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David Rolfe

Random Question About Valuable Game Collectibles

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Hi, all. I've got a completely random question, and forgive me for being vague, but this is very preliminary. I've got a hardware prototype game unit from the 1980's, not an Intellivision thing but something that's definitely worth a historical footnote, and might possibly be of some value to a collector. It's just been sitting around in its factory-sealed box, and one of these years I ought to do something with it...either donate it to a museum or put it on the market. I guess I need to float the question of whether it's worth money before I give it away. It's an obscure artifact, not a thing that I can look up and see what it goes for, and I can imagine it could fall anywhere between being of no monetary value whatsoever to one of those "Holy Grail" finds that eccentric billionaires would vie for.

 

So...I'd like to run this question by some party in touch with the upscale end of the collectibles market. Any suggestions? I see the "WataGames" site has a page on prototypes; perhaps I should query them.

 

Thanks for any comment.

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Very hard to give much of any input without giving any info on what it possibly is or relates to.

I would say though that if its a true prototype it certainly has value to someone. And depending on what system it is or is for potentially alot.

And if its the only 1 well then it could be alot alot.

Being in a factory sealed box seems like a weird state for a prototype to be in. But again without knowing anything of what it is its hard to give any advice past what you already seem to know.

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Posted (edited)

Was I too obscure? Perhaps. Okay, this was a pre-Internet company that was adding digital communications to cable networks, initially to distribute game software, with Internet-class visions beyond that (banking, whatever), but it all went bust in the Great Crash. This unit was "prototype" in that it was an initial sample off the factory line in Japan, except production was never ramped up. I don't know how many units were built or how many still exist; certainly not many. So as a precursor to the Internet, there's some historical interest here. If it hadn't failed, this startup might have become a monster Internet player. Yes, there were a couple such companies in the day; I won't say this is entirely unique, but it was ahead of its time, and may have been the best. There was a test market in Fullerton with non-production units for a time; the tech was good. Here is a link to a promotional video for The Games Network; the sealed box I have is (in theory at least) the unit you see demonstrated in this video, a real one (again, in theory; can't be sure without opening it). This video is aimed at selling to the cable companies, not the end user. There were stock offerings, venture capital, financial promotions, all the stuff you'd expect of a startup that's about to take off. It generated a lot of excitement at the time. (Pic shows a single unit; it came in 2 boxes.)

TGN01a.jpg

Edited by David Rolfe
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Posted (edited)

That old presentation was hilarious but regarding those boxes you may as well open them up to see what is inside.

Weather you decide to sell or donate the contents need to be seen. It's always great to see something old/new? 

Edited by Utopia

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Wow, I’ve never heard of that service or appliance.  It reminds me of one of those early information services, like CompuServ or GEnie, except it requires proprietary hardware, and it delivers via CableTV network instead of a telephone modem.

 

Neat!  I still would have loved to have lived in that future.  Too bad it went bust before launch.  The future I got instead was a much more limited and primitive regional BBS experience — at least until the Internet came along.

 

   dZ.

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Hello Mr. Rolfe,thank you for stopping by here!

That looks like an item that would be coveted by the National videogame museum,though I imagine if you had the right way to showcase it,you would probably be compensated pretty well by selling it to the right collector.

Something like that. Thanks for posting the video,that is way cool to say the least.👍

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Very interesting!

 

That video is great.  I love the incongruent button mashing.  Is that Balki @ 5:14?  Suggestive miming with the joystick @9:19?  ;)

 

 

 

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It’s possible this is a demo unit meant for demonstrating the console to cable providers... It’s also possible this is, essentially, vapor ware. 
 

Perhaps what’s inside is a gross representation of what the actual system might have been able to conjure up, but I’m skeptical this is a boxed, retail unit.

 

/armchairquarterback

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The video is really weird.
This guys were decades ahead of their times, yet knowing they failed is kind of sad...

Very nostalgic...

Thanks for posting

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I wonder what the customer cost would have been for that proprietary "The Window" computer.  Would it have been a rental?  Was it a rebranded version of an existing platform?

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Posted (edited)

Could be that there would have been no cost to the subscriber other than the $15.95 monthly fee.  They put up some numbers that the cable operator nets only about $4 per subscriber per month.  So the monthly fee is probably used to finance the set top computer.  Eight bit computers were pretty cheap in 1984.

 

I wonder how long it took to download a game.  It would have to download every time you start a different game.

 

Regarding collectability, try asking here, https://atariage.com/forums/forum/116-classic-computing-discussion/

Edited by mr_me
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18 hours ago, Intelligentleman said:

Does this thing require a cable connection?

 

Because no one had cable in 1984.

 

Way ahead of its time!

 

“The Window”
 

 

Well, not no-one. How else do you explain PlayCable ( https://history.blueskyrangers.com/hardware/playcable.html ) ?  My parents briefly had cable in Santa Monica, CA in the mid 1970s.

 

 

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, BSRSteve said:

Well, not no-one. How else do you explain PlayCable ( https://history.blueskyrangers.com/hardware/playcable.html ) ?  My parents briefly had cable in Santa Monica, CA in the mid 1970s.

 

 

Of course. I was being too hyperbolic. I just meant that the market penetration for cable probably hadn’t reached the critical mass required to sustain a premium cable add-on - especially one that requires the cable customer to incur an additional hardware expense on top.

 

Just for comparison my family didn’t have a cable-ready TV until 1992 or 1993. And when my dad finally bit the bullet, there would have been no way he’d sign on for thing like PlayCable or Sega Channel, etc...

Edited by Intelligentleman

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