September 8, 2002
7:09 AM   Subscribe

A Scranton, PA man is auctioning 250,000 pieces of software mostly games from the 80s and early 90s composed of around 20,000 unique titles (2MB Excel Spreadsheet) for $250,000. He says its the worlds biggest collection and many games are rare and in demand. You will need trucks and warehouse. If anyone can afford to sit on these for a few decades untill the 80s generation gets old and nostalgic it could be the Schoyen of early computer gameing software.
posted by stbalbach (16 comments total)
That's insane. Who still has a working Colecovision or Apple II?? Anyone?? It'll be interesting to see if anyone places a bid.
posted by gwong at 7:15 AM on September 8, 2002

MeFi-ers should put our money together and bid. I'll start, I'll put in 20 bucks, (I'd put in more but I just got out of college and I'm looking for a job, any takers??)
posted by gwong at 7:16 AM on September 8, 2002

untill the 80s generation gets old and nostalgic

You mean more nostalgic?
posted by Miss Beth at 7:30 AM on September 8, 2002

"Who still has a working Colecovision or Apple II?"

I know a guy with a fully functioning Apple II+, which I've been attempting to relieve him of but we can never work out a time to do it.

Meanwhile I've got a working Commodore 128, a pair of Amigas and enough spare parts to build two or three more, a couple of Sun 3/50 workstations, and I'm willing to bet there's an XT or two in the garage. So, um, yeah. There's tons of 80s hardware around. In my case, it's slightly less nostalgia and somewhat more revenge: I couldn't have any of this crap as a kid, so I'm slowly accumulating it for less than a penny on the dollar as an adult.

"You will need trucks and warehouse."

Only if you're playing collector and care about boxes and the like. If you're just gathering the goods to actually enjoy then 250,000 5.25" floppies will fit comfortably along one wall of a room given appropriate storage furniture.
posted by majick at 7:48 AM on September 8, 2002

Who still has a working Colecovision or Apple II?

I have a working (last time I checked anyway) Apple II, which was a lovely little machine. It was also blessed with the best space invaders game ever.
posted by zygoticmynci at 7:53 AM on September 8, 2002

Well, the other thing to consider and not mentioned, magnetic disks degrade over time, especially if exposed to extreme temperatures. The diskettes may be riddled with errors by the time anyone is willing to pay big money for it. (Though $250k is pretty big money in my book as it is.)
posted by crunchland at 8:11 AM on September 8, 2002

if he burnt it all on a cd i might buy it for like $25
posted by ignu at 8:21 AM on September 8, 2002

crunchland I agree. But I think most of these games are on the net or CD collections for free if you actually want to play. Its like old wine collectors, the wine turns to vinegar but its still collectable.
posted by stbalbach at 8:22 AM on September 8, 2002

posted by mojohand at 8:52 AM on September 8, 2002

He's got Fountain of Dreams!!!
posted by howa2396 at 9:07 AM on September 8, 2002

magnetic disks degrade over time

It's not the disks that matter - it's the "mint" box and contents that collectors really want.

See, I spent a lot of time in the 80s and early 90s playing computer games on Apples, Commodores & Ataris. You know - the holy trinity of 8-bit computers.

Anyway - toward the late 90s I grew to LOVE my tattered collection of raged computer games. Sure, the disks were slow and degrading, but if I really wanted to play the games I could just download an number of excellent 8-bit emulators for my now speedy PC and browse through thousands of "roms" (disks images).

In the days before CD-ROMs software publishers actually put a great deal of effort into designing attractive packages and documentation. It wasn't uncommon for games to come with cloth maps and other trinkets - and the box art was often incredibly well done. All this was of course to make up on the limitations of the games themselves. With 16 colors (if you were lucky) and limited storage on 64k disks - you could bet that a good Role Playing Game (such as your Ultima's or SSI's Gold Box Games) would be packed with various books and maps for you to refer to as you play the game -- and this is what collectors really want.

Luckily I've broken away from the game hoarding - moving 3 times in the past 2 years has caused me to cull my collection down to what will fit into just one medium size box. I have my original games - the games my parents bought me off the store shelf "back in the day" - but almost everything I collected from ebay and off the net for nostalgia purposes has been resold - or in some cases taken back to the thrift store I found it at.

Looking back on my "collection" I kind of scratch my head and wonder just what I was thinking. What an incredibly geeky thing to be in too. Oh well - at least it's not action figures.

But seriously - this collection gives me a woody - if only I had the money, time, space and lack of outside life.
posted by wfrgms at 9:39 AM on September 8, 2002

his way of figuring his price is pretty wacked. zork 1 retailed for $40, so i'll charge double even though zork has been rereleased in different packages that retailed for $20. i suppose it is his auction, he can do what the market will allow.
he also has a lot duplicates of the same versions of titles in his collection. (he also does seem to have all the different formats of a program).
i personally can think of someone in the Philippines who might have more then this guy...
posted by the aloha at 9:44 AM on September 8, 2002

If he burnt it all onto one CD it'd make a bad drink coaster is more like it.
posted by Eyegore at 10:04 AM on September 8, 2002

That's neat, but the problem with buying such a huge lot is that the seller is still auctioning vintage software titles, presumably from the same warehouse. How do you know he's not just going to cherry-pick all the good stuff?
posted by MegoSteve at 11:27 AM on September 8, 2002

It would be cool if someone purchased all of this to make a legitimate ROM sharing program much like the folks at Console Classix.
posted by asterisk at 9:51 PM on September 8, 2002

Who still has a working Colecovision or Apple II??

I've got a ][+ and a //e which still run fine. If anybody needs disk drives, drive controller cards or any other parts - I've got tons of old pre-Mac Apple hardware hanging around!
posted by RevGreg at 2:50 PM on September 9, 2002

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