Another awesome collection from the US, this one includes some really interesting individual games and a bunch of really cool arcade machines including one of my favourites APB. Make sure you read the interview we gave, Andrew makes some really interesting points regarding retro game collecting.
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Q and A with Andrew Gumpert
When did you become interested in video games and what was the first video game you played?
Andrew: I’ve always been a gamer, since I was a child of about 5. At least that’s as far back as I can remember. Our first system that we owned in the house was a Laser 128 which was an Apple ][ clone. It played everything from the Apple library. My sisters and I usually played Pacman, tapper, Ghostbusters, Movie Monster (Basically an old school game like Rampage but you could use such classics like Godzilla, the Blob, Mothra, Stay Puffed, etc.) Grandma’s house, the Tink-Tonk series, Double Dare, and a whole lot more. We had 2 full disk holders that were overflowing with the 5.25 inch floppies which probably amounted to about 100 games, give or take.
What was the first games console or computer you owned and how old were you?
Andrew: While I never really found myself to be a collector in my younger years, I realized later that I did have a staggering collection of games and memorabilia. My friends would always stop by and be amazed at how much I still had after so many years. My secret was, I NEVER traded anything in. I made that mistake a few times in my younger years and always regretted it then I would take the time to collect it all back. It’s hard to say why I began collecting, and in all honesty I think it’s simply because I had such good times playing the games I’ve collected and it’s nice to be able to go back and play them whenever I want, or to introduce them to my nieces and nephews who are all little gamers now too 😉
What got you into collecting videogames, computers and consoles?
Andrew: I actually don’t buy many retro games. I’d say 90 percent of the games I have were bought back when they came out. My grandfather would give me $20 every other weekend when I went to stay with my dad and the first place I’d go would be to Electronics Boutique (EBgames I think they are nowdays) and buy a used game. Then I’d run up and spend the rest of my dough on cashews from the candy shop and in the arcade. If I do buy any games, I normally catch them on Ebay. You can get some really great deals. Most of the flea markets and garage sales around here check prices online so it’s hard to get a decent price. One great way to pick up some awesome titles is to buy “lots” of games. I recently bought a lot of original XBOX games that included Fable, Jaws Unleashed, Unreal Championship 1 & 2, Godzilla Melee, Midtown Madness 3, NFS Underground, NHL Hits, Metal Arms, and about 6 more games for $22 and that included shipping. Now Godzilla, Jaws, and Midtown Madness are all worth at least $10 – $15 each. If I was so inclined I could sell 1 or 2 of the games and keep the other 13 for absolutely free. That’s the way to do it. I just refuse to sell any of them at the moment.
Where do you source most of your retro purchases from (ebay, flea markets etc) ?
Andrew: Also, I run the e-commerce stores for a large movie distribution company and long ago my boss bought out a large video game store and put them all in storage then forgot about them. Fast forward 15 years and I find 3 skids full of retro games in the back of a tractor trailer. I sell them online on Ebay and Amazon for him, but when I come across special items I’ll buy them off him for my collection. I found some really good PS1 games in there like FF VII, Persona, Ogre Battle, Wild Arms, Tales of Destiny, FF Tactics, etc.
What is your most prized retrogaming possession and how much did it cost you?
Andrew: As far as my most prized possession, it’s pretty hard to say. I have most of the really rare games for every system. I have Hagane and Earthbound boxed and in great condition for SNES, the full Shining Series and other games like Panzer Dragoon Saga and Bomberman for Saturn, Bubble Bobble 2 and Dragon Fighter for the NES. For Genesis I have classics like Musha, Splatterhouse, Castlevania, Warsong, Timekillers, and Mutant League Hockey all boxed. My N64 collection is ill, including things like Clayfighter Sculptors Cut, a fully boxed near mint Starfox with the original rumble pack and batteries, sealed Space Station Silicon Valley, Sealed Daikatana, sealed 007 1 & 2 and perfect dark. I even have some of the Genesis Blockbuster Game Factory carts which I hear are pretty rare. The list goes on and on.
I guess the most expensive things I have are the arcade machines. Some of the ones I’ve built ranged from $500 – $2500. My favorite is the dead Tempest cabinet I rescued then converted to MAME. It plays every system from Atari 2600 to PS1 and N64. I have the full romsets for all of the included systems. The arcade gives me the full experience because I can play any system I want without having to hook anything up, it’s ready to go when I am. Filled with a 5.1 surround sound stereo with subs, you can’t really ask for much more. I actually have a picture of it on my desk at work in a frame. My girlfriend is not amused.
What is your favourite hardware manufacturer (Sega, Nintendo, Atari Commodore etc.) ?
Andrew: My favorite hardware manufacturer is probably Sega. I have little to support this decision except that whenever I hook up anything made by Sega, it works. And it works well. In my experience Sega has made some of the most reliable systems ever, followed closely by Nintendo. Collecting for CD systems kind of sucks because someday that laser is gonna go. The likelihood of you finding a replacement laser for a decent price is low.
What is your favourite console or computer?
Andrew: I don’t have a favorite console currently. I play everything. Just played FF XIV ARR earlier along with some Starcraft 2. Last night I played Joust and Burgertime on the arcade. A few days back I started a new Wind Waker character on the Gamecube with my stepson. That’s an impossible question for me.
The burning house scenario: which collection would you save first?
Andrew: Burning house OMG!!! If it came down to me charging blindly into my flaming (hopefully properly insured) home and I could only grab what I could carry, I would be in a world of hurt. As shallow as it sounds, anything that’s properly emulated or has been backed up by the masses would probably get left to fight the flames. I undoubtedly couldn’t drag any of my arcade machines out of the house… which would be a damn shame. I’d probably start grabbing magazines, strategy guides, posters, and other things that have yet to be uploaded into our digital world. It would be a shame to see some of the lesser documented items completely disappear.
The desert island scenario: which one console and game would you take?
Andrew: So… My rocketship crash lands on a desert island and I only brought one system and one game with me… Another piss poor scenario in my life. I ONLY get 1 game and 1 console… you’re a sick man my friend. I don’t know if this counts, but I would choose an arcade machine with a single dedicated game. I’d be torn to choose between a few games. Joust or Burger Time would be at the top of my list, followed closely by Donkey Kong, the original arcade Mario Bros., Frogger, or Gauntlet. Perhaps a few other classics. It would be a long and excruciating decision. I’d choose an arcade game because no matter how long you play them, you will probably never master them. I’ve put in more hours on just those games alone than probably all my systems combined. You can’t go wrong with the classics. When it comes down to sheer gameplay and skill, those are the ultimate test. As an afterthought, I’d probably take Donkey Kong in case I was ever found so I could beat shit down Billy Mitchell’s leg into his shoe @ Fun Spot and harass him mercilessly.
Where do you want to go now with the collection?
Andrew: Where will I go now with my collection? As hard as it is for me to say, I may start selling off portions of my collection. I don’t have time to hook and unhook systems as often anymore and I can play 3/4ths of it on my arcade machines. If/when I do start selling, the games that I will be keeping will be the ones that are not emulated properly. Xbox, Saturn, etc. Mainly CD games. I feel a bit like a dragon sitting on my golden hoard. I no longer hook up the older systems because I just fire up the MAME cab if I want to play them. It’s infinitely easier. I feel like when I sell most of my cartridges, there might actually be kids out there that want to play them, instead of just sitting them on the shelf to look boss. With the advancement of emulation, I feel as though I don’t need shelves full of games anymore. I can keep all of my favorite games and consoles on a 32 GB flash drive now. I don’t miss the nostalgia of blowing in my NES carts lol. I definitely don’t miss having my 3 hour game erupt into a mess of skewed graphics and digits. The only thing I will miss is the original controllers. I’ll have to start converting them all to USB.The
Have you any tips for budding retro games collectors?
Andrew: Tips for budding collectors? Well, it’s sad to say but right now is a terrible time to begin “collecting”. The fact that it became “cool” to collect retro video games has driven prices through the roof. Even people at yard sales and flee markets tend to be checking the prices of their items online. I myself never really collected per se. I bought the games I liked and just amassed them over the years. You can still find some really awesome deals on Ebay once in a while, you just have to keep your eyes open. Trying to buy the “rare” games is a waste of time, mainly because they are overpriced and many of them aren’t even good games. I’d rather have 100 awesome NES games for a few dollars a piece than have a Stadium Events wrapped in plastic on my shelf. Not to say it isn’t awesome to have a $500 game hanging out here and there for people to ogle, but it’s not really worth the endeavor because eventually they will become worthless as you can see happened with other things like sports cards, Magic Cards, Beanie Babies and the like. The best thing to do is buy games that YOU like to play. I know a guy that has thousands of dollars in a collection he started a few years ago. Long story short, I wouldn’t want to play 3/4 of what he has because they suck. Wait a few years and you will be able to get your hands on games for much more reasonable prices.