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Atari2008

Why do you collect obscure systems?

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I think one of the best consoles nobody talks about is the Bandai Wonderswan Color. It's probably because it was only released in Japan, but the system is reasonably priced and even if you don't understand Japanese there are a lot of really good games for it.

It might be my favorite non-Nintendo handheld, and this is coming from someone who adores the Neo Geo Pocket Color, Lynx, Game Gear, and PSP.

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I can only talk for myself, but the Professional Arcade isn't obscure. It's rare, and not available outside NA but, that's one hell of an amazing console! Same goes for the Wonderswan, it's widely know in Japan, so not that obscure.

 

I do have an Astrocade myself.... I gotta replace the PSU and do an A/V mod before I can use it tho.

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"Why do you collect obscure systems?"

 

Because I like them. :P

Can't argue with that logic. :)

 

Do people play their obscure consoles? Or are they mostly cool things on a shelf?

Edited by Atari2008
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I've been interested in "obscure" systems ever since I decided to start collecting retro. I've tried to get nice CIB examples of all pre-Crash programmable consoles released in the US. For some reason, I am missing the Channel F (just trying to find a clean, first run box). One system that I love is the VideoBrain. I guess this would technically be a home computer, but it was also the first one to accept cartridges, some of which were games. The terminal emulator look is just so retro to me, exemplifying one way how home computing design slowly evolved from industrial design.

 

videobrain-left.jpg

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Can't argue with that logic. :)

 

Do people play their obscure consoles? Or are they mostly cool things on a shelf?

I play my Game.com :P and TG-16(although mot really obscure but underrated) once a week.I'm telling you they are just as fun to collect and play(well maybe not the Game.com) as the main consoles.

Edited by xDragonWarrior

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I play my Game.com :P and TG-16(although mot really obscure but underrated) once a week.I'm telling you they are just as fun to collect and play(well maybe not the Game.com) as the main consoles.

You play the Game.com? Nice! I agree TG-16 while not obscure it is underrated! I had the TurboExpress as a kid, the handheld version and I thought it was awesome. I liked the game cards, very cool design. There are some hidden gem consoles among the lesser known, I agree the Astrocade is fun. I'll admit to having fun playing RCA Studio II homebrews on an emulator, people have programmed versions of Crazy Climber, Pac-Man and Space Invaders...games I thought would never be possible on such a limited machine!

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I've been interested in "obscure" systems ever since I decided to start collecting retro. I've tried to get nice CIB examples of all pre-Crash programmable consoles released in the US. For some reason, I am missing the Channel F (just trying to find a clean, first run box). One system that I love is the VideoBrain. I guess this would technically be a home computer, but it was also the first one to accept cartridges, some of which were games. The terminal emulator look is just so retro to me, exemplifying one way how home computing design slowly evolved from industrial design.

 

videobrain-left.jpg

I love the look of the VideoBrain! I saw one as a friend shipped one to me to send to him abroad, pretty cool looking. Are you by any chance on the VideoBrain and Channel F Yahoo Group?

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Can't argue with that logic. :)

 

Do people play their obscure consoles? Or are they mostly cool things on a shelf?

The only system I own which I never play is the Hyperscan, for reasons which probably aren't too hard to figure out. All my other less common systems get played at least a few times a year: Master System, SEGA CD, 32X, Nomad, 5200, 7800, Lynx, Jaguar, JagCD, XEGS (soon, anyway), Turbografx-16, 3DO, CD-i, Odyssey2, Intellivision, Colecovision, Vectrex, Virtual Boy, Pokemon mini, N-Gage QD, Wonderswan Color, Neo Geo MVS, Neo Geo Pocket Color...

 

I wouldn't buy a system I had no intention to play. The Hyperscan was the exception because I paid less than ten dollars for it.

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Can't argue with that logic. :)

 

Do people play their obscure consoles? Or are they mostly cool things on a shelf?

Not as often as I'd like, but yes, I do!

 

They tend to be better with a friend, though, and it's usually tough to twist someone's arm into huddling around my Studio II with me, or humor me long enough to squeeze in a round or two of Space War on the Channel F. My wife is enough of a sport to suffer the standard Color Computer joystick with me, but only if the game is Clowns & Balloons.

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I got a complete Odyssey (1972) collection, obscure perhaps?

Also own and collect for Atari 5200 Supersystem, never released in Europe.

Edited by high voltage

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Still that's my opinion, but the Odyssey isn't obscure at all. It's rare (especially a complete set with all games, or all elusive export versions) but for anyone "knowing his stuff" about retogaming, he can tell you "Magnavox Odyssey, 1972, first home console ever.". The Atari 5200 is even less obscure, even if that's a NA exclusivity.

Edited by CatPix

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This has been a really interesting discussion, I've learned about a lot more systems that I didn't even know existed. I did get some money for the holiday so I may get something gaming related...another console or some games for existing consoles in my collection, so I may still get one of the obscure systems. I was thinking the RCA Studio II to be ready for the multicart release, fingers crossed as there's been no official word yet. But I may just get more Atari stuff since it's more playable and leave the obscure stuff for later. Nice to see people play their obscure consoles, pretty cool.

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IMO if you can fiind a "working" one, the Professional Arcade is really worth a look. Most games are dirt cheap too compared to other systems and compared to the price of the unit and accessories.

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IMO if you can fiind a "working" one, the Professional Arcade is really worth a look. Most games are dirt cheap too compared to other systems and compared to the price of the unit and accessories.

I used to own a Bally a few years back - very great machine! Very underrated in my view. I agree it's tough to find a working one, many have overheated and shut down over the years. They're a bit pricey though. I believe in the range of $200 if I'm not mistaken. I wasn't aware that the games are that cheap though. I remember the Incredible Wizard being awesome on it as well as their Pac-Man clone Muncher.

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I got one on eBay, working. Well, the seller posted a picture of the machine hooked to a TV and displaying the menu and game. (I have myself to replace the 110V 60 Htz PSU for a 230V 50Htz in order to have it working. And I plan to replace the puny piece of metal by a proper adhesive radiator for cooling the main IC) Sold with 1 controller and 4 games, including Muncher and the Incredible Wizard, plus the BASIC cart with jack I/O; 125$. The price for the unit is in the 130$ range when one pops on AA so I guess I made a good deal at the time. It the unit still works after an overseas shipping of course. :grin:

 

Most common games I see on eBay goes in the range of 5$ for a loose cart, and 10 to 15$ for boxed games. Of course some games like Muncher are worth more, usually 40 to 50$ (which make the one I got an even better deal :D ). I guess since the system is so finicky and the system underrated, there is way more carts than there is buyers, so their price keep low for the most common ones.

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That's a great deal! And the Basic cart with the jack, enjoy your purchase! All good stuff. The Astrocade is nice because it has quite a few nice games despite being a rare console. Most rare consoles are just collectible and have crappy games but the Astrocade has a quality library. Enjoy it when it arrives!

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While I am by no means a curator, one of the reasons I like to collect certain less popular systems is to preserve them for the future, to bring to exhibitions to have people see and ideally also try them. There is both the factor of maintaining a complete history of video games & computers, as putting things in perspective. If we would ignore the oddballs, the history might rewrite itself to look like everything ever manufactured and sold were huge commercial succeses, the video game industry was entirely unable to fail, everyone who actually entered came out on the other end with pockets full of gold.

 

Also like I mentioned in the other thread about Channel F, it will help newcomers to gaming to see the greatness in the systems that actually did hit big. Like mentioned before, an Atari 2600 on its own with no contemporary systems to relate to, might look very primitive to today's 10 year olds who grew up with used PS2 and Xbox 360 and think even SNES looks archaic. When you put the 2600 next to Channel F and Studio II, but also later Odyssey^2, VC4000 and possibly a few more, it will look quite OK for its age. I admit it is sad that we need to showcase the less successful systems in order to illustrate what the successful ones did better, but for a better understanding of video game & home computing history it might be required.

 

So yes, do the world a favor and save a couple of the "obscure" systems from attics and basements, if nothing else than to save them from city dumps. It might not exactly be the same thing as preserving extinct animals, but on a similar note.

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I like your "preservation" approach, I for a while, viewed my retro collecting and gaming as such. I felt I was saving these systems from, you said it best, attics and basements and dumps. I do agree that even the unsuccessful consoles are historically significant and all contributed in some way to the history of gaming. I also do agree with your post in the Channel F thread, it really does put the 2600 in perspective. After playing the Channel F for a while, I remember being blown away by what the 2600 could do.

 

That said I may just save an RCA Studio II from a dump.

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I also collect with a "preservation" idea in mind. I like the idea of thinking "maybe the last Hanimex HMG 7900 in the world in mine" :D and as egocentric or prideful this idea may sound, it's just totally ruined by the fact that 1) nobody care about that system; 2 )nobody knows about that system and care to know.

 

It's also as I said a kind of historical work. Because when you're looking into collecting such systems like the Game Master or the HMG 7900, it's not just about the system dans carts. It's also about the back story.

A simple example : ITMC in France was probably the largest Pong games seller with Hanimex and Soundic.

When did ITMC started to exist? When did they stopped to exist? What does ITMC stand for? :D (I'm dead serious. On the few boxes and notices I have, it's not mentionned at all.) It just blew my mind to thing that 40 years ago, this company was one of the largest video gaming industry in France, selling Pongs, renamed Epoch handheld games and Sega toys and computer, and even growing strong enough to sign an agreement with Epoch to sell their Super Cassette Vision with their Yeno brand name on it (not a sticker, no, a profesionnally printed lettering) and that this company just suddenly vanished. And again, much like for the 1292 APVS... Nobody cares.

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