I guess it makes sense that Nintendo.com has pictures that makes me want to buy a third one.
Isn't it funny how we easily get caught in a trap of thinking that, because things have been a certain way for awhile, that is how they will stay? For years and years and years, Atari games were a dime a dozen at yard sales. NES games were everywhere, and a copy of Contra was $5 to $10 tops. Final Fantasy VII and Symphony of the Night were both twenty bucks new everywhere. Collecting N64 and Atari Jaguar games seemed like a silly idea. PS2 games were never, ever going away.
And before that a Coke was a nickel and gas was a quarter and yada yada, I get it. Different times.
My point; How many of us are kicking themselves for not buying that complete Earthbound from Blockbuster, or those last few Saturn games like Panzer Dragoon Saga and Burning Rangers on clearance? Wish we knew then what we knew now, right? Queue the classic discussion about time machines and grabbing retro video games.
Continue reading PSA: Now Would Be The Time To Collect For Wii U
If you're as old as I am, go take a nap. Are you back yet? Sorry, I didn't want you falling asleep while reading, as folks our age tend to do. I may have yet to hit the big four-oh, but it feels like the world is a different place than in my youth, and it sure is spinning faster these days. Yeah, when you've been into video games this long, you see quite a few things change over time.
For example, it doesn't seem like too long ago that once a game was released, it was as simple as walking into any major retailer to nab a copy. Sure there have always been obscure titles with small print runs, but preordering felt like an extravagance, online retailers felt like they had unlimited inventory, and unless you were importing or looking for a game more than a few years old, most relatively modern games seemed pretty easy to get. Although I do remember the challenge of trying to ask for Katamari Damacy at a GameStop during the week of release (or just explaining what the game was.)
Continue reading Gaming Retail Ain't What It Used To Be
Being a little kid means having lots of free time and an unrealistic understanding of how the world works. Especially when it comes to money, economics, and practicality.
Since I was a little kid, I had an ambitious goal.
Not pictured; me or my panicked mom. Pic from timpickens.com
And once I realized how terrible an idea it was to attach rocket boosters to my bicycle, I got another bicycle and a new goal; the ability to play any video game my nerdy heart desired, be it an arcade machine, home console game, or PC title.
Fast-forward many decades and hoping my back doesn't go out due to whiplash, and I still can't shake that little-kid voice. Especially after sharing so many games with so many people over the years. If I see a game for a few bucks that we don't own, my natural inclination is to pick it up for our collection or run through a list of folks I think may appreciate it.
Continue reading Thoughts And Suggestions About Collecting On Modern Systems
Oh well. Back to Words with Friends. (SlackurJes, if you ever want to play.) Pic source: lazygamer.net
Folks spend their money and time on what they want or what's important to them, gamers included. Ah, but it's never that simple, is it? There are as many stories about collections as there are collectors, and probably half as many assumptions about both that are mistaken for various reasons. In the same way that a person's income, background, religion, appearance, and other factors often lead to very inaccurate assumptions about an individual, often anyone who owns more than a few video games can be labeled quite incorrectly.
Continue reading A Collection Story
CCAG 2014. Cleveland's annual Classic Console and Arcade Gaming Show.
An event so enjoyed by my Beloved and I that we plan half a year in advance and spend the whole day getting the most out of it. It is mainly a vendor event, but it also has arcade and pinball tables set to free play, old PCs and consoles set up for fun, tournaments and competitions for prizes, and a Chinese auction spread throughout the day. We've been going for over a decade and have yet to be disappointed.
This year was particularly memorable for several reasons. We nabbed five (!!) more NES games for our set, over 50 PS2, GC, and Xbox games for a buck apiece, several C64 and Bally Astrocade carts, more systems and parts for our Xbox LAN (yay original Halo LAN!) along with lots more goodies. We got to reconnect and chat with several convention buddies, and we tried Colombian cuisine for the first time, which was absolutely delicious.
Also, for the first time I found myself in a pseudo-argument with a gentleman selling me a game.
Continue reading CCAG, Playing Games, and the Philosophy of Flipping
I have a true gamer's "Holy Grail" in my beloved wife, and I'll tell you why.
This year's CCAG (Classic Console and Arcade Gaming) show was the best since I began attending a few years ago. I got to chat with dozens of fellow vendors and collectors, play ancient computer games running on systems I still don't own, support a few home-brewers, actually check for data rot before purchasing (I had to put back over fifty games, including half a dozen different copies of TG16 Addams Family), actually play the pinball table 'Sorcerer' and see if my Pinball Hall of Fame mastery carried over to the real world, (Protip-nudge/tilt button moved to a weird Wii-like waggle maneuver) and best of all, I bought a bunch of games.
Maybe too many games. Way too many games. Like this many games:
Continue reading CCAG and the Best. Fathers. Day. Gift. Ever.
Normally my blogs contain humorous little diatribes or reflective thoughts on gaming and collecting in general. However, I feel the very pressing need to make a PSA to the gaming and collecting community at large:
Sellers, PLEASE start checking your games for 'disc rot'.
YES, it exists. I've bought half a dozen games this year alone, online, that had this problem upon arrival, including Panzer Dragoon Saga and several Turbo CD games.
What is disc rot?
Well, first let's explain what it is not: an indication of someone handling the game poorly. Unless there is a scratch on the top layer of the disc that ends up appearing similar to disc rot (a tiny nick on the label can look similar), the problems are separate and unrelated. For some of the games I purchased, the seller felt cheated because of the claim that there were no scratches or problems with the disc and that it was well taken care of. Disc rot damage is typically unrelated to how well one takes care of the disc.
Continue reading An important note to Video Game Sellers and Buyers
I spend the bulk of my youth in the South, growing up first in Alabama and them mostly in Mississippi. Sometimes saying that feels like a confession: not necessarily against people in particular, but in reference to how greatly the location of my upbringing clashes with my character and tastes:
I hate humidity and high temperatures.
I don't like or can't eat the majority of southern foods, though I do love N'Orleans style spice and Cajun cuisines.
Though it is by no means exclusive to the south, I had enough of racism to last two lifetimes.
I am not a member of a southern band. That at least would be kind of cool.
I lived in the south well over a decade and never developed a southern accent. Ya'll.
I literally grew up in the high school with the highest teen pregnancy rate in the U.S. No, not cool. Our school mascot was the Trojan. No relation to the product. Obviously.
Also a mortal sin in the South: I can't drink tea, sweet or otherwise.
There is a feel to the South that I can't really describe to those not familiar with it. There is a haze, in the air and sometimes the mind, that seems to perpetuate far down from the Mason Dixon Line. I made some great friends there, and my beloved was born, raised, and has family there, but I never felt connected to the culture. All throughout middle and high school, all the way through college, I felt on the outside, and not just in a quirky nerd way.
I don't really like the South, and the South never cared for me.
I now live happily north in the snow-belt, about an inch from the buckle where it rubs and pinches at times but is necessary to keep the country's pants from sliding down. My wife was not a southern belle, though she is the most beautiful woman in the world, and she doesn't miss the South either, though she does have happier nostalgia for it than I do. We visit our respective families on occasion, and the disconnect we have with the area fuels much discussion.
This brings us up to this week, where we're traveling through to Jackson, MS for my sister-in-law's wedding. Now I normally love our road trips: my Love and I use Google and the Retro Game Map to hit any retro gaming store within 30 miles of our route, and its trips like these that has given us the bulk of our collection. Its our favorite hobby together, along with local and exotic eateries, and these trips are filled with weird stories and fun memories.
This trip started rough: our kids got sick, and we gave them an extra day before leaving, but we all got terribly sick on the road, and stretched the travel time. We still made it to a few strange stores along the way, including a stop at 'Check Outs' in Columbia, TN. It's the only store I've seen where you can buy a water bed, power saw, paintball gun, cell phone, bookshelves, and a few hundred nintendo games in one purchase. And I'm giving special kudos to Zone 1 in Helena, AL. A top-quality store.
But after we got a hotel in Jackson for a few days, and I got to stretch my legs and do a bit of searching online and locally, nothing came up for classic game stores. Not one, anywhere. And I mean nothing. If you look at the Giant Retro Game Map, there's a 150+ mile circle of nothing for stores, and I can attest that it's not due to stores there and not listed. Phone call after phone call, person after person, no dice.
OK, well, when I grew up we had to travel an hour and a half for the nearest EB, through the swamp, uphill, both ways. Seriously. So, I used to collect by going to pawn shops and flea markets, swapping and trading. Not much for flea markets in march, but plenty of pawn shops and Goodwills. Surely, in the absence of a store to trade these old gems in, they would show up where any grandma could dump them, right?
Not a NES Super Mario Bros., not an Atari Asteroids, not even a Genesis sports game. Zone 1 was the last worthwhile find, and it was an oasis in a retro game desert. The biggest cache of classic games in the state seemed to be the twenty or so I picked up on the long road out here. I actually got a bit down.
And I remembered how in my youth, how vigilant I was about searching every haunt I found for any title I did not own, and realized my pride in that early collection (before the Great Entertainment Theft) ten years ago was probably aptly earned. I seriously, no kidding, began to get homesick for the north.
I'll be back home soon, and get to visit my little shopping circle where nifty finds pop up at least every month, if not every two or three weeks. But to all who read this, pop the cork, fill 'er up, and pour one out for our fellow collectors in the South. Not only are they suffering economically (you think you've been hit with the recession, these states down here had it rough long before that hit; imagine it now) but they can't find a decent game store selling anything before PS2 for over a hundred and fifty miles in places.
As an odd footnote, to let you know how backwards the gaming community can be down here, one of the Gamestops I entered (to ask about local classic stores) were bragging about their favorite system, how everyone at the store had one, and I needed one. Their system of choice? The PSP Go. The GO. The overpriced, UMDless, smaller screen, even-Game-Informer-had-an-article-wondering-what-was-the-point PSP Go. Both employees showed me theirs, including all of the software they had installed.
AFTER POKING FUN at my iPhone copy of Plants Versus Zombies.
Pray for these people.