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View Full Version : VFD games - why didn't they stay around?



Dhalamar
20-03-10, 12:10
I see these old handheld arcade units around all over the place on eBay and even here on GameGavel, and they always demand a price that I couldn't ever afford mainly because I want them to play rather than to collect.

But I have played Windows remakes (Centipede a few minutes ago) and, for a handheld of that nature they provide a pretty damn good arcade experience. I was having a blast playing that sucker.

But why didn't they stick? Even though they use the same basic idea as the LCD games ... they just seem to play a hell of a lot better. It would have been cool as hell to walk into a place nowadays and still see them around for 20 or 30 bucks, or even re-releases of old games like Centipede and Pac-Man and whatnot.

Just something I've always wondered about. Maybe someday I'll get one, but for now with my current financial situation I'm gonna have to stick to Windows remakes. :)

SubaruBrat
20-03-10, 05:06
In a word; cost. VFD is much more intensive than LCD to produce. In the early 90s I was an engineer on the PADS (Position Azimuth Determining System) for the Army. The original CDU (control display unit) in VFD was 10x the same unit in LCD. VFD is brilliant, unique and amazing, but LCD was cheaper.

Dhalamar
20-03-10, 05:14
I was playin' that remake of the VFD version of Centipede and it's f*ckin' amazing. I mean, yeah, you can definitely tell it's a little handheld game, but the graphics that sucker was pushing out, for the time it was out ... on the go that's as good as you were gonna get. And it was pretty damn good.

For some reason I'm on a VFD/LCD game kick ... kinda been on and off of it for a few years now ... thinking about picking up some of the older Tiger LCD games.

VFD games are, unfortunately WAAAAAAAAY outta my price range. I saw one here on GameGavel going for 65 bucks I think ... and if I was a collector I probably WOULD shell out the money. But I'm not, I just wanna play it, and that's a little steep. :)

MaximumRD
24-03-11, 07:19
I totally agree! I only recently posted a video of a VFD game I just got recently, now admittedly when I made this video I made an error with my description calling it a LED display as I was not aware of the correct terminology but I corrected it in my video description notes as well as added annotations. ANYWAY I had a fun time with this thing and I totally agree that VFD games were awesome, I love the vivid color and brightness. I hope to get more in the future too. I think VFD tech was cool in old calculators ad watches too!


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FwfbncjvNFc&feature=player_embedded

retroshaun
24-03-11, 05:52
I'm a VFD collector (though I haven't bought any in a long time) - I probably have somewhere between 50 and 75 of them stashed away, I never really took a proper inventory. The games are, in general, a lot better and more playable than the majority of the LCD games, the sound is usually better and of course the screen intensity is amazing. It does seem that its a big collectible in recent years and prices have shot up unfortunately - and for boxed versions, forget about it!

If I was every to trim my collection, these guys would be staying with me :)

Cynicaster
26-03-11, 05:52
For some reason I'm on a VFD/LCD game kick ... kinda been on and off of it for a few years now ... thinking about picking up some of the older Tiger LCD games.

I remember saving up my own money to buy the Tiger handheld Double Dragon in the late 80's. I think I paid about $40 for it. Man, was I ever disappointed... that was a horrible toy.

Leathco
28-03-11, 02:18
I got my first two recently from a forum member at playthenes.com. I picked up Coleco Donkey Kong, Pac-Man, as well as a DK plush and a DK Jenga game for 55 shipped, I thought it was a great deal. The Pac-Man requires a bit of solder work to get working and I gotta buy a new Soldering Gun (can't find my old one), but well worth it!

GameGavel
28-03-11, 05:12
I just picked up a VFD game I have wanted for quite some time. And this thing is cooler than cool. Video coming!

GameGavel
28-03-11, 05:14
Nice pickup MRD. Surprised this is a first for you? So you going to continue looking for handhelds? I think it is an exciting gaming sector to collect. Many are cheap and easy to find and then you have some that are terribly expensive and rare as the hills. I look forward to seeing more handhelds get added to your collection and perhaps I can help with a surprise shipment. Shoot me your address and I will add something to your collection :)


I totally agree! I only recently posted a video of a VFD game I just got recently, now admittedly when I made this video I made an error with my description calling it a LED display as I was not aware of the correct terminology but I corrected it in my video description notes as well as added annotations. ANYWAY I had a fun time with this thing and I totally agree that VFD games were awesome, I love the vivid color and brightness. I hope to get more in the future too. I think VFD tech was cool in old calculators ad watches too!


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FwfbncjvNFc&feature=player_embedded

MaximumRD
31-01-12, 10:21
Hey So Cal and everyone FIRST my apologize for the Necro bump! I seriously don't do that kind of thing but in this case I have 2 reasons, first and foremost just to say to So Cal Mike, Founder it was not my intention to not respond lol! I felt so bad seeing your last comment and realizing I had not been here (or at least in this thread, I have lurked) and say I did not ignore you. Really I don't know where my mind is half the time and it has been a pretty hectic year for me and NOT in a good way! Second though I thought it would be only fair to answer your question and say that yes that was my first since collecting again but of course over the years I had many LCD / VFD etc electronic gamign handhelds and tabletops. UNFORTUNATELY over the years had all been sold or traded during hard times but for any who have not seen it I DID actually get another system of this type, this one I think a little less common? Check it out:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ynnknsbb1Pg&feature=plcp&context=C38b32b8UDOEgsToPDskIaPC_MGj_Qns-20RMyBG2V

indieseoul
31-01-12, 01:17
That looks pretty cool MaximumRD. I've noticed quite a lack of reviews of these old VFD games on youtube. So keep up the good work! I myself recently picked up and reviewed a really cool VFD game the Tomy Lupin. Do you have this one? I believe it is one of the more common ones but pretty awesome nonetheless. Check it out:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b7g75WzDyWI&list=UUi9bZsk3XqcS958FtbAdP9w&index=2&feature=plcp

I bought it from Socal. LOL.

MaximumRD
31-01-12, 11:54
Thanks! I really LOVE VFD games and think they are a great part of portable gaming history that is much over looked. Much like the 2600 and many other older methods I really feel a lot of ingenuity and great imagination were used to get the most out of these devices! A lost art indeed! VFD is like nothing before of after it and you are right there is not a lot of coverage on Youtube so I definitely will post anything I get. Love that one you have!

teknohed
28-02-12, 05:43
I had one of the VFD coleco games back in the 80s. Frogger. I played that baby all the way across the country from Nevada to Iowa during a family vacation. MaximumRD, love your videos. so much fascinating stuff.

retroshaun
29-02-12, 12:16
Yeah I have Frogger (several different versions), Lupin and a couple of Amidars too. A heck of a lot more besides, but yes Lupin is a lot of fun and Amidar is awesome if you ever come across one. Been looking for a DigDug forever :(

teknohed
29-02-12, 03:25
Yeah I have Frogger (several different versions), Lupin and a couple of Amidars too. A heck of a lot more besides, but yes Lupin is a lot of fun and Amidar is awesome if you ever come across one. Been looking for a DigDug forever :(

Lupin? Is it based (loosely I'm sure if it's VFD) on the laser disc Lupin game? You should post up some video of that, I'd love to see it. The thing I love about these games is that although they are similar in gameplay to the LCD games by tiger they had a lot more fluidity and color, at least the Frogger I had did. My buddy Miles here at work has a VFD pac man that is jsut great. Superior in many ways to the home conversions of the time (well except maybe KC Munchkin).

retroshaun
29-02-12, 10:54
the Lupin vid is posted above by indiesoul

Yeah the tiger etc LCD games are kinda crappy in comparison. These games just "feel" great, hard to explain without playing them.

Nurmix
01-03-12, 06:09
I probably have somewhere between 50 and 75 of them stashed away...

:INSANE::CRZY::SEESTARS:

Here's a little clip of a young RetroShaun at the VFD store:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WtZE-srMHAA

indieseoul
01-03-12, 09:24
All of the Lupin games were inspired by the Japanese manga series known as Lupin the third. I never read the manga but I really enjoy playing my Lupin VFD game. Make sure you check out the video I posted in this thread of some game play and also what one of these look like when you take them apart. The D-pad on mine was so dirty that it wouldn't hardly move up and left without pressing really hard. After cleaning out the decades old grime from the button pad and swabbing the contacts with alcohol it now works perfectly. These little machines were made to last!

retroshaun
01-03-12, 06:27
:INSANE::CRZY::SEESTARS:

Here's a little clip of a young RetroShaun at the VFD store:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WtZE-srMHAA

Thats fairly accurate but I usually don't say please :)