Frequently Asked Questions


(This page covers the most frequent questions I receive regarding Ye Olde Infocomme Shoppe. If you need help getting started, please read this general overview of YOIS.)

Can't find the page you're looking for? Try the YOIS site map.


1. How much do these games cost?

2. How much does it cost to ship items?

3. How do I pay for orders?

4. How soon will my games arrive?

5. Are all of these games guaranteed to load and play correctly?

6. What are the Shoppe's return policies?

7. One of the Shoppe pages gives me an error message or doesn't behave like it should.

8. What do the notations in [ ] mean?

9. Why are the games for sale divided into three separate pages?

10. Why does the "TRADE" button still appear on some items marked reserved ("R")?

11. I haven't heard of some of these Infocom packages before. What exactly do you mean by "folios" and "greys"?

12. What is a "Slash package"?

13. I'm really looking to play, rather than collect. Can you make a PC copy for me?

14. I recently got a copy of [such-and-such game], and am stuck. Can you give me some hints?

15. I'm looking for [such-and-such game], which is not on your list. Could you let me know if you get a copy in?

16. I have an extra copy of [such-and-such game] I am looking to sell / trade. Are you interested?

17. My copy of [such-and-such game] is missing [such-and-such prop]. I notice that you have a complete copy. Can I order only the prop I'm missing?

18. I noticed that you have [such-and-such game] in your personal collection. Is there any chance at all you would sell it for the right price, or trade it for the right item? Or if not, would you make me a copy?

19. I have the code for [such-and-such game], but to play it I need the copy protection from the manual. Can you scan yours for me?

20. Is there a way I can be informed of YOIS updates?

21. Why is a lot of the good stuff always reserved?

22. Can I get a list of just the games you have for [such-and-such computer]?

23. I sent you mail a whole DAY AGO, and you STILL HAVEN'T RESPONDED!!!!! WHAT'S WRONG?!?!?! DID MY MESSAGE GET LOST?!?!?!? DO YOU NOT LIKE ME?!?!?! ARE YOU DEAD?!?!?!?! ANSWER ME PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

24. Why are some of the packages damaged/incomplete?

25. This "Shoppe"... is it an actual store somewhere?

26. Why do you spell "Infocomme" like that?

Got a question that's not addressed here? Just ask the Shoppekeeper!


[1]

Q: How much do these games cost?

A: I prefer not to work with fixed prices. Computer game collecting is a hobby and is supposed to be fun, and nothing ruins fun like someone cranking out a book of fixed prices for everything. To be honest, I do this more for my own enjoyment than to make anything off of it. Allowing buyers to make their own offers gives a degree of flexibility. Besides, prices tend to fluctuate depending on how many people are looking for a game and how many copies are turning up for sale. I have never turned down a reasonable offer (though of course your definition of reasonable may differ from mine). As general guidelines:

Most other titles vary depending on scarcity and demand. A good estimate is around $20 - $30 for complete I-F (interactive fiction, aka parser adventure) titles or pre-1986 role-playing games, and less than $20 for anything that's not adventure / RPG at all. Exceptions exist: If it's rare, it costs more (anywhere from $40 - $70+), and if I actually use the word "rare", I mean it. Ultra-rares can fetch upwards of $100. Platform is usually only a factor with PC versions: A great many collectors are PC-only, so I expect a little more for earlier PC games.

Try not to be too concerned about whether your offer is enough. If the Shoppe doesn't automatically accept it, we can still negotiate through e-mail, especially if you're buying multiple items (as I'm known to give discounts). Don't worry about overshooting either -- The Shoppe will suggest a more affordable price if your offer is too high.


[2]

Q: How much does it cost to ship items?

A: The hidden cost of buying online is shipping, which will probably hurt overseas collectors the most. For larger orders I may offer to split or refund shipping costs.

Within the United States, I can do media rate ($0.45/lb., minimum of $1.30), Priority Mail (minimum of $3.50), or Express Mail (minimum of $16.00). Smaller (non-rare) media-rate items will be shipped in a padded envelope with extra bubble-wrap, unless there is concern that they will be easily crushed. All other items will be sent in a box.

The U.S. Postal Service has two rate groups for international parcels, letter-post and parcel-post. Both can be sent either via air-mail or surface. Letter-post is cheaper (anywhere from $3.75 - $30.00 depending on weight, destination, and whether you go surface or air), but has a maximum weight of 4 lbs., and anything heavier will have to be sent at the higher parcel-post rate (minimum $15.50). Insured international items must also be sent via parcel-post.

Insurance is optional, and extra, and its cost will depend on the value of the package. I am not responsible for loss or damage to uninsured packages once they are in the hands of the postal service! Personally I've only seen it happen three or four times in all the years I've been doing this, but it can happen. If you choose not to purchase insurance, you take your chances.

The YOIS database stores the weight of every item I have for sale and factors in the weight of the box and packing material. When you purchase an item or group of items, you will be presented with several shipping options to choose from. I personally recommend media rate for U.S. buyers, and air-mail for international despite the extra cost, as it's considerably faster than surface. Plan on around $12 - $15 for a single boxed game sent via air-mail.

Shipping costs are calculated by the USPS's web API, using the combined weight of the item (stored in the Shoppe database) and appropriate box / packing material. I charge only what the postal service charges me: No packaging fee, no handling fee, no "gas money for driving to the post office" fee. If it turns out I ever overestimate on shipping by a significant amount (more than a dollar or so) please let me know and I will gladly refund the difference.


[3]

Q: How do I pay for orders?

A: Once your trade or money offer has been accepted on a particular item, you can pay for it immediately by clicking on the appropriate button, or choose to wait a few days. (The item will be reserved for two weeks, after which it will again become available for others to purchase.) If you prefer, you can make offers on multiple items and then go to your transaction history page and choose to have them shipped together.

Currently I accept the following methods of payment:

If you choose to pay through PayPal, you will be directed to a PayPal screen to confirm your purchase. If you decide to send a payment through the mail, you will receive an order summary, suitable for printing. Please enclose a copy of this form with your payment, as it will get your package shipped a little faster.


[4]

Q: How soon will my games arrive?

A: This will depend on your payment method and shipping choice. Within the U.S., Priority Mail usually takes 2 - 3 days, and media mail generally arrives within 5 - 10. For international packages, expect 7 - 10 days for air-mail, while surface averages 3 - 6 weeks but can take longer (I've seen it take several months).

These estimates begin with the time the item is actually mailed, which does not happen instantaneously. Depending on how busy I am, plan on at least another day or two before I actually get your items packed, addressed, and mailed. Payment by PayPal means faster turnaround, as I don't have to wait for a check or money order to arrive.

You can check the status of your order by visiting your order history page. This will be updated when your payment is received and your item is shipped.

Please Note: If you're seeing the "Shoppe is closed" message at the top of the main and sale pages, this means I am away and unable to put together and ship packages. You will not see any updates to your order status until the Shoppe reopens.


[5]

Q: Are all of these games guaranteed to load and play correctly?

A: Not necessarily. Disk-based media has a tendency to deteriorate over time, and some of these games have already hit the 20-year mark. As a general rule, I don't test every disk I get, since I sell most of these as collectibles (and also due to lack of time). If a working disk is the primary reason for your purchase, I'd be glad to test it for you, assuming...

Also please note that I am not obligated to provide any additional technical support in getting a game to run on your system, nor do I really have the time or expertise to do so. If you've got an old PC game you're trying to get to run on a recent system, two good sources of information and utilities are DOSgames.com and Jim Leonard's The Oldskool PC.


[6]

Q: What are the Shoppe's return policies?

A:


[7]

Q: One of the Shoppe pages gives me an error message or doesn't behave like it should.

A: If this happens to you, please let me know. It would help me track down the problem if you could also include your browser name and version, the URL of the problem page (the web address, in the text bar at the top of your browser window), and a description of what you were doing when the error occurred.


[8]

Q: What do the notations in [ ] mean?

A: These indicate the condition of the game package, using the Official MobyGames Software Collectibles Condition Grading Scale (aka the MobyScale). If you're a collector, you should familiarize yourself with these grades before buying. If you're interested in simply playing the games, and don't care about the packaging, you can ignore them.


[9]

Q: Why are the games for sale divided into three separate pages?

A: To break down the complete list, accomodating collectors of various types of games. The categories mirror the way I determine which games I keep in my own personal collection. Games for sale are split across the following three groups:

  1. Infocom games.
    Just like it sounds. Anything published by Infocom goes here, as well as the Activision repackagings (such as Lost Treasures and Masterpieces) and spinoffs (Return to Zork, et al). Also includes any books by Infocom authors, or game books with solutions to Infocom games.
  2. Non-Infocom I-F games.
    "Interactive fiction" games by companies other than Infocom. "I-F" is a rather vague term, subject to debate, but for my intents and purposes it refers to any game that:
    • ...relies heavily on descriptive text output (not necessarily text input, i.e. typing) as part of gameplay.
    • ...is not pure RPG, unless the game relies primarily on text input in addition to the RPG elements.

    This definition encompasses:

    • All-text adventures as well as "text adventures with graphics".
    • Point-and-click adventure games that make extensive use of text output (for example the ICOM Simulations titles -- Deja Vu, Shadowgate, Uninvited).
    • Role-playing games that use typed commands for movement (for instance Chameleon Software's Stone of Sisyphus, or Infocom's Quarterstaff if it weren't already covered by the Infocom category).
    • "Life simulation" titles such as Activision's Alter Ego.
    • "Eliza"-type games such as Mindscape's Racter.
    • Any collection (multiple games in one package) containing one or more of these types of games.
    • Construction-kit tools used to create one of these types of games.
    • Hint books for any games that fall here, as well as any multi-game solution books that contain hints for them (unless they also contain Infocom solves, in which case they will be under the Infocom category).

    This definition excludes:

    • RPG games such as Wasteland, Bard's Tale, etc., that use single-character commands for entering input. (Note that "typing" is not the same thing as "using the keyboard".) Some RPG games employ a conversation system wherein the player types a word or words to ask another character about a certain subject. Again, I count this as I-F only if the rest of the gameplay primarily utilizes text input as well.
    • Graphic adventures such as Maniac Mansion and King's Quest V (although King's Quest I - IV would be included), where character dialogue but no other descriptive text is displayed on-screen.
    • Very early games that use "graphics" formed with text (ASCII characters).

  3. Non-IF games.
    Anything that doesn't fit into the above two categories. More recent graphic adventures, Ultima and Wizardry games, other RPGs, other genres.

This is all thoroughly anal, as only a diehard collector can be. Thanks to YOIS's new MySQL database engine, if you'd prefer to browse the entire sale list on a single page, you now have the option to do it.


[10]

Q: Why does the "TRADE" button still appear on some items marked reserved ("R")?

A: These items are in the middle of a potential trade, but unlike items with a confirmed cash offer, the sale is not yet definite. This means that you can still offer a trade. If I get more than one offer on an item, I choose the one I like best.


[11]

Q: I haven't heard of some of these Infocom packages before. What exactly do you mean by "folios" and "greys"?

A: In collector-speak, "greys" refers to the grey boxes with colored horizontal stripes, the kind of package that opens up like a book, with the manual ("browsie") stapled inside. Behind that is a tray, covered with a transparent plastic lid, which holds the disk, catalogs / reference cards, and game props. This is the "standard" package style, used during Infocom's height from 1984 - 1987. Their later text-game releases switched to slipcased packages of the same size, with the manual loose inside an inner sleeve. These are equivalent to greys, and the term is generally used to refer to both types of package.

Prior to mid-1984, the early Infocom releases had larger, more extravagant packaging: Enchanter and Sorcerer came in portfolio-style (hence "folio") packages composed of an outer and inner folder with the game materials inside. Deadline and The Witness featured an inner folder similar to a police case file. Early Starcross and Suspended, the two most sought-after Infocom items, had a flying-saucer package, and a large cereal-size box with a white plastic mask of a human face, respectively. The Planetfall, Infidel and Seastalker folios were simply large folders with the same cover art used in the later greys. The Zork "folios" are actually blister packs with just a disk and manual under the inlay. The term "folio" may be used to refer to all of these, though the Zork "blister packs" are more commonly identified as such.


[12]

Q: What is a "Slash package"?

A: Slash was a software distributor in the late 1980s and early 1990s, known for republishing popular games in budget packaging and selling them at discount prices. While they have the same cover art as the original releases, Slash boxes tend to be made of a rougher cardboard, smooth / glossy only on the outside. For example, the inside of a Sierra slipcover by Slash is brown whereas its original would be white. The inner box is made of a cheaper cardboard as well, not as sturdy, white on the outside and brown inside.

Sometimes the boxes themselves are different. Sierra Quest titles and Accolade Slash releases are one-piece boxes as opposed to the original two-piece versions. For some Mindcraft games (Magic Candle, Bloodstone), the Slash box has different dimensions than the original, usually thicker but slightly smaller in length and width. The most defining characteristic is a round gold sticker with the Slash logo, usually on the back of the package, but some boxes seem to have gotten off the conveyor without these.

The game materials themselves are cheaper as well. Disk labels are white and unadorned, with just the game title and publisher, and all accompanying books and manuals are reprinted on plain white paper. Any trinkets or props from the original game will not be present in a Slash re-release.

Because they feel cheap and are not from the original production run, Slash packages are significantly less desirable to most collectors, though the game itself is identical for someone who wants to play it.


[13]

Q: I'm really looking to play, rather than collect. Can you make a PC copy for me?

A: Assuming I have a PC version to make copies of, yes, I'll provide this service when you purchase the game on another platform. This saves the trouble of downloading an emulator, which may not be 100% reliable.

One of the most common requests I get is to copy 5.25" PC disks to 3.5". I can and will do this, when possible. The problem is that a lot of games from the 5.25 era featured a variety of screwy copy-protection, involving everything from booting directly off the floppy to making you insert the original disk for verification. I have neither the technical know-how nor the time to get around these schemes, so in cases like this there's nothing I can do. However, I do have a number of contacts I can ask for a "fixed" version.

Be aware that if you're looking only to play, you will probably find my prices a bit steep, as I deal primarily with collectors. Finally, be aware that you must purchase a legal copy of the game from me to get the PC version. (Doesn't matter if you can "prove" you already have a legal copy.) Ye Olde Infocomme Shoppe is not a piracy outlet or an abandonware site, and I have better things to do with my time than make copies of disks for everyone who requests them.


[14]

Q: I recently got a copy of [such-and-such game], and am stuck. Can you give me some hints?

A: Probably not. I have only personally played a very small percentage of all the adventure games released over the years, and it's doubtful I remember the ones I have played in great enough detail to be of much help to you.

Your best bet is to check the GMD I-F archive solutions directory, which has walkthroughs for most adventures. In addition, Shay Addams' Quest for Clues series, Kim Schutte's Book of Adventure Games I and II, and M.K. Simon's Keys to Solving Computer Adventure Games I and II all contain hints and solutions for a number of obscure titles. Check any number of online used bookstores to find them. (Two of my personal favorites are Alibris and AbeBooks.)


[15]

Q: I'm looking for [such-and-such game], which is not on your list. Could you let me know if you get a copy in?

A: Sure. You can request specific titles at the YOIS waiting list. If you specify your name, e-mail address, and desired title(s), I will gladly add your name to the waiting list. I will also put you in touch with anyone I find who is willing to sell their copy. I can not guarantee that a copy of the package you seek will turn up soon, or even at all, but if you ask for something I will look for it. (This does not obligate you to make a purchase from YOIS if I do find it.)

Don't forget that I myself am a collector, so if you are looking for the same thing that I am, I will take a copy for myself first, and will also swap packages of higher quality into my personal collection.

Additional sources for vintage computer games are suggested on the links page, under "Other Great Places to Shoppe".


[16]

Q: I have an extra copy of [such-and-such game] I am looking to sell / trade. Are you interested?

A: I certainly am! Not in everything, though. Mail me with what you've got, and we'll negotiate. I usually only trade for complete items I don't already have in my own collection, or items for which I've received specific requests. If I'm not looking to buy, I'll keep your info and try to match you up with a potential buyer.

I am always interested in buying up entire collections, so if you have a large number of games you're looking to unload at once, please contact me. I would appreciate knowing if you're shopping around with other potential buyers, and if you ultimately decide to go with someone else instead, so I don't keep wondering why you haven't written me back.

Please don't send me links to your eBay auctions, as I no longer use them in any capacity.


[17]

Q: My copy of [such-and-such game] is missing [such-and-such prop]. I notice that you have a complete copy. Can I order only the prop I'm missing?

A: Sorry, but I won't break up complete packages, as it's not fair to other collectors. Keep checking the list, though, as I do get loose props in occasionally. Or you could trade an incomplete package for a complete one (plus a little cash and shipping both ways).


[18]

Q: I noticed that you have [such-and-such game] in your personal collection. Is there any chance at all you would sell it for the right price, or trade it for the right item? Or if not, would you make me a copy?

A: Sorry, but the answer is no, on all three counts. If I wanted to sell from my collection, the items would be on the for-sale pages, not the vault. The same goes for trades: If I trade something away, I may never come across another to replace it. And I have better things to do than make copies for everyone who requests them. Please do not ask. Thank you.


[19]

Q: I have the code for [such-and-such game], but to play it I need the copy protection from the manual. Can you scan yours for me?

A: If I sell you a game package that's missing a necessary piece of documentation, yes, I will gladly scan my own copy for you. Otherwise the answer is no, due to lack of time. (And if I did it for one person, it'd only be fair to do it for everyone else who asks.)


[20]

Q: Is there a way I can be informed of YOIS updates?

A: Join the YOIS mailing list, and you'll receive an e-mail announcement whenever I put up a new column or make significant modifications to the site. In future updates, the Shoppe's "What's new?" page will be reactivated and will list new sale items acquired within the past two weeks.


[21]

Q: Why is a lot of the good stuff always reserved?

A: Some of these packages are snapped up by collectors quickly. It all depends on who gets to the item and enters a buy price or a trade offer first. For future acquisitions, the waiting list gets you first crack at a specific item (provided there's no one in front of you for the same thing).


[22]

Q: Can I get a list of just the games you have for [such-and-such computer]?

A: You can, from the Shoppe's search page, by doing an item search and choosing your computer platform from the drop-down list. If your computer is not listed, then there are currently no items in the Shoppe available for it... but check back, there might be in the future.


[23]

Q: I sent you mail a whole DAY AGO, and you STILL HAVEN'T RESPONDED!!!!! WHAT'S WRONG?!?!?! DID MY MESSAGE GET LOST?!?!?!? DO YOU NOT LIKE ME?!?!?! ARE YOU DEAD?!?!?!?! ANSWER ME PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A: Jeez, get a grip.

Just so you know? If you're sending me (or thinking about sending) this type of message, please don't. I absolutely hate this. Or if you're resending the same message twice, please don't do this either. One, it's confusing ("Did I already reserve this item for someone else, or is it the same person asking twice?") Two, I have other things to do besides sit in front of my screen waiting to instantaneously fill your request. And three, if I haven't checked my mail in a couple of days anyway, doing this will accomplish nothing besides cluttering up my inbox a little more (and irritating the heck out of me).

Please understand that I am just one person. Count me: One. Count me twice to be sure: One. If there is no me, there is no Shoppe. I try to answer all e-mails within 2 - 3 days, but I am not obligated to do so, and sometimes real life interferes. If you've sent me mail, I will respond to it (except perhaps if I'm swamped and your question is something that's already covered in this FAQ). Personally I've found the odds of e-mail getting "lost" to be very low.

At any rate, pestering me in this manner is guaranteed not to get you a response even one second faster. In fact, I'll probably make you wait a few days longer just to prove my point. So, please, and I'm asking you nicely, don't do this.


[24]

Q: Why are some of the packages damaged/incomplete?

A: Most packages sold here are "previously owned", and the previous owners may not have been as careful with them as they could have been. Hence some boxes are damaged, and some props have been lost. If possible, I repair what damage I can. (I'm quite interested in buying large quantities of damaged packs, as they're good for "parts.")

A damaged package provides a cheaper alternative to players (i.e. non-collectors), which is why I continue to stock them. Unless the description says otherwise, you can safely assume that everything is complete and in good condition.

The exception to this is the disks themselves. I don't have the resources to verify each disk for each system, so I can't guarantee that older disks will even work properly. Again, most of these items are sold as collectibles.


[25]

Q: This "Shoppe"... is it an actual store somewhere?

A: No, it's merely the back room of my apartment, and a catchy name for the venue through which I sell my duplicate game packages (and any other interesting finds I happen to come by). It's not an official "business", and you won't find it in the Peoria yellow pages.


[26]

Q: Why do you spell "Infocomme" like that?

A: In Infocom's Wishbringer and Beyond Zork, Ye Olde Magick Shoppe spells "magick" with a "k", which is an archaic spelling used in the 14th and 15th centuries, indicating awe and respect for a powerful force. Likewise, "Infocomme" is the 14th- and 15th-century spelling of "Infocom". (Hey, you asked!)



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