MAD about Mastertronic – Collecting The 80s Classics

The Same But Different

At this point I was sticking to single copies of each game, albeit one of each format. However, A large number of older games on cassette were released in several variants. While I was never obsessed with variations of cassette and label colours, often due to production runs, I did decide to take an interest in the re-releases issued in Spain through the publisher DroSoft. While I haven’t started buying these yet as they’re extremely expensive compared to their UK released counterparts, it has added an extra set to the collection that needs tracking down. Equally, console games have UK, European and Australian variants not to mention other quirks I’ve discovered along the way.

The Oddities

1987 was a strange year for Mastertronic. One of their employees, Geoff Heath, had a background in the music industry and decided to diversify the Mastertronic range into the audio and video fields launching two new budget labels – Master Sound and Master Vision. Each, as their name suggested, was releasing cut price music and videos in an attempt to move into a new market for the company. Master Sound focused on low-price themed music compilations but was pulled after just nine releases. Master Vision fared better with a catalogue of 60 tapes.

Both are proving to be incredibly hard to track down for the collection but being the completist that I am, I can’t ignore either range! Typically though audio tapes, vinyl and VHS just happen to be the three types of products that have been steadily making their way to landfill for the last decade or so. Bearing in mind the limited availability that these had originally, finding these has been nigh on impossible and they’re now like gold dust to anyone who does collect them.

Master Vision VHS releases

Now And Beyond

What has surprised me is the sheer pace at which the collection has grown. I’ve only been making a serious attempt at collecting since February 2016 but right now the collection stands at well over 1,000 games on cassette and disk. I’ve made a lot of good friends amongst fellow collectors around the world, been interviewed by GamesTM, and even set up a Facebook group bringing collectors together – the Mastertronic Collector’s Group.

Mastertronic Collectors Group logo, courtesy of John Elias Marston BA

One thing that has surprised me with this group is the sheer sense of community that has developed amongst fans and collectors of the games. The passion that is still there so many years after the company closed is also incredibly touching as well. It’s also helped bring former developers and company employees together with fans in a way I never thought possible.

Finishing the collection is still a long way off and I don’t think it’s something I’ll manage to complete for many years yet, but it’s going to be a fantastic ride trying to get there!

Simon Plumbe - Mastertronic Collection. Photo credit - Hannah Plumbe

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