Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Flea-Market Find: Philips Videopac Games

A few weeks ago I published a post on a flea-market I visited in the tiny town of Reuver, right up against the German border and a fifteen minute train ride from my home in Roermond. Last weekend this same flea-market returned and even though our last visit yielded my CD-i player and games, there wasn't much else there to get excited about. The main issue was that it was more of the same, literally. The same people had the same stalls in the same places selling the same second hand bits-and-bobs they didn't sell the last time I was there. I've never seen anything quite like it in all my years of visiting flea markets and immediately felt cheated out of my €2 entry fee.

Personally I dislike flea-market entry fees that don't go to charity. In my opinion the sellers and organisers should be responsible for any overheads the market incurs, not the 'customers'. When I do have to pay I always feel obliged to buy at least a little something, and this flea-market was certainly no different, with myself buying an loose copy of Dragon Ball Z Budokai 3 as well as a complete copy of Dragon Ball Z Budokai Tenkaichi for the Playstation 2 for €3.50 each. This may seem quite steep to some, but I had a DBZ itch that needed scratching and this seemed to be the cheapest way to relieve myself.

Following the DBZ purchases I stumbled upon a selection of cartridges of peculiar shape and size for a console I had never heard of; the Philips Videopac. There were ten cartridges, all numbered with strange handles on the top, and all very dirty. I had my girlfriend use her command over the Dutch language to probe for information. The seller, a middle-aged woman, told my girlfriend that they had had these games knocking around for years now, which was evident from the thick layer of caked on dust on each game. She went on to say that the games had remained forgotten after the cosnole broke down some years ago and that they were almost 'giving them away' at €1 a piece, along with a few loose manuals.

Not wanting the leave the flea-market without at least one retro-gaming trinket I handed over the cash. As I did so the lady's partner appeared, grabbed three more of the mysterious games, complete with boxes and manuals, wanting only an extra €3 for them all. Of course I rustled up some change and took the games off his hands.

 Upon getting home I grabbed my cyber-surfboard and rode some internet waves in search of some information on my purchase. The answer isn't as mysterious as I had thought with the Philips Videopac simply being the European version of the American Magnavox Odyssey 2. Each game, some of which are obvious rip-offs of other popular games, sports a number showing their place in an exclusively developed, first party series. I suppose that's what happens when 90% of my retro gaming knowledge comes from the US.

While I can't play any of the Videopac games I bought, I've still learnt a little bit more about the origins of the games industry as it existed a decade before I was born. I'll hold onto these games for now as they have a very 70's charm to them, and who knows, the next flea-market might have the console to play them with.

3 comments:

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  2. Nice find, I used to find a lot of Odyssey 2 games in the early 2000`s but they are almost impossible to find today. One of my friends even found an Odyssey 1 complete in box.

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    1. I've still not tracked down a Videopac to play these on, although I haven't been looking so hard lately. I haven't seen any of the games since moving back to the UK though.

      Thanks for the comment!

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