atari 2600 games
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It’s been ages since I’ve posted about my progress in video game collecting but money has been tight and there has been slim pickings at thrift stores anyways. It seems everything has gone up on eBay as well. However as I type this six emails have just come in on offers I made on six Atari games, and I got to tell you that the price was right for all six.
Putting collecting on hold isn’t that bad at all. It has forced me to get re-acquainted with games I already own including the ColecoVision I am restoring that I mentioned in an earlier post. It let me fix the Phoenix for Atari 2600 that a mystery animal had chosen to eat. But best of all it has allowed me to look forward to this coming weekend.
I recently read about a study about happiness where it was discovered that planning for a vacation rather than actually taking the vacation brought the most happiness and I believe it to be true. Planning my four day weekend has been a blast.
I’m going to the swapmeet for sure and I’ll be hitting up the thrift stores as well. The last part I need for the ColecoVision will arrive any day now and like I mentioned earlier I just won those six Atari 2600 games. There is going to be Pepsi and Pizza. But no PlayStation. Maybe I’ll Red Box Tron Legacy or stare at a campfire in my backyard and reflect on simpler times when a video game convention wasn’t necessary to announce the forth sequel in a series. Or maybe I’ll just sleep.
Two more days. T-Minus 48 hours and counting…
A few weeks ago I shared a video of a bunch of Atari 2600 games I picked up from a thrift store. One of those games was River Raid. This game in particular has special meaning to me. Back around 1989 here in Las Vegas at the Boulevard Mall I bought River Raid for Atari 2600. It was the only time I was able to buy an Atari 2600 game new in the box. Prior to that moment all of my Atari and ColecoVision games were bought at at a flea market. What I really wanted was Rampage, but they didn’t have it. I’m not sure why I settled for River Raid, but I did and looking back I’m glad I did.
It didn’t have the Activision screen shot label, but rather the blue re-printed label. This wasn’t the first time I had seen an Activision game with a blue label because I had seen and bought Ghost Busters with a blue label at that same flea market mentioned before.
River Raid in an incredible game. I’m not going to mention how the game works or any of that nonesense. The internet has plenty of reviews for the game. Almost all of them positive. Instead I wanted to share my label restoration project with you. As you can see this copy I got from the thrift store is in deplorable condition:
About 20% of the label is missing and what is left is dirty, scratched, and just ugly. As you can see I got it for 49 cents. Which isn’t a bad, especially for this game. Activision games are notorious for having “Actiplaque” which is a polite term to describe the bleed through of the original label glue. Its near impossible to find an Activision game that isn’t suffering from Actiplaque.
To restore this label I’d need a few examples of the label in great condition. This is almost an impossibility since scanners pretty much became affordable after Actiplaque started. I searched and searched but could not find a single imagine of the River Raid game in good condition. There were a few reasonable examples, but the would require massive clean up. So instead most of this label, especially the text would have to simply be recreated. With a scanned copy of a better looking River Raid I was able to sample the color of the label for what I believe is close enough. I then opened Corel 7 (circa 1997 – 14 year old software works great so why abandon it?) and created the dimensions of the label and filled in the background. I read that the text on the label is Futura with several different variations (Blx, Bold, Etc.) I just so happened to have Futura on my computer so this was easy.
Using a mask of a good scanned copy I over layed it on my virtual canvas and started retyping the text. The font wouldn’t always fit perfectly so I had to stretch and adjust it to get it as close as possible. Then finally I copied the screen shot over and cleaned up the black portion of the “tv”. The label looks great so I printed a sample just to compare its size and appearance.
I was so happy with the way the sample came out I decided to go ahead and print it on the glossy paper. Normally I’d use this as the last step, but since the test came otu great why wouldn’t I? Well, that was a big mistake. The black in my ink cartridge went out, so the label came out cherry red and the black around the screen shot was grey. To make matters worst, that was my last sheet of the glossy!
Instead of waiting around to get more glossy paper I decided I’d clean up the rest of the cartridge. I took the two shells and placed them in a plastic bag. I sprayed them heavily with WD-40. This is to help remove the glue that was left on the face of the cart. Then I used super fine sand paper to clean up the pins on the cart itself. Incidently the metal shielding still had finger prints on it from whoever originally placed the board into the cart some thirty years ago.
Looking at the spring loaded plastic pins in the cart reminded me of something interesting. Modern video game systems have moving parts because of the disc drive and HDD. But the games (discs) are solid with no moving parts. At the advent of video games, the cartridges had moving parts, but not so much the systems… interesting.
The shells soaked in the WD-40 for about 30 minutes before I cleaned them off with dish soap. The WD-40 serves another purpose to me other than removing label glue… it also creates an environment that guarantees the game is completely clean. Since WD-40 is oily it takes a good scrubbing to get the smell off. Once the smell is gone then you know that case is clean! After cleaning the pins and waiting for the case to dry I reassembled the game.
So anyways here is the label in the process of being attached. Its far easier to start with the edge then to do the face. I’m not sure why, it just is.
And the final product. There are a few imperfections… mostly from being tired when I cut it, but it wa good enough for me and better than the mess it was originally.