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Why do you collect obscure systems?

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I've been thinking about this a lot lately. I realized that for the past few years or so my retro gaming and collecting has centered around the Channel F. I was curious about the system from reading about it in a game book when I was younger so that curiosity was rekindled when the Pac-Man homebrew came out for it. I actually like the Channel F although I recognize its library is small and limited and obviously it's no Atari 2600. Now, I feel like I've been missing out on the 2600 scene by focusing so much on obscure consoles, also since I have limited discretionary funds for gaming, I need to be selective if I want to get in on the goods, which I consider to be the 2600 since it gets most of the action in terms of fans, original library and homebrews. But here I am once again looking at another obscure console the RCA Studio II. I had one earlier in the year, and it was cool for its historical value and quirkiness, I was debating getting another but I don't know if it's a poor investment given the low entertainment value, sure it can be fun in brief spurts and it's historically interesting but that's about it. So I'm curious why do you guys collect obscure consoles? I think a resolution for 2014 is I need to focus my gaming and collecting, and I think I should focus on more popular consoles like the 2600, even if I find the obscure ones to be interesting because of their rareness and obscurity.

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I've already played/owned the common ones. The oddball systems usually do something that the more popular ones don't, too.

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Why not pick something in between, like the INTV or CV? Easier to collect in some respects as the library is not as large in either case, yet both have very active home brew communities that'll keep you busy as well.

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I used to collect obscure systems just because I was curious about them. But they'd end up on the shelf pretty quickly, then eventually they'd be sold off.

 

These days, with classic game reviews and other resources readily available, whenever I get the itch for a new but obscure system, it's pretty easy to get over it by looking at how few games on the platform appeal to me, etc.

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Why not pick something in between, like the INTV or CV? Easier to collect in some respects as the library is not as large in either case, yet both have very active home brew communities that'll keep you busy as well.

 

That's actually a really good suggestion. I've owned both in the past and have sold them off. I really enjoyed the CV - fun ports of arcade games and nice-looking original titles like Smurfs. The homebrews do look awesome as well as does the expansion module. Perhaps I should pick one up again. The Intv, I've owned twice and I've never been able to get into it, too bad though as I think it's a very interesting system. The homebrews for it look great, I remember wanting the Donkey Kong homebrew. Also the Intv is generally cheaper than the CV right?

 

I was also thinking a 5200 but the hassle of the controllers makes it more expensive.

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I used to collect obscure systems just because I was curious about them. But they'd end up on the shelf pretty quickly, then eventually they'd be sold off.

 

These days, with classic game reviews and other resources readily available, whenever I get the itch for a new but obscure system, it's pretty easy to get over it by looking at how few games on the platform appeal to me, etc.

 

That is a good idea. I find with watching videos and also being able to play on an emulator, it calms down that urge. I do get intrigued by what may come like there's talk of a possible RCA Studio II multicart, but again it probably wouldn't be worth it for me anyway to get that and a console, probably better left to the really hardcore.

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I look at each system based on what I perceive to be its own merits and shortcomings.

 

I began with systems from the "big 5" (Nintendo, Atari, SEGA, Sony, Microsoft) and when I had explored all their machines I started to get into SNK, then NEC/Hudson systems, then stuff like 3DO, Colecovision, Intellivision, Odyssey, CD-i, N-Gage, Vectrex, Wonderswan, etc.

 

If a system has at least five games I want that aren't available elsewhere, and the price is within my reach, I get the system. I'm almost done buying systems, actually. I've already resolved not to buy a PS4 or Xbox One, so 3DS/Vita/Wii U will be my last new systems. Other than that I just have to track down the few remaining classics that have thus far eluded me: PC Engine Duo-R, SEGA SG-1000, maybe a C64 or a CD32.

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Is the Channel F obscure?

 

I think that my definition of "obscure" goes more toward real underdogs. Sure, the Channel F isn't as nearly as famous as the VCS. But, we have testimonies from the very creator of it, we know every game released for it, we have sales figures, date of release and date of end of production.

I would call it "shadowed" but certainly, it's not obscure.

 

The 1292 APVS/Interton VC 4000, now, that's an obscure system!

 

How powerful it is? Some sources claims it's powered by a 3.5Mhtz CPU, others says it's a 0.9Mhtz CPU.

RAM count varies from 54 bytes to 4Mbits.

 

When was it released? 1976 for the APVS one, 1978 for the Interton VC-4000 (but German sources claims the system was ready to be sold as early as 1974!!!!) (and I mean, why does nobody investigate that 1976 release? It might have been released BEFORE the Channel F? But nobody cares that this system is at least the 2 ROM/CPU based system in the world, and the first European made one...)

 

How many games were released for it? We have a rought estimate, but no clear number as some licenced clones made some different, some numbers are missing (some are know to be unrealesed, others???)

 

And yet, this system is a kind of classic system in Germany!

 

So, the thing is, anytime you get a game for it, or anything, it feels like being an archeologist hunting for clues about an old civilization. It's not that much the system or games, it's the whole thing. Why was it made, what were the motives behind it? Why the odd choice about this and that? It's a mystery, and you can be the one uncovering a missing piece of data. It's exciting!

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That 1292 APVS/Interton VC 4000 sure looks like an interesting machine! I guess that is part of the allure for me, it's sort of like uncovering a system from the early time of gaming, which I felt is what motivated me to look into the Channel F. I was like "wow there was something before Atari?" However you're right, it's not obscure by any means, I didn't mean to lump it in that category but rather to suggest that it's not as popular or as fondly remembered as other consoles of the era.

 

But I'm thinking I should probably focus on the more popular consoles since I don't have a lot of money to spend on consoles that will probably sit on a shelf somewhere. As intriguing as the RCA Studio II is, it'll probably just collect dust, even after if the multi-cart gets released, even after that shock wears off...

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That's actually a really good suggestion. I've owned both in the past and have sold them off. I really enjoyed the CV - fun ports of arcade games and nice-looking original titles like Smurfs. The homebrews do look awesome as well as does the expansion module. Perhaps I should pick one up again. The Intv, I've owned twice and I've never been able to get into it, too bad though as I think it's a very interesting system. The homebrews for it look great, I remember wanting the Donkey Kong homebrew. Also the Intv is generally cheaper than the CV right?

 

I was also thinking a 5200 but the hassle of the controllers makes it more expensive.

 

The CV is a really great choice as a secondary pre-crash system, IMO. I love the 5200 and Inty, but I have to admit the CV has a lot of great exclusive games as well as a phenominal homebrew community. Not to mention the Super Game Module. It's hard to beat the CV as a second system (after the 2600, of course), except perhaps with the 7800...once the XM comes out. Really, if I could only own 2 pre-crash systems, I'd have to choose the 7800 and the CV (since you get built-in 2600 compatibility with the 7800).

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I personally think to do the reverse. I mean, no matter what, there will still be a lot of VCS, NES, Vectrex games on the market in 10 years. But, obscure systems and their games are going to be more and more scarce.

A quick example : I bough all my Interton VC 4000 stuff in Germany, except for one system. It's not because it's cheaper in Germany, it's jsut because there is NOTHING to be found in France! I maybe see ONE Interton VC 4000 for sale per year on French sites. You can find 1 per week on eBay.de.

So I think that, unless you aren't interested in it, you better collect for it now. As an example, I'm looking for the RCA Studio II clones sold in Europe. Amongst other things. Well I didn't found any ATM, and it's unlikely to get better in future years.

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I personally think to do the reverse. I mean, no matter what, there will still be a lot of VCS, NES, Vectrex games on the market in 10 years. But, obscure systems and their games are going to be more and more scarce.

A quick example : I bough all my Interton VC 4000 stuff in Germany, except for one system. It's not because it's cheaper in Germany, it's jsut because there is NOTHING to be found in France! I maybe see ONE Interton VC 4000 for sale per year on French sites. You can find 1 per week on eBay.de.

So I think that, unless you aren't interested in it, you better collect for it now. As an example, I'm looking for the RCA Studio II clones sold in Europe. Amongst other things. Well I didn't found any ATM, and it's unlikely to get better in future years.

 

I am interested in the RCA Studio II especially if there's some homebrew development for it which there is talk of, but I just wonder if that interest will be enough to justify spending money on a console. Also would be nice to collect some of the original games just for the sake of collecting, doubt I'd have much fun with them. You are right about the rare stuff becoming even more scarce since they were never produced in large numbers to begin with and now that it's been 37 or so years a lot of them don't work so that limits the supply. Plus prices have slowly climbed up on eBay. I guess it's a choice between getting a console that I'll have fun with (like the Colecovision) or just get an obscure console like the RCA Studio II just to collect something cool...

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The CV is a really great choice as a secondary pre-crash system, IMO. I love the 5200 and Inty, but I have to admit the CV has a lot of great exclusive games as well as a phenominal homebrew community. Not to mention the Super Game Module. It's hard to beat the CV as a second system (after the 2600, of course), except perhaps with the 7800...once the XM comes out. Really, if I could only own 2 pre-crash systems, I'd have to choose the 7800 and the CV (since you get built-in 2600 compatibility with the 7800).

 

I usually do drool over the CV homebrews - they are quite amazing! Lots of activity there for sure. Are they still selling the Super Game Module? How much is it? It sounded really cool, I was following it when they were developing it, but I've been away from the CV scene for a while...fun console though. Hmm definitely one to consider.

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I usually do drool over the CV homebrews - they are quite amazing! Lots of activity there for sure. Are they still selling the Super Game Module? How much is it? It sounded really cool, I was following it when they were developing it, but I've been away from the CV scene for a while...fun console though. Hmm definitely one to consider.

 

There's only been one run of the Super Game Module so far, but a second one is expected. Eduardo (the developer of the SGM) has been out of touch with the community for a while, dealing with Real Life, but it's rumored there will be a second run within the first few months of next year.

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There's only been one run of the Super Game Module so far, but a second one is expected. Eduardo (the developer of the SGM) has been out of touch with the community for a while, dealing with Real Life, but it's rumored there will be a second run within the first few months of next year.

 

Thank you! I'll check out what's been going on with the CV since my absence, sounds like a lot which is great.

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I like collecting for the "obscure" systems more then collecting for the well know system. I have a weak spot for underdog systems, don't know why. My cd-i collections is my 2nd biggest collection, after the atari 2600.

I enjoy the quirkiness of the systems.

So far i have:

Commodore CDTV

Commodore CD32

Amstrad GX-4000

CD-i multiple systems

1292 Advanced Programmable System

Radofin Tele-sports III

Nokia N-Gage

Neo-Geo Pocket Color

Mega-Duck

Watara SuperVision

 

Because u don't come across a lot of these systems (except the cd-i here in the Netherlands) in the wild, it's really exciting when you do find something.

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Is it significantly cheaper to collect for the obscure systems? While there is less supply than, say, the 2600, there is also significantly less demand.

 

On the other hand, it is more challenging to find games and hardware; I have personally never encountered anything more "obscure" than a Vectrex or an Odyessy 2.

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I like to collect the weird obscure systems/games too. And yeah they're not something to sneeze at according to all the reviews. I have the game.com, HyperScan, SuperVision handheld, N-gage, Neo Geo Pocket and the Wonderswan. I also have the original Cybiko but I don't have the computer connection to it.

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Because there obscure and unique.I have more fun collecting the obscure consoles like the Action max,Game.com,Supervision,Game master, and PV-1000 then I do the big ones from Sega,Nintendo,Atari,Sony and microsoft.

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It's cool to see that I'm not alone in collecting for obscure consoles. Just wonder if I should focus more on the biggies so I can have more to play and more playable games.

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Is it significantly cheaper to collect for the obscure systems?

Depends heavily. Some obscure systems like the BitCorp Gamate are ridiculously high priced. The Emerson Arcadia 2001 is overpriced, but their European counterparts are way less priced (I got a lot of 11 shrinkwrapped games for 77€. From the prices I have seen on US forums, the same thing for the Arcadia would cost me twice.... for loose games.)

Interton VC 4000 carts are getting more expensive on eBay but that's mostly resellers. Auctions keep pretty low.

Radofin/Acetronic carts are dirt cheap in England.

It all depends really on the mood and maybe if someone made a video of the games, or weird thing like that.

 

Keep in mind that if the demand is low, sometime the offer is even lower. A system a year is sometime a GOOD rythm!

And even with one offer a year, if the offer is high priced because it's RARE and RETRO, well it set up a high price for months, sometime years.

Also, most of the time, you'll find you have to buy a lot of system+games jsut for getting THAT rare and elusive game... and when you try to sell it, it's like you were the only idiot in the world ready to put that much into that system.

Edited by CatPix

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No love for the Astrocade? Then I guess it's a very obscure console!

 

I don't have one, especially because everybody says they're fragile and I would have to import to Brazil!

But I liked what I saw about Astrocade games. I love Intellivision and I don't know why but astrocade sounds to me as an early Intellivision like console.

 

I would like to read more about that system.

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The Emerson Arcadia 2001 is overpriced

 

Yep, right now anyway. Though, I saw (on ebay) an Arcadia 2001 for a decent price a few weeks ago. I was kinda interested in it, but was eyeing another auction at the time. But I wouldn't mind getting an Arcadia 2001 if the price is right. It seems to have a few interesting games and, like the Odyssey 2, has a certain "primitive charm" to it. The graphics on the Arcadia 2001 seem to be a mix of Odyssey 2 and Intellivision.

 

No love for the Astrocade? Then I guess it's a very obscure console!

 

I don't have one, especially because everybody says they're fragile and I would have to import to Brazil!

But I liked what I saw about Astrocade games. I love Intellivision and I don't know why but astrocade sounds to me as an early Intellivision like console.

 

I would like to read more about that system.

 

The Astrocade used to interest me. But then I read all about it being unreliable, overheating, etc. Graphically the games look very similar to the Intellivision.

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