The Boxes

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scotland
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The Boxes

Postby scotland » March 27th, 2017, 2:52 pm

I was looking at some Pong system boxes I had, and thought that boxes tell a story, or at least they are the attempt to put the consumer in a story, aren't they? Buying a big box of promises.

Let's start with the Atari 2600. I'm sure there are lots of variations of boxes out there over the lifespan of the 2600, the Jr, regional differences, etc, but I grabbed a shot of the one I remember best - possibly the earliest.

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Check out the tagline "The Super System ... with 10 to 50 dynamite game variations per Game Program (TM)"

In the 1970s, 'dynamite' was pronounced 'Dyn-O-Mite!'. It was a meme before we had memes.
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I never noticed they at least tried to trademark 'Game Program', and the phrase 'Video game' is not there. According to an AtariAge user, Atari did trademark "Game Program" but its lapsed (as has "Video Computer System" and "2600", but some like "Realsports" are still active)

The set of pictures are just wonderful. Kids and older people, game screen shots, the paintings, plus some photos. Even a little diversity in the kids they picture. There is a lot of Combat going on there. Then it says "Atari brings a powerful computer to your home." Notice - computer, not 'video game system'? Neat.

This version has Combat as the pack-in "Game Program", so the back is a bunch of Combat screen shots.

I think this one is pretty darn good. Its honest - you see what you get, but its still evocative. Makes me want to buy one. If I had to give it a letter grade, how about a B+? What do you think?

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Stalvern
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Re: The Boxes

Postby Stalvern » March 27th, 2017, 4:36 pm

I'd give it an A-. Shrink the Atari logo by about half and cut down the jumble of text cluttering the bottom right, and it's a solid A.

What that design does well is show off the true strength of a cartridge-based system over the mid-'70s wave of Pong clones. That entire wall of colorful games can be played with one little box! (Of course, the Channel F and even the Odyssey, on some level, had done this earlier, but it was still a point worth making at the time.) Add in the slick effect of seamlessly combining the background games and the foreground system in a pure, idealized space, and this packaging does a lot to make an impression selling the system inside.

One box that I've always loved isn't for a console but for a British 8-bit computer (with a built-in joystick instead of arrow keys, so... close enough). Check this slogan out:

Image

Man, with 128 whole kilobytes of RAM, how could this machine possibly become obsolete?

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scotland
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Re: The Boxes

Postby scotland » April 1st, 2017, 12:47 pm

Perhaps the worst box I can think of, Radio Shack boxes for the TRS-80 color computer.

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This is not even trying. I've bought things from Adam and Eve is less nondescript packaging.

Sut
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Re: The Boxes

Postby Sut » April 1st, 2017, 4:40 pm

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This Grandstand PC-50x model uses celebrity endorsement on the box using Kevin Keegan a popular footballer in the 70's advertising it as a 'TV sports centre'.

newmodelarmy
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Re: The Boxes

Postby newmodelarmy » April 1st, 2017, 7:40 pm

This is a great thread. Before I got a 2600 I can remember staring at the box art every chance I got whenever I was near a Sears or some other department store. I love the box art from the 70's and 80's and don't even get me started on the manuals!

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scotland
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Re: The Boxes

Postby scotland » April 1st, 2017, 8:43 pm

Sut wrote:This Grandstand PC-50x model uses celebrity endorsement on the box using Kevin Keegan a popular footballer in the 70's advertising it as a 'TV sports centre'.


Ah yes, the man with the perm. Speaking of those interesting PC 50x, here is a very 70s box (when rainbows had not yet been associated with gay pride).

Image
I was also looking at Tunnel Runner as maybe the first console (not computer) cartridge with a system boosting chip (a RAM chip there), but the PC 50x are all those kinds of cartridges.

newmodelarmy wrote:This is a great thread. Before I got a 2600 I can remember staring at the box art every chance I got whenever I was near a Sears or some other department store. I love the box art from the 70's and 80's and don't even get me started on the manuals!


I love the old manuals! A thread for later, maybe.

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Retro STrife
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Re: The Boxes

Postby Retro STrife » April 2nd, 2017, 12:53 pm

It's too bad people didn't do a better job saving boxes back in the day. A few months back, I was buying several boxes for some of my loose systems, and they definitely aren't cheap. On ebay, I found that boxes for common systems (Atari, Sega, Nintendo, etc.) are worth about $20-$50 on their own, while some of the less common ones might go for $40-$100 (if the systems are now desirable, like say Turbografx). That's a lot for just the box. I bought several because I needed them for my gameroom, but I tried to stick with the cheaper ones. The furthest I was willing to go was $50 for a Jaguar box on ebay, but I liked the look of it too much to pass it up. As for that Atari box posted by Scotland... I really wanted that one for my wall too, but wasn't willing to spend the $40 that it sells for...so I actually bought another Atari 2600 system set just because it had the box with it. Dumb stuff collectors do..

After looking through so many boxes online and on ebay, I have to say that the Jaguar box is probably my favorite. In fact, here's my quick ranking of the boxes I've seen:

#1. Atari Jaguar

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#2. Sega Genesis. I like all the Genesis boxes, but this one for the first model is my favorite. I actually don't personally own this one (I have the model 2 box), but wish I did.

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#3. Fairchild Channel F. Dipping back into the '70s here. I don't like all Channel F boxes, just this one. I know I'm probably alone on this one, but the style and simplicity of it is so '70s that there is almost something artistic about it to me.

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As a runner up, I also like the NES Control Deck box..same reason as the Channel F box..in the sense that it's simple and reminds me of the '80s.

That list is trying to be objective, of course... the reality is that certain system boxes conjure up a lot of good memories for us; probably most noteworthy being the ones you got for Christmas while growing up; in my case, that means I even really like the plain and boring PS1 boxes.

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scotland
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Re: The Boxes

Postby scotland » April 2nd, 2017, 1:02 pm

I think I like the Jaguar box too. Sure, it could be selling anything, but its instantly exciting. I am not feeling the Channel F box - notice tney even left on the controller cords, and they are very distracting. No gameplay, nothing really saying excitement. They should have gotten some famous 70s person on the cover.

Yes, there is going to be an emotional and personal side to anyones preference, buts that okay.

Here is a fun one to compare to the 2600 box above
Image

They reused some photos, and its the same general premise. I like it too.

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Stalvern
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Re: The Boxes

Postby Stalvern » April 2nd, 2017, 1:28 pm

• Color (on Color TV Sets)

Oh, OK.

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VideoGameCritic
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Re: The Boxes

Postby VideoGameCritic » April 2nd, 2017, 8:51 pm

My favorite part of the Atari box was the sides, which I think displayed about 20 colorful box covers of the games available for it.


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