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Journal Archives from April 2007
black box spine writing

Having incorporated the yard sale finds of the three Black Box NES titles into the small but growing 1985 collection, I have noticed a wonderful theme emerge! This of course is probably something that I had realized back in the day, but the color of the writing on the sides of the boxes appears to be color-coded to its type. Well, at least roughly. The three titles I got this weekend, Baseball, Tennis, and 10 Yard Fight, are all obviously sports related, and all feature block green lettering of the titles. These now sit next to titles such as ExciteBike and Hogan's Alley, which have that wonderful, indescribable orangish-red hue.

I wonder if the elusive and massively highly priced Stack Up has some absurd, other color to it - I hope to one day see for myself! Well, looking closely at one of the several auctions that are currently running in the mid three-digits it seems as if it might be a nice soothing blue! That, and the myriad of pieces parts you get with a complete example almost makes that price worth it...well not at all, but it's still pretty cool.
Posted by charlie on April 30th 2007
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yard sale

This weekend past, I started up what is likely to become a summer time obsession, the scanning of yard sales. What with the rapidly escallating prices on eBay, the old fashioned way is likely the best way to find anything resembling a bargain. I managed to spot a notice which indicated that there was a sale this past weekend, featuring 'video games - sega'! Well, I'm certainly not going to pass that up, and dragged myself out of bed at 8am on Saturday to see what was what. Far from the usual disappointment that I meet with at these sales, I found several Black Box Nintendo games, as well as a full NES system for $15. To top if off in terms of absurdity, were The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings animated features on VHS, in wonderful condition, which I added to the pile of games like a cardboard cherry.

Today's eBay watch is a wonderful looking CD, wherein Jeffery Combs reads Lovecrafts's Re-Animator. Add that to the long list of things to keep an eye out for at the yard sales.
Posted by charlie on April 29th 2007
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Olaf Stapledon

I have been slowly making my way through an older Sci-Fi book, called "Last and First Men", by Olaf Stapledon. I picked this up last fall at the semi-annual book sale here in town; it caught my eye somehow, and upon further consideration of the back blurb I found that it had a great similarity to the novel I was planning at that time to write in November of 2006. I pledged to myself not to read a word of it until I'd finished my own book, so that I would not be unduly influenced. That plan worked, and so I began reading it in December. It really is a phenomenal book, and that it was written in 1930 is even more astounding. I'm a terribly slow reader, and haven't had much time to devote to the simple pleasure of reading a proper book, so I'm only about 2/3 of the way through it, but am really savoring every page, and the intelligence and invention with which it was created.

I decided to see what eBay had to say on the topic, and he does have a few other works which periodically tend to become available. What was amazing, though, were several volumes of his which had recently been up in the 'live auction' service on eBay, including this first printing of Last and First Men, signed by him. That $6000 price tag is fantastic, and even more so when you realize that another book in that group sold for the same amount, without the inscription! Just another reason I try to learn as much as I can, and always keep looking.

For more info, here is a site with some good bio information, and the actual text of many of his out of print works.
Posted by charlie on April 27th 2007
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Tank Mallrats

It is an admission that I find difficult to make, but I have never listened to the commentary track for one of my favorite movies, Mallrats. Being as I am on the excellent Captain Power mailing list, I just learned something very interesting and disappointing all at the same time!

Most readers of this site probably know that Sven-Ole Thorsen played the role of La Fours, the security guard nemesis. You may also remember that Thorsen was a key part of one of the favorite TV shows and toy lines around the Preserve, which is none other than Captain Power, where he was of course Tank.

Apparently, during the commentary, Jason Mewes tries to point out this very fact, but can't quite remember the name of the show, managing only the 'Captain' part. Kevin Smith suggests he's trying to remember 'Captain Planet' and they move on with little further discussion about it. Kevin - so disappointing! Jason - so close to awesome! I think that perhaps it's long past time for me to check out that commentary track, so I can be righteously indignant first-hand.

For those of you looking for a fun eBay Watch, here is some dude trying to sell a complete collection of Sega 32x games for $5000. I pretty much hope he doesn't get it, because then 32x games will become immediately unaffordable! Still, it is fun to see the picture of them all.
Posted by charlie on April 26th 2007
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eBay Watch - air raiders lot

Today's eBay Watch focuses on a set of eight auctions of still sealed Air Raiders vehicles. Several years ago, I'd have expected them to fly right under the radar, but much like a similar set of Computer Warriors toys that were posted a few months ago, I bet the prices will be surprising. If, however, no one really cares, then it will be hard to resist!

Also, these are just some really nice pictures of a nearly complete, carded Captain Power figure set, some with the dual-language cards no less!
Posted by charlie on April 25th 2007
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Genesis arrival

Today at the Preserve, a handful of Genesis and 32x games have arrived, as a result of that mega-auction that I've droned on about for a period of days. This was the auction with 400+ games, all ending with several seconds between each, leading to an amazingly drawn out period of high stakes tension! It is also the auction where prices were jacked up far beyond reason, and as a result I added not a title to the Master System cart quest, but picked up a few later Sega titles for about $0.99 each. Still, given the time I had to spend watching and waiting, it was probably bad economics, but makes for a good show!
Posted by charlie on April 24th 2007
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Einstein Bees

"If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would only have four years of life left.'

This quote is in the press a lot lately, and is attributed to Einstein. As much as I am interested and concerned with the bee situation, and as much as I like Einstein, and as much as I'd like to believe that he said this so as to fuel my "what a wonderful and unexpected end to mankind!" inclinations, it seems that the quote is entirely apocryphal, or at least entirely impossible to substantiate. Also not like Einstein was some sort of bee expert, or entomologist, but hell, people have been getting Nobel Prizes in various fields for over 50 years simply by linking the barest shred of their work to something Einstein may once have said, so I guess it comes as no real surprise.

While there are probably hundreds of articles on this topic, my general lack of time and interest w.r.t. current events, and my suspicion of the media leads me to not read much news in a given day. On a whim I went and found the first bee article that caught my eye. I am particularly fond of this innocent quote:
'I told Pat it looked like they had a panic attack, as though they were all trying to leave at the same time.'

That's some action/disaster movie dialogue right there. When the birds stop singing on a beautiful day, or the animals all start running in one direction, or an entire hive of bees flips out and soccer-mob-tramples themselves to death trying to flee their home, then I don't think we need an Einstein quote to start noticing something bad is coming.
Posted by charlie on April 23rd 2007
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The Richard Pryor Show

In the course of conducting further research into the experience that is Pryor's Place, I have been reminded of his very short-lived show in 1977, "The Richard Pryor Show". Airing only four very controversial episodes, this is something I'd like to see. Sounds like it played itself out very similarly to the recent hard times for Dave Chappelle. Here is a very interesting article discussing the show, as well as the May 1977 special that led up to it - the special sounds like something I'd very much like to see also.

It becomes still more amazing, then, that Pryor's Place ever came to be, after such an abject disaster with his experiences in network TV. Either that he would be willing to do the show, or a station would be willing to support it, has little ability to be comprehended! I think it all points again to some elaborate Community Service arrangement, and with enough digging I bet I can find out.
Posted by charlie on April 21st 2007
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Pryor's Place ad

Today's eBay watch is a double feature, being both a clever thing on eBay, as well as a Pryor's Place relic!! A seller has just posted a great B&W press photo from the show, direct from the CBS archives, complete with original letters discussing the show. I think I'll have to watch this one with great interest since things like this don't come around every day.

Then, because it's Friday, it is time to coin a phrase:
  "The world is endless shades of great."

I felt it has a nice ring to it.
Posted by charlie on April 20th 2007
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Robotech Comics

It seems that everything that Change sends me inspires me to explore new things and learn interesting new facts. Today I got a huge box of Robotech comics, dating from the 1980s, and largely published by Comico. With a little research it turns out that Comico was actually based out of Norristown, PA, which was right next to where I grew up! For some reason, learning that there was an upstart comic company basically in my home town is intriguing! Sadly they went bankrupt in 1990, but I am definitely interested in further research and discovery. So, for you hardcore comics folks, I am reasonably sure that you already are well familiar with Comico, but I see it as another great avenue of investigation upon which I may now embark.
Posted by charlie on April 19th 2007
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NES Pinball comparison

I have been talking about the strange price variations on eBay lately, and even went so far as to drone on about them in the latest UncleCast. In particular I have noticed that when there is a huge set of items, all related, and well 'posted', that the prices often really sky rocket.

Several days ago, I posted a list of Nintendo 'black box' games, and some of the ending prices were nuts! In particular, please look at the value of NES Pinball from the black box auction set, and then a very nearly equal item that ended around the same time. Yes the condition appears to differ slightly, and the higher priced one has a few more inserts included, but the magnitude of the difference is really something else. Reminds me of when a Sega Master System "Alf" went for over $50 a few weeks ago...I kill me!
Posted by charlie on April 18th 2007
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The new UncleCast has been posted - check it out for the latest on Botcon, Icon and Pryor's Place! I hope to get the show notes up later today, which will be available on the main UncleCast page.

Also, years after the amazing auction where I picked up my Magnavox Odyssey 2 collection in one fell swoop, I have finally catalogued the games in that collection, and have updated the Odyssey 2 page accordingly.
Posted by charlie on April 17th 2007
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He Man christmas

It was with great delight that we found a brand new, feature packed dvd copy of the He-Man and She-Ra Christmas Special, at Best Buy for $6.99. This was apparently the 'holiday discount price', and since there is currently a serious blizzard outside on April 16th, I guess I can understand their confusion. This dvd looks to be remarkable, and probably one of the more feature packed $6.99 titles you will ever see. Along with interviews and documentaries with the creators of the series, enclosed art cards, and a 10 minute music video, there is even a "Montage of Morales". That's all that is printed on the box...I just can't wait to see what lies within!

Today's Internet Aneurysm is inspired by that Morale Montage, and we have some sort of mad collage of Nancy Kerrigan, Tonya Harding, and some alternately fat and shiftly looking dudes. Classic.
Posted by charlie on April 16th 2007
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Pryor's Place Continued

Along the theme of Pryor's Place, here is a fascinating page by one of the puppet-shop guys who made what are apparently several stars of the show. Great discussion and pictures!

Also we have Mark Evanier, who not only was a big name behind Garfield and Friends, but also penned some of the scripts for Pryor's Place!
Posted by charlie on April 12th 2007
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eBay Watch - computer warriors

There isn't much time left on this one, but there really wasn't much to start with. Some dealer fellow has listed an impressive set of sealed-in-box (apparently) Computer Warriors items. I'm pleased that over 15 people have looked at the auctions already - that's certainly different from a year ago. Let's see if he gets that $50 for the Computer - I certainly wish I could find the box for mine, since I'll forever feel incomplete until I do!

Change has sent me an amazing box full of comic books today, from a large lot that he purchased. He picked out absolutely perfect issues for me, including Star Trek, Alf, GI Joe and Toxic Avenger! While flipping through 'The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones' I discovered one of the many awesome old ads, which had to be shared.

At the Preserve, we like to do the research for you, and this image has prompted a flurry of interest! I admit to not remembering Pryor's Place at all, even with it being from 1984, the greatest year ever. It makes one stop and wonder what programming exec, having hopefully seen his act, thought that Richard Pryor was just perfect for a Saturday morning kids show - awesome!

I have discovered an episode guide, with such tantalizing titles that further discovery is mandatory. In particular, note Sax Education guest starring Robin Williams, and the apparent final episode of Too Old Too Soon, Too Smart Too Late with the-voice-of-Jazz Scatman Crothers! There are even indications that 4 VHS volumes of the episodes were released, and for the low low price of $117 from the Amazon sellers, you can get one of them.

Update: What appears to be the text copy from the back of one of the VHS releases, amazingly containing both 'Sax Education' and 'Too Old...' follows:

Richard Pryor is up to further antics in two additional episodes from the beloved children's series. In "Sax Education," Richard discovers the meaning of responsibility after he loses Chill's saxophone, and in "Too Old Too Soon, Too Smart Too Late," he finds there's more to his Uncle Moes than meets the eye.

So help me, but it sounds like they may have even done a Transformer's theme with Scatman - this is starting to almost be worth $117, and would of course need to be immediately digitized!
Posted by charlie on April 11th 2007
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Night Grip

There is no reasonable explanation as to why my brain works as it does, but I have just discovered that the person who was the Key Grip for the live action footage in Night Trap, also was a Grip for The Fifth Element. Go Jamie Young!

But wait, it gets even better. He was also the dolly grip for Army of Darkness, and....perhaps the best yet, he was the dolly grip for Tremors!! This guy is like a one stop shop for awesome movie involvement; perhaps he'd be willing to do an interview here with the Preserve.
Posted by charlie on April 10th 2007
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NES Black Box

One of my fondest, and strongest memories of childhood was, of course, visiting the Cheltenham Toys R Us. The video game industry was growing, and the Nintendo had just come out only a few months ago. Each game on the shelf was intriguing, exciting, and the box art design was awesome! The first round of games to come out for the NES all featured a black box with exagerated, blown-up game imagery, causing wonderfully pixelated art. These days they are known as "Black Box" titles, and as you would imagine, some titles command a stiff premium!

Today's eBay Watch is a fantastic collection of these Black Box games, all with boxes and manuals. Not only is it a great visual list of the items, but also a nice cross-section of the prices that each title commands. It's a long list, but is also a good read, to look through the other items this seller is currently offering - gamer chairs, boxed 2600 games - seems a whole vast collection is listed in pieces. In particular is this awesome example of Contra Force - I haven't really been looking, but I can't remember when I last saw one of these, in box no less!
Posted by charlie on April 9th 2007
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Mighty Edwards Recs

The old article of Genesis and Saturn game recommendations from The Mighty Edwards has been reposted. Check it out for some great information, and know that the Preserve will be following it as a battle plan for future collection expansion!
Posted by charlie on April 8th 2007
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Genesis Game List

A survey has been taken of the current Preserve Genesis collection, and the list has finally been added. The current amazing crop of sales that are being watched here at the Preserve may see fit to add several important key titles to both the Master System and Genesis lists in 5 days time!

I also find it necessary to show this excellent lot of Sega 32x boxed games. While it would be easier to simply purchase this lot and nearly complete the collection for the Preserve, that would remove the thrill of the hunt!
Posted by charlie on April 7th 2007
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Next giant TG16 auction

It seems, from the new volume of Turbo Grafx games for sale, that the various dealers did not miss that absurd $1,400 TG-16 auction from several weeks back. Prices are up, and often times conditions are down. Here is today's eBay Watch, and it could very well be the Internet Aneurysm as well. Someone has raised the stakes, and listed 82 Turbo Grafx games, in various states of completeness, for the a starting/buy-it-now of $1,695.95/$2,195.95. Those uneven cents make this feel like a matress store sale or something - just another indication that eBay is not the place it used to be. I can't wait to see someone bid on this, eliminating the buy-it-now option, then see the final price exceed even the current maximum price.
Posted by charlie on April 6th 2007
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PC Engine eBay Watch

Today's eBay Watch is for a Sealed PC Engine CD-ROM system, and 45 complete games. Given the amazing premium that these systems command, this one should be interesting. At only $100 now it's a screaming deal, but don't expect that to last!

Here also is a clever British fellow making good beats with pots, pans and lemons.

Lastly - don't miss this guy, who is the original video arcade A.S.S.!
Posted by charlie on April 4th 2007
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Massive Genesis Game Result

Well, I certainly am surprised to report exactly how wrong I was with my prediction of the final sale price for the massive Genesis game lot which ended last night. At only $251 I wasn't even close!

I think this is a great example of crazy eBay psychology that is often at work - the shipping for this lot was admittedly outragous, being about equal to the price to ship a 250lb arcade machine several states away. The funny thing is, had the shipping been say $50, or even something crazy like $20 (which is clearly far on the other end of the spectrum) then I bet you would have seen an ending bid that far made up for the reduced shipping price. However, it might have just been an 'off day'. Or - third option, hopefully there is still some sanity left to the market!

Today's eBay Watch is for a set of auctions that seem dubious at best. Lacking pictures, having very high shipping, and a surprising number of games and system parts, it's unclear what to think about these listings, but the level of detail would at least suggest that the items were in hand when the auctions were posted. Check out the various listings here, and know that I'm certainly keeping an eye on the Master System lot. Once completed - view results here.

Correction - after emailing the poster of those auctions, they now all have pictures!
Posted by charlie on April 2nd 2007
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