WOW. I can definitely say I’ve never seen this happen before! Ouch!
I’d like to take this wonderful opportunity to introduce everyone to John Hancock, whom I had the great pleasure of meeting a couple of years back on a trip to the gaming expos up there during the promotions of Ecstasy of Order. John is one of the most kind and generous people I’ve ever had the honor of coming across in all of my years. Not only is he a legit lifetime gamer, but his heart is even bigger than his collection. He tirelessly works in the service of others, performing counseling and support for local youth, and he also takes it to a whole new level with a local Expo up there that raises funds for Childrens Justice and Advocacy Center (CJAC), a tremendous charity organization that has immense value. He does all of this while raising his own little ones. Truly a wonderful human being, if you ever have the opportunity to meet with him at PRGE or Cowlitz Gamers for Kids shows, definitely do so, the expos are great, and John is a gamer’s gamer.
Without further ado, here is the interview that I put together with a Q&A session. Thanks for looking, and be sure to check out the pics of his ludicrously amazing collection of classic gaming goodies! If you have the chance, he also has a wonderful series of DVDs on collecting that are very worthy indeed.
Question 1 : Tell us a bit about yourself and how you discovered gaming.
My earliest memories of gaming go back to when my father bought us a TV scoreboard Radio Shack Pong clone. Between that and going to my cousins house to play Atari 2600, that is what I consider my first gaming experiences. About the same time, I got to experience some great arcades in town, but those rarely happened. I consider myself, part historian, part serious collector, and 100 percent passionate about videogames. I have been lucky to have began a journey of collecting retro videogames nearly 20 years ago. I started off collecting videogames by myself in Northern California in the mid 90s. I mostly was collecting games to add to what I already owned, which was some Sega and Nintendo games that I had in high school. By 2002, I connected with other gamers online and pursued some more obscure gaming consoles and systems, such as the bally astrocade. I focused my collecting on entire released US sets, and scoured the West Coast looking for items to add to my collection. Nearly 98 percent of my collection was purchased in person, and not online. In 2005 I moved to Washington where I got connected to Rick Weis. I started helping with video game conventions which made my game collection grow substantially more. It is a hobby that I am passionate about in which I have got to gain many great friends and experiences that I will never forget.
Question 2 : What were some of the favorite games you played growing up, and do you still go back and replay them now?
Growing up, my favorites were Berzerk for the 2600, Castlevania on the Nes, Blue Max on the Atari 800, Herzog Zwei on Genesis as well as Dark Wizard for the Sega CD. I still make time to play Berzerk for the 2600 and occasionally play Blue Max when I can. Of course, I still love to play pong like I did when I was a child and am up for a game with anyone who wants to play. The game still does not get old to me.
Question 3 : How do you think gaming has evolved over the years?
Gaming to me has evolved to encompass a wide variety of gameplay and options. In the beginning, games were limited by graphics significantly. What you saw on the cover of a videogame was nothing like the experience that you played. Now the game can look BETTER than the cover. At the same time, I also think that games have come full circle. Some types of games(many indie titles) have gone back to the simple mechanics of 2D games that were easy to get into but difficult to master. We have so many choices of what type of games to play, that it is a great time to be gamer.
Question 4 : You have THE most profoundly awesome collection I’ve ever seen in classic gaming. How many years did it take to get where it is?
Thank you for your most kind words. I am just happy to have amassed what I have done over the past 20 years on a budget.
Question 5 : How do you think the recent and current systems will be on a collectible basis?
In time, I think that the current crop of systems and games will be collectable. I think that there will be an added bonus to find a non modded original 360 system that still works lol. There are so many system variants compared to the previous generations that just collecting hardware alone will be a fun and challenging project.
Question 6 : What would be some examples of absolutely amazing games that are hidden gems that many/most don’t even know about?
So many games on so many systems that get overlooked. I will narrow it to 10 that I consider underappreciated. I could easily have a 100 list but here it goes:
Atari 2600: Gravitar
Intellivision: Hover Force
Colecovision: War Room
Odyssey 2: Freedom Fighters
Sega Genesis: Jewel Master
Sega CD: Android Assault
Super Nes: Choplifter III
Sony Playstation: Silent Bomber
Nintendo DS: Retro Game Challenge
Question 7 : What advice would you give to an aspiring collector?
Collaborate and network with others. Join a local facebook group as well as videogame forums. Collect because you want to. There needs to be alot of patience involved, as alot of games I got were over many years. Dont fret if you cant get every game you want right now. Educate yourself before any buying so that you know what you are getting and what a fair price is.
Question 8 : As parents with kids of our own now, how do you involve gaming in their lives?
My son is now almost 5, and is starting to get a little more into games. I started showing him classics such as pong and atari when he was younger. I think for me, the answer is gradual. I know that my hobby will probably be different than my sons, but I am happy to share with him if he wants.
Thank you John Hancock for spending time with us today! Readers, check this out :
And finally, to close it out after that epic collection : John at work doing what he was born to do! Helping people AND being a cherished member of the gaming community!
I’m headed to the 2013 ScrewAttack Gaming Convention later this afternoon. It runs through this weekend Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at the Hyatt Regency in Downtown Dallas, Texas.
I will appear as a guest on a panel featuring the great Patrick Scott Patterson and historic gaming champion Ben Gold. You should check out the SAGC website at http://www.sgconvention.com/ and always check in to see the great stuff cooking and attitudin’ at http://www.patrickscottpatterson.com
“I have no hesitance in saying Ecstasy of Order is one of the best videogame films of all time.”
Allistair Pinsof of AFF Flixist Review
“you don’t have to love Tetris to love this movie.”
Jackie Stone of Austin Post
“”Ecstasy of Order” will delight fans of the highly addictive game”
Dennis Harvey of Variety
“I know it made me want to fire up Tetris again”
Patrick Scott Harrison – Arcade Game Examiner
Erik Ackerlund – Reblogged from our friend Patrick Scott Patterson regarding Losthammer’s own Robin Mihara.
Classic video gaming accomplishments and records have been all across the mainstream media for the past few years.
From the battle for the top spot in Donkey Kong to new champs on games like Frogger or Pac-Man, films such as The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters, Chasing Ghosts: Beyond the Arcade, and the upcoming Doctor Kong have helped the champions of the 1980s classics gain much mainstream attention in the modern day media.
Champions from the 1990s, however, are not yet the media darlings that many of the classic 1980s gamers have been. Outside of the 1990 Nintendo World Championships and a few later Nintendo contests, very little history from the last decade of last century has been passed along to historians of the gaming industry today.
Matt: Hi! I’m a big fan of competitive video games, I’ve been spending some time trying to dig up info about the 1990 championships but everything seems to link to a few sources that have conflicting details. I’m hoping your crew of experts can clear up some things, or point me in the right direction.
Erik: “Will do our best”
Matt : Specifically, I’m confused about this:
“There was no official competition round to crown a single winner. However, after the competition ended there was an informal face-off between the three winners, with Thor Aackerlund taking first place, Jeff Hansen taking second, and Robert Whiteman finishing third.”
Matt: Jeff Hansen went on as America’s representative to Japan to win the World Championship title again in Tokyo, Japan, and again in Las Vegas at a rematch with the Japanese champion, Yuichi Suyama.”
Do you happen to know where I could find information about the Tokyo competition? Everything I’ve been able to dig up points back to that same passage in Wikipedia, which doesn’t cite a source so I’m not even confident the Japan competition existed. If it did, do you have any idea why Jeff Hansen (11 at the time from what I can tell) went to represent?
Thor: “No idea on why Nintendo choose Jeff Hansen.”
Erik: “There was very very little in the media when it was happening, I think Nintendo wanted to control it, and keep it close to the belt, we did not even know about it until well after it had taken place, it was not on the scale of the massively publicised 1990 Nintendo World Championships were.”
Matt: Wikipedia also claims the winner won a car and a TV in addition to the savings bond. The savings bond I’ve found other evidence of, but again no source on the car/tv thing and no mentions of it aside from this wiki article that everything seems to copy. People are fond of citing the time Carmack gave away his Ferrari as the first instance of a car being won in video games, which makes me wonder if that is true also.
Thor: “The winners also recieved a 1990 Geo Metro Convertible, this would predate Carmack giving away his Ferarri. They had a GeoMetro convertible in yellow for all of the contestants to ooh and ahh at, just out side the StarTrek Theater at Universal Studios, A bunch of the contestants at one point decided to lift the car off the ground!”
Erik: “If I remember right the savings bond was for $10,000, which had a pretty low cash value, the TV was a Panasonic 42″ it replaced Thor’s 13″ Color TV of the time. There were some other things the winners got, A Mario trophy, and a Panasonic Boombox. ”
Matt: I know these are weird and specific questions, and appreciate any insight you can give. Hope the gaming blog goes well, I love reading about all kinds of game competition and retro gaming.
Thor: “Thanks for your great questions, keep them coming”