14 May 1999

This Week's Finds [Mattel Baseball, Lost Luggage, catalogs]

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

I didn't get out much this week due to a stomach virus. But I still had some luck. First stop Thursday was to go pick up a Mattel Baseball handheld I'd seen earlier. At $3.75, I'd been hesitant to pick it up, but a quick check of eBay afterwards confirmed I should have gotten it the first time. I was tempted to let it sit until it was half-price, but at this store it seems anything I want disappears the day it goes to half-price. Oh, and it was still there. Now it'll be eBait.

The last stop Thursday netted me a copy of Lost Luggage (green label) with the manual for $0.50! I've been looking for this for a while. I found one last summer, but the board is loose and I haven't had a chance to repair it. (Gotta be careful so I don't ruin the label.) This one works fine. I also picked up Apollo and Spectravideo catalogs with it, as I didn't have those. Oh, and an Entex Hockey for $1. It has some cloudy spots on the screen and I wasn't real impressed with it, so I may trade it.

I'd forgotten to take my list with me, so when I got back I discovered I should have picked up the Towering Inferno for its manual, too. I went back today (Friday) and did so, also deciding to pick up Defender & Atlantis (label upgrades) and Planet Patrol just to round things out to $2. All came with manuals. It just occurred to me, however, that I think I didn't really need that Defender. I need to get my printed list updated again, I guess.

A prior Friday stop netted me a Coleco Alien Attack handheld for $1.50. I can't say much about it yet as I don't keep C batteries at work. It looks nice and clean, though.

I also picked up two N64 promotional video tapes. The ones they send in the mail to registered customers. I only ever got two in the mail myself, as I never upgraded to the N64 from my SNES (that I rarely play). I already had both of them (Diddy Kong Racing & Banjo-Kazooie), but figures extras won't hurt at $0.50 each. Does anyone else collect these? I don't know why I started. Partly to preserve them, partly in hopes they'll be a wanted item in the future
since everyone seems to throw them out eventually.

[I eventually gave the Entext Hockey to a fellow collector who's also a big hockey fan. I found it incredibly hard to hit the ball in Mattel Baseball, so it went on eBay, as did the Alien Attack. —15 August 2010]

04 May 1999

Today's finds [Telstar Colormatic, Simon, battery guarantee]

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

I tend to be long-winded, so here's the topics of interest in this post: Coleco, dedicated (pong-style) systems, Ralph Baer, Simon, Microvision.

At my first stop, I found a Coleco Telstar Colormatic. At first I thought it someone had broken off the paddle knobs. But then I realized the external two paddles sitting next to it were meant to plug into it. They weren't taped to it or anything, so I felt lucky they were still sitting beside it. The really unusual thing about this system is it's from Coleco *Canada*. (I live in Alabama, USA.) It also has legs that it sits on so the console is angled for reaching it easier.

I haven't seen a Telstar exactly like this one before. They wanted $5 for it, which seemd like a bit much, but since I hadn't seen one before, I picked it up. Does anyone know if it has a U.S. equivalent? Or was it released here in the U.S. too? As I said, it has two remote paddles. It also has a rest button, and on/off, tennis/hocky/handball/squash, & beginner/intermediate/pro slide switches.

The next find was at my second stop (of two): a complete, looks-like-new Simon. I've kind of been wanting a vintage Simon since I learned Ralph Baer (inventor of the original Odyssey) created it. I saw the box and thought it looked in good shape at a glance. A closer look showed the box was in great shape with only light wear on some corners and edges. Opening it revealed a pristine Simon, complete with instructions, blank warranty sheet, and even the styrofoam bit on top to keep the box from getting squished. The D battery compartment was empty, but the 9V compartment still had a battery in it. Luckily, it hadn't leaked (see note). Do modern Simons still require this many batteries of these sizes?

I put it back in the box and inspect it to see how "original" it is. It has the Milton Bradley Electronics logo on it, like a Microvision. There's a 1978 copyright on it, but that just means they hadn't changed the box markings since then. Then I look at the bottom. There's ads for the Super Simon (Never seen one of those before.) and Mircovision on it! That cinches it. This is worth $3. Once I got back to work and looked at it more closely, I found 1984 copyright dates on the instructions and inside top of the box. I guess they printed up a *bunch* of stickers to cover the boxes back around '78 and were still using them in '84. Oh, well, I won't quibble with one in this great a shape. (Hope it actually works.)

Note: As I was throwing the 9V battery (a Ray-O-Vac Heavy Duty) away, I noticed a note on the side.
Consumer's Guarantee: If any device using this battery is damaged by leakage, send the battery and the device prepaid to Ray-O-Vac corporation, Madison, WI 53703. We will either repair or replace the device and batteries at no additional cost. Guarantee void if either user or device recharges battery.
Now *that's* a guarantee! I wish modern batteries had that kind of guarantee on them. I'll have to look more closely at the electronics I find with corroded batteries in them from now on. I wonder how they'd repair or replace a vintage handheld or pong?