Welcome to one of the most rare gaming consoles you will ever set sight on.
Back in 1995, Apple made an attempt to break into the video game industry by licensing the PiPPiN technology to Bandai, attempting to use the same model employed by the popular 3do company. Due to poor marketing and a ridiculous $599 price tag, only about 5000 of these ever sold, most through Katz Media, who turned them into media players for corporations and distributed them in Europe.
I obtained this gaming console about 10 years ago from a man who was selling what he thought was iMac for somewhere in the vicinity of $135. He had no idea what he was sitting on was a very rare piece of gaming history, nor that it was worth far more than what he sold it for.
When you buy a gaming system like this one you are faced with some problems almost immediately. The main problem is software, where the hell do you find software for a console that was DOA? Needless to say there wasn’t any, literally. The console I received was complete in box, had all of the manuals and pack-in discs, plus a modem, controller, and a keyboard with a touch screen and stylus. Seems as though Apple made some similar mistakes to modern day Microsoft. They built a gaming machine that was geared towards non-gaming applications. The pack-in cd’s did not contain a game. Only a web browser, an introduction cd, and a tool called TV Works. Well, at least the bundle I got came this way.
Since I had no games, I really never tested the device. I plugged everything in, checked out the bundled non-gaming tools to verify it read discs, and put everything back in the box. But when you own a piece of gaming history, it can be a very interesting conversation starter(or ender) when talking with other collectors. We all love games with a greater than normal passion, but I have ran into other collectors who have seemed to be somewhat jealous that I own one.
So, why test this thing out now? Well, I tend to run into a lot of other game collectors while out hunting for games, and one of these guys wants me to bring the PiPPiN over for a game night with a bunch of other collectors. But I have no games! Well, sort of. I’ve been sitting on a folder full of iso’s for about 20 or so PiPPiN games/apps since 2008, but I never once tried to burn any of them. Those who know me are aware that I refuse to use my launch PS3 to reduce the risk of breaking the early model console with full backwards compatibility. And many of us are well aware of how cdr’s can drastically shorten the lifespan of a Dreamcast. So I never tried to burn any of these iso’s. Well, it’s been 10 years or more since I bought the console, and to this day, even with daily emails coming in from ebay with the newest listings, I have not yet been able to obtain a single US game disc for this console.
If I’m going to show up to this game night, I need to know this thing plays games. So I break out the old external hdd that holds my PiPPiN isos, dust off a few cd-rs, burn a copy of Super Marathon(Marathon 1 & 2), and pop it in the cd-tray of the PiPPiN. Much to my surprise, it worked on the first attempt. It’s been a long journey to this point, and I’d love to find a legit copy of some of these games, but simply playing Marathon on a console has me excited to see how this console is received by the other collectors next weekend. More important to me, it may be an entry point into this group of gamers, some of whom might be interested in helping me grow gamelust. If anything it’ll be a boost to my own gaming nights which could use some new blood as well. What used to be a monthly event has dropped to 3 or 4 times a year.
But for now, it’s time to go play some Marathon. This aught to be fun.
I’ll post an update next week after the event.
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