The Video Game Systems of the 1983 Sears Wishbook

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1983 was the year of the video game crash and that year’s Sears Wishbook was chock full of the detritus of a bloated dying industry. You got the handhelds, Vectrex, Gemini, Colecovision, Intellivision, Odyssey 2, Atari 2600 and Atari 5200 in this issue. Along with some great games and accessories. My favorite is the Handsome Hassock storage system on Page 9. I would love one of those now.


23 Responses to The Video Game Systems of the 1983 Sears Wishbook

  1. Tommy Day says:

    Thats awesome! I wish I could find my 90s JC Pennys catalogs :(

  2. Matt says:

    Oh wow, I want that Vectrex system badly. Thanks for this!

  3. Ashwad says:

    I still have my Galaxian and Defender games, along with two others. i can’t remember which ones cause they are in storage.

  4. Rob says:

    I have the Donkey Kong game somewhere in my basement.

  5. Justin says:

    Can you imagine paying $29.99 for an Atari game now? Granted, it was the coolest thing ever back then, but still. What if you spent $29.99 on E.T.? You’d stop gaming forever!

  6. Metal Misfit says:

    *makes notes for the next “History of Video Game Console” article*

    Is it me or do those joysticks look like something you might find for sale on an adult website?

  7. Tommy Day says:

    It’s just you :)

  8. Fnordius says:

    Well, consider how the joystick got its name. It was a control for aeroplanes that came up between the legs of the pilot.

    So don’t be surprised. The things always had a phallic innuendo, and it doesn’t help that some adult toys are made to camouflage themselves as more innocuous objects. “Oh no, Mum, that’s just a wireless joystick!”

  9. Lepodsky says:

    Sears was obviously feeling the effects of the ’83 videogame crash.
    I couldn’t help but notice all the price cuts on these pages. As much as half off on some items.

  10. Anonymous says:

    $29.99 in 1983 dollars is about $62 today. So imagine paying **$62** for E.T.

  11. Matthew Rosenblum says:

    Damn those pages bring back memories. I remember Sears having their own version of the Intellivision. All the games and the console were the same as Mattel’s, only the names of everything were changed (and were usually cheaper than the same games at Toys R Us).

    I used to spend hours looking at these pages, dreaming of owning all upon ‘em. Ahhh…to be twelve again.

  12. giveAfrank says:

    its one thing games did learn me if it piss me off its serious hammer time1!

  13. I can’t wait till we look back in 25 years at the super primtive Wii and xBoxes and laugh at the low quality graphics we would tolerate and how much we paid for them

  14. Iminay says:

    Hehe, this brings back memories, especially when looking and comparing these prices to today’s prices.

  15. I feel so old, but thank you for posting this!

  16. Mark O'Brien says:

    Longtime friends of mine were sales execs for Mattel and Atari at the time. 2 weeks after the ’83 Christmas, everybody in sales was fired, especially the guys with diamond pinkie rings and fat cigars. Some had made $500k the year before.

  17. Michelle says:

    Frogger on Colecovision (plus four slices of buttered toast with cinnamon and sugar and a giant glass of milk)… I never understood what was supposed to be so tragic about being a “latchkey kid” in the 80s. It felt pretty damned okay at the time.

  18. tedb says:

    RIP Sut

  19. Joey Noland says:

    Old Store Catalog

  20. Chad Briggs says:

    Is it just me or all the links the images broken? I can only get the last one to work?

  21. The Retroist says:

    The images had been down as a consequence of some unpleasantness a few months back. Thanks for bringing this up. They should work now.

  22. Jeff says:

    Metal Misfit: that’s why they’re called “joy” sticks. As in Dr Alex Comfort “Joy”.

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