Strong Fellowship – Day 15

Closing up on the last few days of the fellowship, and today ended quite well! The roads were pretty clear this morning since the storm is over and they were plowed – including sidewalks. Weather was fine. I didn’t get too much sleep, so breakfast was kind of rough, as was lunch break, but I went through a lot of interesting material.

The Broderbund collection has some excellent sales records, which give a month-to-month look at the sales of notable games like Choplifter, Lode Runner, and Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? This is exactly the sort of material I was looking for. What was surprising was home productivity software like Print Shop sold far more than the bestselling game: about 140,000 units on the Apple II by November 1987 versus 60,000 units of Choplifter on the Apple II! However, I suspect there were FAR more than 60,000 copies of Choplifter out there due to software piracy… It would be impossible to tell what the figures are, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that only accounts for 10% of what was actually out there. I suspect “Home Production” software like Print Shop sold better because it was targeted at adults who would not have considered “copying that floppy” since, you know, you have to buy stuff legally.

It looks like the SSI collection might have good sales figures, too, and the Dan Daglo papers have sales figures for Intellivision! So I copied a lot of these Broderbund records and will look over them in greater detail when I get back. Oh, did I mention they have manufacturing figures for Famicom and NES games? Yup – they ordered an initial run of 30,000 Choplifter cartridges. Another interesting find were some product update documents that list all the software in development and their status. It was fun to find Wings of Fury in development under the working title Hellcat Warrior.

So tomorrow I should be going through the rest of the Broderbund collection, along with the Dan Daglo and SSI collection. Probably the Gerald Lawson papers as well, since he should have some information on Channel F performance. Beyond that, I want to look at Softalk, and there are a few gaming mags from the ’90s and Japanese magazines I want to look through for my personal interest. These and copying my Sumerian Game slides are reserved for Friday. Oh, the 64GB flash drive I ordered came in the mail, too, so I will be backing up all the images I captured in case something happens to one of the SD cards.

It’s kind of weird realizing that there are only three days of research left, too. I feel I could have prepared better by going through the search guides for the other collections, but I guess there was some communication trouble between me and the archivists, so I didn’t realize what exactly they wanted me to tell them until late last week. But I got a hell of a lot done and am excited to find out what I will see tomorrow!

Aside from that, my aunt and uncle from Syracuse visited, and we had a fantastic dinner at The Old Toad after showing them around the museum. What a great way to end the day!

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