50 PM

I've always been partial to PDF's myself.  Many of the decades out-of-date, out-of-print and unobtanium manuals could be scanned in by helpful people and turned into manuals the 'Average Joe' could download, look at or even print up on their home printer.


This should get you started

http://www.thevgatv.com/styled-3/

#13 --- Ω --- OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 23, 2018 9:56 PM

This should get you started

http://www.thevgatv.com/styled-3/

 

  :-o    WOW!    :-o  - THANKS!



#14 TheVgaTv OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jan 24, 2018 7:34 AM

 

  :-o    WOW!    :-o  - THANKS!

 

 

 

Sure thing!  Everything is viewable in browser, but you can download with a right click.  I have several hundred more manuals from a lot of systems scanned in as well, including around a hundred Japanese ones

 

http://www.thevgatv....l Scan Archive/



#15 hizzy ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Jan 24, 2018 8:19 AM

I love manuals, but it's hard to store them nicely. I found some bags & boards that fit, but it's not perfect.



#16 edladdin OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jan 24, 2018 9:21 AM

I'm a cart and manual guy also, with only a very limited interest in boxes.  Like the rest of the collecting process, its mostly been completely random to run across either a cart OR the manual.  Sometimes they are together, but often is not its the random pile to dig through at a shop or a swap meet.  And you have to have a willingness to pay a little (or a lot) more to get the manual if you are shopping on ebay.  

 

One vendor that does mail order and has a nice stock of manuals is Jason at Trade-N-Games.  He's an AtariAge regular.

 

http://www.tradengames.com

 

Good luck!



#17 MeatWithGravy OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jan 24, 2018 7:30 PM

I love manuals, but it's hard to store them nicely. I found some bags & boards that fit, but it's not perfect.

 

I've got my over-sized manuals in bags I got from Trade-N-Games. But then what do you do with them? There's gotta be a perfect-sized bin out there that would store them alphabetically and upright.



#18 MeatWithGravy OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jan 24, 2018 7:33 PM

 One vendor that does mail order and has a nice stock of manuals is Jason at Trade-N-Games.  He's an AtariAge regular.

 

http://www.tradengames.com

 

Good luck!

 

Oh, I'm familiar, thanks. I just got my 2nd order in from Trade-N-Games the other day.  :thumbsup:



#19 accousticguitar OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 25, 2018 9:22 AM

 it seemed crazy to have the physical ones taking up space when there were people out there who would appreciate them. 

Manuals don't take up very much space. I am downsizing my collection but decided to keep the manuals since they all can be stored in a small shoe box.



#20 famicommander OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 25, 2018 9:53 AM

It's just clutter to me, all I care about are the games. If I bought the game new I'll save the box and manual but for used stuff I try for loose carts whenever possible. I believe I gave away a bunch of random manuals I had sitting around ro a member here some years ago. I think we were making another sale/trade and I just asked if he wanted the manuals. He did, so I threw them in there.



#21 Greg2600 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:11 AM

I have manuals for my cart games.  I particularly enjoy the Atari ones for the artwork.  I really don't need them for most systems though.



#22 digdugnate ONLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 25, 2018 4:29 PM

my attitude is that if i manage to score the manuals with little effort, im cool with it- otherwise, im not killing myself looking for them :)

 

all my manuals are in a couple of gallon-size ziploc bags in a tote with my carts/extra sticks/paddles, lol



#23 CaptainBreakout ONLINE  

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Posted Fri Jan 26, 2018 12:01 PM

Manual collecting for me has been a fun adventure. Here's my thoughts on it:

 

    First, I only collect manuals for the games I actually own on cart. I also only collect carts that I either intend to play or would otherwise find amusing to pop in the 2600. I know that doesn't narrow it down a whole lot if you are the kind of person that can find something interesting about almost any game, but it does eliminate the ones that are uninteresting or terrible, but not terrible enough that their terribleness is amusing. I don't collect boxes... they are cool but it's too much space and fuss for me.

 

    I like to keep the instructions on a shelf between two antique cast iron bookends. My manual stack is about 12 inches thick, and even though Atari 2600 manuals vary wildly in their dimensions, they still look nice and neat alphabetically with the spines all lined up flat on the side that faces out. Accessibility is key for me since I want the instructions to be available quickly to guests and when I'm in the gameroom with me kids. I found it faster than keeping them in a box or a binder, and it's something displayable, although they do get more wear this way.

 

   As far as obtaining them... I have a few people here to thank for being so cool and selling and trading for them. The bulk of them came from 7 or 8 years ago when www.atari2600.com was still operating (last I checked the shopping cart's been deactiviated), and I could buy manuals for a buck or two a piece. The ones I couldn't get, I printed out. I thought I'd be satisfied with them, but when you see a homemade printout of an Imagic manual next to a real one... well. Um... you want the real one. 

 

Speaking of manuals and their appeal... in Imagic's case the manuals sometimes have the cool graphics on them when the carts don't... on their later games anyway. That makes them cool. Also as I like to say... the instructions are part of the experience of Atari 2600. I highly recommend it.

 

I collect for some later systems too. But except for the 2600 and Intellivision, I don't really care about the manuals. I find the game content on later systems is usually robust enough so you can play games without the manual without missing out on too much, usually.

 

Just this morning, I handed my 2-year old a Fathom cart. He looked at it puzzled for a few seconds and said "No picture on there!". I then handed him the instructions with the cool phantom mermaid on the cover and he got all excited. We proceeded to read the instructions together and we played the game for over an hour.

 

"Help mermaid!" ... he's been chanting all morning since.



#24 --- Ω --- OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jan 27, 2018 8:36 PM

One thing I'm addicted to is finding good quality scans of manuals.  Over the past year I cannot tell you how much toner I've used printing manuals.  The biggest shock was when the four toner cartridges came to just under $500.00 with tax... but when I bought the printer and a two year extended warranty it only hame to $480.00.  Still, it's way cheaper than feeding an inkjet.







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