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Seattle, WA, USA

Posted Thu Sep 17, 2020 7:44 pm

Datasoft's Bruce Lee for Commodore 64 is one of those games I played when I was a kid that completely captivated me and sucked me in. I fell in love the moment I loaded it on my breadbin & 1541 the very first time. From the initial loading screen and music, fantastic "chunky" sound effects and the graphics - it stood out as being world class to me, from end to end (even if Bruce did stutter a bit when he ran).

And I didn't stop playing it until I beat it. And I did beat it back then.

It's honestly one of the only games I ever beat as a kid, and the day that happened - hands sweaty and slightly shaky on the final screens - was a massive triumph. One I celebrated with myself, if I remember correctly, because my mom and brother couldn't give a flip.

But I was very proud of myself. And I had a friend at school I couldn't wait to tell the next day who I then inspired to follow in my footsteps.

There is no doubt Bruce Lee, the game, captivated a ton of people's imaginations very strongly.

It's been remade over the years and expanded upon, ported to the Amiga in very snazzy new clothes in 2018, and even a Bruce Lee II was made for C64 in 2013/14.

I love all of those games. But the original is the crown jewel because that's where it all started.

I've been looking to find a boxed copy for years, but whenever it shows up on Ebay it is always set as an auction. And, predictably, the boxed disk version will go well over $300! That's pretty nuts when you consider you're mainly really just trying to get the box. The disk isn't that hard to obtain (I have 3 separate original disks). And the manuals show up from time to time, too, which is really just a folded sheet of paper. Nothing special.

This is why the box is usually a crushed and tattered piece of crap - it was 95% air!


Last week out of the blue good ol' Bruce showed up on Ebay, as a Buy It Now. And I got it for less than $100. Laugh if you want, but I hit that button so hard I nearly created a worm hole in our space time continuum.

It's not 100% mint, but it's damned "very good" at a minimum. And it's probably the best I'm ever going to find, especially sub-$100.
Such a great drawing.

As I said before, over the years I've collected several of the original Datasoft gold-sticker floppy disks. They'll show up on Ebay and usually cost around $30 as loose disks. I actually got all of mine for free in various pickups. So, I never have played a cracked version in the last several years - no need as long as I have a disk drive hooked up. I did play a crack back in the day, though (just being honest). I'd be willing to bet 99% of you reading this did, too.

What's also interesting is the pitiful little "manual" - or instruction sheet, really. I have two. The one in the box I received today - to my eyes - looks like a high quality laser printer copy on a normal if aged 8.5x11" piece of printer paper. I have another instruction sheet I'd gotten for free from a garage-haul that was really wrinkled and warped but not yellowed. But that piece of paper is slightly smaller, and glossy.

I know for a fact the glossy one is real and original. This other one, though, made me wonder if it was a dupe.

If it is a copy - guys, it was made a really long time ago. It has visible yellowing from age on the back of it. And someone would have had to have gone to a professional printer - with an original version - to make a copy of this quality. And yet, when compared to my original, there are differences in the text formatting, too (note the bold vs. italics) so there were at least two versions floating around.

So, who knows? I'll be putting both in the box regardless. There's really only one other Datasoft title I'm actively seeking at this point (the box, of course, as I have the disk): Goonies. And who knows? In another 5 years I might just snag it like I did good ol' Bruce.

Bruce is buried in my city, Seattle, WA. My family visited his grave last year.
His son, Brandon, is buried next to him.
Bruce met his wife at the University of Washington.
Bruce Lee opened his first martial arts school, named the Lee Jun Fan Gung Fu (literally Bruce Lee’s Kung Fu) Institute, in Seattle.

And now, for a moment of heavenly glory, by Seattle's very own Melody Sheep.

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Posted Tue Sep 22, 2020 4:23 am

So wow, awesome find, but not sure I would pay that much for it. I will leave it to your good collecting to build the museum we can all visit in the future. Do you see your collecting as an investment or is it purely a hobby?

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Posted Tue Sep 22, 2020 9:31 pm

Congratulations on your find!

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Seattle, WA, USA

Posted Wed Sep 23, 2020 11:09 am

So wow, awesome find, but not sure I would pay that much for it.
Getting it for less than 1/3 the normal street value felt right to me even though it's all about the box/box art. At least with Infocom games and Ultima games you got more than just a box and a sheet of paper. You got "feelies" including trinkets, maps, etc. But it has been on my radar for a very long time. So has Goonies, and Mr. Do.

Do you see your collecting as an investment or is it purely a hobby?
I guess both, but with caveats. I think if I held onto a lot of the stuff I have now, in 20 years it would be viewed by most as trash and hauled away. Today, it's worth a small fortune to be honest if sold off. But I usually only sell what I admit to myself I'll never use very often. On the hardware side, I usually get my money back. That's getting harder to do these days because when I buy something, here in Washington we have to pay tax on top of the price, plus shipping. So if I "win" something for $300, if I were to sell it the next day I'd often have to ask for $380 just to break even because I'm trying to cover the cost of tax and shipping, plus re-shipping to someone else. I think this is partly inflating numbers out there not just price gouging.

I usually don't break even. But, sometimes an auction will go crazy and make up for other losses.

On the software side, it's almost always a loss. I feel like I always pay high, sell low (Bruce Lee might be an exception some day but I wanted to collect it, not resell it). And for whatever reason, I think hardware is usually just easier to sell than software most of the time unless the software is in pristine, perfect condition (very rare).

So, long story short, for me it's almost all on the hobby side of things. If I were a business I would have been shut down years ago. I really enjoy this "scene" and devote most of my disposable income and time towards it, seems like. I am in the process of an annual purge to make some room as more stuff is on the way - non-Commodore for a change. Picking pieces to let go of is hard, but it's also kind of cathartic.

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Posted Wed Sep 23, 2020 4:31 pm

Wow, I did not realise that went for such a high price. And I had that game as a kid. Damn. We don’t have the tax issue thank goodness. That must be a pain in the ass. I agree with the hardware vs software, which is a pity as the software is actually quite brittle and more likely to break down. What with all those soft boxes and being stacked on top of each other.

I mostly collect software for the manuals and such. I am finding more and more, the discs are failing and are increasingly unreliable. But as long as this hobby brings us joy, it is money and time well spent.

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