This week’s assignment from The League was to write about which of our favorite TV treasure-hunting show hosts we’d love to spend a week with and why.

I’m going with Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz from American Pickers:

American Pickers - for Gamers

It was an easy decision for me, because I already had a ready-made answer in the form of this blog post that I wrote a few months ago, in which I describe my ideal treasuring-hunting TV show concept that I’ll re-post here:

“Pick­ers” for Gamers

Pickers for Gamers

You know the show Amer­i­can Pick­ers on the His­tory chan­nel? Well this would be pretty much the same thing except a pair of nerds—the less socially skilled and more awk­ward the better—would go around to yard sales, liq­ui­da­tions, pri­vate col­lec­tors’ homes, maybe even Craigslist and Ebay in search of rare and valu­able video games and gam­ing col­lectibles. You know, stuff like the Medieval Mad­ness pin­ball table, Air Raid for Atari 2600, or the Vir­tual Boy (just kid­ding about that last one–nobody really wants one of those things).

On the real Pick­ers, hosts Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz nego­ti­ate to the point of high­way rob­bery. This show would be the oppo­site because gamers are sen­ti­men­tal fan­boys who are known to put things like rare, ridonku­lously expen­sive Neo Geo car­tridges ahead of their finan­cial future–which is part of the appeal too, so that we at home can all have a good laugh about it.

Work­ing Titles:

  • Epic Looters
  • Shit Gamers Will Pay Obscene Amounts of Money For

// end of re-post

But seriously, folks…

Pickers is a great show, but for me the formula tends to get old. If you’ve seen one rusty old bicycle part, you’ve seen them all. Of course, I don’t collect things like rusty old bicycle parts but I’m sure those types of finds are much more interesting to someone who does. I watch Pickers because somehow hosts Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz manage to make things like rusty old bicycle parts a hell of a lot more interesting. And also to catch glimpses of their occasional gaming-related finds, like in that Season 3 episode that was all about vintage pinball machines.

I’d love to see Mike and Frank pick stuff like this:

Konami X-MEN 6-Player Arcade Cabinet from 1992

Did you know the average age of U.S. gamers is now 30 years old? I happen to be a gamer and exactly 30, so I’d consider myself the target demographic for a show like the one I described above. There’s a whole generation of people just like me out there with vast stockpiles of potentially rare or valuable plastic things from Japan that we’re all trying to figure out how to store or sell off to other nostalgic gamers who have invested as much time and money in their collections as the rest of us.

Mike Wolfe and Frank Fitz are the type of guys that’d be perfect to send into the funky, uncharted depths of the average video game hoarder’s nerd lair. I don’t know how they’re able to maintain a straight face at some of the weird, toothless country trolls they encounter with piles of random crap on their lawns bigger than Spaceship Earth, but they handle it like pros. Just imagine how they’d interface with know-it-all, overly-territorial gamers. I bet negotiating wouldn’t be as easy.

That’s why I’d spend a week with the Pickers–to inject some much needed nerdstalgia and appreciation for vintage gaming into a show that’s missing the boat on roughly 44% of the U.S. population.

Update 8/1/2012 – This is exactly the kind of thing I’m talking about:

Legend of Zelda prototype cartridge goes to auction for $150,000

Other Treasure Hunting Tangents from The League