The Sears Catalog – A step back in time

I go to thrift stores at least two times a week mainly to look for games and other related items. So I often find myself scouring the aisles for any treasures. In this day and age, it's almost impossible to forget that information can be had within reach thanks to the help of smart phones and their expensive internet plans..

While I was checking out the the book section at a Goodwill, I happen to noticed a small Sears Catalog dating back (1897) almost at the turn of the century (1900's). I was literally glued to this book and curious to find out more about it but unfortunately the book was a reproduction - but for .25 cents, it was a great buy. It wasn't until 2 months ago that I started to research that Sears Catalog and found that they're actually collectible themselves (the originals). But while doing the research, I came across a few websites that had scans of previous catalogs which featured the early pioneers of the home consoles. Nowadays, you almost never see anything like this anymore.

Sears Wishbook Catalog of 1983 (from The Retroist)

all scans thanks to the retroist

The Retroist posted a bunch of scans from the Sears Wishbook of 1983. In that era, there was a number of well known (still to this day) consoles that hit the market. Nowhere would you see something like that today though..

sears wishbook video games 19 150x150 sears wishbook video games 14 150x150 sears wishbook video games 11 150x150

sears wishbook video games 13 150x150 sears wishbook video games 12 150x150 sears wishbook video games 10 150x150

sears wishbook video games 05 150x150 sears wishbook video games 04 150x150 sears wishbook video games 03 150x150

sears wishbook video games 02 150x150 sears wishbook video games 01 150x150

1983 was one of the saddest years of the video game industry which led to bankruptcy's of video game console manufacturers. It wasn't until our beloved NES that gave us another opportunity to enjoy high quality produced games once again. One of the main reasons for the crash is the fact that a lot of games at that time was poorly made. In my opinion, the same shit has happened for Nintendo's Wii console with it's crap load of shovelware titles and the lack of first party support.

Which brings me to the next set of ads from the 1988 Sears Catalog..

Sears Catalog circa 1988 to 1994 (from HughesJohnson.com)

all scans thanks to HughesJohnson.com

NES Ads

sears catalog 1992 pg504 NES full 150x150 sears catalog 1990 pg1446 NES full 150x150sears catalog 1992 pg502 NES full 150x150

sears catalog 1992 pg503 NES full 150x150sears catalog 1988 pg615 NES full 150x150sears catalog 1990 pg1447 NES full 150x150

Gameboy ads

sears catalog 1990 pg1448 GB full1 150x150sears catalog 1992 pg498 GameBoy full 150x150sears catalog 1992 pg499 GameBoy full 150x150

Sega Ads

sears catalog 1988 pg614 SMS full 150x150wishbook canada 1988 pg399 full 150x150wishbook canada 1994 pg425 full 150x150

sears catalog 1992 pg507 Genesis full 150x150sears catalog 1990 pg1451 Genesis full 150x150sears catalog 1992 pg501 GG full 150x150

Lynx ad

sears catalog 1992 pg500 Lynx full 150x150

CDI ads

sears catalog 1994 pg732 CDI full 150x150sears catalog 1994 pg733 CDI full 150x150

Turbo Grafx

sears catalog 1992 pg505 TG full 150x150

There are fewer video game magazines these days too and now with big magazines like GamePro switching to quarterly scheduled printing instead of the usual monthly iterations, it's almost like the art of game advertising can only be seen online through blogs and official websites or worse, spam from the publishers themselves. I have a subscription to Game Informer only because I signed up for a discount card at GameStop and I bet that without it, that magazine will probably die a painful death.

Twitter Digg Delicious Stumbleupon Technorati Facebook Email

2 Responses to “The Sears Catalog – A step back in time”

  1. Ahh catalogs – how they take you back!

    I used to collect these. I had literally about 10 stacks of these from the 80’s. Stacked in 6ft piles.

    Unfortunately when I moved in 2000 I wasn’t able to take them along with me and they became a trash pickup recycler’s nightmare.

    I have kept several years of Babbage’s and Electronic’s Boutique catalogs from the early 90’s though since they were much thinner.

    How I miss the Sears and Service Merchandise books though….

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Let’s Go Shopping For Video Games! (In The 1980′s And 1990′s) | Kotaku Australia - 01. Sep, 2011

    […] here range from 1982 to 1996, and are courtesy of websites HuguesJohnson and The Retroist (via Gamesniped). Total Recall is a look back at the history of video games through their characters, franchises, […]

Leave a Reply

Don't want to enter your info everytime you comment? Register or login. Since we occasionally cache pages, this will also make sure you're viewing the latest version and comments.

Login