08-09-2002:

The arid heat hits me like a furnace blast as I step out of the air-conditioned atmosphere of Jackie Gaughan's Plaza Hotel and Casino, merging into the crowd at the covered semicircular driveway that provides curbside transport to the Plaza's front entrance. The large central column, studded with lights and not a single burn-out, looks out upon the Fremont Street Experience, bright as day. There's a sense of expectation, of imminent good fortune, in the air.

Las Vegas, Nevada. In the west, the setting sun outlines the Spring Mountains in silhouette, black against yellow-pink. Armed with a pocket notebook and hopefully my game-collector's luck, I cruise the Strip in search of Shay Addams. According to rumors I've accumulated over the last few weeks, the former Questbusters founder turned professional gambler currently resides somewhere in this neon desert, now writing books on a different kind of game. At 101 degrees, it's oppressively hot for 8:00PM, but it's a dry heat that parches the back of your throat. I don't even break a sweat.

In the Horseshoe's entrance I spot a row of phones with thick Vegas directories. This is the only city I've ever game-hunted that has phone books publicly available like that. Normally you have to ask to borrow one at a store, gas station or restaurant, and they prefer that you buy something when you do it. But here they're just sitting out, not chained to the booth or anything. You could just take one if you wanted to. While I'm thinking of it I flip through the yellow pages and jot down some area thrift stores and computer resellers. Skim the whites too, but if Shay does live here, he's unlisted.

The casino is a maze of twisty little slot machines, all alike.

"Hi, 'scuse me, is Shay in tonight?"

"Who??"

"Shay Addams, he still hang out here?"

"Uh... don't think I know him."

"Ok, thanks anyway."

I look for people I suspect might be in the know: cashiers, bartenders, dealers at the BJ and keno tables, managers if I can catch them. I can B.S. fairly well when I have to, so I use that skill, act like I know what the heck I'm talking about, like he's an old acquaintance of mine, like he's a regular here, like I'm surprised they don't know him. I make sure they notice as I jingle a stack of chips like I'm a player, not just some joker who wandered into town for the Classic Gaming Expo.

No, I don't honestly expect to turn him up this way, walking into his current hangout by pure chance, out of the hundreds of casinos and gaming parlors in this city. Frankly I suspect the odds at the roulette table are far better. But it gives me a sense of purpose while I explore this strange new world, since I'm not a betting man. That adventurer streak. I need a quest.

"Hi, does Shay Addams still hang out here?"

"Who??"

Snake eyes again. Nuts. Even though I'm confusing them, everyone is really friendly and tries to be helpful, and seems genuinely sorry they don't know the guy 'm looking for. Las Vegas is the anti-Detroit. As I pass the quarter slots on the way out, I'll drop a single coin into a random machine. It never jackpots.

08-10-2002:

The 2002 Classic Gaming Expo, affectionately dubbed "CGE2K2". I've paid in advance for a two-day pass, so I pick up my badge at the desk and head through the double doors into the ballroom turned convention center.

It's a lot to take in all at once. Three rows of booths are divided down the middle, the concourse around the sides lined with classic arcade machines set on free play. To the left is an information table and a concession area with quick food and tables to eat it at. To the right, a open area in front of the turntable setup where DJ Tony Fox NYC spins classic gaming sounds over a techno bassline. (Later the Minibosses will take his place to do a rock medley from Mega Man 2, one of the greatest video game soundtracks of all time.)

I drop a small stack of YOIS business cards (free courtesy of VistaPrint) on the info table next to the complimentary Tips and Tricks, and begin scoping the vendor booths for personal and Shoppe acquisitions.

While the Expo is predominantly console-oriented (Atari 2600, Intellivision, ColecoVision, Nintendo NES), I do find a few booths carrying vintage disk software. The initial rush is a bit crowded, as early birds scramble for first crack at the best merchandise. My first and best luck is with B&C Computervisions, where I score some early non-adventure pieces by Sierra for $10 each. Chris Charla of Digital Eclipse recognizes my custom YOIS T-shirt and shows me the Zork Trilogy he just scored from the Digital Press booth, so I head there next. They've got a few other greys. After verifying completeness (Lesson #1: Always look in the box!) I snag a PC Hitchhiker's Guide with a demo disk label. Disk-based prices are pretty reasonable, but when it comes to uncommon cartridge stock it's a seller's market.

A few people recognize the Infocom logo on the shirt I'm wearing, including Arcade Fever author John Sellers. After scanning all the booths for possible scores, it's time to replay some of the classics. In addition to the arcade caabinets, one booth has some vintage computers (an Apple II, a Commodore 64, an Atari 8-bit) running various games. All actual gaming at the Expo is free. If it's up and running, you can play it. Save the quarters for the slots.

Twenty years later, I still haven't lost my touch at Tron, Super Pac-Man, and Crystal Castles. I finally get to see the endings of Dragon's Lair and Space Ace, and I make an interdimensional fool of myself at the Robotron: 2084 competition (never could master that one, and apparently still can't). A couple of booths demo arcade-style joystick rigs for computers, and there's even a full-size cabinet to mount your MAME-equipped PC in. They have two, not one but two, Computer Space machines!

I try to get into the museum but security has been instructed to only let a limited number of people in at a time. Maybe later. I kill some more time at the games until the next keynote speech. (It's impossible to get bored.) In all my excitement I've missed the Atari programmers, but Al Alcorn, employee #3 at Atari, is next. I abandon my machine mid-game as soon as they announce him.

It's standing room only, not an empty seat in the house. Alcorn talks about the early days at Atari, how he got hired by Nolan Bushnell, how he personally engineered and built the first Pong machines, how the two Steves (Wozniak and Jobs) worked on Breakout, and how Jobs totally screwed the Woz over on the bonus for reducing the number of chips used in each machine. The audience sits silently, in rapt attention, almost awed, hanging on every word. Afterwards I get an autograph and a picture. He says he enjoys doing this kind of stuff.

I quickly snag another seat and wait for the Activision programmers. It's a question and answer forum, with audience members supplying the topics. They talk about quitting Atari to found Activision, and discuss their early and most popular titles. Garry Kitchen explains the need, with such limited resources, to "focus on a great play mechanic" (sometimes even to the point that that single mechanic is itself the entire game). David Crane makes the observation that today's titles don't get the shelf time to become classic games anymore, the development life cycle is so short. I get to personally thank Kitchen for GameMaker, and get Steve Cartwright to sign my open copy of Search for the King.

By this time the museum has cleared out and I'm able to get in. It's wall-to-wall rarities, temporarily donated by private collectors: Early handhelds. Prototype cartridges and hardware. Rare systems, complete in the box. A Vectrex store display kiosk. Foreign and early mockup boxes. Unlicensed, X-rated games released for the Atari 2600 and the original 8-bit Nintendo. I'm not much of a console collector, but I am in awe of what's on display here. Never before have I seen so many rare items in one place. I now understand the limited access and tight security.

Around 5:00 the Expo closes for the day. There's a swap meet in the keynote auditorium followed by an auction, but I scan the merchandise and don't see anything adventure. It's primarily cartridge collectors looking to find good homes and prices for their dupes. I realize I haven't eaten a thing in about 10 hours, so I hit the Strip to find a good buffet. It's impossible to go hungry in Vegas. Every major hotel-casino has a sprawling buffet at a reasonable price. (Check the hotel lobby's information rack to find discount coupons for even cheaper eating.)

It's not too late yet, and a lot of stores appear to be open, so I wander off the beaten Strip to hit up some of the thrifts on the list I made earlier. There are a surprising number of thrift and pawn shops in walking distance of downtown Vegas. I recommend Savers, a department-store sized thrift chain with several outlets throughout the city. As soon as I walk in the door of the one on Charleston, I'm greeted by a rack of old software, on clearance. I score an empty Zork Trilogy box (with manual) for $1.99, and a complete EA Radio Baseball for 59 cents. On the way back I casino-hop some more, asking the usual question:

"Hi, have you seen Shay Addams around here lately?"

"Um... who?"

08-11-2002:

When I go downstairs for breakfast, there's a guy at the counter wearing an Atari T-shirt, so I ask him how he's enjoying the Expo. Turns out he's Dan Kramer, the engineer who designed the Atari 2600 and 5200 trackball controllers! Over breakfast he shares more stories about the company, about its culture, about Tod Frye, who programmed the abomination that was 2600 Pac-Man (and who was on drugs while doing it). Later I find his booth, which I'd overlooked the day before, where he has some of his original trackball prototypes on display.

The highlight of the keynote speakers, by far, has got to be Warren Robinett, the guy who programmed Adventure for the Atari 2600 and hid his name in a secret room in the game, the first "Easter egg" in gaming history. He opens with a Powerpoint slide demo of the opening moves from Colossal Cave, outlining the major elements of adventure games: Room-to-room movement, threatening little dwarves as creatures, keys and food as takeable objects, the metal grate as an obstacle to be overcome using those objects ("XYZZY!", one knowing adventurer calls out).

Robinett discusses the creative process of Adventure's design. How to handle the basic adventure game actions using a one-button joystick. How the available sprites were shuffled between objects, allowing any number of objects onscreen but creating the flickering effect. How he saved memory with rooms by making them symmetrical. How the magnet was added out of necessity to fix the problem of objects constantly getting stuck in walls. How the game's complexity was indirectly created through combined effects of few simple rules: The dragons move toward you but away from the sword, the bat has a priority list of objects it seeks. And of course, hiding his name in the game to protest the anonymity Atari forced on its programmers (and keeping the whole thing a secret until after the cartridge was produced). A series of slides reveals the data structures he built for each room and object, amazing use of such a tiny amount of 2600 memory.

Afterwards, I get his autograph and ask him about his computer puzzle game Rocky's Boots (which he also designed) and its sort-of sequel Robot Odyssey I (which he didn't create, though his Rocky's game engine was reused by those who did). I realize I'm holding up the line so I let him go after leaving him a YOIS card and inviting him to stop by sometime.

Next up, the Electronic Games founders (Arnie Katz, Bill Kunkel, and Joyce Worley) talk about game collectibles. Not the games themselves, but promotional giveaways at industry trade shows such as the CES and E3. I'm paraphrasing Kunkel here, but... collecting physical objects has a sort of resonance with people, and something you can hold in your hand makes a better collectible than something you play on a screen (although what's on the screen is definitely more fun). Outer packaging is more collectible than a cartridge, as the games themselves are infinitely reproduceable, and this is even more true when you get into the disk-based arena. (Or, if you equate this hobby to music collecting, you still love to hear the songs over the radio, but you want the original album cover.) Promotional items take it one step further, being something separate from the retail package, but which serves to remind you of a gaming experience.

Kunkel's journalist access has led to him accumulating one of the world's largest collections of promotional goodies, from the standard (pins, T-shirts, stuffed character toys) to the exotic (a whistle for The Last Express) to the kitschy (squeeze balls were all the rage for awhile) to the inexplicable (socks and shoelaces, a toilet plunger... I'm not kidding!) The ultimate crap item from Kunkel's collection has got to be the Homey D. Clown red nose. Anyone else remember this obscure graphic adventure based on the "In Living Color" TV sketches? Well, to promote their game, Capstone bought up a bunch of generic clown noses in blister packs, put a sticker with their name on them, and passed them off as exclusive promotional items! Trinkets produced for a specific game tend to be more interesting than those relating to an entire company or licensing agreement, and they're more prized if they were only given out at trade shows, and not through send-in offers with the game itself.

Like the Activision alumni, it's Q&A with this trio, and Kunkel passes out small packets full of game-related items to people who ask intelligent questions. Joyce talks briefly about early handhelds, her area of expertise. They're currently behind cartridges and computer software in terms of popularity now, but suggests that as portable gaming grows, so will interest in its roots. Arnie Katz, in his deep drawl, kind of leads the whole thing, and makes an interesting point about autographs... how, over time, with comic books, the ink can spread, damaging the pages and reducing the author's John Hancock to an unrecognizable smudge. Perhaps they're actually worth more unsigned? I find myself wondering what implications this could have for game boxes twenty, thirty years down the road (but then, that's why I also keep a corresponding shrinkwrap of every package I have signed).

K/K/W's advice on finding promotional game items? Yard sales, auctions at fan gatherings like CGE, and of course the source, CES and E3 themselves. Such items don't seem to turn up on eBay much yet, and when they do they tend to be sold with high reserves. The trio also plugs their latest book projects: Arnie and Joyce have one on pop-culture collecting in general, while Bill and Arnie have a computer and video game collectibles book coming out early next year. No official date yet, but I'll post it here as soon as I learn it.

I stick around for most of Tom Sloper's game-watch presentation, the last keynote of the day, but have to scoot at 3 PM because it's time for the Great Dig Dug Drop. All through the Expo, suspended above the ceiling over the open area inside the ballroom entrance, there has been a net containing several hundred empty Dig Dug game boxes. The area is already jammed with people by the time I get there. At 3:00, the net is pulled open and all these empty boxes tumble to the floor, followed by approximately five minutes of pushing, grabbing insanity. There's not enough room for everyone to reach the pile, so someone starts chucking boxes toward the crowd's outer rim. I don't get a prize in mine, but keep the box as a souvenir. It ends as abruptly as it began, and the floor is littered with crushed, empty game boxes. As the show closes, they also announce the raffle prizes, and I'm 5 numbers away from winning my choice of arcade machine. Dammit.

Thanks to everyone who worked so hard to put everything together and make the Classic Gaming Expo happen. I had an absolute blast, and would definitely like to go back next year. And I feel there's definitely room for the disk-based crowd. After all, most of us who played computer games in the 1980s were also into arcades, and more than likely had a home console too. So what do you say? Write to the promoters of the Classic Gaming Expo and suggest that more classic computer coverage would be welcome. I may set up a booth myself at a future show. And perhaps we could even get one or two former Implementors to make an appearance?

Later, waiting at the airport for my red-eye flight back to Peoria, I thumb through the latest edition of the Digital Press cartridge price guide, just released at the Expo. As a last resort, I turn to the guy sitting next to me.

"Excuse me, are you Shay Addams, the Questbusters guy?"

And can you freakin' BELIEVE it, IT'S HIM!!!

No, just kidding. It wasn't.

Or maybe it was. I didn't even ask. B-)


WITT'S END:

Cave Under Construction!


Photo Gallery Coming Soon!



The Story of D'OH!

OR

"How to Be a Complete Bastard to Someone You've Never Met and Don't Even Really Know"

This story chronicles my personal battle and vengeance against a particularly annoying Internet spammer over the last few months. It's not collector-related, but hopefully it can still entertain and serve as inspiration for people looking for innovative ways to be an absolute bastard to someone who deserves it.

March, 2002. I receive an e-mail message from a Douw (pronounced "D'OH!") Jendrzejewski (pronounced "Jendrzrjzrjzrjzrjzjrzjrjzrjzrjewski"). It is a brief e-mail with the message:

Hi! How are you?
I send you this file in order to have your advice.
See you later. Thanks.

Attached is a 192K Microsoft Word document. It looks suspiciously like the Sircam worm that was circulating everywhere last year, so I delete it without opening the attachment.

Over the next week, I continue to receive copies of this e-mail from the same person, usually in batches of 3 - 5. It's annoying because I'm on 56K dialup and they take about half a minute or so apiece to download. Now, I'm a reasonable person, maybe this guy got hit by the virus, and isn't aware it's using his Outlook to replicate. Save the message to a text file, open it in Notepad (where it's harmless), get the sender's address. I draft him a quick message, telling him he's sending out viruses, and direct him to the appropriate removal page and Microsoft security patch.

Days pass, no reply from the guy, but the virus mails continue, leading me to conclude that he just doesn't care, or maybe he's sending them out intentionally. I reply to a few, sending him back the 192K attachment, and tell him to fix his problem and stop dumping shit on me. Take another look at his e-mail and find that it did indeed originate from his ISP, mweb.co.za. That's in South Africa, I learn after checking some domain name site. I go to M-Web's page and send a complaint to their abuse account. It will probably take several days for them to respond. Meantime, I set up a filter in Outlook to delete any messages from this nimrod so I don't have to sit through the downloads.

Fast-forward a few more days, I get a reply from the M-Web abuse and security admin, a Brad Kirby (much easier to pronounce than D'OH! Jendrzrjzrjzrjzrjzjrzjrjzrjzrjewski). He asks for a copy of the message headers, which I happily forward.

Second week of April arrives, and I leave on my European trip. While in Germany I check my e-mail through my ISP's webmail feature. Messages from D'OH! are still arriving, 3 - 5 every 2 - 4 days. No Outlook filter on this end but I can delete them manually through webmail. No reply from the abuse guy so I draft another when I get back and resettled.

Virus documents taper off for awhile, but later re-emerge. With the filter in place I don't really notice anymore except at work when I go in through webmail, without it. It's not a standard spam e-mail with a ton of addressees, and my ISP's otherwise flawless anti-spam software isn't catching it, so it seems directed at me personally. It's initially being sent to the yois@if-legends address, which then gets forwarded to my regular account. At this point, due to his lack of reply I'm forced to conclude that this barrage is intentional. My curiosity finally gets the better of me, and I look through my old Shoppe e-mails and transactions, trying to find any indication of what I might have done to piss this Jendrzrjzrjzrjzrjzjrzjrjzrjzrjewski guy off. I find nothing, and I can't remember ever having shipped anything to South Africa before. I e-mail the guy, asking him to please cut out the spam and air whatever beef he has with me.

Time passes... No response (except for the semi-regular stream of mail). I decide I want to know more about this idiot, who he is. Google. Exactly two page matches. Both of them are lists of "associated property valuers", whatever that means. Both with his name, a matching e-mail... AND A PHYSICAL ADDRESS! >B-}

I decide to have a little fun at this moron's expense. From my large number of overseas transactions, I've learned that people in other countries have to pay extortionate customs fees when they receive international packages with high declared values. I prep a small package for D'OH!, using a fake name and return address, and mail it from my old college town post office the next time I game-hunt that area, since they won't recognize me there.

Inside the package is a necklace made of paper clips, and an angry F-worded letter telling D'OH! once again to knock off the virus spam. On the customs form, for package contents, I list: "Jewelry" (hey, technically it's true!) and "Pay Back" (two words, implying I'm paying him back for something, which again couldn't accurately be called a lie).

Total declared value: $325.
Total cost to send it: $2.27.
Total cost for him to claim it: I don't want to imagine.
Imagining: Priceless. >B-}

The weeks go by, and I'm busy finishing up the new Shoppe code. It's the week before the launch, and I get an e-mail from my ISP saying my mail account is over quota. I've been downloading my mail every single day, WTF...? Click send/receive, no huge files, but there are around 60 messages and only about 10 get downloaded. By the time those are downloaded, I've already gotten more mail that the filter's kicking out. Then it hits me.

That D'OH! Jendrzrjzrjzrjzrjzjrzjrjzrjzrjewski piece of crap is at it again. Only now, instead of sending a few documents every few days, he's launching a constant stream of 192K e-mails, bombing my account. (Guess he got my package, and didn't like it very much. B-) Since they aren't being cleared out by the Outlook filter until I actually check my mail, this son of a bitch has been filling up my account with his virus spam. And when I'm mere days away from Shoppe relaunch, too.

NOW IT'S PERSONAL.

Knowing he can fill me up again within an hour, my first task is to stem the tide. ISP and IF-Legends can't really do anything from their ends. I e-mail the M-Web abuse admin again, DEMANDING that he put a stop to this, but deep-down know this is useless. I think about the problem. The IF-Legends address is an auto-forward, but because the site's been down for months, I'm getting no e-mail from it aside from this D'OH! Jendrzrjzrjzrjzrjzjrzjrjzrjzrjewski retard. So I go in and change the YOIS forwarding address, pointing it RIGHT BACK at him! Immediately the flood of crap halts. Crisis averted. Using one of my Hotmail accounts, I e-mail D'OH! and tell him to by all means please let me know when he's had enough.

But I can't very well relaunch the Shoppe like this. So I hit Google up for "e-mail filters" and come up with a permanent answer: POBox.com. This is an e-mail forwarding service that also offers blocking capabilities. I sign up for the free trial and add a filter against D'OH!'s address, but don't actually change IF-Legends to point at POBox until I'm done working on the Shoppe code for the night. Give his account a couple of hours to fill up, see how he likes it. Nothing sweeter than revenge exists. >B-}

I relaunch the Shoppe the following weekend, and suddenly find myself with more free time now that I'm not coding every single night. Then my mind starts to work more deviously, and I come up with a cruel, horrible thing that I could do to poor D'OH!.

Remembering how I got his address off an Internet list of property valuers, I go back to the site and look at its main page. There's an e-mail link to the head of the Property Valuers Association (some sort of professional organization you have to be certified to join if you're a valuer, I guess). I draft an e-mail to the address on the contact page, including all the information I'd obtained on Mr. Jendrzrjzrjzrjzrjzjrzjrjzrjzrjewski, explaining exactly what he'd done, and requesting that they take appropriate disciplinary action against him.

A few days later, I actually get an e-mail from someone with the association, a Mr. G.J. van Zyl. He sends me a list of appropriate procedures for filing a complaint against a registered valuer. Here's a reprint for your amusement:

Please note that rule 17(2) of the Rules for the Property Valuers Profession provides as follows:

"(2) A Complaint shall -

(a) be in writing and in the form of an affidavit or an affirmation;
(b) contain the full name, business and postal addresses of the complainant;
(c) detail the specific act or omission relating to the alleged improper conduct which the registered person is charged with;
(d) include all supporting evidence relating to the complaint;
(e) identify witnesses who may be able to provide evidence in support of the compalint;
(f) indicate the complainant's willingness to -

(i) assist an investigation committee with the investigation or with the obtaining of material information in respect of the matter concerned; and
(ii) appear before a disciplinary tribunal at the time and place specified in a subpoena, to be questioned or to produce a book, document or object; and

(g) be signed by the complainant or by his or her duly appointed representative."

To me it sounds like a lot of legal crap-yack designed to scare ordinary people off, but I figure, what the heck, I enjoy writing, I'll see if I can put together something that sounds good. Google search on "affadavit" reveals several examples I can work with. Take a look at the finished result, I'm quite pleased with it:

AFFADAVIT DETAILING IMPROPER CONDUCT BY A REGISTERED PROPERTY VALUER

[Contact Information Deleted]

I, Christopher E. Forman, do hereby charge this registered property valuer, Douw Gerbrandt Jendrzejewski, with improper conduct, as detailed below.

Specific details and circumstances:

Since March 2002, Mr. Jendrzejewski has repeatedly, deliberately, and maliciously attempted to flood my Internet e-mail account with a large number of Microsoft Word documents containing a computer virus. Initially these e-mails numbered anywhere from 3 - 5 messages every 2 - 4 days, but this has recently escalated to a continuous DoS (Denial of Service) attack on my account. I have made repeated requests for Mr. Jendrzejewski to cease and desist, all of which have gone unanswered.

The following supporting documentation is enclosed:

  • A computer screen-capture showing the large volume of e-mails received.
  • Specific e-mail headers indicating the message?s origin from Mr. Jendrzejewski?s account.
  • The contents of the e-mail message.
  • A printout of a webpage from a virus information site, confirming my description of the contents of Mr. Jendrzejewski?s attachment as a computer virus.
  • A screen-capture showing the size of the Microsoft Word document attachment.
  • An e-mail message from my own ISP (Internet Service Provider), indicating that my mail quota has been exceeded due to Mr. Jendrzejewski?s actions.

Further material information may be obtained from Brad Kirby, the security and abuse administrator at Mr. Jendrzejewski?s ISP, to whom I initially complained on multiple occasions. He can be reached at [Contact Information Deleted].

I hereby indicate my willingness to assist an investigation committee as needed to obtain further materials related to this incident. As I reside in the United States of America, I am unable to appear in person before a disciplinary tribunal. However, I would be willing to appear by telephone or videoconference to present additional documentation, as requested.

I would also be willing to drop these charges entirely if Mr. Jendrzejewski immediately ceases and desists all current and future actions of this nature, and apologizes in writing for his previous misconduct.

I hereby certify and declare that the foregoing information is true, correct, and complete.

Signature: __________________________


It sounds real and official, doesn't it? Yes, I actually printed off all of the supporting documentation, and mailed the whole schmere to the address this van Zyl guy gave me.

Cost to mail it: $1.60.

Cost for Mr. van Zyl to claim it: $0. (No customs fee on letters.)

Cost to D'OH! Jendrzrjzrjzrjzrjzjrzjrjzrjzrjewski: Hopefully
a lifetime of ruin, misery, and disgrace.

Current status: I received 3 more virus mails in early June, just after I sent the letter, and then they suddenly and mysteriously stopped. And haven't restarted since. Google search now reveals only one page match on "Douw Jendrzejewski", and an attempt to link to it gives a 404 error. The Property Valuers Association no longer publishes their list of contact information. D'OH! Jendrzrjzrjzrjzrjzjrzjrjzrjzrjewski is gone. He has disappeared from the Internet.

God, I'm such a bastard!

>B-}


Changes to the Shoppe

I got some Shoppe codework done on the flight to Vegas, mostly behind the scenes stuff for managing transactions faster, and to better notify you when payments are received, items are shipped, etc.

I've also had to add a check to prevent abuses of the Shoppe's automated offer system, at the hands of a few people (who apparently thought I wouldn't notice >B-). The Shoppe now makes you wait a full day before permitting you to cancel trades or transactions. This should discourage sneaky buyers from repeatedly making and cancelling offers in order to sniff out the lowest accepted price. (No names mentioned, and no hard feelings... Actually I'm grateful you found this... Just be aware you won't be able to do it anymore.) And to anyone who needs to do a legitimate cancel, don't worry. If you intend to cancel a trade the next day but forget to do so, the Shoppe will eventually send you a reminder, and in time will even clear it out for you automatically.

Currently I'm testing a "verbose"/"superbrief" switch, so long-time visitors won't have to page through all instructional stuff you already know. The image code for items is ready to test too, and I've got a USB scanner for faster imaging, so I should be adding item scans and new vault pages soon... but to be honest, it's quite overwhelming. I have a huge number of items and am not sure exactly how to begin. Should I start with the good Infocoms? Sierra stuff? The most valuable items first? Let me know which group(s) of items you'd most like to see pics for.


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