A Strange Letter
by Sean Kelly
So maybe we're a little late in offering a World of
Atari report, but we took a little time off from the fanzine to finish-up the latest
Collector's Guide. At any rate, we thought our readers deserved a report from the Digital
Press point of view
Have you ever attended a collector's meeting in your area? There are several groups of collectors across the country that get together on a regular or irregular basis. If you've been to such a meeting, multiply that by about 20, add-in some vendors, a live auction, and put yourself in Las Vegas and you have World of Atari. If you've never been to a collector's meeting lemme do my best to describe what you missed.
Picture a large conference room with tables or "aisles" running up and down. On both sides of each of the three aisles were vendors selling anything and everything from games to memorabilia to t-shirts. Some booths were larger than others and some booths were more "professional" than others. Some were selling stuff and a couple were just showing off stuff. There was even a booth that did nothing but sell raffle tickets with the grand prize being a cocktail arcade Asteroids machine and all proceeds going to the local Salvation Army. Vendors ranged from the "seasoned veterans" such as Best Electronics and B&C Computervisions to the group of "kids" with boxes and boxes of stuff they had found at thrift stores and the like.
Scattered along the sides of the room were arcade machines. While I didn't walk around counting them, there were probably 15-20 machines. They were all classic machines with some being more classic than others as the very first arcade game made was there - Computer Space. There was also an original Pong machine.
Across the hall from the main conference room was a smaller room that was used for the various keynote speeches that were held throughout both days. The likes of Rob Fulop, Arnie Katz, Don Thomas, among many others, were giving half-hour speeches all day long. This room was also used for the "swap-meet" that was held after hours on Friday in which anyone that cared to could setup shop and offer items for trade or sale.
Down the hall from the main and keynote rooms was the museum room. The museum room was something of a history of videogames display with an emphasis placed on items that were never released. The vast majority of what was on display in the museum room were items likely never seen before by most collectors. Items such as the Atari CX-2000 system, the Atari Graduate Computer add-on, the original model of the 5200 trakball, the Atari Cosmos handheld system, and I could go on for hours
There were several aspects of the show that I enjoyed thoroughly. The keynote speeches were great, the museum was a hell of an experience, but the most intesting thing about the show was all the people! Putting faces to the likes of Leonard Herman, Lee Krueger, Steve Bender, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. was AWESOME! I've dealt with these people for years and years and had never met the vast majority of them before. World of Atari allowed me to hang-out and just plain bullshit with these folks! Nowhere else could I find such a large group of people interested in the same things I am. Naturally some of them would have been better left "un-met", but 99% of them were fun to hang with.
The auction was pretty much of a joke. Most of the items on the auction block were put there by folks that were a lot more proud of what they had than the buyers felt they should be. The room literally broke-out in laughter at some of the starting bids. Hopefully that will send a message to these folks when they think about putting items up for bid at next year's show! On the contrary, items up for auction with respectable starting bids generally fetched the "going rate". A perfect example of this is the Vectrex I put up for auction. I had brought the system just to be on display for people to play and check out but I had no desire to lug it back home with me so I put it up for auction. I put a low reserve of $40 on it figuring that if nobody was willing to pay that much, I'd take it back home. The winning bidder got the system for $105 which is about what the system goes for these days. So I was happy and the buyer got it for a fair price.
One thing that completely bugged me about the show didn't even happen there, but rather before the show. Grumblings about commercialization or this guy or that guy involved in putting the show together was on an ego-trip or was an asshole or whatever else could be found in the newsgroups for weeks prior to the show. Some of what was said I may have agreed with and some I found to be completely ridiculous. My answer to the problems or reservations had to be "so what"! So what if there were t-shirts and caps and whatever else sold with a World of Atari logo on it? So what if this one or that one is an asshole? So what if the show could have been promoted differently or even better? I went to the show to have a good time and that I had - big-time! I couldn't care less who was running it or what was for sale or whatever else. I went and got to hang-out with a lot of very cool people, saw some very cool stuff, picked up a couple items I needed for my collection at decent prices, and passed on a few I thought were too expensive. What else could anyone ask for in something like this???
Plans for next year's show are well underway and very preliminary info puts it back in Vegas again at roughly the same time of year - the middle of august. The show got very good reviews elsewhere and attendance is expected to be at least double that of last year with more "big-name" sponsorship. I would hope that everyone reading this at least make an effort to attend. If you have vacation time or personal days coming, set aside some for the show. If any of the grumbling had an effect on your decision to not attend last year, give it a shot this year and judge the show for yourself on it's own merits...
The Other Weirdness Part
Recently I've been receiving letters from a collector interested in getting some games from me. I thought I'd share some excerpts from one of them here. While the person that wrote this letter (who shall remain nameless) may not be the norm, he's certainly not the only one myself and others have heard from in this fashion. As you read this, keep in mind that I'm NOT MAKING THIS UP - this is an actual letter!
MY NAME IS "COLLECTOR X" AND YOU HAD SENT ME SOME INFORMATION ON THE ATARI COMMERCIALS ON VHS TAPE. YOU HAD DESCRIBE THAT YOU STILL HAVE THE VIDEO GAME CARTIDGES WHICH IS BACHELOR PARTY AND GIGOLO TWO FOR $75 PLUS THE ATARI COMMERCIALS FOR $23 WHICH INCLUDES SHIPPING AND HANDLELING. ON THURSDAY OCTOBER 8, 1998 I HAVE MADE OUT A CHECK FOR $98 PAYABLE ONLY TO YOU AND I SENT THIS FOR FIRST CLASS MAIL. I WANTED TO BE SURE THAT I WANTED TO CONFIRM THAT YOU DID RECEIVE MY CHECK IN THE MAIL? IF YOU DID YOU NEED TO CALL ME AND TELL ME WHEN YOU ARE GOING TO SHIP ME MY PACKAGE OF THE TWO VIDEO GAME CARTIDGES FOR ATARI 2600 PLIS THE VHS TAPE OF THE ATARI COMMERCIALS? WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO SEND MY MY VIDEO GAMES CARTIDGES WITH THE VHS TAPE OF THE ATARI COMMERCIALS? I NEED TO ALSO CONFIRM THAT YOU HAVE RECEIVE THE CHECK FOR NINTY EIGHT DOLLARS EVEN. THE CHECK IS GOOD. BUT IF YOU HAVE CASH THE CHECK ALREADY THAN YOU WILL HAVE TO GOAHEAD AND SEND ME MY PACKAGE OF THE TWO VIDEO GAME CARTIDGES TO ME FOR PRIORITY MAIL THROUGH THE POST OFFICE. YOU NEED TO GO AHEAD AND CONFIRM WITH ME ON THE TWO VIDEO GAME CARTIDGES PLUS THE VHS TAPE FIRST CLASS MAIL AND SEND THE PACKAGE AS FAST AND AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE!
(This letter was received a whole four days after his check just so you know. I'm skipping a little rambling on about the same thing here but a little later, he goes into the following)
ALSO I HAVE BEEN HAVING TROUBLE IN SOME A PERSON HAD CLAIM THAT THE PERSON CLAIM THAT THEY HAVE WORK FOR A BANK OF CITY BANK TELLING ME SOMETHING TO DO WITH A CREDIT CARD OR SOMEONE TRYING TO GET ME TO SUBSCRIBE TO A CREDIT CARD AND I TOLD THE PERSON JULIE NO I DONOT WANT TO SUBSCRIBE TO A CREDIT CARD. I TOLD HER NO. SHE WAS CLAIMING THAT I HAD CHARGE ON MY CREDIT CARD BUT I NEVER DID DO SUCH A THING! SHE CLAIM SHE WAS WORKING FOR A CITY BANK OF IOWA, ILLINOIS AND THERE IS REALLY NO SUCH PLACE. THAN A GUY HAD ALSO CALLED FROM THE SAME PLACE OF CITYBANK OF ILLINOIS! IT SOUNDS SUSPIOUS TO ME BECAUSE I NEVER DID CHARGE ANY VIDEO GAMES ON MY CREDIT CARD! SHE CALL AGAIN ON SUN AND LAST WEEK! I HOPE MY CHECK DIDN'T GET LOST! BECAUSE IF IT DID THAN THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG! WHEN I ASK A QUESTION ASKING ABOUT WELL HOW DID YOU GET MY NAME AND TELEPHONE NUMBER AND I TOLD HER I DIDNOT CHARGE ANYTHING ON A CREDIT CARD. I TOLD HER TO REMOVE MY NAME BUT SHE KEPT ON BUGGING ME! I WONDER IF SHE TOOK MY CHECK AND CASH IT WHICH WASNOT AUTHORISE UNLESS IF SHE KEPT THE MONEY! BUT SHE COULD NOT HAVE CASH IT BECAUSE IT WAS IN YOUR NAME! THE GIRL TOLD ME IT TAKES SEVEN TO EIGHT WEEKS TO TAKE THE NAME OFF THE LIST BUT IT REALLY DOESNOT TAKE THAT LONG. BUT YOU SEE THIS SALES PERSON MAY HAD FOUND THE CHECK AND CASH IT FOR HERSELF AND I DON'T KNOW IF YOU HAVE RECEIVE MY CHECK THROUGH THE MAIL. THAT IS WHY I NEED YOUR HELP?
(OK time for a break before we all get stupid - end quote!)
Can someone tell me WHAT IN THE HELL THIS PERSON IS TALKING ABOUT?!?! It seems to me that some telemarketer had called his house a few times and apparently he's under the impression they can also intercept his mail somehow.
(Back to the fun - begin quote)
IF YOU HAVE RECEIVE MY CHECK THAN YOU NEED TO GOAHEAD AND SEND ME MY VIDEO GAMES CARTIDGES PLUS THE VHS TAPE OF THE ATARI COMMERCIALS! SEND IT FOR PRIORITY MAIL FOR FIRST CLASS MAIL AND SEND IT AS FAST AND AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE! IF I DONOT RECEIVE A RESPONSE FROM YOU THAN I NEED TO GOAHEAD AND CANCEL MY CHECK! I NEED TO EITHER CANCEL THE CHECK UNLESS IF YOU PROVIDE ME WITH THE VIDEO GAME CARTIDGES AND THE VHS TAPE I WOULD HAVE NO CHOICE BUT TO CANCEL AND YOU WILL HAVE TO GOAHEAD AND SEND ME A FULL REFUND FOR THE PURCHASE PRICE OF $98! I AM PAYING GOOD MONEY AND IT LOOKS LIKE I AM PAYING BIG MONEY FOR THIS! I AM PAYING BIG MONEY WHICH I AM PAYING GOOD HARD EARN MONEY WHICH I AM PAYING FOR THIS MERCHANDISE IT LOOKS LIKE YOU COULD GO AHEAD AND SEND ME THE MERCHANDISE TO ME FOR FIRST CLASS MAIL AND SEND IT AS FAST AND AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE! YOU NEED TO GOAHEAD AND DO TWO TO THREE THINGS FOR ME! NUMBER ONE I WOULD LIKE TO FIND OUT IF DID YOU RECEIVE MY CHECK? NUMBER 2 IF THE ANSWER IS YES. DID YOU CASH MY CHECK? IF THE ANSWER IS YES THAN YOU OWE ME MY MERCHANDISE TO ME! YOU NEED TO NUMBER 3 IF YOU HAVE ALREADY CASH THE GOOD CHECK THAN YOU NEED TO GOAHEAD AND SEND ME MY PACKAGE OF THE TWO VIDEO GAME CARTIDGES, ONE VHS TAPE OF THE ATARI COMMERCIALS! IF YOU WILL PLEASE SEND ME MY MERCHANDISE TO ME FOR FIRST CLASS MAIL. SEND ME THE PACKAGE RIGHT AWAY WHEN YOU RECEIVE THIS LETTER! NUMBER 4. IF I DONOT RECEIVE THE PACKAGE OF THE TWO VIDEO GAME CARTIDGE AND THE VHS TAPE THAN YOU NEED TO GO AHEAD AND SEND ME A COMPLETE REFUND CHECK FOR THE AMOUNT OF $98 EVEN! EITHER AN UPDATED CHECK FOR ME TO BEABLE TO CASH AT THE BANK! BUT THE UPDATED CHECK SHOULD BE GOOD ENOUGH TO CLEAR THE BANK! IF FOR SOMEREASON IF THE UPDATED CHECK DOESNOT CLEAR THE BANK! THAN THE CHECK IS NO GOOD WHICH MEANS THAT THE UPDATED CHECK THAT THERE IS NOT ENOUGH SUFFICENT FUNDS WHICH THE CHECK WOULD HAVE TO CLEAR THE BANK!
While reading this letter, in between rolling on the floor laughing my ass off and an Excedrin break in the middle of it, I started to wonder how in the hell someone like this can even survive? Some of you are probably wondering if the guy is retarded - I honestly don't know but I don't think so. I did meet him at World of Atari. He seemed a bit strange but not retarded. He was also walking around with a huge bag full of stuff which says to me that he has to at least have a job. Imagine pulling up to the drive-thru and getting this:
"Welcome to Burger King. Would you like to try our Whopper Value Meal? Itis a really good deal but the girl that makes the fries sometimes doesn't put enough fries into the box that holds the fries. I told her that she needs to put more fries in the box but she keeps calling me on the intercom and takes my paycheck. I don't think she can cash it but it is made out to me otherwise I would have to cancel it. Or she will have to give me my full paycheck or send it to me for deposit at the bank otherwise it better be a good check that I can cash at the bank! If the Whopper isn't good then she has to make another one. And a better one that is fresh and good! So would you like to try a Whopper value meal? Hello? Where have you gone with my car! It is green and it is my car! You are not authorize to take it! Hello?"
It's not really my intention to make fun of the guy here, but come on! How insane can one person be and still be allowed mingle with the rest of society?
(Well, back to our program - begin quote)
P.S. SO IF YOU CANNOT PROVIDE ME WITH THE TWO VIDEO GAME CARTIDGES OF BACHELOR PARTY AND GIGOLO PLUS THE VHS TAPE OF ATARI COMMERCIALS! AND IF YOU CANNOT SEND THEM TOO ME THAN YOU NEED TO GOAHEAD AND SEND ME MY CHECK BACK TO ME IF YOU HAVENOT CASH IT LET THAN YOU NEED TO SEND THE CHECK BACK TO ME SO I CAN TEAR IT UP! BUT YOU MUST CALL ME AND TALK TO ME ABOUT WHY YOU HAVENOT SEND ME MY PACKAGE OF VIDEO GAMES AND THE VHS TAPE! LOOKS LIKE TO ME YOU CAN GOAHEAD AND SEND ME THE PACKAGE! BUT I HAVE TO RECEIVE SOMETHING FROM YOU SINCE I AM PAYING TO YOU YOU SHOULD GOAHEAD AND RESPOND TO MY LETTER! IT WOULD BE WISE FOR YOU TO GO AHEAD AND SEND ME THE TITLE I HAD REQUESTED! SO PLEASE SEND ME MY TWO VIDEO GAME CARTIDGES PLUS THE VHS TAPE OF THE ATARI COMMERCIALS! SEND THEM FOR FIRST CLASS MAIL SEND IT AS FAST AND AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE! SEND ME MY VIDEO GAMES AND VHS TAPES AS FAST AS YOU CAN! SEND IT IMMEDIATELY WHEN YOU RECEIVE THIS LETTER! YOU NEED TO CALL ME AND TELL ME WHAT'S HAPPENING HERE? BUT I DO NEED TO RECEIVE INFORMATION FROM YOU! SO PLEASE RESPOND TO MY REQUEST!
DOUBLE P.S. YOU MUST RESPOND TO MY REQUEST! IF YOU DON'T RESPOND THAN I AM NOT GOING TO KNOW ANYTHING! IF THE PERSON INDEED HAVE CASH THE CHECK WITHOUT NOTIFYING ME AND IF THE GIRL HAD DONE THIS WITHOUT YOUR CONSENT THAN THAT WOULD BE CONSIDERING OF BEING MAIL FRAUD WHICH IS A SERIOUS OFFENSE! BUT THERE IS REALLY NO WAY FOR THE GIRL TO DO THIS UNLESS SHE GETS CAUGHT BY SECURITY! SO I REALLY NEED YOU TO GOAHEAD AND CHECK ON THIS! BUT IF YOU HAVE RECEIVE MY CHECK THAN YOU HAVE TO SEND ME MY VIDEO GAME CARTIDGE! AND VHS TAPE! SEND IT AS FAST AND AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE! I AM COUNTING ON YOU! PLEASE RESPOND TO MY LETTER!
Well boys and girls, if I go on any further in quoting this letter you are at risk of being stupified so I'd better stop here. There were two more "PS's" and I'm sure you can figure out for yourself what he said in them. Be forewarned....next person that pisses me off I'm sending this guy your name, address and phone number and telling him that you called me and told me that you were planning on taking the mail out of his mailbox every day before he gets home from work. It will truly suck to be you!! :)
Return to Digital Press Home
Last updated: Tuesday, February 13, 2007 05:59 PM