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redsteakraw

Tips for a new Atari 2600 Collector

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Hello, I am a new collector for Atari 2600 I love the history and innovation that occurred during the run of the console. I also love that there is a vibrant community and homebrew scene that is still contributing to the platform. I have not been collecting as long as most collectors so there are many things that you might know or tips that may come in handy to new collectors. What tips would you have liked to have had and what tips would you give to new collectors. What practices or items helped you what do you think would help others? Thank you.

 

EDIT: I play every game I collect, playing the games is an important part of my collection.

Edited by redsteakraw

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Take the time to actually play the games you collect! It's a concept that's easy to forget when you're the proverbial kid in the candy store. :)

 

Welcome to the forums!

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Take the time to actually play the games you collect! It's a concept that's easy to forget when you're the proverbial kid in the candy store. icon_smile.gif

 

Welcome to the forums!

Thank you, I didn't mention it but I do play every game I get so playing the games are a priority.

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My tip is to not collect. Get an Atari 7800 and a Harmony cart. Only collect the homebrews.

That is fine and a 7800 and Harmony / homebrews are going to be part of the picture(later). I personally like having the carts with a history and having a setup that is historical (CRT) for playing. I could just be fine and good with RetroPie, ROMs and a nice controller but for me there is more to the whole experience playing games that have been played and playing them much like they would be played. I would like to try to introduce others and give them the opportunity to play on the hardware as well that being said Harmony does have it's place and it makes playing beta and pre release homebrews possible as well as being a great developer tool along side Sella to test the games. New homebrews are more pricey so collecting them is a bit more money but it is something I am interested in. I have been playing some of the betas to the release ROMs of Panky the Panda on stella so that is one of the first homebrews I am currently eying.

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Watch out for Sears games. Gunslinger is just Outlaw with a different label, Tank Plus is Combat, etc. Also, look at the Sears end label for the game's name- 27 tele-games means nothing- it could be Combat, it could be Air-Sea Battle, it could be something else.

 

Atari Corp reissues might say "use with paddle controllers," this is a misprint, they usually use joysticks.

 

Paddle controllers and driving controllers are not the same thing. Get some paddles and learn how to clean the jittery ones, it's not too difficult.

 

The most expensive games are usually not fun to play.

 

ColecoVision games look similar to Atari 2600 games, but they are not compatible. Coleco did make games for the 2600, so learn to tell them apart. Also, Pole Position II is for the 7800.

 

You'll NEVER be able to collect everything, so don't burn yourself out trying. Just have fun.

 

Avoid Hozer.

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Welcome to AtariAge! My advice...

 

- Decide what type of collector you are so you know what you're looking for? Are you fine with carts of any condition? Are you also looking for the box and manual? Ignore whatever doesn't meet your criteria.

- There are lots of people on AtariAge, including me, who have tons of doubles that they would sell cheaply. Just ask around.

- Buy in lots when possible. You'll tend to get a better deal and save on shipping.

- Be patient and don't fret over auctions you lose or items you miss out on if you go the eBay route. You're collecting to play and it's easy to build a great library without breaking the bank.

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Depending on what and/or how much you already have, you may want to grab a big (or small) 2600 lot on eBay or somewhere. Console, some controllers, a bunch of games, the works. It might cost you a bit up front, depending on the size of the lot, but it's the most cost-effective way to do it. :)

Keep an eye on the Marketplace subforum, too. 2600 games often come up for sale here, and often for really good prices.

Learn the basics of soldering, and how to refurb a console (not necessarily mod it, just clean it up). A good-looking console is never a bad thing, and once you go with a microswitch modded joystick, you'll never go back. And if/when stuff starts to break down, you won't be completely helpless.

Maybe most important: network. Hang out, make friends, become a presence in the community, chat people up at shows and conventions. This takes time. But the most valuable resource you can have as a collector is other collectors. There are several awesome items in my collection I got from friends of mine who are also collectors, stuff I'm certain I would never have gotten if not for them. Some for really, really good prices, some even for free. Now of course, the other half of that is that it's a two-way street. Help out other people out if you can. You get what you give. Be in it for the love of the games. :)

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Welcome to AtariAge! My advice...

 

- Decide what type of collector you are so you know what you're looking for? Are you fine with carts of any condition? Are you also looking for the box and manual? Ignore whatever doesn't meet your criteria.

- There are lots of people on AtariAge, including me, who have tons of doubles that they would sell cheaply. Just ask around.

- Buy in lots when possible. You'll tend to get a better deal and save on shipping.

- Be patient and don't fret over auctions you lose or items you miss out on if you go the eBay route. You're collecting to play and it's easy to build a great library without breaking the bank.

 

Right now I am simply trying to learn the ins and outs of the system, I want at least all of the popular(and the most fun games). I don't care too much about the boxes I mainly want the carts with a preference toward full label and the artistic rendition variant if possible. I would be happy If I can get a heavy sixer but that is a long term goal, I have paddle controllers but no racing ones(and no racing controller games). I wouldn't mind a super charger / cassettes but that is a long term goal anyway and not a priority ATM. I will do a bit on Ebay and will see if I can get doubles off of anyone that is looking to offload them. Thank you for your advice.

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Depending on what and/or how much you already have, you may want to grab a big (or small) 2600 lot on eBay or somewhere. Console, some controllers, a bunch of games, the works. It might cost you a bit up front, depending on the size of the lot, but it's the most cost-effective way to do it. icon_smile.gif

 

Keep an eye on the Marketplace subforum, too. 2600 games often come up for sale here, and often for really good prices.

 

Learn the basics of soldering, and how to refurb a console (not necessarily mod it, just clean it up). A good-looking console is never a bad thing, and once you go with a microswitch modded joystick, you'll never go back. And if/when stuff starts to break down, you won't be completely helpless.

 

Maybe most important: network. Hang out, make friends, become a presence in the community, chat people up at shows and conventions. This takes time. But the most valuable resource you can have as a collector is other collectors. There are several awesome items in my collection I got from friends of mine who are also collectors, stuff I'm certain I would never have

Watch out for Sears games. Gunslinger is just Outlaw with a different label, Tank Plus is Combat, etc. Also, look at the Sears end label for the game's name- 27 tele-games means nothing- it could be Combat, it could be Air-Sea Battle, it could be something else.

gotten if not for them. Some for really, really good prices, some even for free. Now of course, the other half of that is that it's a two-way street. Help out other people out if you can. You get what you give. Be in it for the love of the games. icon_smile.gif

 

Will do, solid advice. I know how to solder and have soldered other electronic projects just never on a console before. I have a 3d printer / solder setup so I guess I could do a bit of modding if I found something that peeks my interest. So far as far as controllers I use a regular joystick or a Sega Genesis controller, I will look into the micro switch mod though. My dream setup would be an actual arcade button / joystick setup(maybe even sega genesis compatible) if I was going to go for the non traditional controller route. I will check out the microswitch mod.

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A good joystick is a must. I really enjoy the TAC-2 that I'm currently using.

 

Are there specific games you're looking for? If so, list them or send me a PM and I'll see if I can help you out.

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Lots of good advice has already been listed. Definitely play the games...I find that sometimes folks get so caught up in the "hunting and buying" that they never get around to actually playing much.

Check out the Rarity Guide on Atariage. This will help you figure out which games will be easy to get and which ones will be difficult.

Feel free to post a "want" list for games. Lots of folks have carts they would be willing to sell, I've bought several batches of carts from members.

Eventually you may want to upgrade to an arcade style joystick. There are several people (myself included) that sell joysticks for the Atari 2600/7800. If you prefer to build your own you can check out our stuff for ideas and feel free to ask for advice.

If you want to know what games are popular/fun, do a search on the forums for "best", "favorite", etc. games. It will give you some ideas :)

 

Happy Collecting!

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A good joystick is a must. I really enjoy the TAC-2 that I'm currently using.

 

Are there specific games you're looking for? If so, list them or send me a PM and I'll see if I can help you out.

I recently got a bunch of titles I was looking for but some I am looking to get are: Outlaw, SSSnake, Surround, Smurf, Millipede, Dolphin, Pitfall 2, Pac Man, Pac Man Jr, HERO, ET, Porky's, Star Wars Arcade, Star Wars Return of the Jedi, Mario Bros, Custard's Revenge(and similar adult titles) and any racing controller game / controller set.

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In line with the advice of "play the games", I like to try games on an online emulator (google it) before purchasing. You can see in a minute or two whether it's a game you want to start looking for in thrift store/E-Bay/marketplace.

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there is only ONE commercially released driving controller game, Indy 500 (or Sears "Race")

 

many great "DC Hacks" and homebrews that support them though

 

I enjoy collecting CIB games , I have a very few sealed ones and discovered that just isn't my thing

 

I have learned that after you get "that holy grail" .... there's ALWAYS another holy grail

 

enjoy the journey and welcome to the site :)

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Welcome! :-D

 

You'll find almost everything you want to know in the forums here. Most of us do have extra carts we're willing to send to new homes, so always check the marketplace before heading to eBay. You can make a "Wanted" thread with stuff you are looking for too.

 

Everyone has different opinions when it comes to , well, everything. Here's mine.

If I were going to point you toward some "Must Have" items, it would of course be the Harmony Encore at #1.

#2- a set of CX-40 Joysticks, rebuilt (new inner handles and boots), with the Best Electronics Gold Lifetime PCBs.

#3- a savekey or Atarivox, if you are going to be playing many Homebrews.

 

I rebuilt a set of CX-40s and they are the only Joysticks I use now. The Tac-2 and Competition Pro joysticks are also at the top of most people's lists, along with custom arcade style controls.

The number of different joysticks for the 2600 is crazy. Some are cheap and easy to find, others aren't. Building a nice Arcade style controller will give you the ability to make it your own, in fit and function. That might be better in the long run, since trying out different joysticks can be expensive and time consuming.

 

Just read as much as you can on the forums and don't be afraid to ask questions, even if you think it's a dumb question, it's worth asking.

This is a great community to be a part of. :thumbsup:

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Hello and welcome.

 

First off, I would like to start off with advice if I may. Ignore whatever people tell you when they say you need something. This is peer pressure. I have been playing and collecting for years and I own neither the Harmony Cart or a CRT TV. I have also not used emulator software in years, and have never used Best Electronics. Just focus on your own wants and needs. You don't NEED anything you don't already own in all likelihood. But if you want it, go for it. Nothing wrong with being individual.

 

Further, don't be afraid of non-Atari stuff. I prefer the feel of Gemini Gemstick joysticks to genuine Atari ones, and I also like the Slik Stick, but the tiny button is a bit annoying. Don't let anyone make you think that no Atari fan would use these things. Some like the Genesis controller over the joystick, and there's nothing wrong with that.

 

Look for local stores that sell Atari games. They're usually cheaper than online sources, and often make great hangout locations to socialize in person too.

 

Finally, have fun. No one is going to have it for you! :P

 

Side note. Rare games are nice to show off, but they're usually rare for a reason.

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Hi!

 

My tip would be that there's no one way to enjoy/collect. Find things you like, and go for it! I like emulation & physical releases. I have homebrews, NIB old games, loose carts. One of my best purchases was a 2600-adapter, which lets you use Atari joysticks on your computer with the Stella emulator. After that, I got the best electronics gold joysticks. Both are useful to me when I want to try out a game, or if I don't have my physical hardware handy. I would also suggest taking it slowly. There's no need to spend until you know what you really like. Take the time to play the games, and rely less on reviews. Have fun!

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Hello and welcome.

 

First off, I would like to start off with advice if I may. Ignore whatever people tell you when they say you need something. This is peer pressure. I have been playing and collecting for years and I own neither the Harmony Cart or a CRT TV. I have also not used emulator software in years, and have never used Best Electronics. Just focus on your own wants and needs. You don't NEED anything you don't already own in all likelihood.

No one said he "NEEDED" anything. We've all just been giving our opinions. There hasn't been any peer pressure. "IF" he were interested in something, wouldn't it be better if he had some information before he made a purchase? I'm not sure why you felt the urge to make other people's opinions seem invalid.

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1. Beware of fakes, especially on FeeBay.

2. Get a Harmony cart. Great for deciding on purchasing the actual cart.

3. Personally, I like using a Sega Genesis controller. The 2 button hacks are some of my favorites.

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No one said he "NEEDED" anything. We've all just been giving our opinions. There hasn't been any peer pressure. "IF" he were interested in something, wouldn't it be better if he had some information before he made a purchase? I'm not sure why you felt the urge to make other people's opinions seem invalid.

...I protest, I never said anyone here said any such a thing. If you feel it was implied I apologize, as it was not my intention. I am sure we all have stories of pushy salespeople or articles that push some random service for "collectors". That is what I was referring to. What did you think I meant?

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