Exposing Fraud And Deception In The Retro Video Game Market (Video)

Discussion in 'Retro & Arcade' started by Flamin Joe, Aug 24, 2021.

  1. hutts24

    hutts24 Member

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    Sorry Elvis, but I need to disagree with this statement. The terms 'original' and 'copy' do have meaning in terms of games. The difference between them matters not to people like you and me who are happy to purchase a new legal reproduction for the original system or download a copy of the ROM and launch it in an emulator for the purpose of experiencing the game, but to collectors it means a lot.

    Humans have this funny desire to possess things of rarity. Think of diamonds and wedding rings. Everybody knows the scarcity of diamonds. Let's for now ignore the fact that their scarcity has also been known to be manipulated. You can't do a lot with them, but as a naturally occurring substance they are fascinating and that scarcity creates an undeniable perception of value. A wife may interpret the value of the diamond in her wedding ring as a reflection of the value her husband ascribes to her. At least that's my philosophy.

    Similarly, a game collector perceives value in an 'original' copy of the game that a modern reproduction does not have. When the game was released, many copies were produced and sold and at some point they ceased to be produced. Those copies would be deemed 'original' and therefore 'special' compared to modern reproductions produced subsequently. The degree of 'specialty' is likely going to depend on how many were produced and how many of those were not destroyed, and the amount of time that elapsed between the end of original production and the advent of modern reproduction.

    Let's be clear that I'm talking about original media. Nevermind the original box - that'll add value too obviously. If the media is certified as the original produced in 1985 or whenever, then that media is distinguished from a modern reproduction and collectors will pay extra money 'just to have it'. They may not even use it, just like bottles of wine that sit in collector's cellars never consumed. Both the original game copies and the bottles of wine were produced in a limited quantity. Likewise, an investor is going pay extra money for an original game copy with the hope of selling it to such a collector.

    With that all said,
    - If the game IP owners aren't willing to reproduce a game that there is demand for, then that sucks, but there's not much we can do about that.
    - If investors are inflating the price and scarcity of games by purchasing them in order to sell for profit to other investors or crazy rich collectors, then that sucks, but there's not much we can do about that.
    - If players in the market e.g. auction houses or investors are artificially inflating the price of games, then that sucks and it is fraud and deception. This kind of behaviour should probably be illegal and punishable by death, but as wwww pointed out - nobody is forcing anybody to pay $2000000 dollars for Super Mario Bros or $3000 for Firefight. To what extent should law makers/law enforcers be responsible for preventing people from paying crazy prices for second hand items?

    It never hurts to be optimistic!
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2021
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  2. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    The "original" code, at a pedantic level, was the code the developer wrote on their dev kit.
    EVERYTHING after that is a copy.

    Beyond that, you can't tell. It's digital, and there's no way to prove what's original and what isn't. Ones and zeros are ones and zeros, checksums are checksums. How do you know if you've got a first generation copy or a thousandth? You don't. You can't prove any of it at the game level.

    That's nice, but again digital copies care not for human emotion.

    This is INFORMATION we're taking about. Who had the "original, rare!" first thought of "2+2=4"? You can't point to the original of that any better than you can point to the original of a commercial game that itself came from code on another system you'll never see, and with no way to verify how many copies deep yours is. It's a perfect copy of information representation.

    Yes, you can date the bit of plastic around it. You can date the box. You can grade these things for quality. But again, that's all bullshit around the game. You haven't done anything to prove that your copy of ordered ones and zeros were the first or the hundredth or any other number. You're paying for a very expensive lump of plastic and some convenient lies.

    You're confusing plastic housings and resin covered ROM chips that hold generations-old copies of what some developer made somewhere much further up the chain.

    None of the information you have is original, especially so if you've bought a commercial copy. If you want original, find the dev kit it was written on. You have a copy, whether it was a copy made 20 years ago, or a copy made last week.

    If you want to put market demand / value on the lump of plastic around it, I won't stop you. I think it's ludicrous, but I think a lot of expensive things are ludicrous. But ultimately what people do with their money is their own business.

    But don't be fooled into thinking you have any sort of "original information". If you understand the first thing about information science and information technology, that should be very clear. (As should the farce that are NFTs).

    Do you have a box, disk or ROM chip that was manufactured long ago? Sure. Is that "valuable"? Subjectively, maybe. Is the information on-board original? Shit no.
     
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  3. Vanne

    Vanne Member

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    Hmm…:Paranoid:
     
  4. badmofo

    badmofo Member

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    I don't think hutts is confusing anything, he's providing a reasonable explanation for why collecting video games is a thing and why someone might pay big bucks for them. No amount of elvis logic or derision will make hutts' point less valid - collectors are following their hearts, not their brains.

    Most of us here have agreed that dodgy dealings to manipulate the market is bad, but:

    If you want to put market demand / value on the lump of plastic around it, I won't stop you. I think it's ludicrous

    You must find almost all human behaviour ludicrous :)
     
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  5. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    Two different things going on here His argument was on the "original" nature of the information contained within rather than it being a "copy", which I countered.

    I repeat bluntly: collect whatever you want. Spend your money however your want. But be aware that the digitally encoded information contained within IS NOT original. Plastic boxes, resin coated CMOS ROM chips, cardboard boxes - yes these are all old and physical and limited as a first run manufacturing. The encoded information within is NOT original. Even the very first commercially released floppy or cartridge is always a copy, and no different to a ROM uploaded to archive.org or a 2021 Chinese pirate copy when it comes to the information within. Only the packaging and peripheral physical stuff around the encoded information is different.

    Truer words have never been spoken. Humans are utterly ludicrous most of the time, and their justification for ludicrous behaviour is just the tip of that iceberg.

    So once again, do what you want. Collect what you want. Spend your money how you want. But understand you still that you do not, and cannot possess "original information". It's just a container holding a copy that first existed on a dev kit or PC none of us will ever see.

    I have no problem with collectors. I have no problem with people paying high prices for old games (or any other arbitrary macguffin). Just understand the physics of what it is you're buying, and that it's merely a token. You cannot own original information, and you cannot own individual experience. But you sure as hell can own a lump of plastic and silicon that has a non original copy on information encoded within.

    I used to collect. I totally get it. But I also know what it was that I got from collecting, and it wasn't anything to do with the information encoded within, and all to do with the warm and fuzzies I got of seeing those boxes on a shelf, or plugging disks and cartridges into PC and consoles, and the physical feel-good that brought me as a nostalgic trigger. And yeah, I know just how ludicrous that was, even if it made me feel good at the time.

    [edit]

    And this discussion, as well as the recent PS4 emulator post, remind me I need to stay out of these sort of discussions and finally get off my arse and post that preservation mega thread, so I can stop whining about things and post about the things that currently do bring me joy.

    Sorry for the wall-o-text rants folks. I need to stay out of here until further info comes back from the FTC.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2021
  6. badmofo

    badmofo Member

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    I think you're under estimating the intelligence of your audience here elvis but I'm loving your passion as always :thumbup:
     
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  7. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    I don't think it's an intelligence thing. It's a metaphysics and philosophical thing. Human beings are bound to the physical world in every way, and we have a really, really difficult time grokking that information is intangible. So much so that our entire (made up) economy literally binds itself to the great lie that information is rare and valuable.

    Again, back to "humans are weird". And extra irony points for me, working in the field of information technology, knowing how silly it is to try and encapsulate information as a product. Double extra irony points for working in media and film for a big chunk of that, where selling information and wrapping it in shitty DRM and lying about it's rarity was necessary to earn money from the act of creativity itself. It's all the very antithesis of what I believe in, yet I'm bound to it to survive in this whacky capitalist world we've made up where tokens, pride, status, recognition and nostalgia are the pointless addictions we're trying to feed as a reason to justify all of this money changing hands.

    It's moments like these where I feel like the biggest hypocrite of them all. Trust me when I say I've considered just giving away every piece of my own substantial pile of gaming stuff (now at three rooms and a shed full) so many times over, but never find the guts to do it. For all of my misanthropy, I'm no better than the rest of my species.
     
  8. badmofo

    badmofo Member

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    Now you're getting into some interesting territory! Too far off topic to sustain I suspect. Rest assured though that you're not the only one who sustains their existence by playing a game that they find illogical and distasteful. But we didn't invent the game, all we can do IMO is play our parts as honestly and kindly as possible and enjoy the ride.
     
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  9. MUTMAN

    MUTMAN Member

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    Bower birds have no need for blue washing pegs, yet they covet them.
    who the fuck knows why, maybe even the bird doesnt fully understand its compulsions

    having said that, shotgun on one of those 26" cabs ;)
     
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  10. hutts24

    hutts24 Member

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    Ditto. Can do pickup!
     
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  11. MUTMAN

    MUTMAN Member

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    wait. what ? no delivery ?
    ummm, offer withdrawn until clarified
     
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  12. rireland

    rireland Member

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    a suggestion would be to donate to somewhere like a PCYC or children's hospital so some kids can appreciate gaming history. Unaware if loaning is an option and would need to be willing to lose it regardless.
     
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  13. cdtoaster

    cdtoaster Member

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    I can't tell who is more optimistic; me hoping to retire sooner than that or him thinking he'll be alive in 100 years
     
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  14. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    Last edited: Sep 21, 2021
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  15. MUTMAN

    MUTMAN Member

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    I'm waiting on the laughing turkish/greek guy being interviewed video to pop up :thumbup:
     
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  16. cdtoaster

    cdtoaster Member

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    it looks like there is a large crack in the plastic as well, at the bottom of the case.
     
  17. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    Which raises enormous questions around the integrity of whomever graded it a "9.4".
     
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  18. MUTMAN

    MUTMAN Member

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    nothing to see here. move along.
     
  19. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    I dunno. What if shows is that they're not lying low in spite of all the negativity.

    It's going to take either abject financial failure or a third party stepping in to stop their bullshit.
     
  20. MUTMAN

    MUTMAN Member

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    sarcasm missed :)

    i should have used a roll eyes or something. sorry

    edit. they are pricks indeed
     
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