Video Games Posts

Kidrobot’s Allen Richardson Joins hobbyDB Advisory Board

Allen Richardson Kidrobot

Over the past year, hobbyDB has been collecting everything from Kidrobot, and now we’ve added Allen Richardson. No, he’s not a Vinyl Art Toy, he’s VP of Product and Marketing for Kidrobot, and he’s joining our Advisory Board.

The Kidrobot archive on hobbyDB is the most complete listing you will find anywhere on the internet, and Allen will be able to help us stay on top of all the new releases. “I get to work with the best independent vinyl artists and largest licenses available today,” he told us. “I love getting to live in two very different worlds and make a living within them both.”

If that sounds like a fun job, consider the rest of his history in the world of toys.

He started in the video game world with Konami, and then moved to Tiger Electronics. When Tiger was acquired by Hasbro, he was put in charge of their “Star Wars” product line. “It was a dream come true as I had collected action figures all of my life. My earliest memories were of receiving the very first Star Wars action figures for Christmas. Star Wars, and most all of what we call the “Boys Action” category, has been in my blood for a very long time.”

As Director of Marketing /Product for Hasbro, he handled a few other brands you may have heard of: Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park, The Littlest Pet Shop, FurReal Friends, VideoNow, Hitclips, PooChi, and Furby for example.

And before coming to Kidrobot, he worked for Sphero. “I returned to Star Wars to work on everyone’s favorite new Droid: BB-8! Being able to take traditional toy play and add an app-based experience to it was truly innovative and memorable.”

Aside from those interests, he collects original comic art. His favorite piece is a Judge Dredd page from “2000AD” by Brian Bolland. “This page pairs my favorite character with my favorite artist. They are pretty rare, so I was elated to finally have it for my collection.”

hobbyDB is just as glad to have Allen on board.

13 Video Games Based on Blatant Product Placement

Ron Ruelle hobbyDB

Product placement in video games has become an annoying intrusion (except for driving games, in which case branded realism is more than welcome). But over the years, several companies have developed promotional video games starring their actual products, logos, and spokescharacters in acts of commercialism so blatant it’s almost cute. Here are some of the more memorable games of this genre, most of them snack-or-fast-food based, some of them kind of fun.

Kool-Aid Man” (1983)

Kool Aid Man video game

If you sent in 125 proof of purchase seals from Kool-Aid packs, you got this Atari 2600 or Intellivision cartridge for free. And you know what? It was a pretty cool game. Players moved Kool-Aid Man around the screen in an attempt to knock out the Thirsties while also collecting the ingredients for a pitcher of sugary drink before time ran out via the pool at the bottom of the screen draining empty. Confusing? Sure. But, seriously, way more fun than it sounds.

Pepsi Invaders” (aka “Coke Wins”) (1983)

Pepsi Invaders Atari 2600 game

This game was not a huge seller. In fact, it wasn’t for sale at all. Coca Cola poked fun at their rival by producing this version of Space Invaders for their 1983 Sales convention, handing out about 125 copies of this Atari 2600 cartridge to attendees. They replaced the alien shapes of the original game with the letters from PEPSI, but it’s otherwise identical to the mass produced game. Original cartridges sell for a lot of money these days.

Domino’s Pizza “Yo! Noid” (1990)

Dominos Pizza Noid video game

Perhaps no spokescharacter in the history of advertising was more despised and ridiculed than the Noid. With that strike already against it, Domino’s released this Nintendo game to terrible reviews for its pointless play and frustrating level of difficulty. It was like getting double anchovies on your pizza.

Chester Cheetah “Too Cool To Fool” (1992)

Chester Cheetos video game

Long before Goat Simulator, this game allowed you to become a cartoon cheetah who promotes fried cheese curls by riding around on a scooter and jumping on unsuspecting victims’ heads. Because, y’know… EXTREME! The first of two Cheetos based games of that era, it was available for Super Nintendo and Sega systems.

McDonald’s “Treasure Land Adventure” (1993)

McDonalds video game

Connoisseurs of fast food could get this Sega Genesis game to go with any meal (Happy or otherwise). Similar in play to Super Mario World and many other games, the graphics on this are surprisingly well developed for the era and price. This was one of several games McD’s has offered over the years.

7 Up “Cool Spot” (1994)

7up Spot video game

The mid ’90s were a golden age for anthropomorphic junk food stars and their related games. For that reason, 7 Up turned part of their logo into a radical red dot with sunglasses to appeal to the youth market, and inserted him into this surfing game for Sega, GameBoy and PC.

Chex Quest” (1996)

Chex Cereal video game

This video game is an important part of your nutritious breakfast. Here’s a first person shooter game that came as a prize in boxes of Chex cereals. It was based on the engine that ran the awesomely popular Doom video game, so the action rocked. But instead of killing Martians, players used their “Zorcher” to “teleport” “phlegm-based monsters” to “another realm.” It was PC based, but not to worry. If you don’t have a mid-90s Pentium machine laying around, you can still find it to play online.

Burger King “Big Bumpin’,” “Sneak King,” and “Pocket Bike Racer” (2006)

Burger King video game

Not to be outdone by McDonald’s, Burger King offered these Xbox games for a buck each with purchase of a combo meal. Big Bumpin’ was a bumper car game, too slow to be much fun. Sneak King required the scary rubber-headed King to present unsuspecting strangers with burgers (creepy, complicated and stupid). But the Pocket Bike Racer game was kinda entertaining, probably because it was based on the dynamics of existing racing games with new skins applied.

“Super Mario Spaghettios” (2012)

Mario Luigi Nintendo Spaghettios

Oh wait, this wasn’t a game… it was a can of pasta shaped like objects from Mario’s world. Never mind. But that would’ve been really cool.

Taco Bell “The Waiting Game” (2013)

Taco Bell Waiting video game

In the history of dull video games, this one was the most exciting. After Taco Bell introduced their first flavor of Doritos Locos Tacos to worldwide acclaim, it took them a loooong time to release the next variation. So, a month before the Cool Ranch Doritos flavor was to hit restaurants, these arcade games showed up at Canadian Taco Bell locations. Gameplay was based on the excruciating angst of that waiting period in the form of your character standing in line and gradually moving forward. Seriously. Your reward for finishing the intentionally dull 10-minute odyssey? A coupon for a free taco. To be redeemed later. Of course.

Levi’s “Skate-A-Rama” (2014)

Levis video game

Not a console or PC game, and not online either, this virtual reality game required players to perform real skateboard tricks on a stage coordinated with graphics projected behind them to score points. The ramps and rails are pretty basic, so the novelty wore off pretty quick. Levi’s set this up at trade shows to promote their skate wear line. Because, y’know… EXTREME!

Know of any others? Mention them in the comments below, and add them to the hobbyDB database if they aren’t already there!

Let’s Review 20 Years of Pokemon Video Games

On February 27th, 2016, the first pair of Pokemon video games ever released will turn 20 years old.

It’s hard to imagine now, but Pokemon Red and Pokemon Green almost never hit the market in Japan after an extremely troubled development cycle. Originally conceived in 1990 by Satoshi Tajiri, development studio Game Freak narrowly avoided bankruptcy during the 6-year development cycle of the Gameboy RPGs. Tajiri himself even forfeited a salary to keep the company afloat. Once released, Pokemon initially received minimal media coverage, and the games were anticipated to fade into obscurity due to poor sales. However, once Japanese gamers caught wind of the titles among rumors of a mysterious 151st Pokemon inaccessible in the game, sales steadily increased until the games began topping sales charts on a regular basis.

Today, Pokemon is the second-best selling video game franchise worldwide, only trailing behind Nintendo’s own Mario series.

To celebrate Pokemon‘s 20-year legacy that many of us hold fondly in our hearts, we’ve decided to go all out and do a complete retrospective review covering every main entry in the series to date. We’ll sort each set of games by their respective “generations,” as that’s how they’re properly referred to in the Pokemon community.

Generation 1: Pokemon Red / Blue / Yellow

It’s almost hard to talk about the Generation 1 Pokemon titles without saying stuff everyone knows. Pokemon Red and Pokemon Blue are among the most beloved video games of all time, and gamers everywhere can recall even the most banal moments of the game by heart (“Smell you later!” or “I like shorts! They’re comfy and easy to wear!”). However, before we can even ask whether these titles have stood the test of time, we have to address how these games have shaped gaming culture ever since their release.

pokemon red blueIn the late 90s, Japanese role-playing games had just started to take off in the international market. 1997’s Final Fantasy 7 was a smash hit that changed the face of the genre forever, and game developers raced to cash in on that game’s success with stylistically similar titles. Yet for the casual gamer, complex game mechanics and melodramatic stories of mercenaries and wizards could still prove to be a significant barrier of entry for the genre. Only a single year later, Pokemon Red and Pokemon Blue would make their international debut and appeal to this one remaining niche left by Final Fantasy 7′s release. Pokemon is certainly not the first monster collecting video game series ever made, but it was the first notable game of its kind to ever see an official English translation.

pokemon redRight out the gate, Pokemon Red and Pokemon Blue were literally so simple that a child could understand them. Players are given the tasks of “be the best that no one ever was” and “gotta catch ’em all,” but from there the story doesn’t demand gamers to keep track of quest objectives or uncover side stories. The battle mechanics are introduced as a basic variation of “rock-paper-scissors,” only to slowly unfold its surprising complexity as the game progresses. However, as we all know, the greatest appeal of Pokemonwas catching and training an elite team of monsters. Whether gamers preferred cute creatures like Pikachu or ferocious monsters like Gyrados, there was something to resonate with just about everyone. Not only was this genius design from a marketing standpoint, but this unprecedented level of party customization allowed players to personally bond with a unique team of six creatures that appealed to their specific tastes and interests. It’s no wonder that fans still talk about who their favorite Pokemon are to this day.

All of this is to say nothing of how vast the worlds of Pokemon Red and Pokemon Blue were. Though the games debuted on a system that was considered dated technology even when it was released, the first Pokemon titles sported a myriad of secrets among numerous memorable locations. Whether the player was boarding the S.S. Anne for the first time or exploring the gloomy Lavender Town, the game knew how to make each location pop amid limited graphics and sound. Modern statistics cite the initial Pokemon games as taking approximately 30 hours to complete, which is comparable to games like Final Fantasy 4 on the more powerful Super Nintendo. However, whether gamers wanted to complete their Pokedex or power-level their party to use in Pokemon Stadium, play times could easily exceed 100 hours. The fact that a single game could keep players engaged for so long was practically unheard of for the time, and the vast roster of monsters meant the titles could be replayed countless times in different ways.

pokemon blueTruth be told, Pokemon Red and Pokemon Blue haven’t aged perfectly. The slow-paced gameplay and high random-battle rate (hello Zubats!) make the games feel a bit archaic, and quality of life improvements taken for granted in later iterations of Pokemon are sorely missed here. However, for those who can stomach those issues, Pokemon Red and Pokemon Blue are still just as fun to play today. Even if you’re not bringing your Gameboy to the playground to trade with friends, hunting rare Pokemon and battling gym leaders remains a fresh and invigorating experience. Plus, for those who still have Pokemon Yellow, players can even have Pikachu follow them while they battle Jesse and James from Team Rocket. In short, kids in the late 90s had every reason in the world to fall in love with this series.

Generation 2: Pokemon Gold / Silver / Crystal

With Pokemon Red, Blue, and Yellow starting one of the world’s largest multimedia phenomena, expectations for proper sequels to the first generation games were sky high. While Pokemon Gold and Pokemon Silver were bound to sell millions of copies regardless of their quality, Game Freak needed to prove to gamers that the Pokemon series wasn’t just a one-trick pony. Thankfully, Pokemon Gold and Silver not only met the lofty expectations held of them, but they exceeded them.

pokemon gold silverNot only did the Generation 2 titles expand the world of Pokemon with the brand new Johto region and 100 new monsters, they added features that truly pushed the limits of what the Gameboy was capable of. The game’s real-time clock reflected day and night as it corresponded to the real world, and events such as the bug-catching contest were held on specific days of the week. While these features are common in modern video games, seeing a game designed so intricately around the real world was unheard of for its time. This is to say nothing of the refinements brought to the core gameplay, such as the addition of Dark and Steel-type Pokemon, the division of the “special” stat into two separate stats, and the ability for Pokemon to hold items that modify their abilities in battle. Combine this improved and innovative gameplay with a lovingly crafted world that even extends into the Kanto region from Generation 1, and you have yourself a pinnacle example of a video game sequel done right.

pokemon goldPokemon Gold and Silver are considered by many fans to be the best games in the entire series, and Pokemon Crystal further built upon these timeless adventures with the challenging Battle Tower and a more involved story of Johto’s legendary Pokemon. While these games still suffer from some of the same issues that the Generation 1 Pokemon games do, they’re so well designed that the negative aspects are easier to overlook. Retro gamers owe it to themselves to play these classic titles if they missed them back in the day.

Generation 3: Pokemon Ruby / Sapphire / Emerald, Pokemon Fire Red / Leaf Green

The third generation of Pokemon games represented a crossroads for the series. On one hand, new Pokemon games were inevitable considering the massive success of Generations 1 and 2. On the other, kids who picked up Pokemon during the days of Red and Blue were either approaching or well into their teenage years. While the brand was still massively successful, Pokemon‘s popularity died down from the unreal heights it once held due to its reputation as children’s entertainment. Either because of this or in spite of this, Pokemon Ruby and Sapphirestayed faithful to the games’ formula for the most part, but they also made a few key changes to appeal to seasoned fans.

pokemon ruby sapphireAs the first mainline Pokemon games to appear on the technologically superior Gameboy Advance, the improvements to the visuals and audio were obvious. Though the chibi sprite art is faithful to the original titles, details like reflections in the water and footsteps in the sand bring the world to life in ways that weren’t feasible before. However, with this technological improvement came an unexpected change to how the new Pokemon were designed. Though Generation 3’s additional Pokemon featured a good mix of cute and cool monsters as the older games did, the new monsters looked noticeably more vicious than any Pokemon ever had before. For instance, while legendary Pokemon such as Lugia and Celebi had a majestic air to them, Generation 3’s Groudon and Deoxys really put the monster into the original Japanese title of Pocket Monsters. Pokemon designs from this era onward would become a point of contention for fans of the franchise, even though Generation 3 brought with it fan favorite Pokemon such as Skitty and Mudkip.

pokemon redThat said, key changes were made to the core gameplay as well. Generation 3 introduced the running shoes to the franchise, allowing players to circumvent the notoriously slow walkspeed and navigate the world quicker than before. Double battles were also a heavily advertised feature, allowing trainers to fight 2 on 2 battles as opposed to the classic 1 vs 1 combat from before. While double battles turned out to be only occasionally utilized in Ruby and Sapphire’s main adventure, their inclusion was welcome nonetheless. That said, one of Generation 3’s most controversial additions to the franchise was “effort values,” also known as “EVs.”

With a host of technological improvements held up by classic Pokemon gameplay, there’s no doubt that Ruby and Sapphire are quintessential Gameboy advance titles. However, Generation 3 marked a change in tone and style from Generations 1 and 2 that persists to this day. That said, not only did Generation 3 include the now-standard special edition game in the form of Pokemon Emerald, but Generation 3 also sported full remakes of the Generation 1 titles with Pokemon Fire Red and Leaf Green. Because of the technical limitations that plagued the original games, Fire Red and Leaf Green were very welcomed updates due to the addition of upgraded graphics and sound among other quality-of-life improvements. Though Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald remain popular entries, Fire Red and Leaf Green are among the most commonly replayed by the community.

Generation 4: Pokemon Diamond / Pearl / Platinum, Pokemon Heart Gold / Soul Silver

With Generation 3 lasting a year longer than any generation preceding it, fans were eager for a new installment in the series. After all, the Nintendo DS launched as early as 2004, and the system was without its own Pokemon game for over 2 years. However, Pokemon Diamond and Pearl finally made their international debut in 2007, and fans were treated to a mostly traditional title that capitalized on the new features brought by Nintendo’s latest handheld console.

pokemon black whiteGeneration 4’s most notable change to the series is the addition of online components. Thanks to the addition of the Global Terminal (replaced by the Global Trade Station in later games), players are capable of freely trading and battling other trainers from around the world. For a series that focuses so heavily on its social features, this was a massive improvement. Those interested in competitive battling could test their skills in ways they never could before, and others who just wanted to catch ’em all could do so with significantly greater ease. The Pokemon series continues to use the framework established by Generation 4’s online components to this day.

Aside from that, Generation 4 boasted modest generational improvements. As to be expected, over 100 new Pokemon were added with the all new Sinnoh region, and greater distinction in how Pokemon attacks were influenced by respective stats further deepened the gameplay. Some critics were upset that the games stuck to 2D sprite graphics while only using 3D in the overworld, but in truth Diamond and Pearl still look good to this day. The new Pokemon designs continue on the trajectory set by Generation 3, though Generation 4 notably raises the stakes of what its legendary Pokemon are capable of. For instance, legendary Pokemon Arceus is – no joke – said to be the creator of the universe. It almost makes it silly to think that the player could tame such a hyperbolic beast by just throwing a Pokeball at it.

Generation 5: Pokemon Black / White, Pokemon Black 2 / White 2

With four fully realized Pokemon games and two remakes under their belts, it’s possible that Game Freak was afraid the Pokemon franchise would become stale. Even though Diamond and Pearl enjoyed greater international success than any of the Generation 3 games, the series had not been immune to criticism either. As a result, one month after Nintendo debuted the new Nintendo 3DS at E3, Game Freak formally announced Pokemon Black and White for the Nintendo DS. As the first generation of games to share the same platform as a previous generation (Pokemon Crystal was Gameboy Color exclusive), the developers took unexpected strides to switch up the formula for arguably the most divisive games in the entire franchise.

Pokemon_Gen5

Although Pokemon Black and White featured few significant changes to the core gameplay, battle sequences went much faster and featured fluidly animated Pokemon for the first time in the series. Triple battles were added to the games, but similar to Generation 3’s double battles, they went largely ignored throughout the main adventure. However, Pokemon Black and White’s most controversial decision was to exclude all previous generations of Pokemon throughout the main adventure. To compensate, 156 new Pokemon were designed for Black and White, setting the record for the most Pokemon introduced in a single game. Though complaints about Pokemon designs had been around since Generation 3, Generation 5 saw even greater criticism for the alien and unusual designs of the new monsters. Regardless, the developers hoped to recapture a sense of awe and wonder by featuring only new Pokemon, and in that sense, Black and White succeed.

That said, Black and White demonstrated a surprising new direction for the series by targeting an older audience and expanding its story elements. For example, whereas past Pokemon protagonists were designed to be around 12 years old, Black and White’s cast are established as being into their teenage years. The mysterious antagonist N also asks the question that some consider an elephant in the room for the series: is Pokemon battling a form of animal cruelty? In truth, the story elements never go as deep as they could have, but this also means the game is still accessible for kids. Either way, it’s an unexpected but welcome change for the series to mature a bit to match its increasingly older demographic.

Generation 6: Pokemon X / Y, Pokemon Omega Ruby / Alpha Sapphire

We finally arrive at the current generation of Pokemon titles, and anyone who’s kept track of the evolution of the series should spot something new about Pokemon X and Y right off the bat: it’s in 3D! Gone are the 2D sprites from before, as we now have 3D characters, 3D Pokemon, and even 360-degree movement to an extent. As both the first Pokemon game on the new Nintendo 3DS and the follow-up to the experimental Pokemon Black and White, it would be easy to assume that X and Y bring about the major evolution that fans of the series have been asking for all these years. However, though X and Y contain a slew of new features that appeal to modern gamers, Generation 6 instead capitalizes on nostalgia for Generation 1 more than any game in the series (Fire Red and Leaf Green notwithstanding).pokemon x y

The most widely advertised addition to Pokemon X and Y are mega evolutions, which give temporary super-powerful forms to classic Pokemon such as Charizard and Mewtwo. While this means the count for new Pokemon sits at a comparatively paltry 72 monsters, it’s a sensible approach when considering that we’re at over 700 Pokemon now. Other notable additions to the series include the new “Fairy” type that changes up many encounters, along with horde battles against 5 Pokemon at once. Players can also enable online modes that allow them to interact with other trainers in real time, which can be as significant as challenging someone to a battle or as minor as giving a friend a bonus that increases their Pokemons’ stats. The basic Pokemon gameplay does remain the same for the most part, but all of these changes make the games feel like true generational advancements for the series.

pokemon xAs for the main adventure itself, everything feels very familiar. Generation 1 starters are given to players early in the games, and even generation 1 legendary Pokemon appear with the original Gameboy music mixed into their battle themes. There’s nothing wrong with any of this, of course, but it does feel decidedly safe after Generation 5. This is not meant to undermine the giant world of X and Y, of course, as the games feature loads of secrets, minigames, and other side attractions to keep players entertained. X and Y also feel a little bizarre due to being remarkably easier than previous titles, especially given how the heavy emphasis on nostalgia seems to appeal to longtime fans of the games. Of course, given how Pokemon has always appealed to kids, this was perhaps the result of feedback from Generation 5’s generally increased difficulty levels.

What’s next for Pokemon?

As you can clearly see by making it this far, Pokemon has come a long way over the last 20 years. There are so many things we weren’t able to talk about with each game, which just goes to show how much there is to see and do whenever a new Pokemon game comes out. While we don’t know what the next entry in the main series will be, we do know that the original Generation 1 titles will be returning to the 3DS Virtual Console this February, marking the first official rerelease Pokemon has ever seen. We also know that spinoffs are aplenty, including the announcement of the virtual-reality Pokemon GO for smartphones. Many fans speculate that we’ll be seeing a Pokemon Z that acts as a special edition of X and Y, but only time will tell at this point.

How Do Common Items Become Rare Collectibles?

We all know the story of Action Comics #1. Superman’s debut comic has become one of the most sought after rare collectibles of all time, selling for millions whenever it’s available for auction. If you want to have any chance of affording one, you have to basically be Nicholas Cage. Do you know how much Action Comics #1 went for when it came out in 1938? Ten cents. One Dime. Approximately the price of two candy bars. Many holy grail collectibles were once incredibly common items, but how exactly do these now rare collectibles become so insanely valuable? Well, it really boils down to basic economics, but there’s a little more to it than that.

demand-vs-supply11: Diminished Supply

It’s the first thing you learn in Economics 101, but it’s oftentimes easy to forget. The primary reason collectibles become rare is because there’s a ton of demand for an item and not enough of it to go around.

Many vintage collectibles – such as comic books, trading cards, etc. – were originally made to be disposable. After all, these were generally made for kids, so the goal was to get out as many copies as possible for as cheap as possible. So, sure, in 1939, you’d have no trouble finding Batman’s first appearance in Detective Comics #27. Nowadays, however, with so many copies of the comic lost or destroyed through time, you’d only be able to “easily” find one if you had unlimited money.

super mario bros

This isn’t an issue that plagues modern collectibles quite as much, since, you know, they’re usually a little sturdier because they’re made to collect (what a novel concept, right?). Still, the more disposable a beloved pop culture item is, the higher likelihood that it might be worth more as the supply dwindles decades later.

2: Condition and packaging

Earlier this year, we talked about a sealed copy of Super Mario Bros. selling for over $30,000 on eBay. To put this into perspective for non-gamers, Super Mario Bros. is one of the best selling and most easily obtainable video games ever made. You can get it digitally on Nintendo consoles for $5, and even a loose copy for the original Nintendo Entertainment System doesn’t run for more than $10 or $20. In other words, this is not a valuable cartridge by any means. That said, a sealed, mint condition box? Even if the cartridge isn’t valuable, a completely sealed box absolutely is. While we all know an item is more valuable the better condition it’s in, sometimes an item’s condition is the value.

3: Nostalgia and cultural importance

surgeIn 2014, people were spending anywhere from $50 to $100 on cans of Surge. Yes, as in the carbonated sugary beverage from the 90’s. In terms of collectibility, cans of soda usually rank pretty low on the list. I mean, you can’t exactly preserve the liquid in perfect condition, and it’s not as though it ages like fine wine.

Yet despite Surge technically being a lousy collectible, it has one very important thing going for it: nostalgia. From its packaging to its name, Surge is practically the embodiment of 90’s culture. Now, if there’s one thing we know to be true, it’s that people love nostalgia. And one of the best ways to retain those nostalgic memories is through collecting. If something happens to be super rare and in mint condition, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be super valuable. It’s us, the collectors, who make these items valuable through our desire for them. The hysteria over Surge goes to show how far people are willing to go to recapture a piece of their past lost in time, even if it is just a can of soda.

Consider Hot Wheels… the nostalgia of playing with those cars is incredibly strong with collectors. Compare that to Beanie Babies, who were at the center of an often hostile collecting universe. They were cute, nicely designed toys, but not a lot of great memories attached to those stuffies, unfortunately. Even the rare, pristine copies are not as valuable as people wish.

1976 Apple Computer Sells Close to $1 Million… What Did We Toss Out?

Values of rarities are only perceived figures and are subjective to the beholder. Only two people have to have this perception, the buyer and the seller. At a recent auction, both parties were apparently pleased at the price for a 1976 Apple computer at almost a million bucks.

vintage computerBonham’s groundbreaking History of Science Auction held in New York in 2015. Offered were 288 lots including items ranging from 18th-century pocket globes to the ilk of 20th-century tech.

The star of the show was a motherboard retaining a label reading, “Apple Computer 1 / Palo Alto, Ca. Copyright 1976. Let’s face it, not a pretty object, but historically very significant in the digital world. The bottom line is when the bidding ended and the dust settled, Apple 1 sold for an astonishing $905,000.

 Will Vintage Computers/ Video Games be the Next Antique?

There is a definite surge in the collecting of old computer equipment and early video games, as well as video game consoles. MAkes you wonder what he threw out in the 1970s. Tossing out obsolete items is nothing new, and actually part of the puzzle that makes something collectible. We connect with different sorts of things depending on our place in time. Generally people who used early computers and played video games early on couldn’t wait to get the latest and rid of the passé’ clunkers. As time moves on, some of us relate to these objects from the ‘good old days” and become enamored with our previously disregarded Atari or Commodore 64 (fill in the blank).

A laptop Bill Clinton used to send an email to astronaut John Glenn in 1998 sold for $60,000. This is only the beginning, there will be more auction records set as time goes on.

Can a Discarded Computer Save Your Life?

In an unrelated recent story, the short answer is, yes. Just a few years ago a Siberian man was at a local dump scavenging for scrap metal to sell, at the same time a large bear was also scavenging for food. As their paths crossed and the bear attacked him. The unnamed man picked up an old discarded computer and bashed the bear on the head with it, sending the tech-challenged bear fleeing.

It’s never a good idea to hoard, but if you have something unique, yet outdated in the tech world, think twice before making it become landfill. If you are not lucky enough to watch it go up in value, you still may be able to ward off a hungry bear or two with it.