Manufacturer: Exidy
Released: 1981
Designer: ?
Added to my collection: February 3, 2004
Cost to date : $178.25
Current Condition : Sold

Description
My Machine
Auction Lesson
Technical
Links

Description:

Who can say what it is that attracts a person to a particular video game? In the case of Venture, I suspect it has something to do with my Dungeons and Dragons obsession in my high school days, which coincided precisely with the start of my video game obsession. Back then, there weren't many video games that went for a Dungeons and Dragons kind of feel (Gauntlet didn't come along until four years later).

Venture is very simple in terms of graphics and game play. Each level starts with an overhead view of a four-room dungeon. Your task is to guide your character Winky (a red smiley-face with a crossbow) into each room, vanquish the monsters therein, and grab the treasure. After you clear all four rooms, it's time for the next level. Each room has a different type of monster with slightly different abilities and movement patterns and, wandering the corridors, are a gaggle of big, fast-moving dungeon guardians that cannot be killed. The can get you in the corridors, but they also come through the walls and chase you inside the rooms if you take too long to pick up the treasure.

Even though the game is pretty basic (and not super-popular among collectors--at least not that I know of), I've always enjoyed it. I've played the heck out of it on my ColecoVision, and now I get to play it in its original form.

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My Machine

My game is in near-perfect physical shape. Even the marquee light worked when I got it (a true rarity--it's definitely one of the first games I've ever bought that worked from the get-go). A minor monitor rolling problem was fixed by merely adjusting the horizontal and vertical hold. The only problems at the time of purchase were a sticky joystick and no sound. A new joystick is on the way (that's a quick fix). I posted a message on RGVAC about the sound problem, and Jonathan Koolpe, a fellow collector and Venture fan told me to check the sound pots (the volume knobs). Sure enough, turning one little pot on the board fixed the problem! Unfortunately, there are still some sound issues (it switches to a solid tone every now and then and has to be restarted to fix the problem), but the volume pot solution was a step in the right direction.

There's quite a story behind the acquisition of this game that contains some good lessons for fellow collectors. Read on to hear about how I paid way more than I had to for this game--and how you can avoid doing the same in the future.

 

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How I Paid Too Much for Venture

You don't see very many Venture machines at the auctions or on eBay. I've been told by a reliable source that Exidy boards, once they go bad, are murder to fix. I guess that's why Exidy games in general (of which Venture is one) are fairly uncommon these days.

One of the members of the North Carolina coin-op e-mail list, Brian Pipa, posted a message about a restaurant equipment auction in Benson, NC (about an hour from me). Most of the stuff they had was restaurant-related (signs, booths, tables, and so on), but they also had three video games--Crazy Climber, D-Day, and Venture. I e-mailed the auction company (Wester Auction and Realty) and they said that the consignor said that the games worked.

I took the day off and went to the auction--a very orderly affair, by the way, much more efficient than most of the amusement auctions I've attended. I casually checked out the games. I wasn't the least bit interested in D-day, but it was in great physical shape. Crazy Climber had a really weird marquee, but the cabinet was good (except for the back door, which was broken in half). It was dead, though--no signs of life whatsoever. Venture was dirty but in really good physical condition, with only a few scratches in the side art. The control panel, marquee, and bezel were beautiful. It was the only game of the three that powered up, but the monitor was rolling horizontally and vertically. I had seen the same thing in my Centipede machine, and I figured it was just a minor adjustment.

My hope was that I would get the machine dirt cheap because this was, after all a restaurant equipment auction. I was right that there were few people interested in the video games. Unfortunately, there was one other person interested. I sort of recognized him (from the Winston-Salem game auctions) but I wasn't sure. The auctioneers decided to put all three games up for bid at once, giving the winning bidder the choice of machines at whatever the high bid price was. This was a good auction trick I'd never seen before, and it really paid off for the auctioneers! I was only interested in Venture and Kerry (the other bidder) was only interested in Crazy Climber. Of course we didn't know that, and we ended up bidding each other up until the price reached $220. I bailed out. Kerry said all he wanted was Crazy Climber. At this point I made my second mistake. The auctioneer asked which game I wanted (at the same price) and I said Venture. I was committed to paying $220 for the game (not a bad price considering its condition). But the auctioneer drove a stake through my heart at that point when he offered D-dayat the same price and there were no takers. He then restarted the bidding at $25 and D-day ended up going for a mere $40!!!!!!!!

Lessons learned:

  1. Not every opposing bidder is your enemy. If you are in a situation where you're pretty sure there are only a couple of bidders for a small number of machines, it doesn't hurt to strike up a conversation and find out what they're interested in.
  2. When you're bidding on "choice of three" like I was in this situation and there's a bidding war between you and only one other person, ask them what they're trying to obtain. There's a chance that they might not want the same machine as you, in which case a bidding war hurts both of you by driving up the price of the "choice."
  3. When someone else wins a "choice" and doesn't take all of the items up for bid, if you are the second-highest bidder you are given the choice of what's left in most cases at the closing bid price. If you decline and there's no one else interested, chances are that the auctioneer might restart the bidding at a lower price on the remaining items. By waiting, you do risk losing to someone else or having the price go higher (though the latter is unlikely), but you could get a bargain as well.

So, overall I'm happy to have my game--but I'll always be kicking myself over the mistakes I made in obtaining it.

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Venture Technical Info:

DIP switch settings:

Venture has two banks of DIP switches. The asterisks (*) indicate the factory default settings.

DIP Bank 1 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Bonus Life 20,000 *
on
on
30,000
off
on
40,000
on
off
50,000
off
off
Coinage 2 Coins/1 Credit    
off
on
off
1 Coin/1 Credit *    
on
on
off
1 Coin/2 Credits    
off
off
off
Pence A 2 Coins/1 Coin/B 1 Coin/3 Credits    
off
off
off
Pence A 1 Coin/1 Coin/B 1 Coin/6 Credits    
off
off
on
Lives 2        
on
on
3 *        
off
on
4        
on
off
5        
off
off

 

DIP Bank 2
1
2
3
Language English *
on
on
French
off
on
German
on
off
Spanish
off
off
Cabinet Upright *
on
Cocktail
off

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More Venture Info:

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