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Obsession With Atari Occurring

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Has anyone else become obsessed with Atari? Let me preface this by mentioning that purchases are not affecting any normal living expenses, and it's not affecting work or relationships, but I am literally buying anything I can get my hands on Atari related at a reasonable price.

I buy up lots of systems, carts, you name it. It makes me immensely happy to see the items in my game room (it's a very large room with plenty of space to fill) and I have no desire to stop buying these. It doesn't matter if it's 100 carts of Combat, I just love Atari!!! 

I even lately have been having dreams of Atari, and think about it a good majority of the day. 

I feel I can never have enough Atari, and plan on continuing to buy indefinitely. 

 

Has anyone else had this degree of obsession?

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Welcome to the club sir!  Although for some of us that obsession has spilled over into other areas such as Intellivision, Commodore, classic books, D&D, etc.. :)

 

The difference being, I mostly don't try to collect games that I already own, unless of course, there are box/cart variations...

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Been there; it's an insane place.

 

I hope you put aside the cream of your collection should life push you in the direction to thin out.

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Thanks @gray defender. Yes, I collect many other vintage systems and carts, the thing that I was really finding odd lately is the continual dreams of Atari. Not sure if that's normal for a 40 some year old man! Lol!!!!

I have always felt I've had a mild form of Aspergers which this is probably related to! I have a very good job and consider myself successful. It could certainly be worse I suppose (the Aspergers symptoms).

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Have you heard of the "Tetris Effect"?  From wikipedia : "The Tetris effect (also known as Tetris syndrome) occurs when people devote so much time and attention to an activity that it begins to pattern their thoughts, mental images, and dreams.[1] It takes its name from the video game Tetris."

 

Anyhow I've had that happen for many things other than video games...  Probably just need a break from it for a bit and you will hopefully be just fine.   

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Well.. I can you that after my collection reached huge proportions it became very depressing and time consuming to manage and maintain it. Not to mention how expensive it was. After I acquired the common material, the hard-to-find stuff began taking up a disproportionate amount of time. The ratio kept getting worse and worse. It would take 2-3 hours to make a thrift-store run and come back with maybe 5 carts or other related items. And then spend a whole day and come back empty handed. Till I quit. Gave up on the whole gig. The shit was proliferating everywhere.

 

That was in the early 2000s. The trail end of the dotcom boom.

 

Today and the past 7 or so years I thoroughly enjoy a very small collection of just some PC and Apple II stuff. The material I had as a kid. The fun factor has multiplied manyfold since.

 

Now whether that will happen with you - that's impossible for me to say.

 

 

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Thanks for all the replies! I need to say this is by no means upsetting me, or taking over my life. Just trying to figure out how this can provide such happiness and pleasure in one's life (after all, these are just items)

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I’m in my mid/late-20s. I have absolutely no experience with Atari in its heyday or any emotional attachment. I’ve become extremely interested in Atari hardware/software. The simplicity (compared to modern and even NES stuff) is charming. Limitations breed creativity. And I just love the feeling of reaching back into another time. I’m right there with you.

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Posted (edited)

I think some of us have felt something like this for something, either the Atari ecosystem, a hobby, a sport, etc. It may be part of our personality in that our focus and attention is binary. Either we are switched on and running red hot or it's completely dead to us. A former co-worker of mine (he's retired) had it real bad especially since he would move from one hobby to another. He called it serially monogamous hobbies. When he was young he was 100% into club automotive racing. He had a Camaro that he overanalyzed and raced as if he was a pro. Then he sold the Camaro and got into club motorcycle racing. After that it was firearms. Then it was backpacking. Then he got into economics and finances. Then ... :) I think you get the point.

 

I think of my passions as a flame. They can flare up, they can flicker, and they can also flame out. The flames that smolder burn may burn colder but they can burn longer. Remember that old flamed out fires can be quickly revived compared to something cold that never burned. 

 

Acquisition is a thrill because it feels like a hunt, doesn't it? Receiving the acquisition is satisfying because it fills a hole or void. But remember, in the end it's just "stuff" and it doesn't care about anyone or anything. At some point, and I'm not sure where that point is, it can become hoarding. In order to myself in check, I always try to come up with a purpose for owning something. For example, my 1200XL is my workstation, my 800 is the 4-player family game machine, and my 65XE is for PAL software. A spare or two is certainly OK when you consider this hardware is no longer being made but be careful with too many spares too.

 

I also keep myself in check when shopping by asking myself how much better off would I be if I took these XX dollars and invested instead. That $200 accessory today could be a $1000 dividend paying stock in 20 years! :) 

 

To each their own, I suppose. Ok, I'm done with my armchair psychology. 

Edited by 1200XL M.U.L.E.
Typo.
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Been there, done that. There's a special feeling to coming home and having ups or whoever deliver a huge box of mostly commons. Sorting labels and comparing variations, testing and cleaning and cataloging, so much fun. Enjoy the rush, but don't let it consume you.

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I've gotten back into Atari recently but I haven't gotten super obsessed. I have gotten into it more in the sense of wanting homebrew, hacked, and custom carts, and I'm considering hacking a console for better video and audio though. While the old games are great for nostalgia, I would like the newer versions for the sake of a more arcade experience, or at least as arcade as the 2600 gets

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There's huge potential for ARM games to bring arcade realism to the VCS. It's been done & demonstrated several times already.

 

Totally agree with seeing packages in the mail and opening them up to explore what's inside. Fun even if you know what's coming. But still not as fun as trekking to Sears, K-Mart, or Venture, or TurnStyle. Your typical late 70's & early 80's department stores. The whole ritual of getting a new game on the weekend started with advanced planning in the beginning of the week or mid-week. We had to decide what we wanted, often picked 10 or 15 games, and hoped the store had 1 or 2 of them. It usually began by illustrating how good we were and that we deserved a prize or some toys. On Saturday or Sunday we would get in the car and go "cruising" through town, parking in the store lot, getting out of the car, walking to the door. Opening it up and getting a whiff of VOCs and "store smell". Finding the videogame section. Was usually in the same place, so it was like home more or less. Scanning the boxes and titles for what we saw on TV and anything new that we might have missed. Then convincing the parental units to get it.

 

Then we had to stand in the checkout like for what seemed like hours. Some of us were lucky and could bring our red LED Mattel games to pass the time. Once checked out, we exited the store, and spent 20 MORE minutes trying to find the car that was parked anywhere in a 50,000 acre lot. Sometimes we would get McDonalds on the way home or some other fat-ass-making fast food. The anticipation of new games, new cartridges, new virtual adventures building microsecond upon microsecond. Sometimes we'd even read the instructions while stuck in traffic - inhaling the lead laced exhaust of "regular" gas from de-tuned beaters and 100's of idling cars that took what seemed like hours to move one city block. Eventually we got home. Raced to the living room. Closed the drapes to set the mood and plugged in. Fun times all afternoon and evening! Especially when served Swanson's frozen dinners in those Aluminum trays that always seems to allow some of the "ingredients" to spill over and mix together.

 

There were bonus days when we skipped the department store and detoured to the computer store. And even the regular arcade since they were pretty close. Or even Toys'R'Us to get model rockets and supplies. Or SlotCar setups from AFX, Tycho, or Aurora.

 

Yes folks. Sometimes it really was an all-day affair to get new cartridges. But it was so different and fun! Not like the grind of today. It's an experience I've managed to only partly recapture. Many things are different today, or even missing.

 

But sometimes this cost us. We had to endure that 60's carhop crap they'd play on the radio. Or worse, that narrowband Lo-Fi wartime stuff. God forbid if it was that roaring 20's speakeasy shit. So it was a relief to hear 70's love songs when they played them.

 

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20 hours ago, widowsson said:

Has anyone else become obsessed with Atari? Let me preface this by mentioning that purchases are not affecting any normal living expenses, and it's not affecting work or relationships, but I am literally buying anything I can get my hands on Atari related at a reasonable price.

I buy up lots of systems, carts, you name it. It makes me immensely happy to see the items in my game room (it's a very large room with plenty of space to fill) and I have no desire to stop buying these. It doesn't matter if it's 100 carts of Combat, I just love Atari!!! 

I even lately have been having dreams of Atari, and think about it a good majority of the day. 

I feel I can never have enough Atari, and plan on continuing to buy indefinitely. 

 

Has anyone else had this degree of obsession?




Atari Fever! 
So many carts to collect.
This site has a good list of carts with pics.
Good luck! 

http://videogamevariations.com/AtariCompanies/atari.htm


 

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18 hours ago, Gray Defender said:

Have you heard of the "Tetris Effect"?  From wikipedia : "The Tetris effect (also known as Tetris syndrome) occurs when people devote so much time and attention to an activity that it begins to pattern their thoughts, mental images, and dreams.[1] It takes its name from the video game Tetris."

 

Anyhow I've had that happen for many things other than video games...  Probably just need a break from it for a bit and you will hopefully be just fine.   

I didn't know that had a name-a long time ago, whenever I was riding down the road, I would zone out looking at powerlines and walls, figuring out how to chain humanly impossible skateboard tricks on them, ala Tony Hawk, it definitely had taken over a small part of my brain that I didn't really seem to be in complete control of.

 

Ya, Widowsson-seems like to me, one of the nice things about Atari collecting is that the stuff just seems to breed. You don't really gotta try *that* hard, just try, and the stuff will start piling up.

 

Haha, I have a somewhat expensive guitar, Shechter Damien-6, decked out with a gold foil Fuji logo my Daughter made, I most definitely bleed woodgrain!!!

 

 

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But as far as the "obsession"-

I really wouldn't think too much into it-for us, it might seem extreme, because it's kinda niche I guess(video games aren't really niche, I suppose...), but most everyone has some form of obsession that they put their time and money primarily into, fishermen spend a LOT of money on their "hobby", etc, etc, etc.

 

I think the real good vibe you are getting is just feeling like you've found the "perfect thing" for yourself to be interested in.

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Heh... Well I'm in a unique spot with this, so it seems a good place to share it. Check it out...

 

So like many (most?) people here, I've been collecting games and systems for quite some time.  I'm very picky about what I'd go after.  The commons were easy and I got the bulk of that 15 or so years ago when I started dusting off the old consoles.

 

I also started with the elephants... I went after pinball games and an arcade cabinet or two. I quickly ran out of space. I then worked on an emulator cabinet for years.  Then I'd get consoles hooked up and check out the available libraries... I'd read reviews and ponder where I'd want a chosen game on my display rack. The thrill of opening a package once or twice a week with a hand-selected game was always a rush.

 

So I'd been doing this for years.  Here's where it gets interesting...

 

So I'm getting a divorce now.

 

Ok ok, first let me say the divorce has very little if anything to do with my retro gaming hobby.  I wasn't to that level where the hobby destroyed my marriage.  It didn't. If anything it made it last longer because I was able to extract some pleasure from it while my marriage started taking on water.  There were completely other reasons the marriage failed that wouldn't have much to do with this thread.

 

But here's the thing... Since I'm in the early stages of splitting the sheets, my game collection is going to get...  Looked at.  And so is my credit card statement.

 

As this is causing a lot of anxiety, I'll post it here as a cautionary tale... Just in case another member might find it useful somehow.

 

So yeah, if you're married and it goes south, remember that your collection is going to be tricky part of the settlement in one way or another.  It's a strange and somewhat dark reason to keep your collection under control, but, as in my case, it could be a factor.

 

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On 4/10/2021 at 5:39 PM, widowsson said:

Thanks for all the replies! I need to say this is by no means upsetting me, or taking over my life. Just trying to figure out how this can provide such happiness and pleasure in one's life (after all, these are just items)

For me it is nostalgia and memories of simple, happy times. The Atari name and logo make me think of being a kid, sitting on my living room floor playing Atari 2600. Not a care in the world. 

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15 hours ago, Keatah said:

There's huge potential for ARM games to bring arcade realism to the VCS. It's been done & demonstrated several times already.

 

Totally agree with seeing packages in the mail and opening them up to explore what's inside. Fun even if you know what's coming. But still not as fun as trekking to Sears, K-Mart, or Venture, or TurnStyle. Your typical late 70's & early 80's department stores. The whole ritual of getting a new game on the weekend started with advanced planning in the beginning of the week or mid-week. We had to decide what we wanted, often picked 10 or 15 games, and hoped the store had 1 or 2 of them. It usually began by illustrating how good we were and that we deserved a prize or some toys. On Saturday or Sunday we would get in the car and go "cruising" through town, parking in the store lot, getting out of the car, walking to the door. Opening it up and getting a whiff of VOCs and "store smell". Finding the videogame section. Was usually in the same place, so it was like home more or less. Scanning the boxes and titles for what we saw on TV and anything new that we might have missed. Then convincing the parental units to get it.

 

Then we had to stand in the checkout like for what seemed like hours. Some of us were lucky and could bring our red LED Mattel games to pass the time. Once checked out, we exited the store, and spent 20 MORE minutes trying to find the car that was parked anywhere in a 50,000 acre lot. Sometimes we would get McDonalds on the way home or some other fat-ass-making fast food. The anticipation of new games, new cartridges, new virtual adventures building microsecond upon microsecond. Sometimes we'd even read the instructions while stuck in traffic - inhaling the lead laced exhaust of "regular" gas from de-tuned beaters and 100's of idling cars that took what seemed like hours to move one city block. Eventually we got home. Raced to the living room. Closed the drapes to set the mood and plugged in. Fun times all afternoon and evening! Especially when served Swanson's frozen dinners in those Aluminum trays that always seems to allow some of the "ingredients" to spill over and mix together.

 

There were bonus days when we skipped the department store and detoured to the computer store. And even the regular arcade since they were pretty close. Or even Toys'R'Us to get model rockets and supplies. Or SlotCar setups from AFX, Tycho, or Aurora.

 

Yes folks. Sometimes it really was an all-day affair to get new cartridges. But it was so different and fun! Not like the grind of today. It's an experience I've managed to only partly recapture. Many things are different today, or even missing.

 

But sometimes this cost us. We had to endure that 60's carhop crap they'd play on the radio. Or worse, that narrowband Lo-Fi wartime stuff. God forbid if it was that roaring 20's speakeasy shit. So it was a relief to hear 70's love songs when they played them.

 

For me it was going to Zayers to see the new Atari games as a kid. Oh those were the days. 

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I'm mid 50's. I was a teenager in the 2600 heyday. I didn't have one but my friends did. Oh the hours....In the summer of '82, I was bored waiting to go off to college. I found a 2600 at a yard sale and picked it up. I committed to Starmaster and played it about 24/7 for a month! My Mom got rid of it after I went to college :( In the early 2000's, one of my coworkers heard me talking about it and bought me one off eBay as a bit of a gag. It also came with a small collection of about 10 games. I bought a few of my favorite Activision titles, played with it for a week or so, and stashed it away.

 

Right after the pandemic started, I pulled it put of the closet. It still worked! Then the obsession really began. I bought several more, lots of games, and did a few video mods. I discovered the Flashbacks and bought several of those. They got more playing time because the picture was so much better on HDMI. I found a FB Portable and got that. I learned the simple 'hack' to add games to them and got the Flashbacks and Portable loaded with my choice list. 


I had a Commodore VIC-20 in 1983. So I went looking on eBay, Offerup, Craiglsist, etc and picked up a few 64's, VIC's and Atari computers. Now that has grown to about a dozen commodores of all flavors with all the goodies. I finally started slowing down. I avoid looking except for about once a week and resist buying more. I have duplicates of EVERYTHING I own and convince myself I don't need more, for now ;)

 

Lately I've been thinking I need a 5200 and 7800. I have a few Raspberry Pi's laying around so maybe I should just set up an ultimate Atari Emulator instead. So yeah, its an obsession and you are not the only one. Please don't tell my wife what I've spent over the last year on vintage computers and video games...

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In this hobby I've been on all three sides. Less is more, more is less, and moderation is middle.

 

More is less is depressing and costly. The stuff just keeps piling up. Even requiring a GPS just to navigate the map of your mind. It pulls at you from every direction - never letting you enjoy any one thing to make or relive the good times.

 

Moderation is middle is a mix between happiness and frustration. Sometimes endless drifting and cycling through material. Always fighting and and balancing what you have with what you want with what to throw out. Fatiguing and tiresome. Potentially costly. And always annoying.

 

Less is more is most rewarding and a happy place to be. You are permitted to work on a project to completion. Every meal is a banquet. Every purchase is well thought out. Even guilt-free. Software and games takes on new meaning as glut & excess is nowhere to be found.

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On 4/10/2021 at 11:22 PM, Gray Defender said:

Have you heard of the "Tetris Effect"?  From wikipedia : "The Tetris effect (also known as Tetris syndrome) occurs when people devote so much time and attention to an activity that it begins to pattern their thoughts, mental images, and dreams.[1] It takes its name from the video game Tetris."

I once suffered from this very effect. I had a night full of nightmares where I constantly rotated a piece one too far.

 

And of course similar things happen to me on other projects regularly.

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The worst kind is when you're endlessly sorting files, discover some new secret game or something found nowhere else. Then wake up and can't remember what it was. Or remember that it was only a dream. 2x worse is seeing the source code and not being able to transcribe it to the real world.

 

 

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