Links We Like: The Art of Collections and Collecting

The NTC shelves of interesting things

The NTC shelves of interesting things

This week’s installment of Links We Like gives hat-tip to the collectors of odd and interesting stuff that has attracted our attention. From Jar Gielens’ stockpile of retro video games, to Keith Clatworthy’s trove of Mattel View-Masters, to Collectors Weekly catalog of collections their histories, collections reveal our products’ cultural history and remind us of our past.

Collections help us to remember elements of our past and find order in the disarray of memory. They’re enjoyable to look at and reveal a lot about the collector. Here at NTC we have a large group collection packed with interesting things like uniquely designed consumer electronics and classic toys, musical instruments, skateboards, oh, and there are lot and lots of cameras too!

Collect all the Games

Donkey Kong 3, one of Nintendo's 2-player handhelds from 1984

Donkey Kong 3, one of Nintendo’s 2-player handhelds from 1984

Jaro Gielens collects handheld games that were common in the late 1970s and early 80s, years before the Nintendo Game Boy hit the scene in 1989. His collection stands at 800 different handhelds and even includes manuals and boxes. Talk about thorough!

Gielens’ tons of games are impressive in their own right, but he also built a fantastic site to share his passion for retro handhelds. The site offers the ability to search by color, display type, manufacturer, button style, and battery type.

There are tabletop style games that look like mini-arcade cabinets and wrist-wearable games. Each device has its own landing page with images of device, box art, and key features of the machine. And don’t miss the front and back toggle switch to the right of the images to see design details from different perspectives.

Most of our favorites from the collection are the more obscure titles like the pre-Game Boy Donkey Kong 3, released 5 years before their flagship handheld. Another personal fave is the Tennis Fan Thirty Love. The device is shaped like a tennis racquet, and even comes with an adorable racquet cover.

Make sure to share your experience with these pre-Game Boy personal gaming devices in the comments or forum. And don’t forget to mention your favorite game!
There are all sorts of devices — from the tabletop style that look like shrunken arcade cabinets to the handheld and wrist-wearable variety. Each gaming device has its own carefully collated landing page with images of device, box art, and key features of the machine. And don’t miss the front and back toggle switch to the right of the images, which changes the view.

Don’t Just Read About It, See it in 3D!

A classic View-Master with 14 frame slide reels

A classic View-Master with 14-frame slide reels

At the New York Toy Fair this past February, Mattel unveiled their latest iteration of the View-Master line of stereoscopic 3D viewers. Gone are the circular disks with thumbnail size images. Today’s View-Master customers get smartphone app and a partnership with Google.

While a lot has changed in the 77 years since the View-Master was first sold, the purpose of the device remains the same: show a 3D view of a distant place, fictional setting, or just something nice to look at.

Keith Clatworthy has been collecting View-Masters for quite a while, and documents his collection on The site highlights official View-Masters as well as copycat devices. The extensive collection is a must-visit for fans of the classic viewing device.

If Someone Collects It, You Can Read About it Here!


Closing out the Links We Like this week is Collectors Weekly, a collection of collections and the collectors who maintain them.

The site covers a broad range of collections, from our favorites, like retro electronics, to more specialized collections like Scandinavian Art Glass . There’s even a page dedicated to bedpan collecting. No collection is too niche to get a bit of coverage and that’s the best thing about Collectors Weekly.

While bedpan collections might not be your thing, it’s a benefit to everyone that Collectors Weekly reveals them. In addition to the thematic sections, the site also features longform articles about individual collections and their collectors. For a deeper dive into their archives, here are a couple of suggestions we enjoyed:

It’s easy to get engrossed in the content at Collectors Weekly, but we believe you won’t regret it. You’ll likely come away knowing something more about the things you used to enjoy, or find collections of things you never expected.


What’s your best memory of early handheld electronics? Share your story in the forum or comments below. And if you’ve got a cool collection share that with us too.

And, of course, if you’re working on any C.H.I.P. or PocketC.H.I.P. projects, make sure to tweet about them. Have a great weekend!

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