Topps Video Game Cards

As part of my job, I find myself scouring eBay, Etsy, and Amazon and doing semi-random searches. This morning, I searched for zaxxon, and I came across something that triggered my memory: Topps playable Video Game Cards.

Topps Video Game Cards

What do you mean, playable?

Each card had the game board like the arcade game:

Frogger Video Game Card

You would then scratch off dots mimicking the moves you would make in the video game. It was like a scratch-off lottery ticket, except you didn’t win anything.

Of course, then you would scratch off the rest of the spots to see how many ways you could get to safety or achieve success on the game board.

Each pack came with a stick of gum, a sticker, and two such games.

If you didn’t have an expensive game console (the Atari 2600 at the time) or regular access to a video arcade or a convenience store with an actual game (or even if you did), you were the target audience for this.

I don’t remember how many packs of these I bought, but I had pages of the stickers in my sticker collection. Sadly, I’m not entirely sure that I still have those pages of stickers–which means probably not.

If you look on eBay and on Amazon, you’ll find unopened packs for maybe five bucks each and unplayed cards for a buck. But I’m not even tempted. Because these are ultimately collectibles with one use (at which point they become relatively uncollectable) or you can have unopened packs as collectables themselves, but this goes against my basic collectable philosophy: You’ve got to be able to enjoy that which you collect. I mean, I acquire books, comic books (suddenly, as a result of an occupational hazard, I’m into them slightly again), record albums, old video games/computers/electronics, and so on, but I collect them for the joy of using them (or thinking I’ll use them someday), not because I want some pristine, untouched thing that I can’t enjoy (or at least I get a reading copy).

So I don’t expect I’ll suddenly begin collecting these video game cards. I can see them listed on eBay and think back.

Just don’t tell my beautiful wife that this vicarious collecting enjoyment is a remote possibility, or she might insist I enjoy it more often instead of bringing home another box (or more) of things to stuff in the closet.