I'm not a diehard or even a very focused videogame collector -- there are few particularly unique or precious items in my library, which has been assembled more or less at random over the years, driven more by price and opportunity than any coherent strategy. Some things I find and keep, some games I play and then trade or sell, some items have been tucked away in boxes so long I've forgotten I even have them.
But sometimes serendipity takes me in an unexpected direction. Regular readers will know I've recently been covering a lot of titles for the Odyssey^2, Magnavox's third-place machine in the early-80s console sweepstakes, primarily because a friend recently gave me a number of games for the system. These games are generally simple and straightforward to play and discuss -- there isn't really that much to them, compared to, say, NES or Playstation titles. So on a limited blogging time budget they fit in rather nicely, and they're usually historically interesting if not otherwise notable. My current half-formed plan was to play these games until I get bored, or go through the set on hand, and move on to something else.
This past weekend, however, I went out to hit some thrift stores, and just as I was starting to make my usual remarks to myself about how early-80s videogame technology never turns up anymore, I ran across a collection of Odyssey^2 games along with "The Voice," Magnavox's voice synthesis module, in a damaged but original box. I wish I'd found this batch at the rummage sale where it obviously originated -- the box of games marked ".25 each Mini Games" was now labeled "Antique Video Game" and priced at a hefty markup -- but it didn't appear that anyone took an interest in the contents before my arrival; the interesting stuff (to the few, the proud, the geeky) was still there, and I really couldn't pass it up.
See, I've had a close call with The Voice before -- I once found an Odyssey^2 at a flea market with several of the Voice-specific games, but no sign of the add-on. So now I have one sitting in my living room, along with 21 other Odyssey^2 games, 15 in box, including a handful of rarer late titles I didn't have yet. It seems somebody in my neck of the woods was a diehard Odyssey^2 fan back in the day, sticking with the system and investing in a growing collection quite late in its lifecycle, and I'm glad to give that anonymous gamer's painstakingly assembled collection an appreciative home.
So, yes, now it seems I have an actual Odyssey^2 collection. It's far from complete... but farther from incomplete than it used to be.
The illusion of accomplishment is surprisingly hard to distinguish from the real thing.