Misc. Stuff: Apr.-June 1990

Game Archaeologists & Preservationists in 1990

Nowadays, with online games disappearing from servers and calls from gamers to preserve them, the spirit of video game archaeology and preservation is in the air.

However, we were not the first to style ourselves romantically as modern-day Indiana Joneses.  Even back in 1990, some retro "gamers" took up that leather mantle and collected & documented all that they could from the early electronic and pre-electronic games era.

The famous Dragon Quest composer Koichi Sugiyama, together with game designer Akihiko Miura and others, formed their own "TV Game Museum" (renting a room in the 1st floor of a condominium) to preserve the history of lesser-known videogame hardware and titles.  In this article they discuss their purpose as well as what it takes to track down interesting and historical game systems.
The founder and, naturally, president of this museum is Mr. Sugiyama.  Here he shares his extensive collection of Eastern and European board and table games, as well as historical items from the game of Backgammon (such as the Korean variant).  Mr. Sugiyama is, in fact, the honorary chairman of the Japanese Backgammon Society.
If Koichi Sugiyama weren't such a virulent nationalist, historical revisionist and atrocity-denier, I might respect his efforts more.

The life of Resolute Avatar, history hunter...

"The portrait of an excited collector. Once he hears that a unique game might be out there, he'll go to the ends of the Earth to find it."
"The 'junk shops' of Akihabara actually hold a veritable mountain of treasure."
"Used & antique shops in Kanda and Aoyama are the targets of his excavations.  Because prices are usually negotiated in-person, we can't print the prices... nor should we."
"He'll search through garbage cans, among other things, for lost treasure.  Such motivation is the key to success.
In the end, it is a battle of resources.  The amount of funding needed can be tough."

Famicom Tsushin and Beep! Mega Drive both did news stories on maniac collectors.
As you will see, they didn't go all that far from their offices to find some of them.

"All about game maniacs, folks who collect dozens, if not hundreds of arcade PCBs, would you believe it?"
Various people also collect company handouts & trade 'zines at industry shows, and those rare full sets of Game Freak magazine.
Yoichi Shibuya, professional gamer -- and Famitsu staff writer -- sits atop a throne made of PCBs
Hiromichi Nakamoto, development chief at Data East at the time, displays his extensive collection of obscure games and game systems.
Here he is now, the door behind him seemingly reflecting his inner surprise.

Beep! Mega Drive similarly covered alternative collectors, (two of whom were regular contributors to that mag)...

Shin-ichi Yamada, Sega lover,
Toshihiro Kubo, pinball table collector,
the late Takashi (AKA "Kizoku") Ikeda, rock star and Kamen Rider memorabilist,
the still-active-and-semi-famous Jun Miura, Buddhist Statue nutter,
and finally the mysterious "D Child" Nakano, adult video director (?)(!) and Rolling Stones fan.


Here are some funny comics containing some sometimes merciless humour. This series could be called "Why systems failed."
They run vertically, by the way.

I'll transcribe some of the text from each of them; they're just too good to miss.
1) "Hi, I'm Disk-Kun! I can store 3 times the data of a standard cartridge, and you can save your games too!". But by the time Disk-Kun arrived, bigger games with battery save data had come along, and sent the Famicom Disk System quickly off to Game Hell. Little does the world know, however, that the chip shortage has resurrected him. "Heh heh heh."  Chin up, Disk-Kun!  Who knows what lies in store for the Super Famicom...
2) (1st panel) "Hey, Yamada, I've got the latest Indy Jones video.  Let's watch it at your place!" "Um, I've got Betamax at my place..."
  "OK, then let's play Mario." "S... Sega Mark III is all I have."
  (2nd panel) (to MkIII & Beta player:) "I don't care if  any more software for you guys never comes out!  You are my treasure!!!"
  (4th panel) "Games? Ha! Why don't you guys try to grow up."  "...Yamada sure has changed..."
3) 1st caption: PC-Engine Super Grafx! Power Console! This is amazing!!!
   2nd pic: but not long after...
   4th pic: BIG, EXPENSIVE, UNCOOL!!! Do you even understand the market? We don't have that kind of money! If you buy everything, it comes to 110,000 yen!
4) Game Boy (in Japanese): "GEMU BOI DEeeSU!" Lynx (in English): "GOOOD MORNING TOKYO! MY NAME'S LYNX. I'M VERY CLEVER!". 2nd caption: Game Boy: "But Tetris is fun, right?" Lynx: "HAHAHA! Black & White graphics are lame, etc.etc..." 3rd caption: they continue to fight then the Lynx sudenly stops. 4th caption: Lynx's batteries are about to die.