Continuing my series of interviews of retro game collectors, I wanted to explore one of the personalities behind one of the most mesmerizing game rooms I constantly see on Instagram. Daniel Marques, also known as Veddermandenis on Instagram and Youtube started on his journey to revamp his ambitious retro game room a couple years ago with the intention of properly displaying both his great hardware collection and his enthusiasm for complete-in-box collecting.
In our discussion we spend a good amount of time discussing his goals and lessons learned when designing a fresh space for a collection. We also dive into trying to build a solid collection of cardboard game packaging and his passion for mobile gaming, arcade hardware, and emulation.
I’m hoping some of Daniel’s perspectives are helpful for those of you tailoring your collection and display methods. If you have related insights or questions you want to share, please do so in the comments below! Everyone is different and our conversations can be great jumping points for further topics and discussions.
- Name: Daniel / Veddermandenis
- Age: 36
- Collecting For: 13 Years
How did you get started in video games and how did you collecting start out?
My first console was an Atari 2600 clone, from a Portuguese brand called Atlantis, I was in the first year of school so it was around 1988. I started actively collecting in November 2005, after realizing I had a lot of my childhood stuff stored and in very good condition. Now that I’ve built up my collection, only about 5% is from my original pre-adult years.
How do you manage displaying your collection?
When I started collecting in 2005, I slowly began to transform an almost empty room into a gaming room. By the end of 2016 the room was completely full and kind of messy. You can see the full progression of the room here in this visual history.
Everything I owned was on display (somehow) but I had been struggling with how I had things for a few years already, you know, boxes on top of boxes, stuff hidden behind stuff. That was when I finally decided to start the construction of my actual gaming room. (My first YouTube video shows the room right before I started disassembling)
Everything got out of the room and after quite some brainstorming, custom shelves were built from the floor almost to the ceiling and now I have everything comfortably displayed. (Well, not everything, some big boxes I’m not sure I’m keeping yet are in the room next door.)
What advice would you give to somebody that was considering re-doing one of their rooms to house their collection?
That’s an easy one. Planning, planning and planning. Then when you feel like you’re ready to hit the tools do some more planning. For my goals, measuring space for organized groups of consoles and games was my primary focus.
I’ll explain the modus operandi for my Nintendo wall, but the concepts were also applied to the other walls as well. First, I separated all the Nintendo items and separated everything chronologically: 8-bit stuff, 16-bit, all the way until the WiiU.
In order to maximize space, I sometimes had to deviate a little from hat I had planned, but the idea was something like this:
- Systems and accessories -> games, next system and accessories -> games chronologically when possible
Once I had everything from a platform separated, I measured and made drawings. It is important to note that the shelves were built system by system, step by step. They were built inside the room as they wouldn’t go through the door if they were made outside the room.
Any things of the process that suck more time and money that most people would expect?
When you build something from scratch like I did, starting with an empty room, you just can’t expect it to be cheap. I used high quality materials, from the paint in the walls to the wood and all the hardware used. I knew I was doing something that would have to last for many years so yes, it can get pretty expensive.
So to clarify: do you have a spot for every given console’s hardware and controllers on the shelf near that system’s games? Then you can swap in and out hardware to your TVs?
Yes, that’s correct for the front and right walls. The left/Nintendo walls doesn’t have a TV because I needed the space for other items, but the power outlets are installed and easily accessible.
The spot for the TV can be seen in that pic. Notice how the wood board next to the Gamecube games has the entire depth. At 14″ TV was going there, but I needed the space.
In the middle of the room, there are two mobile furniture pieces custom made that accommodate the PS3/PS4 stuff and big collectors editions. On top of one of those, there is a TV ready to receive Nintendo hardware (or any other). Those two pieces have power outlets too with all the cabling hidden.
Now the funny part: those two pieces in the middle of the room were made from a failed project. I built a huge mobile section with the same height and width of the shelves that would go from left to right as needed. It initially worked well in testing, but I didn’t think of the weight I would have to move when everything was placed on it. So I disassembled it and made the two cabinets.
What special considerations or goals you have in mind when designing your game room layout and storage? Anything you would have done differently if you were to do it again?
There was one particular goal I wanted to achieve: having every piece exposed and easily accessible. I had items behind items for many years, sometimes I even forgot I had certain game or console because it was buried by many years if collecting.
I don’t think I would change anything, there was quite a bit of planning before executing and I think I achieved the best I could within the size limitations I had.
How many consoles do you have hooked up and ready to go at a given time?
How long have you been running those particular CRTs and PVMs? Any challenges along the way?
When I started planning the gaming room, I was absolutely sure that CRTs/PVMs would be a part of it. I had bought some already through the years because I feared they would become harder and harder to get, especially units in good condition, both technically and aesthetically.
The units I have set up are being used since September 2017, the date the room was finished. I have a dozen or so more in storage, they can be bought extremely cheap if you’re patient and you never know when you’ll need to replace one. I look after Trinitrons mostly but I have a Panasonic and a Philips with built-in DVD player too,
As for the PVMs, I only have a 9” model, I got it fairly cheap and it was my first venture in that world. Will add more someday for sure, not as easy as CRTs as prices on my location are very steep and availability next to zero.
Which console do you most wish to add to your collection that you don’t have right now?
I would really love to add an Atari Jaguar to my collection. It was never officially available in Portugal but I remember seeing ads in magazines and it always stuck with me.
What segments of your collection and/or hardware are you most proud of?
I’m mostly proud of my boxed Multi-Mega (CDX for those in North America), the PSOne software section and the Xbox 360 Limited Edition consoles. I also like to mention the Dead Space 3 Dev Team Edition and the Sniper Ghost Warrior “real ammo case” edition, for being such oddities.
How do you think your collection differs from the typical retro collection?
I think my collection differs from others mainly because I only collect Complete-In-Box stuff, I often see huge collections but with lots of loose carts or unboxed consoles, that’s a no-go for me. Also I never specialized in a unique system, I collect for every system.
I’m also an absolute sucker for Press Kits, I don’t have many but I’m always looking to add some more to the collection. It’s difficult because they’re usually expensive and hard to come by. Also everything Nintendo from the pre-Gamecube era.
How picky on cardboard condition are you on pieces you pick up?
I only go for anything that’s above average condition. Only if I’m looking for a game for so long I pick it under that condition but with a later upgrade in mind.
Do you have much of a process of improving the condition of your cardboard collection? Like buying a better condition boxes or trading in units?
Absolutely. If a game is complete and in good shape I don’t mind adding it to the collection, even if the box isn’t pristine, I learned the hard way that we shouldn’t let complete games pass us by because we never know if they’ll come again after. That being said, I always look for better condition games to replace mines in need.
I noticed you seem to enjoy emulation on mobile devices. What recent advancements in emulation have you most excited?
Absolutely. Emulation on mobile devices allow me to play almost anything from the 8-bit to the 32-bit era anywhere, anytime. With a busy professional and personal life that’s very important.
I was excited to see how far Dreamcast and Gamecube (and even Wii U) emulation have come. The latter need a good PC though. On the arcade side of things, Sega Model 3 is almost perfectly emulated now, which is great too.
Which mobile devices are your go-tos right now and which other ones are promising?
The PSP Go was my mobile go-to device for a long time. Lately I’ve been using the Vita more because of the size and quality of the screen and also because of its raw power too. Not as small and portable as the Go but the pros beat the cons if you ask me. The GPD XD also took a big time of my spare time during the last year or so. I’m very curious about the GPD Win ( the 2nd model is also in the making already).
I’m curious if you have much logic to deciding what to play in the game room on the bigger screens vs emulation / mobile?
That’s a curious question! I usually use mobile to check new old games, like loading a weird unknown Playstation game into the PSPgo or some obscure chump into the GPDXD. In the gaming room,I usually go for the classics: Streets of Rage, Wipeout, Gran Turismo.
Gotcha, so mobile/emulation is the testing ground and for experimentation?
Not always, but most of the time, I think so, yes. I often find myself an recommendation of an arcade game that didn’t get a home conversion. When one pops my curiosity, the mobile emulation stuff comes to action.
I can definitely relate to that! For arcade stuff, there isn’t as many resources like game reviews or re-issues like we get with console games. And most of it all happened before the web so it’s like this lost history unless somebody does dedicate time to sharing their thoughts.
Absolutely! That’s why I think emulation is so important. There are people out there gathering the hardware but it’s a tremendous task. The arcade PCBs are fragile and fail over time. I personally have a 4-slot MVS board that was ruined because it was in storage for two years, carefully stored!
Our “Portuguese Arcade Authority”, a guy named Rui Baptista tried to fix it, but he said there’s only one person who can do it: “The Italian”. Aha! I love the sound of it! There’s this Italian dude with a huge backlog of repairs. People wait months in line, but the guy knows what he’s dealing with.
That’s fascinating and I can totally understand the urgency. As if it wasn’t hard enough to keep the popular arcade hardware alive, many of the hidden gems had low enough production numbers to begin with. Keeping them alive at this point is like protecting an endangered species.
I know the reputation of living in the PAL region is that you seem to get less games released in your region. How has your locale influenced your collecting and what advantages or disadvantages do you observe?
Well, during the 90’s, Europe and Portugal in particular didn’t get lots of important games, from the top of my head I remember waiting for the pal release of Xenogears, As you know, it never happened. For many years I had no interest in NTSC/U or JP releases, I just thought it made no sense reaching out for other than PAL releases. But with the advent of mass internet access and online shopping I saw myself more than once going for non-pal releases, mostly collector’s editions.
Right now I have NTSC stuff scattered across all the sections of my collection, things like the Super Game Boy 2, the Wonderswan Color or the Neo-Geo Pocket. As far as more recent stuff, I like to highlight the huge Titanfall Collector’s Edition, the Street Fighter 25th anniversary package or the NBA 2K10 Anniversary Edition, all exclusive to the US territory. Living in a small country doesn’t help at all when you’re a collector, there are no car boot sales or big retrogaming events and everything is always overpriced. Not good 🙂