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teh_lurv

Are we seeing a resurgence in Atari 2600 collecting?

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On the last episode of the CU Podcast, hosts Pat & Ian fielded a question on whether Atari 2600 collecting is dead. Ian, who works at a retro shop, responded that his workplace experience is 2600 interest has been growing over the past two years. The fits with my anecdotal experience: I've noticed over the past year 2600 hardware/carts that used to sit at thrift stores are vanishing faster. Prices in my local market for 2600 hardware (not games) seems to be ticking upwards as well. I've bumped into a few younger people (late teens/early twenties) at retro shops/thrift stores buying up Atari carts who genuinely seem interested in collecting for the system.

 

I'm guessing its a case of a rising tide lifts all boats: NES/SNES gaming is growing in popularity and that interest is spilling over into other systems like the 2600. What does everyone else think?

 

Link to the segment in question:

 

https://youtu.be/RoFIAsGSW_Q

Edited by teh_lurv

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Dunno. Prices still seem to be fairly low, and my local shops that stock 2nd gen stuff don't see it move TOO quickly outside of the rarer things specific collectors want. But on the flip side, I have seen people buying 2600 stuff while in those shops besides myself, so there's that.

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More than likely video games will follow the same collecting pattern that baseball cards and comics will. With both of those there were huge spikes in prices once the people who grew up with them got their careers going and had disposable income and wanted to re-experience their childhood. After prices hit ridiculous heights the market crashed and settled into a new normal.

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The junk convention I went to the other day over the weekend had Colecovision and VCS carts for between $1 - $5 each. Not too bad. They had a couple of racks to pick from but I didn't look closely as I haven't collected cartridges in many years now.

 

This crazy pricing is just getting underway in the Apple II world. First now drives are moving at almost $100, and II+ consoles laboriously creeped up to $250-300 recently. Took long enough.

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Interesting. I'm good friends with one of the vendors at Midwest Gaming Classic, and for the last few years they've hauled along their 2600 (and by extension all pre-NES) stuff more because they kind of HAVE to than because they think it's going to move. IIRC they sell more 2600 stuff during that one weekend than they do the rest of the year combined, but it's still relative peanuts.

I was also talking with Sean Kelly once a couple years back (either at his store or at MGC) and he was saying 2600 stuff just doesn't move anymore. Again, though, this was two or three years ago.

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I guess it depends where you are. Here in Montreal, retro shops often turn down atari carts. Vendors at flea markets can turn down atari product, too. I've had to make special requests for games, but no one has come up on anything for me yet. The games I've seen here are about 10 to 15 CAD, which seems expensive for commons. Many carts are being dumpstered. It's sad to hear that :(

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The junk convention I went to the other day over the weekend had Colecovision and VCS carts for between $1 - $5 each. Not too bad. They had a couple of racks to pick from but I didn't look closely as I haven't collected cartridges in many years now.

 

This crazy pricing is just getting underway in the Apple II world. First now drives are moving at almost $100, and II+ consoles laboriously creeped up to $250-300 recently. Took long enough.

If Apple wasn't a mega-tech-giant in today's economy, that old Apple II stuff would still hardly be worth peanuts to collectors.

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Atari prices seem to be higher than ever, cough cough happiest
he list stuff for crazy prices and other sellers do the same
he's trying to get NES prices for atari stuff

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I have gotten a vendor table at CCAG for the past 3 years, and last year seemed to be the first time since I've been there that the 8 bit stuff didn't rule as king. A lot of Atari items were there and seemed to move.

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Atari prices seem to be higher than ever, cough cough happiest

he list stuff for crazy prices and other sellers do the same

he's trying to get NES prices for atari stuff

 

Thats was a crappy Haiku ;)

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Well, the guy who runs the place I go to locally, Retro Game Junky (in southeastern PA), indicates to me that the oldest stuff - the 8 bit stuff - is the most difficult to move. He only does work on Atari stuff on a as-ordered basis because it's the slowest stuff.

 

On the other hand, after 30 long years of wanting one, I finally bought the first expansion module for my ColecoVision, so I can now play the Atari 2600 library of games. So, just a mere 39 years later, I'm in baby!

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I went to a classic gaming swap meet locally Saturday and a lot of the dealers had no 2600 stuff at all. Those that did all had pretty much the same collection of common to slightly-less-common games. I'm not a dealer, but looking at it as one, I would see that I'm leaving the show with all the games I came with, so maybe next time I won't bother bringing them. As a collector, I go there wanting to buy games, but don't because all I find are Pac-Mans, Pitfalls and Asteroidses (Or whatever the plural of Asteroids would be. I don't usually have to pluralize something that's already plural.). It's about as Catch-22 as it gets.

Edited by KaeruYojimbo
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I was told by the clerk at one shop I visited recently that my lil' haul of 6 games and 2 controllers made the biggest pile of Atari stuff he'd sold in quite some time. Around here it's still pretty dead. BUT- I also know from retail experience that shopping trends take about 6 months to move cross-country. If you guys over on the east coast start seeing an uptick, keep me posted so I know how long I have to clean out my local shops!

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I never noticed Atari collecting going away in the first place.

There are, of course, those of us who were here before Atari collecting became cool and were here all along, but it had its boom with "tourists" (casual gamers, nostalgia trippers, etc). The Atari generation has already had its taste of nostalgia and moved on. And collectors have all the game shop fodder already, and are mainly interested in rare items and/or homebrews. Broadly speaking, outside of collectors of other systems branching out and people interested in gaming history, anyone who was ever going to buy this stuff already has.

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There are, of course, those of us who were here before Atari collecting became cool and were here all along, but it had its boom with "tourists" (casual gamers, nostalgia trippers, etc). The Atari generation has already had its taste of nostalgia and moved on. And collectors have all the game shop fodder already, and are mainly interested in rare items and/or homebrews. Broadly speaking, outside of collectors of other systems branching out and people interested in gaming history, anyone who was ever going to buy this stuff already has.

Not necessarily. I got into the hobby in 2012 after ten years of Nintendo collecting. I'd say with the retrogaming boom and prices rising, there are people willing to branch out and explore other systems as I did. I never thought I'd get as hooked on the homebrew scene, but you know...

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There are, of course, those of us who were here before Atari collecting became cool and were here all along, but it had its boom with "tourists" (casual gamers, nostalgia trippers, etc). The Atari generation has already had its taste of nostalgia and moved on. And collectors have all the game shop fodder already, and are mainly interested in rare items and/or homebrews. Broadly speaking, outside of collectors of other systems branching out and people interested in gaming history, anyone who was ever going to buy this stuff already has.

I also never noticed a time when Atari collecting wasn't cool. Anyway, I'm not getting this thrift store stuff about Atari vanishing faster now when around the turn of the century the wild went from Atari everywhere to it getting on the endangered species list. It went so dry that without the internet giving us eBay, Craigslist, this site, etc. there wouldn't be many options for collecting because the internet looks like what flea markets, thrift stores, garage sales, etc. looked like in about '95. I mean, people have to go dig up deserts now just to find E.T. It has been that dry for quite awhile because Atari was born cool.

Edited by Schizophretard

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Atari was hip with the Gen Xers but not the Gen Yers and Millenials. For years I catered to the notion that anything pre-Nintendo was crap. Why? It was the same narrow-minded mindset that was fed to me by my peers in the 90s. I used to believe all music from before 1980 was garbage. Now I've got a turntable and am becoming a classic rock junkie.

 

It seems that more people getting into the hobby stop with Nintendo and don't branch out. But, times are changing. GameXChange went from pricing all Atari titles as generic "$1.99 Misc Atari" to charging different prices per game. E.T. price went up from $1.99 to $7.95 overnight when the landfill dig occured. And for a while, ET was $20 loose on eBay... :P

 

Also with the good NES and SNES titles going up, up, up, alternative consoles like Atari and Genesis begin to look more attractive to collect for. Still, the pre crash stuff, as well as early "black box" NES games, have a certain pick-up-and-play appeal that was lost in the late 80s and up. Games got longer, more complex. Then 3D happened. Then FPS took over...

 

So one could argue that Atari is still a different flavor compared to Nintendo. Much like modern Nintendo is a different flavor compared to Playstation/Xbox.

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I'm more than pleased to say my "collecting/hoarding" goals haven't changed since the mid-1980's. At first I wanted to have all systems ever made and was well on my to achieving that. However I eventually discovered it could become a huge out of control monster. The desire to have 1 machine do it all was reaching a near frenzy. Little did I know it at the time that it would take 10 years (for better or worse) for emulation to start gaining traction.

 

It was also my intent since day one to keep forever and ever all my Apple II paraphernalia. It was really my first real micro as we know them. And I learned so much with it!

 

If Apple wasn't a mega-tech-giant in today's economy, that old Apple II stuff would still hardly be worth peanuts to collectors.

 

I wondered about that. But it's still awesome to see the parent company (no matter how distant) pulling up the value through the halo effect. The iPhone's greatness rubs off and lifts all us Apple II users to glory!!

 

IDK, I always had a special place in my heart for the II since I first got one in the 1970's. Whenever the Apple II was around good times were around. I clearly remember the treks through sub-zero winter storms to strangers' houses to trade warez. Things I wouldn't even think of doing today or letting kids do. But it was cool.

 

Not necessarily. I got into the hobby in 2012 after ten years of Nintendo collecting. I'd say with the retrogaming boom and prices rising, there are people willing to load new emulators to branch out and explore other systems as I did. I never thought I'd get as hooked on the homebrew scene, but you know...

 

Fixed that 4 U.

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Atari was hip with the Gen Xers but not the Gen Yers and Millenials.

Console generations already confuse me and isn't something I buy into because there are overlapping years, different lengths of consoles on the market, etc. but this really confuses me. We are both Generation X, right? And my parents were Baby Boomers that are in their 60s and 70s now. I don't have a kid but since I'm 34 I could which would make them the next generation(Yers?). So, who are these Millenials after that? Did I not let the girls ride the bologna pony to Pound Town enough in junior high school and then have kids that did the same to make me a grandfather already or something? How are there two generations after mine?

 

For years I catered to the notion that anything pre-Nintendo was crap. Why? It was the same narrow-minded mindset that was fed to me by my peers in the 90s.

I remember it going even all the way back to the 80's but it wasn't pre-Nintendo but pre-whatever the current favorite console is now. When the NES came out most wouldn't go before that, when the Super NES and SEGA Genesis came out most wouldn't go before that........., and when the XBOX ONE, PS4, and Wii U came out most wouldn't go before that. In other words, most are always modern gamers for what is modern at the time with an out with the old and in with the new mindset. Then all the retro gamers I knew growing up had an in with the new but sill keep the old mindset with no cut off somewhere because they had an understanding that fun games didn't stop being fun games with the introduction of more fun games. I didn't know about "semi-retro gamers" until online situations like this. It seems odd that one could be in between like that.

 

I used to believe all music from before 1980 was garbage. Now I've got a turntable and am becoming a classic rock junkie.

How did that happen? Where you somehow not exposed to music before 1980 to hear it?

 

It seems that more people getting into the hobby stop with Nintendo and don't branch out. But, times are changing. GameXChange went from pricing all Atari titles as generic "$1.99 Misc Atari" to charging different prices per game. E.T. price went up from $1.99 to $7.95 overnight when the landfill dig occured. And for a while, ET was $20 loose on eBay... :P

That is probably because they are as ignorant as all the eBay sellers that think every game is super rare or like the people that look for the BIN with the highest price and think that is what the game is worth. I went to this retro game store once and nothing had prices on them. Everything that I was interested in the guy would just look up the highest price on eBay. I thought it was silly because I could shop on eBay without his store and he could sell on eBay without his store.

 

Also with the good NES and SNES titles going up, up, up, alternative consoles like Atari and Genesis begin to look more attractive to collect for.

I think that is just more of the same as what I was stating above because the good NES and SNES titles are so much more common than the titles of most other retro consoles. I bet if I wanted to I could make a day out of going to all the Disc Replays around the Indianapolis area and buy a fairly decent collection of both for relatively cheap. And I would win that bet because I already did that a few years ago along with somewhere around 100 Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy Advance games. Other than games that are really obscure and weren't popular, any game for any Nintendo console being called rare is being called rare by a retard.

 

Still, the pre crash stuff, as well as early "black box" NES games, have a certain pick-up-and-play appeal that was lost in the late 80s and up. Games got longer, more complex. Then 3D happened. Then FPS took over...

It is a blessing and a curse. When games like Doom and Golden Eye came out I thought it was awesome but then.... Call of Duty 25.

 

So one could argue that Atari is still a different flavor compared to Nintendo. Much like modern Nintendo is a different flavor compared to Playstation/Xbox.

I think there are different flavors between all consoles and the game libraries with them but I think there aren't any lines between one flavor and the closest flavor to it. For an example, if someone made a huge tree of life like evolutionary chart of every game that has ever existed with everything branching into their genres and future games within those genres then the transitions would look pretty smooth.

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Broadly speaking, outside of collectors of other systems branching out and people interested in gaming history, anyone who was ever going to buy this stuff already has.

 

 

Not necessarily. I got into the hobby in 2012 after ten years of Nintendo collecting. I'd say with the retrogaming boom and prices rising, there are people willing to branch out and explore other systems as I did. I never thought I'd get as hooked on the homebrew scene, but you know...

 

That's exactly what I said. ;)

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