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Old Computer Game Covers - Collectible, Or Just Nostalgia?

Soulskill posted more than 6 years ago | from the trip-down-read-only-memory-lane dept.

Classic Games (Games) 152

zentechno writes "While cleaning out some very old boxes in a long-untouched closet, I discovered my first supply of PC games, some of which came out when 386s were new. While there's almost zero use for these, I still think the cover art is quite cool. I found the original Zork, its sequels, Enchanter, and Sorcerer from InfoCom, Star Trek: 'The Kobayashi Alternative' from Simon & Schuster, Pool of Radiance and Eye of the Beholder from SSI, Loom by Lucas Games, Nuclear War from New World, Annals of Rome and FireZone from PSS, Sidewinder from EA, and Defender of the Crown from Mindscape, to name many. I loved these games, and wonder if there's any sort of serious collector's market out there as exists for vinyl album art — or is it just a personal thing?" I know I'll always hang on to my copies of Star Control II and Think Quick! from when I was a wee PC gamer. What's still rattling around in your closet?

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sim game boxes (2, Interesting)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 6 years ago | (#23536033)

I still use the boxes that originally held sim farm, sim ant, sim life and sim city for storage - though I don't have all the contents any more. I used to really enjoy all that came with a game- the nice box, the manuals, etc.

Re:sim game boxes (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23536199)

What's the difference between an old black mama and an elephant? About two pounds.

Re:sim game boxes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23538405)

Personally I'm happy that I've got full version copy of Robomaze II along with the manual, especially since you can't download it.

Ogre! (5, Insightful)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 6 years ago | (#23536055)

I've still got my original C64 Ogre box. Complete with rulebook, backstory, and even the radiation badge. Although the radiation dots have long since maxed out.

They just don't go out of their way to add cool stuff to games like this today, AFAIK. Like an actual working radiation detector.

Re:Ogre! (4, Insightful)

hitmark (640295) | more than 6 years ago | (#23536519)

not gonna happen. it cost to much.

also, the future of gaming is probably steam and similar. just look at games via xbox live or the ps3 equivalent.

still, this reminds me of when i bought a b-17 fight sim for amiga 500. it came with a microprose sweater, a history book about the b-17, and i think two manuals. one that covered everything for the game in detail, and one that simply held the hotkeys and interface guides.

all this for a game that came on 5 (iirc) 3,5" diskettes...

last fight sim i bought didnt even come with a hotkey list printed. i had to print the pdf myself.

Re:Ogre! (2, Insightful)

kkwst2 (992504) | more than 6 years ago | (#23536783)

Yeah, Steam certainly does it's job of getting me to pay closer to full price for games. Usually I would wait a few months and order the games significantly cheaper online, usually waiting for the $20-$30. However, the "now" factor of Steam has suckered me into paying close to full price for several games. I generally could care less about the packaging. The really nice thing about Steam is that i don't have to worry about losing the disk/package to reinstall it. I'm willing to pay a couple extra bucks for that.

Re:Ogre! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23537165)

And what happens when ten years from now you get a desire to play that game you bought on steam? Will you be able to? Probably not

I still have games from +25 years ago that I sometimes play. I don't trust Steam to be around 25 years from now.

Re:Ogre! (1)

Nathrael (1251426) | more than 6 years ago | (#23537815)

I still have games from +25 years ago that I sometimes play. I don't trust Steam to be around 25 years from now.
Well, many CD-ROMs/DVDs burnt now won't be around in 25 years either; they are not as resistant as data storm ammunition is. And if you can preserve games you bought on Steam, and Steam goes offline, you could still just apply no-steam cracks (which probably would even be legal then).

Re:Ogre! (5, Insightful)

Z34107 (925136) | more than 6 years ago | (#23537975)

You may not trust the steam servers to be running in 25+ years, but the steam program lets you back up any and all of your games. You tell it which ones you want to back up, whether you're backing them up to CD, DVD, or a network share, and it will compress and burn them for you. When the steam servers die, boot up your steam client and restore the games. Run them in "offline mode."

If that doesn't work for whatever reason, you can always apply one of the many no-steam/no-CD cracks they have out there. Before steam, I would never have purchased a "digital download" copy of a game; I want my box and CD. But, steam saves me gas (or shipping), isn't run by some fly-by-night company, gives me the all-important instant gratification, and makes it ridiculously simple to back games up.

Other than your steam username and password, there's no DRM, either. Install the games on as many computers as you want, as many times as you want. (Of course, multiple users can't log into the same steam account at the same time.) No CD checking, no Starforce - I wouldn't buy Bioshock, for example, anywhere except on steam.

The only problem is that there's no secondary market - there's effectively no way for you to sell steam games you've purchased; somebody in another discussion on slashdot brought up the "right of first sale" problem. So, if you like selling used games back to Gamestop, then avoid steam.

But, all the games that I've had 25+ years ago (well, OK, 10-15) like Might and Magic III, IV, and V have all since decayed. Some of the floppies just plain wore out being boxed up on a shelf for so long; I had to pkzip the installed game onto a couple dozen floppies and move it off my 486 to get a "backup." Good thing I still had the manuals, too - finding manual passwords is an even more invasive form of DRM in my opinion, though MicroProse handled them better than most.

Re:Ogre! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23536793)

A lot of companies did it, as a method of encouraging sales on platforms where piracy was the norm and actually buying the game was considered kind of odd.

These days you barley get a printed manual.

Strangely enough, today there are quite a few gamers who are not in touch with "the scene" and more likely to buy games, even though the internet makes piracy so much easier.

I think that might be a reason why such things fell out of favor.

Re:Ogre! (1)

JoshJ (1009085) | more than 6 years ago | (#23536831)

There's still a few collectible things. Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete and Lunar 2: Eternal Blue Complete (PSX remakes of an older game) had all kinds of collectibles- especially Eternal Blue.

Re:Ogre! (1)

morari (1080535) | more than 6 years ago | (#23537119)

If the future of gaming is online distribution then it can count me out. Not having a physical copy while relying entirely on some company's server (both to download and install, as well as connect to authenticate and play) just screams lost games to me. I own plenty of games where the developers have since gone extinct. I sure would hate to have to try to play one of those without the actual disc, or worse, try to connect to a long since defunct authentication server.

Re:Ogre! (1)

brianosaurus (48471) | more than 6 years ago | (#23537501)

Costs too much? They can work it into the price, for a limited run (further increasing the perceived value of the bonus pack).

There's special editions of many of the big games. I saw a Halo 3 set with all sorts of extras. Sure they can't throw it into every box, but plenty of diehard fans will pay a little extra for something cool.

Steam, etc, are certainly the future for mass distribution, but there's always a market for something truly special. I wouldn't consider these special editions to be investments, but much like your old collection of cool video game boxes, the sentimental value is priceless.

Re:Ogre! (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 6 years ago | (#23537875)

true, special editions may have these kinds of things. but i think the original post was about including it with the general release.

Re:Ogre! (2, Funny)

Cruciform (42896) | more than 6 years ago | (#23536973)

and even the radiation badge. Although the radiation dots have long since maxed out.

Cool. If you adopt you can pass it on to your kids!

(I hate preview. I always click it and then go on to something else thinking I've submitted.)

Star Control II (1)

Ruie (30480) | more than 6 years ago | (#23537303)

Speaking of cool, Star Control II is now known as Masters of Ur-Quan - and it was made GPL in 2002. (The change of name was due to Star Control trademark being separated from the game).


It is quite enjoyable to play still, and whoever wrote it spent a good deal of effort making space travel details realistic: with star colors, marked habitable zones and even reasonable approximation to spaceflight dynamics.

Re:Ogre! (1)

Kal Zekdor (826142) | more than 6 years ago | (#23537687)

A few games still do this, in particular the "Collector's Edition" sets that are sometimes released in tandem with a normal edition. They're generally about $10 more, but are quite cool to have, usually.

For example, not too long ago, I got a Tabula Rasa Collector's Edition Set. It was packed with all kinds of goodies, like a full-color ~6x10 inch 120 page manual, labeled "AFS FIELD GUIDE", a bunch of maps of various in-game areas in a paper sleeve labeled "AFS CLASSIFIED", an authentic looking AFS Memo from a General British welcoming me to the AFS, a Tabula Rasa "Challenge Coin", a full-size poster, a Behind the Scenes DVD, a set of Tabula Rasa dog tags, and that's not even mentioning the in-game bonuses.

I believe someone already said this, but the reason most games don't come with that sort of thing is it's prohibitively expensive to have that kind of merchandise. Fortunately, a few companies still care about the gamer's experience, so decent collector's editions of some games are out there if you look for them, and are prepared to repay the extra $10 they spent putting cool stuff in the box.

Go to the source (4, Insightful)

ubrgeek (679399) | more than 6 years ago | (#23536087)

Just a quick search on ebay [ebay.com] shows that there's not a lot of interest. Don't know if you'd have luck at a comic con or something similar. While I agree that they're cool, I think that's mostly from a fond-memory kind of thing and not something that could be turned into something financially tangible. That and my wife would kill me if I offered to buy them ... ;)

Re:Go to the source (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23536365)

That and my wife would kill me if I offered to buy them ... ;)

She might be the female, but clearly you're the pussy.

Re:Go to the source (1)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 6 years ago | (#23537385)

I think the reason is that if a game has meaning to you it's probably because you played it and loved it. If you played it and loved it you probably still have it yourself.

Personally I loved FF7, but lost the game during a move (I think), so I paid dearly for it on eBay (compared to the RRP, at least). Even though I had downloaded a copy the box and manual etc still have a sentimental value that was worth extra to me.

Chances are most people who enjoyed the game would still have it, though.

If it's always around, it will never be a relic... (3, Interesting)

justfornow (558786) | more than 6 years ago | (#23536097)

I guess having all of the artwork available somehow (corporate digital archives, google image search, etc..) gives the feeling that these items will continue to be 'old' but never reach the rarity of 'relics'...

Re:If it's always around, it will never be a relic (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#23536989)

That hardly stops any other form of collectable art, a scan of a box cover is no more the box than a scan of an old magazine or dollar bill is the original magazine or dollar bill. The biggest downers are:

1. It's too new (a 70s chair would hardly ever net anything at an antique auction), and it's from the era when people had figured out collecting old scrap may become valuable.
2. I doubt many will care. A good 70s recording still sounds damn good. A 70s game looks like complete shit, sure if you got good memories attached to it it's nostalgia but I doubt you'll see new generations pick it up.

Most of the really valuable stuff seems to come from an old era where people would wonder WTF anyone would want this in 100 years. If they had known, they would have bubblewrapped mint editions of things instead of putting money in the bank.

Then people figured out there's business in doing that, and very many started doing it. I could understand the appeal when you found actual rarities, but "antiques" that have aged in a warehouse like a bottle of scotch just don't have any appeal to me.

It's not the album art. (2, Informative)

thereofone (1287878) | more than 6 years ago | (#23536109)

It is how many copies exist. For example, while the Rolling Stones' Thee Satanic Majesties Request has a great hologram cover, few mint UK mono copies exist.

Re:It's not the album art. (2)

ResidntGeek (772730) | more than 6 years ago | (#23536743)

No, it's also the album art. There are plenty of places you can buy frames and racks to display album art on your wall. Covers like Master of Puppets and Who's Next are why.

About games (1)

Amiralul (1164423) | more than 6 years ago | (#23536111)

I've recently get my hands on Star Trek: The Kobayashi Alternative and played it on DosBox emulator. It was fun, but it really didn't get me into it more than a few hours.

My first real game (chronologically) played on PC was, I think, Wolfestein3D and Dyna, quickly followd by Doom, Doom2, Quake, Quake2 and Quake3. I've stopped there. I have Quake4, but I didn't played it for more then 5 hours.
It's not that much about what game you play, I think there's more about the company and the atmosphere surrounding the game experience. (I was playing Quake and Doom in multiplayer, I found single player games really boring).

Re:About games (2, Interesting)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#23536337)

My first real computer game was the original Integer BASIC "Star Wars" game that came on cassette with the Apple ][ Standard that was my first personal computer. Sure, I'd played plenty of arcade games by then, but that was the first computer game. My brother and I just about wore out the paddle controllers.

I still have a couple of hundred 143 Kb Apple floppies in a box somewhere, I had one of the biggest collections of Apple software in the area at the time. Dunno if they're still any good or not.

Re:About games (1)

mikael (484) | more than 6 years ago | (#23536505)

I've still got my Atari 800 5.25" 180K floppy disks and floppy disk drives - they still work despite being placed int storage for 15+ years. If you have kept the disks in a dry cool place away from magnetic fields, they should still work.

BloodNet (2, Interesting)

bk_veggie (807894) | more than 6 years ago | (#23536113)

I recently found a copy of this MicroProse classic at a thrift, and it is now prominently displayed in my office. This game was very far ahead of its time (although almost impossible without a guide), and stands in my mind as one of the best PC games ever made, along with Willy Beamish, Loom, and Alone in the Dark.

hmm (4, Interesting)

nomadic (141991) | more than 6 years ago | (#23536117)

The funny thing about the old computer game box art was that it seemed that the worse the game's graphics the more vivid, detailed, and colorful the box art. Look at Akalabeth [wikipedia.org] or Seven Cities of Gold [wikipedia.org] .

Re:hmm (3, Interesting)

Spatial (1235392) | more than 6 years ago | (#23536333)

I think Project X for the Amiga had the most honest box-art ever: it's basically a screenshot [wikimedia.org] from the third level of the game. Yes, it's awesome.

Re:hmm (2, Interesting)

hitmark (640295) | more than 6 years ago | (#23536533)

the pre-3d graphics of the amiga was indeed impressive.

only now that the pc have a equal number of specialist chips inside it, can it be outperformed.

btw, i recall reading that the number of artists that work on a game have grown 10 times or more since those days, yet the number of programmers have stayed largely static.

Re:hmm (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23537007)

number of programmers have stayed largely static

You obviously haven't read the credits for a recent game :-)

Compare Grand Theft Auto 4 core+engine team (Rockstar North+Rage) with GTA 1 core team (2008 vs 1997) approximately:
Coders: 40 vs 16
Artists: 88 vs 18
Design: 28 vs 6

Not including publisher credits since they never bear any resemblance to reality anyway.

And that is nothing like the size of credits on an EA game, which would outpopulate a small country...

Artists and content producers have scaled faster than coders, but there are still big coding teams out there.

Re:hmm (1)

mikael (484) | more than 6 years ago | (#23536529)

Very true - look at the artwork for the Atari 2600 console - they had these amazing hand-painted composite artworks with human characters everywhere., yet you would be just be a 64-bix pixel block in the game.

Re:hmm (1)

Shipwack (684009) | more than 6 years ago | (#23537797)

Here's a collection of old 2600 box art... Who among us doesn't have fond memories of "Tim Curry's Magic Board"? Fun From Yesterday [mightygodking.com]

Re:hmm (1)

Chris Pimlott (16212) | more than 6 years ago | (#23536941)

The funny thing about the old computer game box art was that it seemed that the worse the game's graphics the more vivid, detailed, and colorful the box art.
And misleading. My brother and I wasted so much time trying to put on an unobtainable suit of armor in the original King's Quest simply because the cover art showed a character wearing it [mobygames.com] !

Compilations (4, Informative)

owlman17 (871857) | more than 6 years ago | (#23536145)

You didn't say in what condition they're in. Mint/Near-mint? Good, Fair? Anyway, to give you an idea, a brand-new (presumably M/NM) copy of Masterpieces of Infocom [amazon.com] can cost up to almost $300. I'm not sure how much the boxes alone would cost though. Would be nice if the original manuals, collectibles, floppies were included. (Floppies might still work.) Compilations like Ultimate Might and Magic, Ultima Collection (I have them) fetch $30-60. I don't plan on selling the boxes. Ah, the good old days.

Re:Compilations (1)

Megane (129182) | more than 6 years ago | (#23536381)

Wow. I have all four versions of the Treasures boxes complete (I and II, floppy and CD), and it looks like Masterpieces has the few missing games like LGoP that weren't on either of those.

Re:Compilations (2, Interesting)

fyrie (604735) | more than 6 years ago | (#23536589)

Right now there is a sealed Starcross in original UFO box on Ebay that is currently at $611 with a day left to go. However, opened infocom games often go for quite a bit if all of the feelies are still included. Zork Trilogy (with the Zorkmid coin) often goes for over $250 in used condition. The games the OP have are not so rare, but I'd think he could expect $30 - $75 each if not a little more depending on random factors.

Vintage gaming is a thriving collectors scene.

Star Control 2 (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 6 years ago | (#23536171)

i regularly play super melee via running sc2 through dosbox. a lot of other abandonware games i have, but at night i either fire up age of conan, or super melee in star control 2 these days.

Re:Star Control 2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23537651)

You should know that Star Control II has been released under an open source license, and its great fan community has ported it to all major operating systems!

Google "The Ur-Quan Masters".

Re:Star Control 2 (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538547)

i know. i prefer the original pc version.

Re:Star Control 2 (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 6 years ago | (#23537887)

http://sc2.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net]
It needs some command lines to make it use the PC menu and sounds, but it's much better than using the old binaries in dosbox. Supermelee works with other humans over network, and you can change the default random seed for the galaxy creation to play a "new" game.

It's personal (5, Insightful)

EightBits (61345) | more than 6 years ago | (#23536177)

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but it's personal. At least for now. You'll have to wait until your grandchildren are in college to even be anywhere near that kind of value.

As a previous post says, it's how rare it is that counts. Basically, if you can still easily buy these games right now (and you can on Ebay for instance, with boxes intact even) then there will be little to no intrinsic value to these items.

Re:It's personal (1)

grikdog (697841) | more than 6 years ago | (#23536307)

Value is decided by auction, not appraisal.

Maybe (1)

ChromeAeonium (1026952) | more than 6 years ago | (#23536187)

For console games, I know there's a market for the old/rare, not too sure about PC, but I'd assume there's at least some demand, at least for certain titles. I know old cardboard boxes get rarer as time passes because most people have thrown there's away, so there is a chance that they're worth something, but worth likely differs from title to title; I don't think any generalizations can be made for them as a whole. For stuff like the Star Trek and D&D games, you might find a market outside the general realm of games because of what they're based on, not that they're games.

Re:Maybe (1)

Megane (129182) | more than 6 years ago | (#23536349)

Indeed, there is a decent demand for boxes to cartridge games. Maybe it's because people were younger when they played those, as compared to computer games (PC, C64, etc.), maybe it's because it was just so much easier to make a PC game, so there are more of them and it's harder to conceive getting a "complete" collection, or maybe it's just because they were much more likely to get thrown away.

Also, Nintendo's production controls made a big difference. By preventing any serious overstocks, most NES games actually got opened, so shrinkwrapped games are a lot rarer than with pre-crash systems, and the prices collectors are willing to pay for a little bit of crinkly plastic show it.

Synonyms (4, Funny)

xafan (836020) | more than 6 years ago | (#23536193)

Collectible, Or Just Nostalgia?
There's a difference?

Re:Synonyms (1)

audunr (906697) | more than 6 years ago | (#23536403)

You know, nostalgia is just another word for extremly selective memory.

they are garbage (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23536201)

recycle and/or throw away.

Betrayal At Krondor (1)

blackholepcs (773728) | more than 6 years ago | (#23536215)

I'll always have my Betrayal at Krondor. In the box, with all the original contents. First RPG I ever played, and still my favorite game of all time. Still have SW : Dark Forces in pretty much mint condition as well.

what I miss from old games (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 6 years ago | (#23536237)

is the extra little props they sometimes tossed in the box. The Ultima series was good for this. What's some of the more interesting props people have seen way back when?

Re:what I miss from old games (1)

Surye (580125) | more than 6 years ago | (#23537137)

Limited editions of games still have this occasionally. World In Conflict came with a piece of the Berlin wall. Pre-orders do this too, like the Bioshock Big Daddy figurine.

I collect them. (5, Informative)

snarfies (115214) | more than 6 years ago | (#23536247)

I have a computer game box collection from my Commodore 64 days. Go back in time 10 or so years - a website called lemon64.com was just starting up and they were putting box covers online. Turned out I owned some rarities and alternate versions of boxes they already had scans of, so I scanned what I had and my scans are still in use there (see http://www.lemon64.com/?mainurl=http%3A//www.lemon64.com/games/details.php%3FID%3D2309%26coverID%3D1370 [lemon64.com] - that box is sitting on my bookshelf right now).

I consider my boxes to be interesting and nostalgic. Even if they aren't worth any money, I consider them to be important cultural artifacts - after all, was not my entire generation the first to be raised with video games? Most of the games has been preserved through emulation, but the boxes aren't so easily replicated.

Not quite sequels (1)

vapspwi (634069) | more than 6 years ago | (#23536315)

Technically, the sequels to Zork were Zork II and Zork III (and others later). The Enchanter games (Enchanter, Sorcerer, Spellbreaker) were a different series. JRjr

Re:Not quite sequels (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23536423)

It really depends on what you mean by a sequel. They were produced later, by the same company, set in the same world.

I seem to remember that the invisiclues for Enchanter included something like :

Q: Is Enchanter really Zork 4?
A: No.

Q: Will there be a sequel to Enchanter?
A: Yes - Zork 5.

I don't think they considered the distinction between sequel and not sequel to be terribly meaningful.

Wish there was a market... old boxes fantastic (1)

dtolman (688781) | more than 6 years ago | (#23536327)

You don't get packaging like Ancient Art of War (or Ancient Art of War at Sea) anymore. I've held onto all my old 80;s game boxes - my Gold Box collection. Simcity. Starflight (1 and 2), Gunship, Space Quest 1 & 2, Kings Quest 1-5, Zork 1 - 3 (now those are some good boxes!), plus tons I don't even remember anymore. Thank goodness I've got a ton of storage space...

Frame 'em (1)

Felix Da Rat (93827) | more than 6 years ago | (#23536335)

I found a bunch old old disks from my first computer (the boot floppy, WordStar, Zork, etc) and didn't know what to do with them, but didn't want to chuck 'em.

So I found some nice long narrow picture frame (one of those with space for a bunch of photos in a row) and mounted them in there. I managed to get two of them, and they look really good hanging over my desk and flanking the monitor. You might be able to do something similar with your box art. Visitors might get a kick out of seeing the old titles again.

Probably... (1)

Zerbey (15536) | more than 6 years ago | (#23536361)

I have a box of about 400 speccy games from the 80s and 90s that I kept in their original cases, I'm sure they're worth something but I'd never part with them. Whilst I imagine they'd sell on Ebay now, I'm sure they'll be worth much more money in a few decades.

I suspect they'll be part of my kid's inheritance.

I keep them all (1)

mikkl666 (1264656) | more than 6 years ago | (#23536373)

I'm in the middle of moving right now, and although my games collection might not be valuable in a monetary way, there are so many sweet memories attached that I decided to keep it, although some label it "waste of space". Those games were part of my childhood and I couldn't give (or throw) them away. Hell, I even play some of those now and then, like the classic LucasArts adventures and my all time favorite, System Shock 2.

My Atari 800 floppies still boot (1)

Franklin Brauner (1034220) | more than 6 years ago | (#23536383)

I collect Atari 800/400 systems (to my wife's frustration) and amazingly I'm still able to use the systems as if they were new. The floppy media still boots on all of the disks I pop in (Miner 2049'er anyone?). The cartridges, like Star Raiders, seem like they'll last as long as the 800 is able to turn on. Frankly, I'm amazed at the engineering in those systems. They were built like console games, to be used by kids on a carpeted living room floor and hooked up to a TV. They have no fan, the power supply is external to the unit, and they boot with instant on. Compare this to modern systems, which have built in obsolescence, and I think respect should be given to the designers of those early systems. Also, the fact that they still work perfectly means that they're not only collectible, but usable.

There seems to be a market (1)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 6 years ago | (#23536413)

There seems to be a collectors market for old infocom stuff at least: On ebay an Infocom Starcross game (Apple II version) still in shrinkwrap is currently at $611!!! I used to have one of these back in the day and I made a motorized flying toy out of it. Doh. http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=230253373809 [ebay.com]

The Effects of Emulation? (1)

himurabattousai (985656) | more than 6 years ago | (#23536419)

It has been argued that P2P helps increase music sales--both new and used--by introducing downloaders to bands they would not otherwise have the opportunity to listen to. I wonder if there's a similar situation for old video games, that the availability of good emulators for all the platforms of yesteryear will eventually create more demand for the original media and manuals. Obviously, emulator game images do not come with all the extra goodies that are packaged into a retail box. Buying the genuine article would not only provide the missing support materials, but would could, in theory, resolve any copyright issues presented by having a back-up image with no original.

The quality of emulators today presents a far superior option to using original media on original systems. That, too, could have an effect on the value of old media; mint or near mint becomes less rare if the media doesn't have to be used to get the game experience.

Old games rule! (1)

Timosch (1212482) | more than 6 years ago | (#23536443)

Remember Space Quest 2, anyone? Oh, and I still have some kind of 3D-Tetris for DOS...

Re:Old games rule! (1)

mikael (484) | more than 6 years ago | (#23536577)

Played Space Quest 2 - I always thought the use of 256-color quantization for the 256 VGA color mode gave games a richer appearance - forcing the artists to work with color rather than just detail.

Covers dont smell.. (2, Interesting)

atamagabakkaomae (1241604) | more than 6 years ago | (#23536521)

but so does the famous famous Leather Godesses of Phobos 'scratch and sniff' card [wikipedia.org] .
So, who's got one of these to sell (unscratched of course)?

As I recall... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23536583)

None of my games came with covers. I wonder why that might be?

Start a flickr stream! (1)

Cowboy Deejay (414387) | more than 6 years ago | (#23536607)

Seriously. I'm sure that there are bunches of folks who'd just love to see the artwork again (or for the first time.) You should share them.

AOL Floppy (2, Funny)

justinmikehunt (872382) | more than 6 years ago | (#23536609)

I have an AOL version 1.5 floppy disk. :-)

Hmm... (1)

sesshomaru (173381) | more than 6 years ago | (#23536625)

Temple of Apshai for Atari 800... on Tape
Temple of Apshai: Curse of Ra for Atari 800... on Tape
Crush Crumble and Chomp for Atari 800... on Tape
Ultima III: Exodus (gorgeous box art) [coverbrowser.com] for Atari 800... on Disk
Lot's of Infocom games for Atari 800... on Disk


Actually... too many to list, really... I'm a pack rat.

different cover versions, special edition, preorde (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23536639)

different cover versions, special edition, preorder (now called beta version)

Thexder (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 6 years ago | (#23536685)

I've got some classic early 90's boxes like Powermonger and Syndicate, but my oldest has to be Thexder.

I think the disk has long gone bad, but the box and stuff is still there.

Wonder if its worth anything on ebay?

I've still got game boxes (1)

Cowclops (630818) | more than 6 years ago | (#23536709)

I took a picture of them on my shelf. http://www.cowclops.net/boxes.jpg [cowclops.net]

I think the oddest one of them all is Sim Earth which was a pretty crappy game that no one really bought, but I still have the manual and disks and everything. You can tell I'm a LucasArts fan, haha.

Got the Zorkmid? (1)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | more than 6 years ago | (#23536749)

If you've got the Zorkmid that came with the Zork Trilogy package, it can fetch $75+ on eBay.

Re:Got the Zorkmid? (1)

fyrie (604735) | more than 6 years ago | (#23536853)

The last two complete Zork Trilogy boxes on ebay went for over $200. I was so happy when I found one on Amazon shops for $12 ;)

There's a pretty comprehensive gallery online (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23536777)

http://www.coverbrowser.com/covers/dos-games

Some of these are absolutely hilarious:
http://www.coverbrowser.com/image/dos-games/22-1.jpg

Sierra! (1)

Keruo (771880) | more than 6 years ago | (#23537033)

Old sierra games were worth buying just for their boxes!
The box-art was simply amazing.
Let alone the game content.

Got rid of a lot.... (1)

Brad1138 (590148) | more than 6 years ago | (#23537039)

I had dozens of old Amiga & early PC (Doom, original Wolfenstein etc.) game cases, I kept them for 10-20 years, but during a move I didn't have room for them anymore and threw them all away. Kinda wish I hadn't but what was I going to do with them?

The "official" answer: It Depends (5, Informative)

Trixter (9555) | more than 6 years ago | (#23537095)

As someone who runs a software collector's mailing list [oldskool.org] and a co-author of a collectible software grading scale [mobygames.com] , I think I'm qualified to report: It depends. The collectible value of software is pretty much the same as any other collectible:

  • Desirability (not the same as rarity)
  • Availability
  • Condition

The reason rarity != value is because, if nobody knows about it, nobody wants it. I own a fairly nice copy of Wibarm [mobygames.com] , and I believe I'm the only one left in the USA to own it. But since nobody has heard about it, and it's not part of some Infocom/Sierra/Lucasarts legacy, nobody would offer me more than $20 for it.

Condition is obviously important. Incomplete items are worth nearly nothing, and even if it's complete it should be in decent condition (ie. the box isn't crushed). If it's in mint condition (still shrinkwrapped), you are holding gold.

One exception to this is diskettes: For reasons I don't quite agree with, most collectors feel that the condition of the diskette media is not nearly as important as the other materials, mainly because most of the software has been cracked and available. I disagree, because without working originals, you can never be sure if the cracked versions are complete (and in my experience easily 15% of them are not).

The ebay market for collectible software started to dry up around 2005, but for a very long time it was a hotbed of collectible software buying and selling. You can still find some reasonable bargains (ie. an average of $20-$30 a title) but most of the time it still costs $200 for a Kilrathi Saga [mobygames.com] , or $1600 for an original Infocom Starcross Saucer [mobygames.com] .

almost zero use? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23537103)

I am still playing InfoCom... only yesterday played Enchanter 3 hours (Many thanks to the abandonware scene, by the way)
 

Worth Nothin, and . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23537127)

I'll take them off your hands if you pay the shipping.

Gortek and the microchips (1)

greywire (78262) | more than 6 years ago | (#23537207)

How about a copy of Gortek and the microchips, complete with 44 page book, 2 cassettes and a "badge" (a 3" sticker) proclaiming "I program with gortek".

This was C64 software to teach you to program.

Lead character in Sterling's "Holy Fire" . . . (1)

StefanJ (88986) | more than 6 years ago | (#23537211)

. . . was an elderly woman who collected the boxes of old computer games. This was in 2090 or so.

At one point she realizes how miserable she is, goes in for a radical rejuve treatment, and gives it all up.

tiny market (1)

BrianRagle (1016523) | more than 6 years ago | (#23537297)

I recently went into a game trader's store near my home. They have put a lot of effort into acquiring damn near every type of game console ever made and even large selections of games for each. I walked the aisles and would grin in nostalgia, but even with the games marked down to just a buck or two, felt no real need to pick anything up. Instead, I wandered over to the new console areas and bought some stuff for XBox and XBox 360 and a few computer titles.

Atari 2600 (1)

johnek (740814) | more than 6 years ago | (#23537319)

I have the box, instructions and cartridge for Pitfall! for the Atari 2600. I used to a have a number of Colecovision games including the original Donkey Kong. I'm going to go out to the garage now and see if I can find them ;)

A suggestion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23537353)

You can do what I did with those old game covers and cases and recycle them. It's not uncommon to see a jock with a packed trophy case or frat boys with stacks of beer bottles, but how many times do you see a wall covered in game box art? I've got about 15 years of PC games alone. I'm running out of space, actually.

For reference: http://i28.tinypic.com/5wxg5j.jpg [tinypic.com]

Large Artwork (1)

networkzombie (921324) | more than 6 years ago | (#23537389)

Some games came with larger samples of artwork. If they still did this I would buy them more often. Id still sells some posters, but they are more marketing material than artwork (Quake Wars). This one has the user's manual on the back. I had it framed for my computer room:
http://networkzombie.googlepages.com/IMG_1406.JPG [googlepages.com]
I remember buying the game in 1994.

anyone know an old space strategy game? (1)

hvm2hvm (1208954) | more than 6 years ago | (#23537395)

This is kind of offtopic but the discussions here reminded me of a game that I enjoyed a lot but only had it in shareware form. I can't remember the name but it was some kind of space strategy game. It had four races, a lot of ship types and upgrades. The ships when destroyed could be used to get back some of the resources. One race had everything in simple shapes (triangles?). I think it was a DOS only game.

Anyway, if anyone can remember it, or can point to me some place where I could find information I'll be grateful. And sorry for the offtopic post.

Re:anyone know an old space strategy game? (1)

hvm2hvm (1208954) | more than 6 years ago | (#23537761)

Nevermind, I think it's Star Command: Revolution. Now where to find such a thing?...

Or? (1)

mqduck (232646) | more than 6 years ago | (#23537447)

I fail to see the dichotomy between collectible and nostalgic.

80 s game artwork rox0rz (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23537567)

Pitfall was my favorite

Patriotic Women will have sex with you for this! [ebay.com]

Prefer to relive my childhood with magazines. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23537661)

Off the top of my head I have boxes with Time Machine and Sargon II(?) for the Apple II+; as well as some other "pre-Sierra" application manuals.

Most of my original CGA/EGA titles were already gameswapped years ago, and I'm on board with the greatest hits packages from Sierra and LucasArts, etc.

I'm actually more fond of my magazine collection, which has more practical value to generate the same feelings of nostalgia.

WOW... (1)

Excelcia (906188) | more than 6 years ago | (#23537667)

You actually bought all those game... like from a store?

Do I have to have played them? (1)

SwordFishData (1233916) | more than 6 years ago | (#23537683)

I've still got a copy of Where in the USA is Carmen Sandiego? in shrinkwrap, complete with a 1993 US Almanac in the box! Gotta love budgeting for games by the pound. God, I had good times playing Think Quick! on my dad's 8088 "laptop," one of the old NEC ones with a monochrome LCD screen that was about 4x7", I think it had a 20-meg hard drive. Anyone remember those?

Collectible vs Nostalgic (1)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 6 years ago | (#23537749)

It is collectible if you have a copy, and someone else wants it.

It is nostalgic if you have a copy and no one else wants it.

Not as impressive as some here... (1)

Shipwack (684009) | more than 6 years ago | (#23537883)

Probably my oldest and most cherished are my copies of Wizardry II, The Lost Admiral, Riders of Rohan, and B-1 Nuclear Bomber (by Avalon Hill, for the Atari 800). I have might still have some older stuff, but it's packed away. All seem fairly complete... though it looks as if I'm going to have to live til 2080 to capitalize from them...

frame 'em (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23537893)

i framed an old starflight floppy.

See: Arcade Games -or- how they will be collected (1)

AtariDatacenter (31657) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538009)

I think the current full-sized arcade game market is a very good indication of how PC games will be priced.

Rare does not mean much. A Solvalou cockpit recently sold on eBay for around $300. A totally awesome game, and totally rare in the US. But there isn't any demand for it.

Take another game that is ultra-common, like Pac-Man, Centipede, Defender. They command a good price, and it is because people want them.

So price of collectible games is more tied to demand than supply. And there are times when a low supply and a high demand intersect. Examples would be Major Havoc (good vector game), or Dragon's Lair (memorable laserdisc game). These may have their price influenced because of their unusual technologies, both in making them unique, and also making them break easier.

Then again, it isn't just about a unique feature. Time Traveler (laserdisc with 3d projection) was quite unique, is low on supply, but also low in demand.

Other factors that affect value will be cosmestic condition and completeness. These play fairly big in arcade games today. But then again, these games ARE their appearance, because of the space they take.

So, anyhow, if I had to sum it all up, I would predict that PC games would have value based on: demand (familiarity and likability), completeness, and condition. But it won't be until you're an old old man that these will have value.

VegetaFH1 (1)

VegetaFH1 (1294640) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538083)

HOly shit man, thats some classic stuff u got there, if u find any major collectors u will make a killing on it, really serious As for me, if anybody goes back long enough in the PC era, i have my very first "BBC Owl" when i was 1.5 years old man, still sitting in the attic, an no im not talking about the channel bbc.. im talkin the computer, the first REAL PC

Oh my goodness... (1)

larpon (974081) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538185)

What's still rattling around in your closet?


I just checked...

And it seems like a pair of very old boxer shorts was still rattling around...
They even tried to attack me, but I was lucky enough to close the door before they got to me...


Now careful /.ers, this FA could be a setup!

I never have a clue about the collectors market (1)

zakezuke (229119) | more than 6 years ago | (#23538291)

If I was sitting around in 1980 and wanted to buy games for their collector's value... I would go for the most popular one, or ones that showed innovation. At the time I would thought Space Invaders, Atlantis, Pitfall. Presently you can find most of these titles at a flee market.

The main problem I see is the fact that software is easy to copy. Presently you can download most of the 2600 games. I've seen huge collections of 8bit computer games.

It's not like a comic book at the time wasn't easy to copy. But honestly I never could grok the comic market either, or baseball cards.

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