03 July 1996

June's Finds [heavy sixer, Chuck Norris, H.E.R.O., blue 2600 catalog, original Odyssey games, Pong coin-op, Scramble handheld, Vectrex]

[Originally posted to rec.games.video.classic.]

Well, I kept meaning to write up weekly finds, but never seemed to get to it. Here's a summary of what I found in June (or thereabouts).

1. A six-switch 2600 (possibly an original) with 40+ games for $18. (Less than $0.50 per game plus the system for free is how I figure it.) Highlights include Chuck Norris (Xonox single-ender), Star Wars: The Arcade Game (my second; no offers yet, please), H.E.R.O. w/manual, and Space Shuttle w/manual & overlay (I bought it new post-Crash, so I got a black & white manual and no overlay, but blue label.). Many other games had manuals as well, plus some game catalogs. One catalog was an original blue Atari which, combined with how heavy I thought the system was, leads me to think it's an original. I haven't had a chance to test it or the carts yet. I seem to have misplaced my alcohol for cleaning them.

One pair of paddles has been "fixed". The guy put new knobs on them, which are stiffer than the old ones. He said he'd been meaning to give it all to his grandchildren, but he never remembered. When he was cleaning out his shed for the yard sale, he decided to put it out, too.

2. Some boxes of original Odyssey games. I was amazed. I never figured I'd see anything like these. I was disappointed to find out each game didn't include a new card. Nevertheless, I now have cards 7 and 8 to go with 1-6, 9. 8) Oh, and they've already been traded for a bunch of neat stuff, so don't ask.

3. Pong coin-op by Atari. Yes, the first commercially successful coin-op video game is *my* first coin-op! Unfortunately, it doesn't work . . . yet. Oh, and yes, I found it at a thrift store. The same day, I saw a Zaxxon coin-op at another thrift store, but it was more expensive and I never really cared for Zaxxon. It was the first time I'd ever seen a coin-op at a thrift store.

4. A few good Atari 8-bits carts: Miner 2049er, Decathalon, Popeye, and Star Trek: SOS. Can you say "trade bait"? I knew you could. 8)

5. Scramble "hand-held" by Tomy. Works great and in good shape. I'm impressed by how fun and challenging it is so far. Between it and the Coleco Frogger mini-arcade I bought last year, I guess I've got a collection started. 8)

6. Something good should be on it's way to my house. I don't want to say anything more for fear of jinxing it. Let's just say I'm adding a new system to my list to collect for (currenty 2600, 7800, and original Odyssey (I guess)) and finding cartridges won't be easy.

7. A co-worker knew I collected old video games, but asked if I also collected memorabilia. Of course I answered yes, so the next day he brought me a Robot Tank poster in mint condition! His parents had brought it down with a bunch of his stuff from their house. It's been a while since I've seen the RT box, but I'm almost positive this art isn't the same. Does anybody know the scoop on how one originally got these? Send UPC's or what?

[The first set of 2600 items came from a yard sale.

The boxed original Odyssey games came from a Magnavox dealer that was going out of business. Oddly enough, it was where my regular comic book store, The Deep, is now located at N. Memorial Parkway and Mock Road. These were sets of games still in the shipping boxes. After buying one, the manager (owner?) told me there were more in the trash. They took me around to a room outside, in the back. There were many more of these shipping boxes of original Odyssey games! I left behind many that were water damaged, a decision I now regret some. I wound up trading away all the extra boxes for a lengthy list of items from Jerry Greiner, a major collector who had made a business out of classic video games. They were available from his site, www.atari2600.com, for a long time, but now I no longer see them there.

The story of my Pong coin-op can be found in an 18 June 1996 entry. The Zaxxon I saw at the Downtown Rescue Mission Thrift Store, back when it was still on 9th Ave. SW, just around the bend from Seminole Drive. I'll say more about #6 below. The Robot Tank poster came from the same co-worker who I later bought his complete 5200 collection. — 2 July 2010]

Date: 9 July 1996

In article <4rf1r0$o6h@taco.cc.ncsu.edu>, John Vivian Matthews wrote:
>But isn't there a multicart for the Vec...oops.
>ps And I'm only guessing...

Well, it was a good guess. My Vectrex finally arrived yesterday (Monday) evening. One controller, no overlays, no manuals, Minestorm ('natch), Armor Attack cartridge, and Berzerk on a PROM board with no case. A multicart and converted Sega controller are definitely on my "wish list" now. AFAIK, I'm the first rgvc'er in Alabama to get one. I know one guy has some cartridges, so we'll have to get together some time and test them. (Hi, Ralph.) This is a neat system and it's not going anywhere for a long, long time, emulator or not.

[The Vectrex came from Russ Melanson, who also did the original logo for my website, the Classic Video Games Nexus (defunct). He gave it to me, asking nothing in return. I was amazed. I still sent him some money, not nearly enough, as a high school graduation present.

Ralph was Ralph Hulcher, a collector in Birmingham, who I'd met the year before. We never did get together to test his Vectrex carts and eventually fell out of touch, unfortunately.
— 2 July 2010]


  1. Heh... ah the days of rummaging and finding old vid-game carts.
    Good times.

    I never really got the hang of "emulators" which kept popping up in the 1990's, so I never played my old faves on my computers.

    Instead I would hunt around looking for carts to complete my collections.

    eBay was a blessing towards the end of my quest.

    My all-time fave system is the one I had as a kid:

    ODDYSEY2 by Magnavox

    Yeah, it sucked, but it was the same kind of suck as the old Atari, ColecoVision and Intellivision suck.

    After several years, I was able to get all the games - most in original boxes, as well as a second console and "The Voice" which was a giant adapter that plugged in to make the games talk - as some had hidden programming to allow for this, while others were designed specifically with the "Voice" in mind.

    Of course,later I'd find an enterprising man who programmed a "multi-cart" - basically, ONE cart with EVERY game programmed onto the chip.
    It had several binary switches that allowed you to select which game you wanted to play, so you never needed to store (or buy) more than that one cart.

    I have that, and while cool, it just ins't the same as having all the individual carts with their boxes and that dynamite, cheesy 1970's airbrushed art.

    I haven't really had the time to crank up the old systems, but I will.

    I still have tons of old 5 inch floppies and carts for my Commodore machines as well... one day... one day....

    Maybe I'll just sit in my room and play them all day and night at the old-age home... y'know... when that "one day" finally gets here.


  2. Sorry to say it, ~P~, but the main fans of the O^2 seem to be those that had it as a kid. I didn't and don't play the one I have now either, so I'll probably get rid of it eventually.

    I have figured out emulators, but nothing beats the real thing. I'd much rather play my 2600 games on with a proper 2600 joystick than the keyboard.