It's been awhile since the last update, hasn't it? But long-time Infocomme Shoppers know that a long wait always means a plethora of new items. And this has got to be by far THE most incredible Ye Olde Infocomme Shoppe update, EVER! So much has happened in the last four months, where do I begin...?


"You Know, I Think I've Learned Something Today..."

Lesson #2 in collecting computer games: Take a chance once in a while.

Just last week I learned the value of this one. I'd found an eBay auction of 25 pounds' worth of "old software" for a variety of ancient computers. Of course I immediately e-mailed the guy selling it, asking what all was included, inquiring specifically about Infocom, Ultima, etc. He didn't seem to know a whole lot about the old stuff and wasn't real keen on the idea of going through it all making a list... I had the feeling he just wanted to get rid of it all. Still he said there could be almost anything in there, and something told me I should bid...

Jeez, "almost anything" was right!! Digging through this huge box that just arrived, here's what I bought for $25 plus another $20 or so for shipping it all here:

<brag>

At this point I passed out for an hour or so from the shock of it. After I came to, I found: </brag>

Of course the rest of it was all crap -- AD&D games (good RPGs but I don't know of anyone who collects them), arcade games, flight simulators, buncha Windows software (some of it for 3.0!), some primitive Apple RPGs with character graphics, a whole mess of used 5.25" disks I haven't had time to go through yet. All stuff I'll have to get rid of myself. But still, you gotta agree this was worth the gamble!

So. Take a chance once in a while. (Okay, class dismissed.)


Saucer Invasion

As if this find weren't awesome enough, one of my long-time sources (the guy who was supposed to get me sealed Cornerstones -- I know, I'm what, two years overdue on those? Well, I now have them, BTW!)... Anyway, now that the weather's warmed up this guy's been digging in his warehouse for me again, and he had THE most incredible find:

(Drum roll... Wait for it...)

A case -- an entire, previously-unopened CASE -- of Starcross saucer packages! All still shrinkwrapped, all in absolute mint condition! (B'lieve me, I hadta change my pants after I got off the phone with him.) Anyway, long story short, I bought the entire case from him for $1000. There are 24 saucers to a case (interesting trivia: Infocom packaged their cases of the oddly-shaped saucers in a plain cardboard sleeve that's open at both ends), and I plan on keeping one or two and selling the rest for $170 apiece, insured shipping included. Minus the initial cost, I stand to make about $2000 off this little investment. It's first-come, first-serve, so get in touch with me now! (I swear, I could do this for a living on QVC.)


One of the Twelve

Okay, now a brag story for the Ultima collectors.

Everyone knows the legend. Before signing a deal with CPC, a young Richard Garriott self-distributed a very small copies of his first game, Akalabeth. Supposedly he sold twelve, hand-numbered and personally signed on the label. These days, one of these would easily fetch thousands of dollars from a serious Ultima collector.

Where the legend gets interesting, not to mention more dubious, is in the famous rumor that some guy apparently found one of these twelve copies of the first Akalabeth at a school rummage sale, and bought it for next to nothing.

I'm continually surprised by the range of people who've come across the Shoppe just through surfing. I've had Infocom Implementors and somebody from Broderbund's early days e-mail me expressing delight and surprise that such games are valued collectibles today. But nothing could have prepared me for getting a mail from someone claiming to be the owner of this legendary Akalabeth. He told me he'd found it at his old school in Dallas, which was near where Garriott was working at the time.

Naturally, I was still skeptical. But when he sent me some scanned photos of the tape, I had to admit that the letter style did look similar to the "Lord British" signatures on the letters in a number of Origin Ultimas I have in the Shoppe (though I'm certainly no handwriting-analysis expert, by any means). Slowly, I began to convince myself that I was onto something here.

Following a particularly excruciating work week, I took him up on his offer to come visit him personally in St. Louis (where he currently resides) and have a look at the thing myself. He keeps it in a safety deposit box, and after inspecting it, I think I can safely say it's the genuine article. The disk does indeed look old, but there's no date on it -- only the title Akalabeth with cave art, Garriott's signature, and the number 8.

Of course he wouldn't sell it at any price, and he's reluctant to try making copies, lest the original get damaged. But it was worth the trip. Think about it: only twelve of these in the entire world (if that many, after twenty years), and I HELD it. I held it IN MY HANDS. Gawd what a rush!

I'm sure the Ultima fans out there have more questions than I can possibly answer here, and I did manage to get an e-mail address out of him. He said he'd be happy to send scanned photos, and is planning to put some on the web when he has time, but please not to bug him with offers. (A true collector!)


Collector's Dream

Joe Santulli of Digital Press once wrote that the single greatest joy in collecting is to find something previously thought not to exist. And although I can't say I personally found these, it was quite a thrill to confirm that they are, in fact, here among us.

Ronin -- The package was never produced, aside from the cover artwork But the software exists in 90-95% complete form! Got a copy of it from one of the authors, along with the original art and a disk label, which apparently were done! If you want a copy yourself, go the author's page where you'll find a color scan of the cover and a free download!

Quarterstaff -- Again the rumors are true. Infocom's Quarterstaff does in fact exist for the IBM PC, not just the Mac! Bought a boxload of old stuff from somebody who used to work at Infocom (not an Implementor, one of their low level employees -- though he may be mentioned in the NZT / Status Line, I'll have to check). And it was in there! Works great!


New This Month

Whew! Can you BELIEVE all this?!?

Considering the large number of rare items this time around (not to mention the huge pile of commons I've still gotta wade through), I thought I'd declare this "Rare Items Month" at Ye Olde Infocomme Shoppe. Those of you who have mailed me with grey-box requests, rest assured my next step will be to process these and get them out. I'll be doing a full update once the rare items are sold off.

And then... I'm both excited and somewhat saddened to say... I'm calling it quits.

Not collecting, just the Shoppe, once it's cleared out. This update will be the last one. With the large sum of cash to be made off those shrinked saucers, I'm planning to hunt down the remaining pieces for my collection (and there aren't many!) on the net or through eBay. But I just wanted you all to know I've had a blast doing this, trading and talking with fellow collectors, and that I'll miss you all. (Except you, Tom, you I couldn't care less about. B-)

Always remember, "A human never stands so tall as when stooping to help a small computer."


Start of a transcript of:
YE OLDE INFOCOMME SHOPPE
Last update: 04/01/1999

Wind-Swept Hill
You are standing on a grassy, wind-swept hill, with no idea how you got here. The hill slopes down on all sides to black, scraggy trees devoid of leaves. Just to your right is a decrepit wooden building, a faded sign swinging slightly in the chill breeze.

>READ THE SIGN
The sign reads:


YE OLDE INFOCOMME SHOPPE

C.E. Forman, Proprietor

Est. 1996



>OPEN THE DOOR THEN ENTER THE SHOP
The unused hinges squeal loudly as the door opens.

Ye Olde Infocomme Shoppe You gasp in awe at the stacks of classic Infocom packages that dominate all corners of this dimly-lit establishment. Scanning the titles, your heart soars. You've been looking for these for years, and at long last you've found them!

In the far corner, someone behind a counter (wearing a green-and-purple jester's hat) nods a greeting. Coming closer, you see two long lists tacked to the front of the counter.

>READ THE LIST
Which list do you mean, the list of items for sale/trade, or the list of wanted items?

>THE SALE/TRADE LIST

Items for Sale or Trade (make an offer)
Akalabeth, Apple II. California Pacific Computer, the castle version. Box is in pretty nice shape, some wear.
Cornerstone, IBM. Complete, in original plastic case, with heavily dog-eared manual.
Enchanter Trilogy, PC. Slipcase, all games complete and the slipcase in pretty good shape, though there is one "crack" down the front.
FutureFall, IBM. Sequel to Planetfall and Stationfall. I know, I didn't think it was ever released either, but here it is!
Gelfling Adventure, Apple. Sierra Hi-Res adventure #6. Mint, with the poster.
Infidel, Apple II. Dysan repackaging, in mint condition! Whooo! (Minimum offer $100 on this one, please.)
Leather Goddesses of Phobos 2, Commodore PET. The whole thing fits on one tape. Seriously.
Quarterstaff, IBM PC. I have two copies. Haven't decided, I may sell one for the right price.
Starcross, saucer package, Apple II. Shrinkwrapped and mint!
Starcross, saucer package, Apple II. Shrinkwrapped and mint!
Starcross, saucer package, Apple II. Shrinkwrapped and mint!
Starcross, saucer package, Apple II. Shrinkwrapped and mint!
Starcross, saucer package, Apple II. Shrinkwrapped and mint!
Starcross, saucer package, Apple II. Shrinkwrapped and mint!
Starcross, saucer package, Apple II. Shrinkwrapped and mint!
Starcross, saucer package, Apple II. Shrinkwrapped and mint!
Starcross, saucer package, Apple II. Shrinkwrapped and mint!
Starcross, saucer package, Apple II. Shrinkwrapped and mint!
Starcross, saucer package, Apple II. Shrinkwrapped and mint!
Starcross, saucer package, Apple II. Shrinkwrapped and mint!
Starcross, saucer package, Apple II. Shrinkwrapped and mint!
Starcross, saucer package, Apple II. Shrinkwrapped and mint!
Starcross, saucer package, Apple II. Shrinkwrapped and mint!
Starcross, saucer package, Apple II. Shrinkwrapped and mint!
Starcross, saucer package, Apple II. Shrinkwrapped and mint!
Starcross, saucer package, Apple II. Shrinkwrapped and mint!
Starcross, saucer package, Apple II. Shrinkwrapped and mint!
Starcross, saucer package, Apple II. Shrinkwrapped and mint!
Starcross, saucer package, Apple II. Shrinkwrapped and mint!
Starcross, saucer package, Apple II. Shrinkwrapped and mint!
Starcross, saucer package. Complete, but the removable base is torn a bit, and the manual is bent at the corners. A couple of small cracks on the saucer itself, but nothing serious. (This is my old package, which I no longer need now that I've upgraded to a shrinked one!)
Suspended, Apple II. Huge folio package. I don't mean the cereal-box-size one you normally see, this thing is huge! At least as tall as me! I think there's a real person inside behind the mask! But it's shrinkwrapped so I don't wanna open it.
Ultima I, IBM. Complete, and box is in nice shape, except someone calling himself "Lord British" wrote his name on it in marker!
Ultima III, Commodore 64/128. This one's weird, to say the least. It's smaller than a normal Ultima box and doesn't say "Exodus" above the "Ultima III". By Origin, though. Tom, have you ever heard of anything like this?
Ultima 4, C64/128. Sumerian version, not the U.S. release.
Ultima: Escape from Mt Drash, Vic-20.
Zork I, IBM. Scarce 1986 Japanese re-release by Nintendo. The map is totally different.
Zork IV, Apple II. Probably a prototype version of Enchanter, before the name changed.
Zork Zero, UNIVAC. Very early version, apparently developed by Steve Meretzky's ancestors in the 1950s.
Original Crowther & Woods "Adventure". I mean it, THE original, the first version they ever did, back in the '70s!
Invisiclues, for Cornerstone.
One autographed photo of all the Infocom Implementors in the same place at the same time.

You stagger back in awe at the selection, your senses reeling, wondering whether you're the victim of some bizarre practical joke.

>BUY A GAME FROM C.E. FORMAN

[You have reached the boundary of this simulation.]


Current Column


Past YOIS Columns


<-BACK->HOME<-<HELP>


Copyright © 2000 - 2017 Ye Olde Infocomme Shoppe. All rights reserved.
(Best viewed at 800 x 600.)