Has interest in Atari 2600 collecting died?

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PitfallHarry1
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Has interest in Atari 2600 collecting died?

Postby PitfallHarry1 » March 7th, 2015, 11:30 pm

I've noticed that while still somewhat popular, Atari 2600 collecting is rather small now. Boxed games are going for next to nothing (many games SEALED) and rares are now coming down in price significantly. The big collecting boom of about 10 years ago that lasted for about 6 years is dwindling. Has the 2600 become forgotten yet again? I still love and collect for the system, but it appears to have FAR less interest now. It seems mostly about NES games now. That's what more people care about.

Thoughts or opinions?

nesfan1
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Has interest in Atari 2600 collecting died?

Postby nesfan1 » March 8th, 2015, 6:13 am

People grow up, get jobs, have disposable income, and want to buy back their childhood. Atari collecting was in and now a new generation of gamers have grown up and want to but NES games that they remember from their childhood. And then the 16-bit systems will be popular to collect for. And then the Playstation/N64/Saturn generation. And so on. I personally think it will go through cycles. Atari 2600 game collecting will become popular again at some point. In the meantime, boxed/sealed Atari games selling for barely any money? That's fine by me. That just means more Atari games for us. And if there are some Nintendo games that you want that have shot up in price recently, just give it time. Wait to buy them when people have stopped caring about them.

scotland171
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Has interest in Atari 2600 collecting died?

Postby scotland171 » March 8th, 2015, 11:24 am

Add in that all the new ways to play Atari games like the Flashbacks, and the rise of HDTVs.

The last few years have seen annual editions of the At Games Atari Flashbacks, in addition to the older line of Jakks Pacific Atari Joystick and Paddle plug and plays. All of these units have at least a/v output, which is better output than the original RF.   These lines have allowed millions to inexpensively buy back part of their childhood. 

Add to that other ways to play Atari or Atari'ish games such as PC emulation, flash games, mobile games, ouya/game sticks emulation, on a crisp monitor screen or HDMI output. Add in that older hardware continues to degrade. Add in the rise in the last decade of HDTV has does not go well with those 2nd generation consoles native low res RF output.  

The NES is in a stronger position, but its peak will pass too. 


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VideoGameCritic
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Has interest in Atari 2600 collecting died?

Postby VideoGameCritic » March 8th, 2015, 1:10 pm

The harmony cart may have something to do with it.  Instead of paying top dollar for a rare game, you can just copy the ROM and still play it on your 2600 as originally intended.

goldenband1
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Has interest in Atari 2600 collecting died?

Postby goldenband1 » March 8th, 2015, 3:01 pm

A retrogaming store opened up nearby recently, and the owner commented that the Atari stuff is basically going untouched. Over the course of about a month, he's only had one significant buyer.

He also mentioned that a surprising amount of his business is previous-gen Nintendo stuff that GameStop doesn't carry anymore, mainly GameCube and DS.

If this trend persists, I figure it's a combination of what others have said: aging demographics, taste in gaming, etc. And scotland17's point about A/V is a very important one -- unlike later consoles, an unmodded Atari 2600 has only RF out, and doesn't get along well with most HDTVs. Even with a composite or S-VHS mod, the signal doesn't always agree with newer TVs.

Teddybear1
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Has interest in Atari 2600 collecting died?

Postby Teddybear1 » March 8th, 2015, 3:42 pm

I wonder if a good reason for the decline of interest is the typical 2600 collector profile (a guy like me):  male, in their mid 40's that was able to obtain virtually every game they wanted in the past 10 years.  Most were cheap and easily available.  Looking at the VGC's reviews of all the 2600 games I am hard-pressed to find one I don't already have or want.  Let's face it - the are a lot of garbage titles for the VCS.

The rare breed - the folks that collect CIB titles and shell out big coin for games like Halloween or Chase the Chuck Wagon....bless them.  I respect and understand that type of commitment when it comes to collecting but count me out.

The new homebrews do keep the 2600 very interesting.  Note to self:  quit procrastinating and buy Stay Frosty 2.

Bluenote1
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Has interest in Atari 2600 collecting died?

Postby Bluenote1 » March 9th, 2015, 9:22 am

I wonder to if it's due to the quality of the games.  Let's face it, Atari games are very primitive and I find myself bored of the game after 10 minutes or so.  Whereas NES games have much more meat to them. 

I was excited to play old Atari games, to bring me back to my childhood and quite frankly I was disappointed.  Those games were best left in my childhood.  Nice to revisit once in a while I guess, but that's about it.

ptdebate1
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Has interest in Atari 2600 collecting died?

Postby ptdebate1 » March 9th, 2015, 10:02 am

[QUOTE=Bluenote]I wonder to if it's due to the quality of the games.  Let's face it, Atari games are very primitive and I find myself bored of the game after 10 minutes or so.  Whereas NES games have much more meat to them. 

I was excited to play old Atari games, to bring me back to my childhood and quite frankly I was disappointed.  Those games were best left in my childhood.  Nice to revisit once in a while I guess, but that's about it.[/QUOTE]

I think the main strength of the 2600 lay in its paddle controllers. Breakout on the 2600, despite its age, remains the definitive version of that experience due to the smoothness and exactness of the controls. Centipede is really good for this reason too.

ptdebate1
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Has interest in Atari 2600 collecting died?

Postby ptdebate1 » March 9th, 2015, 10:04 am

Addendum to last post: does Centipede actually support the paddle or am I misremembering? Either way, the paddle is great.

goldenband1
Posts: 139
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Has interest in Atari 2600 collecting died?

Postby goldenband1 » March 9th, 2015, 12:42 pm

Regarding flash carts -- the NES, Genesis, and SNES have them too, but those collecting scenes are very much alive and well. I think it's had a small impact on Atari 2600 collecting, but the high-value carts still go for big bucks.

The paddle controllers are a real strength of the 2600. Another one is multiplayer; the system can be a hit with groups, since the games are short, easy to pick up, and high on action. Put the two together and you've got 4P simultaneous multiplayer, a console rarity until much later. My family regularly brings out the VCS when we all get together, and Medieval Mayhem's near the top of the list (along with Circus Atari and a few others).

That said, many of the paddle games demand superb reflexes, and the lag on many HDTVs makes those a lot less fun. Kaboom rapidly becomes unplayable on anything but a CRT, because there's just too much lag to react in a timely manner. Most NES games aren't quite so exacting, or allow for more ways to anticipate rather than having to react directly with pure "twitch" reflexes.

OTOH Mike Tyson's Punch-Out is a famous example of a game that becomes infinitely more difficult with just a small amount of lag. Everyone always laments their aging reflexes on that game -- "I used to be so much better at this" -- but anyone would feel clumsy playing Punch-Out on a modern TV with 100ms lag!

There are some nice hidden gems in the VCS library, or at least diamonds in the rough. The Avalon Hill games are rare but tend to be interesting. Death Trap is a nice one the Critic hasn't reviewed yet.


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