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freewheel

+AtariAge Subscriber
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Everything posted by freewheel

  1. Rubbing alcohol on a Q-tip on the cartridge contacts. Scrub until you see no more black coming off. Alternate wet (with alcohol) and dry Q-tips. As for dead carts... I've seen a few. Maybe 4 or 5 in 1000. Some people really didn't take very good care of their stuff, and while ROM chips shouldn't be sensitive to static, I've always wondered. I have a few carts at home that look absolutely MINT like they were kept in perfect conditions, and yet they will not play on any console I try them in. So *something* has happened. Beyond that - it's Defender. Probably the 2nd or 3rd most common 2600 cart in my experience. I would give you one for free if you were in my house.
  2. So what you're saying is, your assertion is true as well.
  3. These games have tremendous value as an interesting piece of history that will never be repeated, and as jokes. Plus, they're amazing filler to bulk up Ebay lots.
  4. Yars' and Warlords, hands down. Like someone else mentioned, we played the heck out of Spider-Man back in the day so I gotta give that an honourable mention. It was the first time I remember actually feeling like more than a blob. The web action was pretty impressive for its time. Needless to say, Bionic Commando was one of my top NES games as well.
  5. Wow, Atari stuff sure is cheaper in the US. I can get $150 for a Vader with sticks, paddles, and 30 or so fairly common games up here in Canada (via our version of Craigslist). This is probably why 3/4 of my 2600s have come from Craigslist when I'm on vacation down there. Still looking for Super Action Controllers?
  6. It is absolutely fascinating to look at physical chip implementations. Where you can actually see the transistors and such, with fairly low power magnification. Reminds me of obvious hand-drawn circuit boards in the 70s. Compare to modern electronics where I can barely trace a board connection, and the chips are operating at nanometer scales. I actually had the thought of implementing a 6502 (or similar) using discrete components. Wouldn't cost all that much, a few hundred dollars at most. Just a LOT of time. And I'd have to think the performance would be terrible? Oh well, people have basically done it in Minecraft anyway.
  7. I'm a bit old-school. I just use a handful of Excel spreadsheets with some basic counting and summation. Personally I'm not the "blue-label-with-German-subscript, version 5.4a" type of collector, so a simple list of games I have vs published titles is sufficient. I find that basic rarity information (the AA ratings are some of the best and most accurate; I wish we had similar for all 80s consoles) is sufficient to know if I'm getting a "good price" on something or not. And especially whether it's worth picking up a spare. Plus, it works on damn near everything (especially mobile devices). So many of these online databases have websites that cause problems on small devices. Agreed in general, tracking this stuff is important. When it was dozens or even a few hundred games, I could remember most of it. Now that I'm approaching 2000 carts and 600 optical, there's just no way I remember anything beyond the most common and the most rare that I have.
  8. And that ain't how Canadian corporate taxes work. In fact I've never heard of anything like that at all, but I don't claim to be an expert on taxation in the 60+ North American jurisdictions. Plus you Americans have all sorts of municipal/county taxes, so anything's possible. But typically stores dispose of merchandise to reclaim storage space and "get it off the books", not because of some inventory tax. Lastly, Canadian prices weren't all that much different until the mid 80s. Believe it or not, shortly before the VCS was released, the Canuck buck (we didn't have Loonies in 1976) was actually worth more than the Greenback! Also, this calculation is, quite frankly, insane: That means that for $40,000,000 in inventory, you're paying a $4,000,000 tax bill. Every 3 months. Now, I'm no MBA or anything, but I find it EXTREMELY difficult to believe there's a jurisdiction that charges 10% PER QUARTER in taxes. That is 40% PER YEAR. You'd have to be in an industry with one hell of a markup to be able to survive that. Given that a lot of businesses can often hold onto product for several years - just ask Toys R Us what they're doing with a toy line sitting in their discount bin from 2 years ago, and I've occasionally seen things sit around for nearly 5 years before being heavily discounted - they'd end up paying the value of the item several times over, when you compound things. Sorry, but I'm calling bullshit on that entire post.
  9. I LOVE how you've got that on the site, RH!
  10. Yeah, that's a hell of a price already. If you can get them down to $25? Insane deal. And personally, a big part of the enjoyment of collecting is getting things cheap. Any idiot can go on Ebay and overpay for a "rare" item, but building a collection without overspending is a real accomplishment. You really need to share your general location, so that I can visit this store.
  11. Oh wow, thanks! Oddly enough I was poking around 2600 Connection earlier that same day, just never found this FAQ. It was probably staring me in the face all along.
  12. Personally, if I'm gonna say "use an emulator", it's for Genesis/SNES. They've been damn-near perfect for so many years now - hell they're console-perfect on DC emulation from nearly 15 years ago. Stella is fantastic, don't get me wrong, but it just doesn't have the same "feel" as playing on a real 2600. Something to do with having to hit all those big clunky switches maybe, or just using an honest-to-god joystick, or really awesome/bad audio consisting mostly of explosions.. I dunno, I just never really liked emulated 2600. It never comes close enough to the real thing for my tastes. But it's certainly a good way to check out if you even like playing the games. As someone said, you don't "beat" an Atari game. You just play the same thing over and over and try to get a higher score. Us old farts love that style of gameplay, and a lot of younger do too - but it's not for everyone. But if you do like it? People are talking about cost. Maybe it's just me, but unless someone wants to stock up on sports games, the 2600 is probably the cheapest console to get a pretty big collection for. The top 20-30 most common games can be had for like 50 cents each without even trying - just check out the AA Marketplace forum. You can buy huge lots on Ebay of 50-100 games that will average about a buck a piece, and include a fair number of less common games. Doing that with any other console will net you about 20 copies of Madden and NHL '94 on Genesis, plus some MLB and NBA carts. Oh and a dozen Super Mario Bros/Duck Hunt combo carts. I just don't see a cheaper system, for someone who wants in the 20-50 game range. I suppose a Dreamcast is cheaper if you spend the time with the proper burning software and don't have a bandwidth cap. It's been a LOOONG time since I was into that scene so maybe it's gotten a bit easier, but I remember spending weeks at a time getting and burning games with Discjuggler. And original DC games are anything but cheap. And yes, a Harmony is absolutely the best way to go if you're playing more than collecting.
  13. Huh. I guess I shouldn't be surprised, as everything turns into a cult-classic these days. But I definitely do not remember a lot of Rally-X love back in the day. Namco sure tried pushing it, too - until they realized just how much better (or at least better loved) Pac-Man was. Then again, Bosconian also seems to be suddenly in people's radar so I guess anything's possible. I bet a pretty playable Tron could be done given today's cheap ROM space for the levels. Most of the basic gameplay already exists in one for or another on the 2600.
  14. A godawful Transformers game, complete with barely-recognizable sprites that don't transform. Plus, something with Ferris Bueller in it.
  15. So in all of the dozens of 2600 units I've repaired and sold off over the years, I've never actually encountered this. Well, I finally got hold of a Vader that refused to output any video/audio at all. At first I thought the RF circuitry might be amiss, and I might be modding this one just to make it useful (this wouldn't be the first time, and there was a LOT of rust in this puppy). After getting no audio from the board itself with E.T. - easiest thing to check for that I can think of - on a hunch I decided to see if it was an entirely faulty TIA. Fortunately it was an early rev board so it was socketed, and coincidentally I've had a light sixer mainboard sitting in a junk drawer for a decade or more (can't remember what was wrong with it). A quick swap later, and success! Pretty cool to be able to do chip swaps like this, with everything else being surface mount and/or de-soldering 80 pins these days. I'm curious if there are any known problems doing this. There seem to be quite a lot of TIA variants and they're not all exactly the same: http://www.digitpress.com/faq/vcs_tia/vcs_tia.htm Just wondering if anyone with more experience with TIA swaps has any words of advice, or if this is just as dead-simple as it felt like.
  16. You can find generic power supplies on ebay for around $6 including shipping, from Asia. The switch I'm just looking into myself, as I've recently come upon a Vader with a working switch that has most of the plastic broken off. Debating repairing it as well, although I may just leave it in "Beginner" mode as it'll probably be sold to dump some spare carts anyway. I find that 90% of people don't even use the difficulty switches, back in the day or now. I'd certainly take a stab at repairing a heavy, or at least getting it to someone here who can. They're not super-rare or anything, but important enough that every one is worth saving.
  17. You guys replace the RF shielding after modding? I'm not sure I've ever bothered.
  18. Ah, that brings back memories. I was such an 80s kid. My 9th birthday pictures have me blowing out the candles on a Pac-Man themed cake. Followed by pictures of me opening up my brand-new Star Wars (ESB) figures, with a Coleco tabletop Pac-Man in the background. Such a stereotype!
  19. Holy crap! It's been a few years since I've sold anything on Ebay, and you're not kidding. $17 to track any parcel, regardless of size. Mind you, it's always been stupid expensive to ship a small item to the US. By comparison, a 2kg shoebox is only $25. 5kg in the same size is $34, and that's a lot of games. So you get a lot more bang for your buck by shipping in quantity. This is probably some new "anti-terror" or "anti-smuggling" bureaucratic nonsense as it seems both countries are involved (of course Ebay sellers tend to always choose the most expensive shipping method to Canada, I wonder why). Cross-border shipping is a big reason why I just hit up every thrift/game store I can when I travel. Plus prices tend to be a lot lower in the US - at least for me anyway. Calgary retail in retro stuff is ridiculous. You can't buy a bare 2600 console for under $100 in this city. I bet a Supercharger would be $250 easily due to their rarity on this side of the border.
  20. Sniped again! PM me if it falls through, I've been trying to find one of these for under $100 for years.
  21. For that price, I'd be really, REALLY curious if you could be flexible, and provide a shipping quote to Canada. This is a far more reasonable price than I've ever seen on Ebay. And the damned things never show up in Canada at all..
  22. I can't speak for Starpath media specifically, but I've had pretty good luck with magnetic media in general. I'd say over 90% of the disks and 95% of the tapes I've owned or acquired through the years still work just fine, over 30 years later. It's the disks of the 90s and onwards that started to show premature failure. Most of the 1980s and earlier media that I have? They failed in the 80s if they were gonna. That being said, I do have have several Starpath tapes because I'm a completist, but I've never won an Ebay auction for a Supercharger. People pay way too much for these things IMHO, and as they seem to be almost non-existent in Canada, when you add in the ridiculous shipping people charge these days (really? $40 for a half pound box?), just ain't worth it. So I've never actually been able to test by Starpath cassettes specifically.
  23. I went straight to Virtual Boy, and never looked back.
  24. I thought it was a brilliant take on the 2600. I do find it hard to believe that he's never played it before, given that he was 14 when it first came out - pretty much THE target demographic at the time. Maybe he lived on an Amish farm or something. So I suspect it's just well-done comedy. The ET analysis is absolutely hysterical. It's become a bit trendy to say "nah, ET wasn't that bad, everyone just says it because of the Internet" but that's not at all what I remember. EVERYONE that I knew hated the game and we were making "falling into pits" jokes long before the Internet. ET deserves its reputation and it's not just because of the hype and subsequent disappointment. It wouldn't surprise me if he's actually a huge Atari fan. This video seems like really well-done parody.
  25. I gotta say that while I really dislike watermarks in general (just ruins the pretty picture), I can understand this reasoning: helping buyers to know that they're stock photos. I've never been burned on this myself (I don't buy from Ebay based on condition, EVER) but I can imagine it happens often enough. There are a lot of asshats out there. Too bad, too. I love non-blemished pics when possible - but I can certainly understand.
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