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Glowing Blue Reasons to Collect
by Michael Thomasson

There are many reasons for playing and collecting classic video games. But first and foremost, it is simply a pastime. This is how most of us entered the hobby. There are, however, many factors as to why we stayed with the endeavor. Listed within this article are a few that have encouraged myself & others.

Concentrated gameplay, or innovation through ingenuity requires solid gameplay. Classic games could not depend on tools such as full-motion video, expanded color palettes, transparency, rotation, and zooming effects. Good games had solid gameplay, and could not be disguised or distract the player.

Many collectors play classic games for their simple mechanics. Their gameplay is easy to learn, since many games require only basic joystick maneuvering and a button or two to press.

Flexibility of challenge offers much encouragement to players. Adjustable skill levels and hundreds of game playing options (i.e. 2600 Space Invaders), allow the user to customize his or her playing experience. Virtually anyone of any age can participate in our hobby!

The Challenge of collecting is also alluring. Trying to locate all the 2600 variations could last a lifetime, while a 7800 collection could be obtained in a single summer. Oh, the thrill of the hunt!

A very nice advantage to collecting games is the requirement of little resources; especially the minimal expenditure needed to start the hobby. Sure, obtaining some rare games can require some hefty trading or cash resources, but overall, there is great fun to be found rather inexpensively. Many classic games are now available for fractions of their original consumer retail price. Atari, Intellivision, and many other games are easily found for a mere dollar. And best of all, most of the pricier games are more expensive because of their lower production runs due to lack of popularity and inferior sales. This means, in most cases, that the games which are more enjoyable to play are the least expensive to purchase!

Classic video game hardware and software constructed was very stable and durable. Cartridges from the early '80's will certainly outlive their modern day cd-rom counterparts. Moveable parts such as cd-rom drives, motorized doors, and liquid coolant will not survive longer than an immobile, but sturdy, Colecovision.

Collecting console games allows for various levels of interaction. Few hobbies allow for such interaction as classic video games. Sure, baseball cards show an image of the player, and a few statistics to read and learn about. Comic books tell a story, and entertain the aesthetics of ones eyes, but no other hobby has the interaction that is involved in video games. A single video game can be played for hours (RPG's -- months) with little or no duplication of events. Even classic games, with few boards and levels are NEVER the same game twice. No offense to card collectors, but try having months of fun looking at Pete Rose's ugly mug!

Many collectors and players enjoy games for their technical merit. The feats many programmers pulled off with only 2K of memory were amazing for their time! Take into account the complexities of current 3D animation and programming, and games which utilize heavy mathematical calculations controlling such forces as true physics and complex lighting. That's just programming, too! What about the tiny microprocessors, integrated circuits, and miles of wire involved. Thomas Edison would be very jealous.

Of course, since we are dealing with "classic" games, there is the admirable factor of antiquity. Aside from being collectables in themselves, there is a lot to be said for Nostalgia. For many of us, collecting console games is a part of our past. With the entertainment form covering decades, many of us simply remember fond times with our family and friends in the safety of our living rooms. We know that inside each of those identical boxes, with it's wires running into the back of our television set glowing blue in the sinking twilight, that there were people with stories.


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