Friday, April 3, 2015

What's a Turble Graphics?

   That's the usual response I get when I ask local flea market dealers if they happen to have anything I'm looking for. I have though, on occasion, hit the jackpot of NEC goodness, laying in the midst of smelly tackle boxes and crusty VHS tapes at the local swap meet. Although my collection (and collecting) has dwindled to a tiny portion of what it once was, I still find myself scouring every pawn shop, flea market, consignment shop, and back-alley junk pile for that precious diamond in the rough... or anything related to it. It's something you can never fully recover from. The compulsive desire to dig through boxes or a stranger's dirty rummage and refuse, in hopes that someone besides yourself had at one time owned and loved the Turbografx 16 as much as you do, but later decided to discard and count it among items deemed "useless" and fit for sale. It never really leaves you...  Although the hunt seems at times to be completely pointless, there are however, small victories that can really make it worth your while.

   I remember once I was at a flea market and had searched every single "video game booth" fruitlessly and in vain, just trying to find a single item related to turbo. I happened upon a booth which sold stereo equipment as it's main draw, and was eyeing a nice set of speakers which I thought would go great with my late 60's super deluxe record player. (Vinyl hoarding is another curse I have been afflicted with besides retro game collecting) Well, as I was talking to the dealer, my eyes kept drifting over to a box sticking out from under one of the tables on which his stereophonic wares were displayed. I could see one of the older QuickShot brand joysticks that I used to own for my Commodore 64 computer jutting out from the box, just slightly within view. Nerdal Instinct kicked in, and I immediately asked the seller if I could examine the contents of said box. Upon his blessing, I grabbed the box and started sifting through an insane entanglement of Sega controllers and Atari 2600 paddles, but what was at the bottom nearly brought a tear to my eyes.

   There, amongst the garble of mismatched controller parts and ac adapters, was a stack of about 15 HuCard games, loose, and held together by a thin, yellowing rubber band. Most were games I had never owned before. I could barely contain my excitement. I glanced back down at the cardboard box, which at this point was slowly crumbling under both the duress of my frantic search, and the rigors of the years gone by. I couldn't believe it. I slowly moved some more cords and cables from the box and there, in all it's dusty glory, was a TurboGrafx 16, with 2 controllers! It didn't matter that
it was missing the expansion bus cover. It didn't matter that it had no AC adapter. All that mattered at that second in time, was What can I say to this guy to make him sell this to me for next to nothing..? 
I'm not going to lie, my hands shook as I gulped hard and squeezed the words out of my throat...

"How much for this old video game thing?"

   Video game thing. Ha. I thought I was smooth. The seller then began to tell me a story about how that had belonged to his son, and how he had played it very often, until he left for college. He paused, looked down at the ground, and my fear began to mount. I thought for a moment he might find some sentimental reason to not sell it to me. I couldn't let that happen. At this point, I was in a frenzy. My mind raced to all sorts of things I could say to get him to change his mind if he decided to go that route, but alas, luck was on my side that day. The seller decided to let me have the stack of HuCards for $5 and the system and controllers for $15. For a split second, as I mentally did the most ridiculous looking victory dance in the history of mankind, I thought I might try to talk him down.

"Don't push it." The seller said with a grin on his wrinkled face.

I went home that day with my dusty, new-to-me Turble Graphics, and hooked it up to the AC adapter and RF unit I already had from a previous system. Worked without a hitch.

That was a great day.



Joshua Jaeger said...

Terrific experience man! The only time I've ever been lucky enough to see anything OBEY related since the 90s in the wild is at game shops that know what they have. Dang it!! C'mon thrift stores!!

Zakk Turbo said...

The eBay age has let the cat out of the bag on many things that used to be found often...