By reading this, most likely you have a thing for vintage computing and gaming, as well as being the owner of either a small or big collection of vintage technology. But have you ever thought of why do you still keep that Gameboy in your drawer since your childhood? Why do you miss your little Speccy and can’t forgive yourself for giving it away back in time? Or why even collecting every single vintage technology gear you stumble across?
Well there is not a definite answer here, I will try to decode why we collect vintage computers, consoles, games, and why we collect some specific items. Sure we would like to have everything if possible, but this is cost ineffective to put it mildly and in short we choose our battles.
I strongly believe in the nostalgia factor, memories and especially good memories is the major reason for keeping or collecting all these items during the years, vintage computers, consoles, games etc. We are trying to reproduce our childhood more or less and of course the appreciation of historic technology. Periods of life and people change, but the memories will always be memories. Recreating that atmosphere of our childhood room, playing games with your siblings and friends makes us feel happy, isn’t it? Those were the times? Right?
I was wondering lately, why do I have this specific collection (so far), and why some other people collect of similar interests, different things? I came to the conclusion that there are a number of reasons like, the era that we were born, the items that we could afford, the items we came across in reality and by reading about them in magazines, the items that we were fortunate to buy, and of course the items we couldn’t afford to buy.
I am going to use a small example of myself, I was born in the early 80’s, having an older brother was a key factor to come across computers at a very young age. When I was about 6 years old, my parents bought him a Sinclair QL, I was watching all his moves, all the typing he was doing, and of course watching him playing games! I’ve copied everything in my head and when he was away I’ve managed at this age to remember everything he was doing, especially to load up games and play them, it is a distance memory but I remember that I had the joy of my life. Afterwards everything had to be back in place the way it was, imagine him finding out that his 6 year old brother is using his precious micro, he would have locked it up. (No worries, he never found out).
Having an older brother meant that I had his older friends as well, so I had the chance to see (because I wasn’t allowed to touch) up close a ZX Spectrum+, an Amstrad CPC 6128, a Commodore 64 and oh my god, an Amiga 500! I will never forget the moment that they loaded Moonwalker, they knew that I liked Michael Jackson, and they gave me the joystick to play, hearing the sample loop of BAD and moving the character around by myself… Well I was in heaven, dreaming of that moment for many days afterwards.
Then it was about my time of owning something of my own, and play without the fear of being caught. My next door friend bought a clone Atari 2600 with 160 preloaded games (I wasn’t aware at that age what a clone console was, just everyone was calling it “ATARI”), I wanted one for myself and my parents got me one as a Christmas present that year. Of course it was more fun to play together with my friends, but nevertheless having one on your own to play whenever you like, and take care of it was nice.
After that I remember me wanting and having various systems through the years, most notable wants was an Amstrad CPC 6128, a Nintendo NES and the super wow at the time, Amstrad MEGA PC 386sx with a Sega Mega Drive within the same desktop case. My first conscious buy was a Nintendo Game Boy bundle with Tetris (I had to choose between this and Atari Lynx), it was a lot of fun and bought about 10 games. In the meantime I was looking at classifieds for a used 8 bit computer since the 16 bit machines were out of reach. I settled with a borrowed C64 from a cousin that he was out of the city to serve his military service, in the meantime I was collecting money for the Amiga! After 1 and a half year of savings I had to give back the C64 but I was ready for the Amiga 500+. By the time I was ready to make my move, the Amiga 600 came out of nowhere and I bought this instead in a heartbeat. So many hours spent with this little machine, I could say that it defined my childhood, living the progress of technology with amazing graphics and sound.
Moving forward I jumped the PC wagon during the early 486 era with a compatible Intel 386 DX40, 1mb ram, CGA IBM monitor, 40mb hard disk and a 5.25 disk drive, alongside I had some consoles which I gave them all away for an Amiga CD32. During my PC days at the age of 15 I was working in the evenings after school at a computer shop installing Windows 95 and getting into computer repairs, I did this job for about 10 years before switching careers. Working and repairing computers for so long though, it’s not something that you can erase it.
As you can tell, when and where I was born, had a huge factor in me liking and collecting vintage computers and consoles today. For example I am collecting more of 8bit and 16bit computers and early PC’s instead of consoles, because this is what I was using more back in the day, of course that doesn’t mean that I do not like or collect consoles, but I am not that intrigued of a Super Nintendo with its cartridges in favor of a C64 breadbin with its cassettes and 5.25 disks. My aim is to collect almost one of each vintage computer and console (leaving the rest for other collectors ;)) and preserve them as much as possible to their factory state.
Everyone has a tale to tell regarding their early computer and video game days, I am pretty sure you have your own collection but have you ever reflected on why you choose to collect what you are collecting?
Looking forward to your comments and your own stories 🙂