The Space Invaders: In Search of Lost Time

We’ve seen a lot of arcade game documentaries over the past couple of years. King of Kong was one. Chasing Ghosts was another. Recently, I learned about a third. It’s called The Space Invaders: In Search of Lost Time.

The hook of The Space Invaders is that it focuses specifically on individuals who not only play arcade games but collect them. The bulk of the film is interviews with several of these collectors. Intercut with these interviews is old footage of 80s video arcades and news stories about arcades. All this information is divided into three parts: 1) Time, which briefly covers the history of 80s arcade games, 2) Space, which covers the modern efforts of the collectors, and 3) Time Space, which covers the future of these games.

Most of us are going to going to feel some good-natured envy mixed with enjoyment while watching The Space Invaders. I know I did. But there are plenty of things we are going to enjoy in the movie. Seeing all the old machines, all of which look to be in great shape, is one. There is a segment which shows how one of the interviewees was on Starcade. There is another in which they make the connection between wanting to own an arcade game and Silver Spoons (Ricky Schroder’s arcade collection is one of the big reasons I want to own an arcade game today). There is yet another that discusses the California Extreme expo (I spent that time looking for blinddog and myself in the footage). Not only so, but the collector’s edition which I got had a dvd full of great extras (such as the collector’s thoughts on the Colecovision mini-arcade units), a blu-ray copy of the film, and a poster.

You can rent The Space Invaders on or you can buy the collector’s edition here. I’m pretty sure the time you spend watching it won’t be “lost time”.

Parameters of Collecting

Parameters of Collecting

One thing I have learned over the years is that there’s not enough time, money or space to collect everything I would like to collect. Because of this, I often have to set parameters for my personal collections. My Parameters of Collecting. For example, I like vintage computer software: Commodore 64 games are my favorite, but I also enjoy Apple II and old DOS game packages as well. The problem with collecting Commodore 64 games is that there were at least 20,000 official titles released for the system. Collecting every one of those would be impossible (again see: time, money, and space). So instead of collecting all of them, I’ll occasionally set up little mini-collections. For example, in the early 80s Electronic Arts began releasing their software in packaging that resembled vinyl albums.

Instead of collecting every Commodore 64 game, for a while I simply worked on collecting games that came in this style of packaging. Along with Electronic Arts a few other companies including Accolade and Mindscape also employed this style of packaging for a while, so I began collecting those as well. (Incidentally I had to abandon this particular collection fairly early on as it turns out many of these games are super expensive.) Anyway, that’s what I mean about setting up collection parameters — instead of collecting all of something, sometimes I will just collect a subset of those things.

Packaging is just one parameter you can set up for yourself. Another is price. Back when old console gaming cartridges were still plentiful at thrift stores and garage sales, I decided to buy every Atari 2600, NES, and Sega Genesis game I could find for less than $5. Believe me, that was a lot. I have somewhere in the neighborhood of 300 NES cartridges, each of which cost me five bucks or less — same goes for Atari 2600 games. (I ended up selling my Genesis collection a few years back.)

As an avid Star Wars collector, I have had to set parameters of collecting many times on my collecting habits. Sometimes I will focus on a very specific subset of Star Wars related items, like Star Wars helmets or Star Wars lunchboxes or Star Wars Pez dispensers. Without doing that, you’ll drive yourself crazy (and broke) buying one of everything (or two of everything if you’re a “open one, keep one boxed” kind of guy.) The few times I didn’t have any personal parameters set up were the times I ended up with boxes of Star Wars Pogs, paper plates, napkins, and cereal lining my shelves.

I have some pretty tight parameters tied up around my vinyl record collection. Most of what I buy is kid-related albums (Sesame Street, Disney, or cartoon-related) that wasn’t released on CD. I also collect percussion and drum-based records, for music/sampling purposes. For a while I had no parameters for my album collecting and things got out of hand very quickly.

While it’s okay to occasionally okay to step outside these personal boundaries, I find operating within them gives me a finite goal to achieve (while keeping my wife happy as well!)

So what about you guys? What do you collect, if anything? And, do you have your own Parameters of Collecting set up for your collecting habits? Or do you just buy it all and hope there’s space for it when you get home?

A Shelfish Act

Over the weekend I decided to move some of my shelves around, just to change things up a bit. Several years ago at our previous house I built these white shelves for storing DVDs. The DVD collection outgrew the shelves, but I still hung on to them.

When we moved into our new house last year, one of the things I really wanted to do is get my Star Wars toys out of storage and on display. I re-purposed the shelves for that, and it worked great.

I’ve finally started putting in some more uniform shelving in what has become known as the “Star Wars Room” (it’s really a guest bedroom, with some great things on display), and decided that I didn’t need these particular shelves in the room anymore. Over the weekend I relocated them to outside the room, and changed up the display a bit.

I’ve always wanted a little area where I could change up displays from time to time. I think I just created that area!


The Ultimate E.T. Fan?

Viceland has an interview with Nick Gjoka, who just might be the ultimate E.T. the Extraterrestrial fan. Nick has thousands of items in his collection (the image below is just a small portion) and has only been collection “hardcore” for about 10 years. Just goes to show, you do not need to be in on the groundfloor to have a comprehensive collection. You just need passion and drive.


This Man, Really, Really Likes E.T [@] Viceland