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Thread: Rob Fulop's Actionauts is Ready!

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    Default Rob Fulop's Actionauts is Ready!

    For the low low price of...

    79.95 and 10.00 shipping

    Dude, serious?

    From my mailbox:

    "Actionauts is finally ready to ship! I'll hold a copy for you for two weeks ... after which I'll offer the remaining carts first come, first serve, until the 250 copies are gone. At this point, I have no plans of making any more carts. I will release the binary image later in the year so that people can play the game in emulation form."

    http://robfulop.com/newsite/secure/p...actionauts.htm



    Look, I'm as much as a classic gamer/homebrew enthusiast and the next guy here but there's a lot of other gaming goodness to be had for $90. Many professionally done homebrews have come in way under this (consider Adventure II)

    Will Atari collectors eat this up because it's Rob Fulop or stay away due to the overpriceage?

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    Quote Originally Posted by icbrkr View Post
    Will Atari collectors eat this up because it's Rob Fulop or stay away due to the overpriceage?
    Looks like opinions run nearly 50-50 over at the AtariAge thread where this was announced, discussed, debated, argued over, then closed:

    Rob Fulop asks for opinions on cart price

    In a way, he seems to be still stinging over Cubicolor (a game he released 50 carts for $50 and now goes for $50 buhmazillion dollars each). So he seems to be making sure he gets his fair share of the pie this time. The hardcore Atari collectors at AA seem to be split down the middle between "Gouging profiteer" and "Legendary respected programmer." Thread got ugly.
    Still Around...Still Gamin'...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sniderman View Post
    Looks like opinions run nearly 50-50 over at the AtariAge thread where this was announced, discussed, debated, argued over, then closed:

    Rob Fulop asks for opinions on cart price

    In a way, he seems to be still stinging over Cubicolor (a game he released 50 carts for $50 and now goes for $50 buhmazillion dollars each). So he seems to be making sure he gets his fair share of the pie this time. The hardcore Atari collectors at AA seem to be split down the middle between "Gouging profiteer" and "Legendary respected programmer." Thread got ugly.
    That is unfortunately more than I will pay for a classic game release, particularly one which will be available in a run of 250 copies and then released as a free binary shortly thereafter. While I get that he feels left out of the profiteering on Cubicolor, the reality is that it's partially because of his own flakiness. He talked for years about releasing more copies and just never bothered to do it. Sure, it may have had the effect of just depressing prices, but at least he could have easily profitted from some of the demand. In any event, I respect his contributions both in the classic era and after, but I just can't see spending $90 for something I will literally never play.

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    eh, I say let him ask what he wants. It's his work, and he should do with it as he pleases. If it's too much for you, don't buy it. He'll give the binary out later, so everyone will have their chance to play it, which is nice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sniderman View Post
    Looks like opinions run nearly 50-50 over at the AtariAge thread where this was announced, discussed, debated, argued over, then closed:

    Rob Fulop asks for opinions on cart price

    In a way, he seems to be still stinging over Cubicolor (a game he released 50 carts for $50 and now goes for $50 buhmazillion dollars each). So he seems to be making sure he gets his fair share of the pie this time. The hardcore Atari collectors at AA seem to be split down the middle between "Gouging profiteer" and "Legendary respected programmer." Thread got ugly.
    So he creates a poll on AA asking what his time is worth? (sigh) Another one of my childhood heroes shows up on the internets and discredits himself. IMO there is nothing wrong with what he is charging for the game, but that thread is ridiculous.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lord of the Files View Post
    So he creates a poll on AA asking what his time is worth? (sigh) Another one of my childhood heroes shows up on the internets and discredits himself. IMO there is nothing wrong with what he is charging for the game, but that thread is ridiculous.
    Sure, except that when he took "pre-order" reservations for the game, he promised it would be priced competitively with other homebrew releases. It's not like he collected money or anything, but all of us who expressed an interest expected a price point of maybe $50 plus shipping. $80 plus another $10 for shipping is overcharging not only for the game, but for the shipping as well. I just can't support this release and it's unfortunate because it really seemed like something neat that was actually going to be attainable for a good number of collectors at a fair price.

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    The whole pricing thing is sadly very misunderstood. I did start a discussion on AA as a way of doing current 'market research'. It became clear very quickly that there are two totally distinct markets for 2600 carts. I break them down into 'gamers' and 'collectors'. Actionauts would not appeal to a 'gamer' ... it is UNFINISHED ... it is UNPOLISHED ... and most of all .. it is from a time when I was shifting away from traditional games of the era, and exploring other forms of interactive entertainment. So in that context, even if I were to ask $29.95 .. I'd sell a bunch to a disappointed customer base who recieves much better play value from any of the better homebrews.


    So that's why I priced the game out of the 'gamer' range .. because the 'collectors' have a very different orientation .. they are older typically .. they have a lot of nostalgia and a deep connection to the 2600, and they don't have a problem in the slightest paying $100 for a game that 'they will never play' .. but one of historical interest to them.

    I do believe I've done people like yourself a service by pricing it out of your 'range' .. you would have been disappointed paying what you consider top dollar .. and recieving a game that doesn't deliver as much play value as a 'competitive' homebrew.

    ACTIONAUTS is NOT a homebrew .. it was an experiment which led me to the C64 which was appropriate for that time (1984). When you play the game in emulation, later this year, you will no doubt agree with me that you would not have been happy paying even standard 'homebrew prices' for the game. You are simply NOT the customer, it's that simple.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Fulop View Post
    So that's why I priced the game out of the 'gamer' range .. because the 'collectors' have a very different orientation .. they are older typically .. they have a lot of nostalgia and a deep connection to the 2600, and they don't have a problem in the slightest paying $100 for a game that 'they will never play' .. but one of historical interest to them.
    Rob, there are people who are gonna "get it" and people who are not. It's your work, you can charge whatever you want. Being both a gamer AND a collector I'm pretty much always a guaranteed customer anyway so I can speak objectively on this.

    Keep in mind there are entire forums dedicated to SEALED games. These are ALSO games that will never be played. I recently sold one of these games for $1100 (Chrono Trigger) which seems like an awful lot to pay for a game you're just going to put on a shelf... and there were hundreds of thousands of those made, originally. Asking what you're asking for a game produced in a fraction of that quantity should appeal nicely to collectors.

    Best of luck with the sales. How do I get one

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Fulop View Post
    The whole pricing thing is sadly very misunderstood. I did start a discussion on AA as a way of doing current 'market research'. It became clear very quickly that there are two totally distinct markets for 2600 carts. I break them down into 'gamers' and 'collectors'. Actionauts would not appeal to a 'gamer' ... it is UNFINISHED ... it is UNPOLISHED ... and most of all .. it is from a time when I was shifting away from traditional games of the era, and exploring other forms of interactive entertainment. So in that context, even if I were to ask $29.95 .. I'd sell a bunch to a disappointed customer base who recieves much better play value from any of the better homebrews.


    So that's why I priced the game out of the 'gamer' range .. because the 'collectors' have a very different orientation .. they are older typically .. they have a lot of nostalgia and a deep connection to the 2600, and they don't have a problem in the slightest paying $100 for a game that 'they will never play' .. but one of historical interest to them.

    I do believe I've done people like yourself a service by pricing it out of your 'range' .. you would have been disappointed paying what you consider top dollar .. and recieving a game that doesn't deliver as much play value as a 'competitive' homebrew.

    ACTIONAUTS is NOT a homebrew .. it was an experiment which led me to the C64 which was appropriate for that time (1984). When you play the game in emulation, later this year, you will no doubt agree with me that you would not have been happy paying even standard 'homebrew prices' for the game. You are simply NOT the customer, it's that simple.
    I don't really think there is any misunderstanding about pricing, nor do I think you understand that the collector's marlket for the 2600 is often the very same as the gamer's market. Many of us on this board and on Atari Age are both collector's and gamers. To wit, I have attended all but one CGE and bought one copy of just about every game that was released at the show for my collection. I never opened them, nor did I play them. I did it because I think they are neat collectibles and because I think it's good to support people who are providing a service to gamers who wanted to play these games as well as those of us who collect. The reality is, I've purchased a lot of crappy games and stuff that was less than professionally done and I would never resell them or attempt to profit from what I have collected, but I just feel it's important to keep this community alive by supporting these efforts.

    To be honest with you, I was not all that intrigued by Actionauts as a game and I doubt many others were either, but as someone who owns many of your games on a number of systems, I was more than happy to spend $50 for something that would essentially sit on my shelf unplayed for the next 30 years. I would have done so because I wanted to support your project and because it sounded like you were planning to do a professional job of packaging it and I felt this support would have resulted in your continuing to go through your archives to release other things.

    Going on Atari Age and telling people that you have some expectation that you should be paid more than an assistant manager at Jack in the Box for the time you spent on the game is a slap in the face to every other programmer who has ever released a homebrew or collectible game for the 2600 and earned next to nothing for it. My personal feeling is that I paid full price for a lot of your games over the years at a time when I was living off an allowance of $20 a month or earning minimum wage and I made my own sacrifices to buy your games. Truthfully, most of your games were great, but I'm pretty sure I have some PFMagic titles that were not worth the sacrifices I made to purchase them. Still, they all sit on my shelf because I appreciate your efforts.

    I consider myself to be a very fortunate person. I make a very good living doing something I love everyday and buying a $90 game is not going to make much impact on my discretionary income. Having said that, I'm not going to be exploited because someone who I look up to wants to appeal to my sense of nostalgia and overcharge for something that really isn't that amazing to begin with.

    In closing, I wish you luck with your sale, but I feel pretty confident that they're aren't 250 people who are willing to pay what you are asking for this product and frankly, I think you have generated quite a bit of ill will as a result of how this entire thing has been handled.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Fulop View Post
    it is UNFINISHED
    Lame. Finish it, then charge whatever you want.
    Bacon, Bacon, Bacon, IT'S BACON!!!!

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    Are people seriously complaining about the price of something that's going to be released for free? What is wrong with you people?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bojay1997 View Post
    I don't really think there is any misunderstanding about pricing, nor do I think you understand that the collector's marlket for the 2600 is often the very same as the gamer's market.
    Well, what I know is that if I sell one to you for $50, you would still be unhappy ... I took down the ordering system earlier because I ran out of the first 100 and I really don't think anybody who purchased one will be unhappy .. they know what they are buying and realize it's a bargain at that price. Your values are different, again .. this is NOT something "for you" ... no different than a guy who likes red meat isn't going to feel very satisfied sitting down for dinner in a vegetarian restaurant.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bojay1997 View Post

    Going on Atari Age and telling people that you have some expectation that you should be paid more than an assistant manager at Jack in the Box for the time you spent on the game is a slap in the face to every other programmer who has ever released a homebrew or collectible game for the 2600 and earned next to nothing for it.
    Not as much as the slap in the face that I received being told that the expectation of some people in this community is that I should donate my time ... did Chuck Jones give away his animation cells? This community occurs to me as a collector community, no different than comics, or any other similar community of enthusiasts who share a passion. People from the 'old school' whose work basically laid the foundation for the whole shebang are simply NOT going to be cool being told that the community expects them to keep providing entertainment without reasonable compensation. I have a great many 'old school' colleagues who are very aware of what has happened here ... who like me, have several unfinished original works lying around their desk drawers, some dating back as far as 35 years. And given the conversations I've had with these folks over the last few days, they have not the slightest interest in going through what I went through trying to offer something of interest. They just don't want to bother ... not if their work is going to be compared to a current "homebrew" ... which often is built entirely out of code and techniques that the 'old school' pioneered in the first place. The disassembled and commented code that I personally wrote is passed around like candy from one homebrew author to another ... teaching them how to make the 2600 sing and dance. And that's really cool .. I'm delighted actually. But to be told that I should not expect compensation for the time and effort I put in here, because these homebrew authors work for free, so should I .. is like a joke, okay? A bad one.

    Your attitude is the reason this community will die of neglect .. it's the reason people like me will never again bother to lift a finger doing something like this again. Sorry, it's just so. Nobody gave Chuck Jones a hard time when he put his animation cells on the market .. quite the opposite. The market set the high ticket price, not Mr. Jones. I know this because I purchased one .. and it was worth every one of the 50 $100 bills I paid. I did not decide that Cubicolor is worth $1000 .. people like you did. So please don't give me a hard time about a $79 price for a unique piece of 2600 history, ok? I guarantee that you would not be happy with the game were it offered to you at $29 ... and plenty of folks are delighted to pay $79 since they were expecting to pay a lot more. The people who harbor the ill will you speak of are NOT the people who are carrying the torch of this community forward .. quite the opposite. It's precisely those people who will insure that the decline in the interest level of this group continues to slowly spiral down, until eventually it fizzles out.
    Last edited by Rob Fulop; 04-13-2008 at 04:06 AM.

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    It's really a moot point that he's releasing the binary. Someone else would have dumped it anyway, and someone probably will even before he does it himself.

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    its amazing how lame and whiny people can be on the internet sometimes.

    how dare someone want a little compensation for sharing something otherwisely unknown to the community, and congratuations to the few whiners who most likely prevented several other works of the past to forever sit in obscurity for eternity.

    a winner is you!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bojay1997 View Post
    Sure, except that when he took "pre-order" reservations for the game, he promised it would be priced competitively with other homebrew releases. It's not like he collected money or anything, but all of us who expressed an interest expected a price point of maybe $50 plus shipping. $80 plus another $10 for shipping is overcharging not only for the game, but for the shipping as well. I just can't support this release and it's unfortunate because it really seemed like something neat that was actually going to be attainable for a good number of collectors at a fair price.
    This pretty much nails my opinion. Rob's fine in asking whatever he wants. Heck, if I was the original author to Combat and I tried to sell you a Combat cart for $100 but you'd just laugh at me and a similar conversation would ensue but it would be my right to do it.

    Also in agreement with Bojay's further comments, I have no problem supporting the community and have on very numerous occasions but the price point crosses from my 'I'll buy this and put it on the shelf and support a programmer' and into the 'for that sorta money, it had better do something very cool besides be an Atari 2600 game'. Example: Adventure II, $40, I still haven't played but bought to support the author. My MMC64 cart for my C64 and a Retro Replay cart, $90+ but actually does something to enhance my experience with my old school equipment. It's not a matter of a hit to my pocketbook because it won't affect me at all, it's just a matter of personal justification.

    I do commend him for releasing the binary at a later date though I'm not an emulator fan. I'd rather play on the original equipment.

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    Your initial post, and most recent, make it pretty clear that you fall squarely into the 'gamer' camp I've described. I find your attitude totally reasonable ... were I you ... i would find little reason to purchase Actionauts. It's quite similar to a carnivore wandering into a vegan cafe ... wrong choice of restaurant ... the diner is not going to be walking out feeling very"full" .. such is hardly the fault of the cafe.

    I just don't feel there is ANY need for the carnivore described above to huff and puff and complain that 'what's this? $19 for a weird salad and a puffed out baked potatoe??? And there's not even any MEAT, what a RIP OFF this place is' before storming out the door. The other patrons look at this guy, and just shrug. Because they are sitting there precisely because there is no meat, and because the salad is "weird".

    But in the case of Actionauts, so many "carnivores" harbor ill will because I'm not offering them something that they are used to eating, and at a much higher price than they are used to paying. I'm offering up a 'wierd salad' here .. and I find it pretty sad that people get upset and condeming simply because the menu I'm offering them is not filled with things they prefer to eat. At least in your case, you are reasonable enough ... it's obviously my right to set whatever price I want ... and given my customers (the vegetarians out here) are gobbling up the food ... there is no reason whatsover for any upset an either end of the table.

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    Isn't it possible that some of the people both here and on Atari Age are in fact vegetarians who simply think that this particular salad is overpriced?

    Your logic (both here and in the ultimately nasty AA thread) seems to imply that there are only two types of members on these forums: gamers (whose opinions mean nothing to you as they are not the intended audience) and collectors (who will definitely purchase this release). I think the demographics are more gray than that, and I do not think the ultimate litmus test of being "a collector" is whether or not people will shuck out $90 for this specific title.

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    Quote Originally Posted by digitalpress View Post
    Rob, there are people who are gonna "get it" and people who are not. It's your work, you can charge whatever you want. Being both a gamer AND a collector I'm pretty much always a guaranteed customer anyway so I can speak objectively on this.

    Keep in mind there are entire forums dedicated to SEALED games. These are ALSO games that will never be played. I recently sold one of these games for $1100 (Chrono Trigger) which seems like an awful lot to pay for a game you're just going to put on a shelf... and there were hundreds of thousands of those made, originally. Asking what you're asking for a game produced in a fraction of that quantity should appeal nicely to collectors.

    Best of luck with the sales. How do I get one
    I agree completely he can charge whatever he likes. I however would never have asked to reserve one if I had known the future price point. Separating the potential purchasers into two camps based solely on whether we want to pay $90 for an unfinished game is hardly fair to us. I feel that the value is not there to support that price. Your views differ - so be it.

    On that note, please pull my reservation - aldavis2 cox net is the address and let Joe have it since he fits your demographic.
    Al

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Fulop View Post
    Well, what I know is that if I sell one to you for $50, you would still be unhappy ... I took down the ordering system earlier because I ran out of the first 100 and I really don't think anybody who purchased one will be unhappy .. they know what they are buying and realize it's a bargain at that price. Your values are different, again .. this is NOT something "for you" ... no different than a guy who likes red meat isn't going to feel very satisfied sitting down for dinner in a vegetarian restaurant.



    Not as much as the slap in the face that I received being told that the expectation of some people in this community is that I should donate my time ... did Chuck Jones give away his animation cells? This community occurs to me as a collector community, no different than comics, or any other similar community of enthusiasts who share a passion. People from the 'old school' whose work basically laid the foundation for the whole shebang are simply NOT going to be cool being told that the community expects them to keep providing entertainment without reasonable compensation. I have a great many 'old school' colleagues who are very aware of what has happened here ... who like me, have several unfinished original works lying around their desk drawers, some dating back as far as 35 years. And given the conversations I've had with these folks over the last few days, they have not the slightest interest in going through what I went through trying to offer something of interest. They just don't want to bother ... not if their work is going to be compared to a current "homebrew" ... which often is built entirely out of code and techniques that the 'old school' pioneered in the first place. The disassembled and commented code that I personally wrote is passed around like candy from one homebrew author to another ... teaching them how to make the 2600 sing and dance. And that's really cool .. I'm delighted actually. But to be told that I should not expect compensation for the time and effort I put in here, because these homebrew authors work for free, so should I .. is like a joke, okay? A bad one.

    Your attitude is the reason this community will die of neglect .. it's the reason people like me will never again bother to lift a finger doing something like this again. Sorry, it's just so. Nobody gave Chuck Jones a hard time when he put his animation cells on the market .. quite the opposite. The market set the high ticket price, not Mr. Jones. I know this because I purchased one .. and it was worth every one of the 50 $100 bills I paid. I did not decide that Cubicolor is worth $1000 .. people like you did. So please don't give me a hard time about a $79 price for a unique piece of 2600 history, ok? I guarantee that you would not be happy with the game were it offered to you at $29 ... and plenty of folks are delighted to pay $79 since they were expecting to pay a lot more. The people who harbor the ill will you speak of are NOT the people who are carrying the torch of this community forward .. quite the opposite. It's precisely those people who will insure that the decline in the interest level of this group continues to slowly spiral down, until eventually it fizzles out.
    This is really what I find offensive about your posts both here and on Atari Age. You know nothing about me and what I will or will not spend for something, nor are you an expert on video game collectors. For the record, I have been a video game collector since 1987 and I have what most people would probably consider to be a large collection of high grade and rare items. This hobby has gone from being something that used to be supported by a few people having meetings and publishing photocopied newsletters to something that is on the verge of being as mainstream as comic or coin collecting. Whether or not your game sells will have absolutely no impact on the growth that this hobby will continue to enjoy.

    With regard to your game, I joined your interest list immediately after you opened it and had you sent me an e-mail the other day that said the item was $50 plus shipping instead of $80 plus shipping, I would have immediately made payment. I have regularly paid that amount for the other games that have been packaged by the folks at Atari Age and think that is a fair amount for a collectible as opposed to a game that I would actually play.

    Since you are really into food and animation analogies, please indulge me as I use some of my own. This situation is as if the chef at The Ivy opened a competing restaurant using an identical menu and ingredients, but decided he was going to charge double what The Ivy was charging for the same thing. Now, I'm all about supporting the little guy, so if the prices were at least within the same price range as The Ivy, I would probably pay a little more, just because I want to support the guy who is taking the risk and putting himself out there. I'm not going to pay double that amount, however, because I'm not responsible for the fact that the guy made some bad choices in life and is trying to make the fortune he missed out on during the 20 years he worked at The Ivy by gouging diners now.

    Similarly, if you collect animation, you know that not every piece is worth a fortune. In fact, there are lots of animation items that can be had for bargain prices despite the fact that they are "one of a kind" simply because the cartoon wasn't that good or the artist is less well known. Chuck Jones is an American icon. Even his worst work was better than the best work of most animators. You're a greatprogrammer and a very creative person, but Actionauts is not exactly an iconic title, nor is it something that many people even knew about prior to your initial communications about its existence a while back.

    Nobody is saying you should work for free. At $50 a cartridge, plus the $3 you are making on shipping after the various costs you listed, what's the net to you, maybe $30 after manufacturing costs? Sure, it's not a ton of money, but it's $6K you didn't have before. That's not exactly nothing.

    I know that you keep denying it, but this is all really about the fact that Cubicolor has gone for some astronomical prices and you didn't share in that profit. I'm sorry for that. Perhaps you should have held some copies back so you could have made a profit. From my perspective, Cubicolor is really worth little or nothing beyond sentimental value because most collectors won't sell theirs as they have the same attitude that I do about not collecting to profit. For the few people that have sold, you're right, they made 10X their money. The fact that Cubicolor was purportedly already manufactured before the 2600 market crashed probably helped that value, as did the fact that people at least knew what it was and you said you only had 50 copies. As such, I think of it more as a prototype rather than a release like Actionauts and I can see why it has value to people.

    Actionauts is more like one of those Franklin Mint plates. It is being manufactured specifically as a collectible and as such, I just don't see the value beyond the $50 I would ordinarily pay for one of these "professional" looking releases whether homebrew or just a finished prototype that has been discovered and released.

    In closing, I don't have any ill will toward you other than the fact that you are making assumptions about what it means to be a collector when you are not a video game collector and know nothing about this market or the people who make it up. I'm not upset about the fact that you are overcharging for this item, but I will not be able to support you in this endeavor. That's all I can say.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flack View Post
    Isn't it possible that some of the people both here and on Atari Age are in fact vegetarians who simply think that this particular salad is overpriced?

    Your logic (both here and in the ultimately nasty AA thread) seems to imply that there are only two types of members on these forums: gamers (whose opinions mean nothing to you as they are not the intended audience) and collectors (who will definitely purchase this release). I think the demographics are more gray than that, and I do not think the ultimate litmus test of being "a collector" is whether or not people will shuck out $90 for this specific title.
    Agreed. If you are a 'collector' and don't think what is being offered here is worth $79 to you, then PLEASE do me a favor and do not purchase it. The very last thing I want here is an unsatisfied customer. I can deal with a grumpy non-customer far better than a grumpy person who has forked over real money and is now unhappy. Everything I'm doing here is to avoid just this situation.

    That said, given I made a real effort to reserve copies for people who signed up awhile go, if you now decide that you don't wish to purchase a copy and you have reserved one, it is only polite to me and the person on top of the waiting list .. that you let me know so I can take you off the list. Such is respectful to both myself, and to another collector who feels differently about this issue than you do.

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