I finally had the opportunity to attend one of the biggest fleamarkets in nothern Italy last sunday. It was near Modena, 50km away from home and it’s a market mainly focused on old radios and ancient electronics but ther’s always someone who sells videogames, consoles and computers. I didn’t have a particular target, I just wanted to go there to check how it was so I left home with a small sum, some pocket money I was holding just for this event. The fair started early in the mornin, at 6 a.m. and bing one of the most important I hah to be there at 5 a.m., meaning that I have to leave home at 4 a.m. and that I had to wake up at 3 a.m.
But for some good retro games hunting was worth the few hours of sleep.
The market is held in open air in a huge field reserved for camper and caravan and something like 200 booths were present. Even though most of them were selling very old and beautiful radios or old transistors and vacuum tubes, some booths caught my attention because they were displaying something more up my alley.
The first stop, at 6 a.m. has been in a small corner where two guys were still amassing stuff on thei bench. They were selling consoles, games and computers, The first one I’ve looked at was a pristine Commodore 16, in its marvellous total black. It was without power lead but giving the fact that I have another Commodore machine and that the cable is very easy to find I decided to buy it. It was only 20€ and it was way more than what yo can find onlline, especially in the perfect cosmetic shape it was in. It looks like it has been barely used and still smelled of polystyrene. The same guys had even a boxed PS1 with all cables and two controllers. I already have two working PS1 but not boxed and while I was thinking if I had to take it or pass another person bought it for 30€. It was a bit disappointing but in the end it was a console I already have and it’s one of the leastr expensive and more common that can be found so it wasn’t that big loss.
I wanted to buy also the PS1 game Overboard! with which I had fun as a kind on my uncle console but the case was cracked, it was missing the inlay and the manual was missing as well so it wasn’t the case. There were also some Atari 2600 and Intellivision games boxed but they were not particlularly cheap and I know a seller in Italy that sometimes lists some interestin lots of like 10€ a 3-4€ a game so I passed. He also had four pristine, almost brand new Game & Watch and the price of 50€ each was really worth but I couldn’t spend 200€ on Game & Watch. Not now.
Then below tho MSX computers, one exactly like the one I already have and the other one a later model with floppy drive included (man it would have been great to have it but it wasn’t in good shape and the price was steep), a CD-i 210 was sitting in all of it glory. Except a bit of dust on top it was in great conditions and sold as working. Unfortunately it was missing the power and video cables but the former is exactly the same I use for my MSX and the latter is a simple SCART that can be found everywhere (I think I have a closet full of SCARTs). It had no games included and the original remote control was missing only because the seller forgot it home, but he promised me he would have shipped it in case I wanted to buy the console. I’ve never thoguht I whould have owned a CD-i because it was one of those console that bombed and that are not easy to find and not one of the “mainstream” consoles for which you can find a lot of games at a relative decente priced. But it was time to a leap forward in my collection so after a few minutes I lowered the price to 70€ for both the CD-i and the C16. I lef them there to avoid carrying them around and I kept walking.
There was another guy who was selling tons of PS1, PS2, PS3 and Wii games but it was so unfriendly that I would have never bought anything from him, neither for free. And plus his priced were sky high. Hey that’s a market not a f**king official store!
After passing by like 10 booths with tons of dirty PS1 I stumbled (for real this time, I was almost falling) on a man selling an incredible number of consoles that looked like they were just retrieved by the sewer. They wer dirty beyond believe but they were so cheap that for I moment I thought to buy one. He had dozens of Xbox 360, original Xbox and PS3. Unfortunately all of them were without cables and were sold as untested. I have 4 Xbox 360 and I have no cables for the PS3 and I’m not familiar enought to try to repair them in case they don’t work. The Xbox crystal was very alluring but I had to pass, since I already have an Xbox with some laser problems and I don’t want another one to repair.
There were other persons selling great computers, like Amiga, Atari ST, old Macs, Commodore disk drives but, even though they were really interesting I’m not so familiar with them and I did not want system I don’t know hot to use and for which I don’t have software or at least a basic knowledge. Of course the software, especially for Amiga is quite common but this would have meant start to look even for floppies for a new system and the problem with these computers is that is difficult for me to keep them hooked to a TV screen. They should sit on a desktop with the possibility to use them everytime but at the moment I barely have room enought for my games and consoles. 😦
While I was at the poin to go back home I noticed I missed an entire line of booths. In the very last one I’ve visited I found a lot of stuff to buy. First of all some NES and Mega Drive games. Rings of Power is a Genesis version but I’m about to close a deal to buy an adapter so I had no hesitation; the reviews online were good and the picture I’ve seen interesting so I saw no reason to pass. Battletoads is one of those notoriously rock hard games and I’ve always passed on it because it was too expensive but this time I found it at the price I wanted; same thing for Donkey Kong Country which online commends prices between 20€ and 30€ but it was way cheaper this time.
Last but not least the Sega Saturn. It was all alone of the bench and I wanted to adopt him to introdeuce him to my Sega family. It came with power lead, controller, a game and a strange cartridge at first I didn’t noticed. It turned out it was the Pro Adapter that let you play all the games ever released for the console, incuding the vast japanese catalogue. In practice I was buying a region free console. Plus with a game included, Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 which is actually not one of the cheapest around. The only thing it was missing was the video cable but I’ve found it for 3€ five minutes later. The total price was about 100€ but I manage to lower to 70€ including also the PS1 game Ace Combat 2. I remember the first games that was awesome but I still have never tried the second.
When I went back home I tried all of the games and consoles and they all works. Of course I don’t know if the Saturn has some video issues but at least it powers up and the disc spins. The CD-i boots correctly and both Battletoads and Donkey Kong Counrty works. As well as the Commodore 16. Now I look forward to find some CD-i games and to get the Mega Drivr adapter to play american games.
I’ll be surely attending the next edition of this market that will be on May 11th, 2019 hoping to get other great stuff and to have the time to earn some experience with the home computers, because there’s a lot of stuff for them there.
Hope you’ve enjoyed what you’ve seen guys, talk to you soon!