London, United Kingdom: The Games Collector, a UK-based producer of both modern and retro gaming-related products is running a crowdfunding campaign to bring the music of Mel Croucher to the masses.
Who is Mel Croucher? Only the father of the British gaming industry. At a time when most computers were being used to calculate the compound interest on the revenue from a year’s worth of potato sales, Mel was selling his eclectic range of games for the ZX Spectrum through eye-catching adverts on the back pages of the popular computing magazines of the day.
What made Mel’s games particularly memorable (for those who do actually remember them) was that they often included audio tracks on the reverse side of the game cassette. From original compositions to hilarious parodies, there was something for everyone. Leider of the Pac told the tragic tale of Pacman’s lover, who wears the yellow character’s internal organs as a memento after witnessing his death in a car crash (yes, really). Put Cat Out Mother, It’s on Fire Again surprised no-one with its mention of a cat on fire, and Three Point One Four Two sounds vaguely familiar but none of us actually remember it.
Now The Games Collector has decided to inflict these sonic gems on anyone willing to part with a reasonable amount of their hard-earned wages, making the collection available on vinyl, CD and even a cassette tape for real fans of the era. In total there are five albums (two are in fact doubles) that make up Insπred: The Collective Works of Mel Croucher.
The sequel to Mel’s most famous game – Deus Ex Machina – featured a cast including Christopher Lee and Joaquim de Almeida, and one of the highlights of the collection is a real life ‘Evil Laugh Off’ between the two of them – almost but not quite justifying the asking price by itself.
The Games Collector Ltd is the result of decades of playing and creating games and the obsessive collecting of memorabilia by its founders. With a product line-up featuring exclusive, exquisite and highly desirable collectibles, the company aims to bring fans the items they long for, and maybe even a few they didn’t know they wanted!
Family members, friends or people around me sometimes ask me: “Why do you play so much games?” or “Aren’t games for young(er) kids?”. This is a question I find really difficult to answer. I don’t really like the question because you don’t always know what the opinion on games is of the other person. Some people even judge me because I collect games and not play them all. I do play the games I collect but the games I finished are the ones I’m interested in. I admit that I have played some games just to learn more about a certain genre or why are a certain series is so popular. But hey, now I’m already answering the question I asked myself in the title. Time to start explaining! And as usual, feel free to leave a comment with your story in the comment section down below. (This is going to be a multi-part series of articles. So, in this article I will explain why I collect games)
Why did I start collecting games?
Why do I collect games? It’s actually an end result of somethings that happened in my past. The first reason I started collecting video games is because of the fun trips I always took to garage sales as a child. I enjoyed seeing people selling the things they didn’t need anymore and with that money buy other stuff they could use. What was even more fun was selling the games I didn’t play anymore or wasn’t interested in anymore in order to buy some new and interesting games.
When I hear similar stories from people in other countries like America, I always hear stories of people reading Nintendo Power or any other form of media. But here in Belgium, the gaming market wasn’t that big back then. From what I can recall, there was a PC Gaming magazine that started in 1994, I would be one year old then. There was no magazine like Nintendo Power, there was [N]Gamer, that I had to wait for since it came from our neighbors, the Netherlands. My point is, that video games weren’t that big in Belgium compared to other parts of the world.
Talking about other people’s their stories, their first games are always something among the lines of Pokemon, DooM, Tetris or any similar big title. (Keep in mind, talking about my age group here. Early 20’s.) Yet, my first game wasn’t Pokémon. The earliest game I can remember is Pac-Man for the Gameboy. Where I couldn’t beat the first five levels. Yet, I adored playing it. Just seeing those little animations were adorable in my eyes.
How do I collect?
In the spring and summer time, I go to the nearest garage sale. I wake up pretty early to avoid that other collectors get to the interesting stuff before me. I save up some money to go snooping around. Most of the time, I go with my mother. It’s really fun to do since my mom collects certain plates that her grandmother had.
When she spots something, she always notifies me. She also learned me some tricks how to some games even cheaper. Since mostly last year, when a friend or a family member is on a garage sale, they call me to check if I’m interested in the games they find.
I think that most of my games come from garage sales. Here in Belgium, we don’t have a lot of stores that sell second hand games for old consoles. Game Mania, our video game store, sells games from previous generations but rarely older. Which is a shame really.
Another way that my collection grows are gifts from friends and family. When people clean up their attic, my family stops them from throwing away the games and the merchandise. This is something that makes me very happy. Receiving a bundle of games from somebody who didn’t need them anymore, it’s something that makes me happy. On Facebook, there is a group where people give away stuff for free. On occasion, there are games on there. My collection got bigger from that too.
Something that doesn’t happen a lot, but I do here and there is buying stuff for real cheap from stores. When something is on sale or when I find a big title for real cheap. I bought the BioShock trilogy for 20€. And I’m not regretting it at all. Oh, something I tend to do in game stores is looking for game bundles. When some games are sold together.
Something that really disappoints me in the current gaming market is that everything is going digital. When I don’t have a game box, cd, cartridge… I feel that I don’t really own the game in the first place.
Back in 2012, I made a YouTube video showing off my collection. I’m not going to link it here since it’s really out dated. My room has changed quite a lot since then and my collection has even grown. When I find the time, I might make an update video… But that won’t be for the near future.
Collecting and researching games is something I really enjoy. Going to garage sales with family and friends is something that you could wake me up for any day. The big reason why I collect is because I just enjoy playing games. Getting lost in fantasy worlds or getting a relaxing experience. Games were a big part of my childhood. Now-a-days, I play games to relax, to enjoy my free time.
But games have an even bigger influence on me. I listen to gaming music when I’m at work. I read books based on games. Most of the sites, channels, Twitter accounts… I follow are mostly always game related.
In any case, I would love to hear the stories of my fellow collectors around the world. Feel free to leave a comment in the comment section down below. I reply to them all. So, thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this look into my personal life. In the future I will write more parts to this series so, if you have suggestions … Feel free to contact me. In any case, have a great rest of your day.
So, in the last article of this series, I talked about my history with the DS and 3DS. So, I think that it’s now time to talk about my memories with the gameboy series. While I’m supposed to talk only about the Gameboy Advance, since it’s this month’s theme, the article wouldn’t be as long as it should be. That’s why I decided to write a whole article about my memories of all the Gameboy’s I got. That way you have an idea of my journey through the world of gaming, since I mostly only played on the gameboy. That and my hobby of writing was my childhood. So, prepare yourself for a personal story. Feel free to leave yours in the comments or your opinions on my story.
The first gameboy I played on wasn’t actually mine. It was my aunt’s. She only had Pac-Man and Tetris. Somehow my young mind didn’t need anything more. It were my first real encounters with gaming, but I was hooked. I used to play games like DuckHunt or Mario Bros. at my nephew’s place, but those moments were then far and few between.
One day, I was at my aunt’s place and I stopped playing since the back of the gameboy started to feel hot. A few moments after I put it down, the batteries actually exploded, damaging the gameboy heavily. That was a big shocker. I didn’t know what to do. My aunt wasn’t even mad, since it wasn’t my fault. It turned out that there was a flaw with the batteries we used, and it leaked battery acid into the system. Yeah.
That story was my earliest memory with a gameboy. A bit later, my aunt started to take me to her babysitting job. At that place, they also had a gameboy and more then one game. I remember it well, it were two girls, two sisters. While they were doing their girl things, I was allowed to play on the gameboy. My love grew and grew even stronger.
I already talked about how awesome my family is. When they saw that I was so much in love with the Gameboy, they actually got me a gameboy. Not only was it the latest model, they got it in my favorite color! To this day, I still own that very silver gameboy pocket. I was so happy, I had my own gameboy. I did jobs around the house to be able to buy new batteries for the gameboy. Then they got me rechargeable batteries, and my life was complete.
In my childhood, we had this tradition to go to the sea on holiday. Man, always to the same house. I used to look forward to it every single year. Sadly enough, the owners of the house sold it, and the tradition is over now.
But back then, they used to take me to garage sales. So, as a young kid, they asked me to wake up early in the morning in the summer holidays. I honestly didn’t care one bit. Since I was allowed to buy games.
My family didn’t want that I bought a lot of games, now-a-days that’s a very different story, since they were so expensive. A garage sale was such an easy solution. The best thing they did was that they let me roam the garage sales on my own with a notebook and a pen. They said that I could write down the games I wanted and then I had the difficult job to decide which one I wanted.
To this very day, I love to wake up early and go to a garage sale. Every year, I go to around 10 garage sales, if not more. I never go alone, since that would ruin part of the fun for me. The nostalgia of hunting down games, which were pretty rare on the garage sales I went too, is just amazing. The moment a family member bumped me in the arm and pointed to a game, I think they loved to see that sparkle in my eyes of happiness.
Typical me is typical
Garage sales memories are for another article. I was extremely attached to my games. I was always hard to pick games I had to sell. I had to sell a few games before I was allowed to buy new games. Now-a-days, I don’t have that restriction anymore.
One time I forgot my gameboy at a restaurant and I begged my mother to turn back and get it. I even begged that they called the restaurant so that nobody could pick up my gameboy and claim it.
Later, my gameboy pocket became my sister’s gameboy and I got a gameboy color. Then my sister got a purple gameboy advance and I got a silver gameboy advance SP, the one with the tattoo design on it.
To this very day, I still own most of the games I had back then. Of course, my library of games has grown quite a lot. If only I had the library I had back then, the nights I kept playing on my gameboy would be so much more fun. I remember that I had a lamp you needed to hit a button at the top in order to the lights go out. Since my room was at the end of a hallway, I could hear my parents and a simple slap on the lamp and putting the gameboy screen down, gave the illusion of my sleeping.
My parents knew that I was playing the gameboy under my sheets, but they were never able to catch my red handed. Okay, honestly, they were able a few times but usually, I was always able to dodge the bullet.
I could talk hours about my memories of the gameboy days, but I think I will end my article here. Since I have reached my usual length. I hope you enjoyed reading another special entry in the gameboy advance month. While it isn’t fully about the GBA, I hope you don’t mind that much.
Thanks again for reading and until another article. Also, don’t shit your pants but it’s Halloween.