Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Broken shadows of the past

As I mentioned, we've been acquiring Atari 2600 games on Ebay over the last couple weeks, and most of those shipments have come in now. Yesterday there were two, one in great condition... and one that caused me to write this blog entry.

The second shipment was like happening upon an illegal dog-fighting ring. The condition of the labels ranged from beat to "I survived a fire...if you can call this surviving."

There was a smell of cigarette smoke, too, hanging over everything in the box (whose contents had been carelessly thrown in with no regard). I tried to imagine the individual who would have taken care of stuff in this manner, and thrown them into the box like that. The perfect villain for a dark Toy Story 4.

It was a stark contrast to all the other well packaged, well cared-for shipments we'd seen, labels kept shiny through 20-odd years, often individually wrapped and packed with obvious care. But with this batch, I felt like I was looking at a lawless and neglected bunch of children who'd grown on the mean streets of somewhere. I know we're talking about objects here, not abused animals, but in a way they are all companions from childhood, and I feel a sense of compassion and pity for this pile of plastic I was loath to even touch as I unpacked it.

For some of them, I think a LOT of care and cleaning might save them (and they'll get it), but for others there's NO such chance, and that's sad. There are a finite number of these things left in the world, and while the supply is just fine at the moment, it won't always be, and that number just went down by about 30.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Game Room Rises from the Ashes

After giving up the dream (for now, anyway) of our retro arcade machine (it broke, I couldn't fix it, and programming the controls was like neuroscience so now it's in the garage), the question of what to do with that now-empty basement room arose. The main basement game room, mind you, is a dedicated designer board gaming room. This is the OTHER basement game room we're talking about.

Our focus changed to consoles. After all, we've owned consoles, they're less intimidating than a 500-pound arcade machine, and easier to obtain, for sure. How about a retro 80s console room? In a nutshell, a sort of dream room for us as kids. We've acquired the SEGA Genesis and Master System, but that's more my husband's realm than mine. I was a Magnavox/Atari/NES girl. So the most exciting part for me has been the last couple of weeks, where we focused on Atari 2600.

The first of the spoils of our Atari Ebay efforts arrived in the mail today, just a small collection of a dozen cartridges and a couple controllers, but it was exciting and brought back SO many memories.

Decorating the room is going to be loads of fun. I've got a collection of Ms. Pac-Man bubblegum cards (from a good friend - HI ROBERT! - but I used to spend ALL my allowance on these babies) that will be going up in sleeves on one part of the wall. The rest of them will go into a Trapper Keeper. Probably covered with Trend scratch n' sniff stickers. We're going to take it slow, and make sure we make good choices for the accessories to include, but our Choose Your Own Adventure collection will definitely be on display, and I'm sorely tempted to get some old He-Man action figures...

I've been pondering movie posters, which may be a very hard thing to decide. I think there's room for 5 11 x 17 posters. Will it be Airplane, Breakfast Club, Goonies, Labyrinth and Aliens? Ferris Bueller, Rocky, Red Dawn, Cloak and Dagger, and Wrath of Khan? Much harder than choosing game cartridges.

I already had a neon "Nintendo" logo sign, and an original marketing mobile for Atari 2600 E.T. We used these on one wall so far:

I'll start putting up pictures of the actual room and our console collection soon. One of the best parts? Our 3 and 4 year-olds LOVE it! They're already playing the Genesis games. They dragged the babysitter downstairs to show her the Mario decals on the wall at their first opportunity. So cute.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Tester

11 gamers compete for the lowest spot on the gaming industry totem pole. Hilarity is sure to ensue!

The Tester is a new reality series from Sony debuting February 18th on the PlayStation Network. I just checked out the trailer this morning, mainly wondering if it was a sequel to Grandma's Boy.

"The Tester" is a new original reality series set to debut exclusively on PlayStation®Network. The eight episode series features 11 avid gamers competing in a series of physical and mental elimination challenges to win an actual job as an official PlayStation® game tester along with a $5000 signing bonus.

This looks like it could be good for some laughs, especially with Hal Sparks as one of the panelists (*HEART*) and shameless exploitation of surely every gamer stereotype in the book (my favorite snippet: when the hot chick at the elimination ceremony starts tearfully proclaiming that she "May not look like most gamers..." No wait. my favorite snippet: pouring beer into Apple Jacks for breakfast - "Who wants beerios?" NICE)

Friday, February 5, 2010

Atari Flashback 2+

I just pre-ordered the Atari Flashback 2+ yesterday. It's a recreation of the original Atari 2600 system, with 40 built-in games, along the lines of those little plug and play joysticks that come with classic games already on them. The $30 pre-order (ships February 22) comes with a free t-shirt too (XL only). How can you NOT?

We're busily remodeling our basement arcade room to be a classic console room, so we were already on the hunt for a good original 2600 and original cartridges. But I bought this too, just because it costs less than a single DS game, and the plug and play flexibility means we can use it upstairs (I don't think it's technically allowed in the classic console room). Also, the kids can beat on this one and I won't care. They LOVE classic games!

It does NOT replace a real 2600 in my opinion, but is backwards-compatible with original 2600 joysticks, which I think is pretty cool, if unnecessary.

The part I don't really understand is, why is the predecessor, the Flashback 2, going for $200 on amazon? Just because it was a limited release? It seems to come with the same games this one has (of which, by the way, only half are actual original 2600 games, the other half are "new" Atari games). /shrug

Monday, February 1, 2010

Star Wars vs Star Trek

HUZZAH! I *knew* Star Trek was better than Star Wars!

More proof? We haz it.