YOIS News Archive (2004)

12/30/2004Wow, I just looked at this page and realized it's been a month since I wrote anything!

I'm still here, and still collecting, though I've gotten pretty heavily into console gaming lately. I've bought up a few computer-related items, but I haven't seen too much lately (in my price range) that I'm really after. I've gotten several requests for a new Shoppe column, and would love to do one, but I'm still about half burned-out on writing from earlier this year. We'll see, though.

Right now the main news is there's a problem with the PHP configuration on IF-Legends, and it's blocking YOIS from opening any remote URL's. I first noticed it when my automated eBay searches stopped working, then tonight I realized it's affecting the shipping cost pulls from the USPS as well. Have e-mailed the admins, hopefully will get it fixed soon. In the meantime you can e-mail me for a postage quote. Please include your shipping address, as well as the web address(es) of the item(s) you are interested in.

Oh, and the Shoppe isn't really closed, but the notification has a link to this page, so I figured that way more people would check it out and see what's going on.

11/29/2004'Nother Mt Drash up for auction. (Should I just stop posting these notices? It's become almost commonplace.)
11/26/2004In case anyone is planning to order Shoppe items as gifts this year, the latest Priority shipping date for Christmas deliveries is the 21st. They didn't give media or global air, but I would figure allow at least 10 days, so the 15th. Keep in mind those are the shipping dates, and it may take me a day or two to get your e-mail and get packages together, so please plan accordingly.
11/19/2004A few new items added.
11/16/2004Well, it looks as if "thecaptains" isn't going to tell me who successfully tempted him on the Drash auction, so he's earned a place of honor at the top of my blacklist. Don't deal with this jerk, he can't be trusted to follow through on his promises.

So... *ahem*... Gosh, I sure would like to have a boxed Mt Drash. I feel so inadequate because I don't have one. If anybody out there recently acquired a boxed Mt Drash, say, on eBay, and wanted to feel really superior to me, the best thing to do would be to e-mail me and brag about it. I should also mention that I would pay $12,000 for one. Yeah.

11/13/2004Haven't yet received a response from the seller as to why the latest Mt Drash auction was ended early... though of course I have my suspicions.
11/10/2004I'm behind this week, so everybody else has probably already seen the latest Mt Drash on eBay. Unfortunately, he's got it listed at a starting price that doesn't encourage bidders. Unfortunately II, he put up lots of detailed pictures and didn't watermark them. So remember these scans, guys. If there's ever a Drash fraudster, he'll be using them.

Keeping score, this is the fourth boxed Mt Drash that I've personally confirmed.

10/30/2004There were a few more issues with not being able to add records to some of the DB tables yesterday, but I think I got them all corrected. Please let me know if you run into any.
10/29/2004Yesterday YOIS was inaccessible for most of the day due to a hardware failure on the server, which forced IF-Legends' hosting provider to move us onto a new one. Somehow the database password didn't get set correctly following that move, so every page that accesses the YOIS database (which is pretty much all of them) came back with errors.

It's back to working now, and there shouldn't have been any data loss since access to the site was interrupted. Stefan tells me that their last successful backup was at 6:00 CET (Germany time) on the 28th, or 23:00 PM CST on the 27th. The last YOIS database backup also ran on the 27th. I didn't notice anything missing from the Shoppe transactions, but if you entered a trade request late on the 27th or early on the 28th, it may have been lost before I ever got to it. Check your user history page and let me know if anything is missing. Apologies for any inconvenience there.

Please let me know if you run into any further issues with the site.

10/23/2004Just listed a few new items.
10/22/2004We're going live with a new system at work this weekend, so I'm putting in a lot of overtime hours. If I'm slow to respond to e-mails, that's why.
10/20/2004I've divided my deadbeat list into eBay and BidVille sections, since an ID on one auction site may be a different person on the other. (And since I don't sell on eBay anymore.)
10/13/2004Just a warning, for those of you using one of those spam-blocker services where people sending you messages have to click a link and fill out a form to get "approved". I HATE these damn things! They always seem to fail on me even if I jump through the hoops correctly. So I'm not wasting any more of my life screwing with them. Please add me (yois@if-legends.org, ceforman@sbcglobal.net) to your list in advance, or you won't get a reply.
10/12/2004Well. I've officially hit burnout on my other writing project, at least for the time being. So I'm taking a hiatus from my hiatus, which I guess means I'm ready to start on another Shoppe column.

Somewhere in L.A., Eyal Katz is wetting himself. B-)

10/02/2004Ugh. Been sick as hell the past week, just getting over it now. I'll be adding some new Shoppe items shortly.

You know what they say about laughter and medicine, so in case anybody else is feeling under the weather I thought I'd share this doozy of an e-mail I got the other day. Read through this abomination word by word and just TRY not cracking up. The caps and "alternative" punctuation style are all his. (Hers? Its??)


Hello seller,
i will like to purchase this items,,,,,#: 9787402 ,,,,, from you bcos i need it to supply my client that they in need of the particular items and i will like you to mail me the tOtal cost of the items and i will do the payment via cashier check bcos you can cash the fund at the same day you got the the check and i will like you to mail me if you can get the total quality of the items bcos i will like you to supply me 5pieces of the items , you can mail me your full infomation with the total cost if you are ready to sell the product to me so that i can supply it to my client you can even call me on my mobil phone+2348029401605
thanks.

Heehee, I just got an idea. Next person who bugs me with "Did you get my mail?" I'm going to give this guy your address and say you have a hundred of the item he's looking for. God have mercy on you. B-)

09/24/2004Several things:

Bad news first. It looks as if the Vintage Computer Gaming Conference (VCGC) is officially defunct. We printed up some way-awesome invitations that looked like 5.25" floppies and were even sealed with a silver write-protect tab. These were sent out to several big-name classic game authors, but we didn't get a single reply before the deadline. I have mixed feelings. On one hand I'm a bit relieved, as the cost of putting on the show, in both money and time, was looking a bit steep. On the other, I'm quite disappointed that so many old-time authors would be so indifferent to a show looking to honor their contributions to gaming history that they wouldn't even reply, even just to say, "Sorry but I can't make it." Eh well. Maybe we'll try again in a few years, see if the climate has changed.

Lee Seitz writes (on SWCollect): "Boy, those Infocom games certainly are flexible. How many different ways are there of playing them now? Well, add one more to the list. To celebrate the new radio series, BBC Radio 4 has done a Macromedia Flash version of Hitchhiker's Guide. If you live in the U.K., you can even contribute graphics to it as part of a contest."

Finally, IF-Legends is moving to a new server soon, possibly next weekend. It's the Shoppe that's been holding up the works, being the largest site here, so I'm doing my best to make things easy on the admins. Watch this page, as YOIS will likely be down for a few hours until the DNS servers switch over to the new domain location. I'll post the exact date and time once I have it myself.

09/20/2004TomMage came down for the weekend (finally got to see the house) and we spent the better part of two days hitting thrifts, the live auction downtown, and the annual ham radio and electronics expo. Had a blast, thanks Tom!

Don't miss the shrinked Suspended mask at eBay, by one of the SWCollect members.

09/17/2004Okay, it's been an extremely busy week and the "why haven't you answered" e-mails are starting to appear, so let's do a quick review session. If you've been with the Shoppe a long time, you know how much this irritates me; please don't do it. If you're new, I refer you to the appropriate FAQ. Your patience is appreciated.
09/12/2004Finally got around to listing a bunch of stuff on BidVille (uid="morrodox"). Lots of old hardware, game systems, etc. Help me get my storage room cleared out a bit.

And I forgot to mention it at the end of August, probably because of the tepid response, but the YOIS story contenst mentioned in the last column is off. I got a grand total of three entries, whoopee. I'll see if I can find something nice for those who did participate.

08/31/2004Decided I'd better take a minute to explain what I've been up to lately, as a couple of people have remarked on how quiet I've been. (Guess my big mouth is easily missed when it's not spouting off.) What's happened is, I've started writing again, and it's gotten pretty serious to the point of taking up a lot of my time. It's not Shoppe columns, in fact it's not gaming-related at all. It's just something I've felt very strongly compelled to do, and I just have to see if I can. Hope that makes some sense. I'm not ready to say exactly what it is yet, but if it ends up going anywhere I'll definitely announce it here.

One thing I did do was reopen the Shoppe, now that all the backlogged transactions have been caught up. I tried to refresh the lingering transactions from people I know are serious about eventually following through, but if you get a sudden non-payment message, it's probably overdue since I had them set on non-expiry.

08/21/2004Just a warning, Eyal Katz's "jeffcowe" user ID is back to active status on eBay. Good time to update your block list from my deadbeat page.
08/14/2004Adding some more items, from the large Apple II lot I won on eBay. There were even a couple of Zork Users Group items for Deadline that the seller didn't mention! I've already got 'em, so offerring them to another lucky (and well-paying) Shopper.
08/10/2004Just added some new trade items (scroll down).
08/09/2004It's okay to ignore the "closed" warning on the main page. I'm still here, I've just got a backlog of pending transactions, so I put up the closed sign so the Shoppe doesn't automatically expire them.

Sorry if it seems I've been neglecting the site lately. I do have a bunch of new pieces I'd like to write vault pages for. Been busy working on the deck while the weather's good, plus I've started writing again. (Should really channel some of that creativity into a column or two.)

08/05/2004I've been getting quite a few mails lately asking how much some item costs. If you're new, please read the FAQ page to learn how YOIS works. Prices are flexible and you can make an initial offer or have the system quote you one. You do need to be registered to request a price. (This prevents other dealers from using the site as a glorified price guide.)

BidVille update: They were good on their promise to give me several days to revise my auctions. I cut out the links to my main and deadbeat pages, that should satisfy them. Despite this slightly oppressive turn, they're still infinitely less fascist than eBay.

Yes Eyal, I'm still watching your hoodlum ass. And yes, a Google on "jeffcowe" does indeed lead to my page. Can't find the column you're stumbling for? Did you try the site map page? Of course you did, I saw it! Maybe you should ask PacBell for help. (And that's all the news coverage I'm giving you until the next column is ready. A few other Shoppers sure enjoyed these posts though. Buh-bye. ^v^)

08/03/2004Hi, Eyal! You find what you're looking for on this page yet? ^v^ (P.S. Nice DSL.)
07/30/2004Heads up if you use BidVille. I got this from them today:

"Hyperlinks to personal websites and other auction sites must be placed in your About Me section of Bidville. It is a T.O.S violation to have a link on your auction listings and all listings with these links may be subject to removal by our fraud division. Our apologies for the confusion and we thank you for your understanding in this matter."

What IS it with these auction places and their phobia of hyperlinks? I mean come ON, the main reason I moved to BidVille is to escape big-bully eBay, now BV is slowly turning into its punk-ass little brother. I guess I should be grateful they wrote and warned me. I asked them to give me a bit to get to changing the listings, as I have a lot of them and not a lot of time, so we'll see what happens. You'll hear about it here, I promise.

BidVille, if you happen onto this, remember Yahoo Auctions? They pissed away their chances of competing with eBay when they started acting like it, charging listing fees. Don't make the same bonehead mistake.

07/27/2004Two eBay items of note: First, Jim Leonard of MobyGames is moving a bunch of his collectible software on eBay, 10 items per week, working up to the valuable stuff. (Told you I'd plug your auctions, Jim.) And second, "Jeff Cowe" has made his latest eBay ID's feedback private. (Got somethin' to hide, do we, Eyal?)
07/26/2004I went to my first-ever auction this weekend, an actual live auction. A co-worker told me about a place downtown that has one every weekend, for all sorts of junk, and I found some game system stuff there. Got outbid on two lots but won a stack of old Atari manuals. If you've never done a live auction before, you've got to try it, it gets pretty intense. Entirely different strategy. You've got to examine the stuff closely and decide what you're going to bid in advance, then try not to get caught up in the competition. Bidding usually starts a bit high but they drop the price fast if there are no bids, and keep throwing stuff into the lot until someone bids. I had a blast, plan to make it a regular Sunday thing.
07/22/2004I'm back, and things are slowly settling down. VGS was great! I stayed over with TomMage Friday night, driving three hours with a couple thousand dollars' worth of vintage games in my trunk. Then Saturday we got up early and drove in to the show, where we had to drag everything through the lobby and down an elevator, so I got my upper-body workout. There were about 10 tables, and TomMage, Jim Leonard of MobyGames, and I all had ours together. Probably 50 - 60 people came through and looked at our stuff, so it was definitely a small show, but I moved some items and made some contacts. One guy and his son flew down from New York for the son's birthday, and he said it was the coolest one he'd ever had!

Shoppe's reopened, though I've still got a lot to catch up on. Nobody reserved anything that sold at the show. VCGC organizers, I promise I'll get to your mail backlog over the weekend.

07/16/2004Just a quick note and a heads-up before I head up to Lombard for VGS: I'm taking several boxes of Shoppe items with me to sell/trade, but I'm probably not going to have net access to update the stock while I'm there. So if you buy from the Shoppe this weekend, please be aware that there's a chance I won't have a particular item anymore once I get back. You may want to hold off paying for items until I get the list updated and officially take down the "closed" notice. (Feel free to go ahead and reserve 'em, though, just in case I still do.)

Thanks, hope to see you at VGS!

07/15/2004Okay, I simply have to share this one with everybody!

The other day a guy bid on a bunch of old PC software I had up on BidVille. Not collectible games or anything, just junk, stuff that didn't even meet the Shoppe's modest standards. He sends me this big long wordy e-mail ALL IN CAPS. Not once, not twice, but three times a scammer. And not because my reply wasn't fast enough, they were all within 10 minutes of each other. He says he has businesses in five different countries, the U.K. and four in Africa, and asks for shipping quotes to each one. I oblige.

Here's where it gets good. This morning he tells me he's prepared a cashier's check for $4000, he's going to send it to me. I'm supposed to cash it and send the money and stuff to his Nigeria address, less the $300 he's letting me keep for this absolute POS software he's buying.

Um, I'll take "Internet Scams" for $200, Alex.

Watch for updates if this happens to get even funnier.

07/13/2004I'm back... But still getting caught up, and also preparing for the VGS this coming weekend. I had about 110 e-mails waiting, so don't be surprised if it takes me awhile to get to yours. I'm leaving the Shoppe closed until next week.

Fun development on "jeffcowe": He is now NARU on eBay. I'm not sure if it was me and the other collectors reporting his off-eBay finagling, or maybe he dumped the ID himself after I blacklisted him, or he may have gotten caught bidding on several auctions using multiple identities.

Check it, two other recently created, recently terminated, high-rolling accounts have also been NARU'd: "*ryujin*" and "froddo711". Not 100% sure these are him, but if they are, a couple of them have bid high ammounts on the same auctions. Could be bid shielding, and maybe eBay caught on. (BTW, it's spelled "Frodo", you doof.) At any rate, he's back as "beamishwilly".

Oh, and bombshell time: This guy is also Eyal Katz. Yeah, THAT Eyal Katz. Several of us have known for awhile, and have been keeping track of which rare items he's won in case he attempts to start up "production" again. So far he's confined himself to bidding so I haven't had to rush out a column. Full story, including how we found out it was him, coming soon. In the meantime, it goes without saying, but... Don't buy, sell, or trade with him.

07/06/2004The Shoppe is temporarily closed. I'm away on vacation, but will fill any waiting orders when I get back. (If I'm not responding to your e-mail, this'd be the reason.)

If you're in the Midwest, don't forget about the Video Game Summit in Lombard, IL, on the 17th. TomMage and I will both be there, as will Jim Leonard of MobyGames. Stop by and talk with us, and maybe go out for dinner afterward. I'm hauling up several boxes of my best trade items for people to look through, plus some console and non-collectible stuff I don't list here.

07/04/2004Congratulations to 'jeffcowe' for being the first buyer to make the YOIS blacklist for auction interference on listed eBay items.

Told ya I'd do this! You all thought I was kidding, yeah?

07/02/2004Just remembered the 5th is a postal holiday since the 4th is on Sunday. But if I get your payments by Monday night I'll get your packages ready and mail 'em while on vacation. Anything after will be sent after I get back.
06/30/2004Heehee, I had so much fun today! I got another one of those "from eBay" scam mails, so on my lunch break I went out to their site and just started filling in fields, except instead of actual information I typed in really horrible rap lyrics. I was just making up nonsense as I went, and entering it! I did it about 50 times! Too bad I didn't save any of it, or I'd post 'em here for all of you to laugh at. But I did give the scammers a real secondary e-mail address and ask for copies, so maybe they'll write me back.

Serious, now. I'll be leaving on vacation beginning the 6th. I plan to make one last shipment of packages on the 5th, probably in the afternoon, then I'll close the Shoppe. Any payments you send after that will have to wait until I return in a week and a half. I'll post the usual notify message on the main pages about the Shoppe being closed.

06/22/2004Happy 25th Infocom Anniversary! On this day in 1979, four months after the final touches were made to the original mainframe Zork, the company was founded by a subset of the Dynamic Modelling team at MIT, among them Marc Blank, David Lebling, and Stu Galley.
06/19/2004<crass-commercialization>
If you're not registered with BidVille, I highly recommend it. It's still early, but they're looking to become the eBay alternative that Yahoo! Auctions was before they pissed it all away. I have quite a few auctions running there continuously, as do a few other collectors. (Plus if you mention "morrodox" as your referral, I get free special-feature points).
</crass-commercialization>
06/18/2004I posted this on SWCollect but thought I'd ask here too. We've about got a budget down for the software collectors' expo (originally "SCExpo", now "VCGC" for Vintage Computer Gaming Conference), and it's going to cost us several thousand dollars up front to put together. If anyone is interested in donating some venture capital, you're invited to share in the profits (if any) from the show.

Also the response to my collecting story contest has been less than overwhelming. In fact I've only been whelmed twice so far. This isn't eBay, so you don't need to snipe with your entry. I won't be posting any of them until the deadline is over. But if I don't have enough entries to make it interesting come August I may have to scrap the contest.

06/16/2004New trade items listed below. I've also got an extra "Human Never Stands So Tall" Infocom poster on the way, courtesy of eBay. I was surprised when my bid actually won; I figured it'd go a lot higher. Anyway, I'm entertaining early trade offers on that too.
06/11/2004Got another interesting question on the auction interference column:

For your column on ebay: What if a member persuades a seller to change his auction to a BUY IT NOW option (placing other member's bargain offer as price)? you may want to add this...as being "cheating", too ;-)

Ooh, now that's a possibility I hadn't considered! I'd rank that as more fair than an off-eBay sale, because at least other bidders would get a chance to grab it... It's not guaranteed that the seller would be right there to get the buyer's message, and vice-versa once the price got changed. Still a form of auction interference though.

06/08/2004Happy YOIS Anniversary! Two years ago the current site went live. The only reason I remembered is I got an automated e-mail from the Shoppe reminding me to do cleanup on the waiting list entries. So. If you're on the list but have an outdated e-mail address, please get it updated soon or your entries will get wiped.
06/06/2004Just posted an addendum to the column's auction interference article, adding some very intelligent points a reader made, and my responses (you tell me if those are intelligent as well).
06/05/2004New Shoppe column is up, just in time for the weekend. This time I've got the first-ever YOIS contest, recommended summer reading and vintage-game book list, my personal thoughts on game storage, and a company profile for Avalon Hill. I also drop a nice bombshell at the end, about people who e-mail eBay sellers and work private offers behind the scenes and what I intend to do about them, so you may want to at least read that if you're one of those people. (I assure you, I mean every word of it.)
05/31/2004I'd just like to say a brief thanks on this Memorial Day to the armed services people who gave their lives so that weirdos like us can spend ours hoarding all this great vintage crap. For the record, the going rates are now $809 for a shrinked Starcross saucer, and $380 for a shrinked Suspended mask.

I added a bit of info to the Cornerstone Database Database, now that I have my very own shrinked package as of this week. Also I've got the latest (minor) revision of the MobyScale up.

And if you haven't seen this EGM article on today's kids and classic gaming, do take a gander. It's an absolute scream. B-)

05/28/2004I got an e-mail today from someone suggesting I do one of my expos?s on Centsible Software, complaining of reshrinked games being sold as new, poor or rude customer service, etc. I checked out a couple of Amiga boards and it does not seem to be an isolated incident. Personally I've never had a problem with Centsible. From my experience they sell a lot of loose materials, unboxed, but I've never gotten poor service or an obvious reshrink from them. So, I'd very much like to hear any Centsible stories the rest of my readership might have. Got a new column coming up, and if I get enough material I'll do an article on them.
05/26/2004Hmm, I think Drash's reputation is starting to precede itself. $606.65 was the final price on the latest auction, but with reserve not met. Obviously the seller expected a lot more since the listing expresses excitement over $700 - $800 for a loose cassette, and his had instructions. I wonder how many people held back because they were afraid of what the reserve might be? However, it seems the seller contacted the high bidder and agreed to sell, relisting with a BuyItNow so he'd have eBay's protection (such as it is) on the transaction. For the record, the winner was "king_dragon", and I believe I know who this is, though I'll wait for him to confirm before I go posting it here.

On a semi-related note, does anybody else think eBay's new "My eBay" page has the butt-fugliest layout you've ever seen?

05/18/2004I've added a number of new trade items, see below. If you're wondering about all the "torn-off box covers", well, it's a new one for me too. I bought a large lot of Amiga games and that's how the guy kept them, in plastic sleeves with all the materials but just the front part of the box which he cut or tore off. Brutal, just brutal. I can't imagine it saving much shelf space either.

I also have the latest MobyScale changes up, following an intense discussion on SWCollect last week.

And in case anybody was wondering what happened to the first Mt Drash auction (loose cassette), the seller informed me that he pulled it when he saw the second go up rather than compete with it and probably lose money. Not sure if he'll be relisting it or just keeping it for himself and watching the value appreciate (or depreciate, whatever the case may be).

05/16/2004Okay, here's another first in the world of Drash: We now have two concurrent auctions! Personally if I were the second seller I would've waited. This is definitely going to impact price, though the second one does have instructions.

So the total count is up to... what, eight now? Nine if you count another user on SWCollect who implied he has it too.

05/15/2004This is actually starting to get a bit mundane, but... We have another Drash up for auction, a loose cassette this time. That makes what, five in the last eight months, after an eight-year dry spell? Amazing. And all it took was someone to list that first copy back in September. Hmm, wonder if I should put my shrinked PC Cyborg up to see if any more come out? Naaah...

Be interesting to see how the loose cassette price has been affected since the appearance of two boxed copies.

05/09/2004 This past week I got back a number of vault items I had the original authors sign for me. (Yeah, I've recovered from the Kitchen incident and am back to doing that again.) I've found this is a great means of tiding myself over until something I need appears on eBay, or until prices on rares come down a bit... Have you seen some of the going rates lately? *Whoo!*

In other news I've got another column in progress, two actually, one dealing with the return of an old "friend". Part 2 of the Secret Column should be ready in another month or so as well. Haven't read the Secret Column yet? You're missing a good'un!

And it's settled, TomMage and I are both definitely going to be at VGS in Lombard on 7/17. If you're within driving distance and planning to attend, we'd love to meet you. Here are maps if anyone needs them.

05/05/2004For any collectors within driving distance of the Chicago suburbs, I'm going to have a table at the Video Game Summit in Lombard, IL on July 17th. TomMage has expressed an interest in being there too. We'd love to meet other collectors, have dinner after the show, etc. (Will remind everyone once the date approaches.)
05/04/2004Just in case any of you were thinking of bidding on this one, be aware that it's not an original advertisement flyer, but a page cut out of a magazine and framed by the seller (which I suspected after seeing this one... Note how the other side of the page shows through). The seller has confirmed this to me, but hasn't mentioned it in his auctions so I wanted to pass along the word.
05/02/2004$2650 is the final price on the latest Mt Drash. A difference of $955 from the last one, though it could be attributed to anything from the increasing number of copies to the poor condition of the box to the missing registration card. Winner was "mayhem_uk", the runner-up in Fortran's auction.

BTW, anybody know what happened to that Magnetic Scrolls Myth that was scheduled to end today? It was right here last time I checked. Normally I'd suspect someone made the seller a private offer, but when that happens the item's page is still up with a lame excuse for why the auction was ended early. This one's just gone. Only explanation I can think of is that the seller got NARU'd.

04/24/2004The initial draft of the online CURIOUS guide is now up at GOTCHA. Currently it supports sorting and searching, and is printable if anyone is so inclined.

Heard from another person who has the "no-stone" variant of the Wishbringer grey, and have revised my theory about it in light of this new evidence.

Is it just my imagination or has there been an awful lot of rare stuff going up on eBay lately? Normally it's not uncommon for me to go a month without seeing a single item on my want-list, and lately there have been four or five in one week. Spring cleaning, I guess.

04/22/2004News flash! Another Ultima: Escape from Mt Drash hit eBay about this time last night. Seems the recent auctions are starting to bring them out of the closets and attics. Taking bets on what this one will go for. I'm gonna say... $2800.
04/21/2004It's new item time! Scroll below to see what's just arrived. A few rare pieces this time. Serious offers only on those, please... I've had an unusually high number of cheapskates lately. (To those people: I'm not an idiot, okay? Well, maybe I am, but I'm still an idiot who knows Roberta Williams Anthology is worth more than $30. B-)
04/06/2004Okay, here's a bit more info on Bidiots: Basic listing is free. There's a 2% final value charge if the item sells, so it's not completely free like BidVille, but still cheaper than eBay. Their category placement is a bit of a pain, spanning multiple screens, one for the main category and one for each subset. There is no number shortcut for entering a category. Listing spans four forms plus a preview screen, compared with BidVille's one, and whatever eBay's is up to now. However they do offer up to 15-day auctions, with 10 automatic relists. I'm not sure if there's a fast relist after that or if you have to go through the form gauntlet again.

Given that they cater to vintage technology, I'm going to try listing a few items there this weekend. Will report back on my success, compared to BidVille.

04/01/2004Oh. My. GOD. SHRINKED MOUNT DRASH on eBay!!
03/31/2004Anybody tried this auction site yet? Bidiots.com? Looks to be exclusively for computers and games, still relatively low-traffic but growing. If anybody's listed there, I'm interested to hear how it compares to BidVille. (Already know it's gotta be simpler than eBay!)
03/28/2004My co-buyer on the Infocom films and slides has changed his mind, so if anybody else wants any of the duplicates they're up for grabs. It's all post-Infocom material from Activision. I have pieces from Return to Zork, Grand Inquisitor, LGoP2, both LTOIs, and a couple of the Activision Collections. These are original photos and screenshots taken by the developers when creating the packaging and ads, and some behind-the-scenes set pictures. I have a full list available, just e-mail me if you'd like to see it.

I've also added Vintage Computer Auction to my links page. This is a relatively new online auction site that's geared exclusively toward old technology. That and the fact that listing is free make it another great alternative to eBay.

03/22/2004After years of speculation, we finally have an auction value for a boxed Ultima: Escape from Mt Drash: $3605! Peter Olafson took it with a double-snipe in the final 20 seconds. This blows away the previous record of $2000 for the first shrinked Starcross saucer ever sold. Absolutely unreal. Congratulations to both the buyer and seller.
03/21/2004Check out the Computer Gaming World Museum: Stephane Racle has cover and content scans for the first 100 issues of CGW online, with more to come.
03/20/2004Lots of things happening in the past week:
  • Howard Feldman and I had our first online chat to so some preliminary planning for a Software Collectors Expo. If you're interested in helping with this, please join or Yahoo! discussion group. Anybody willing to invest some cash toward putting on the event can get a share in the profits (if any).
  • The CURIOUS scale is coming along nicely. We have people working on rarity scores for Adventure International, Avalon Hill, Electronic Arts, Epyx, Infocom, LucasArts, Origin, and SSI. If you have expertise with a particular company's games, please consider joining the CURIOUS Committee to help out.
  • I recently bought up a large pile of photographs, slides and film negatives used in the creation of Infocom's early 1990s game packaging, and saved from oblivion by Ken Love at Activision. Going to take some time to catalogue everything, but there should be some duplicate pieces for trades (though I'm splitting the haul with Marco Thorek of Infocom-IF first). More news about Activision's forthcoming Infocom project once Ken tells me it's okay to blab.
  • Fortran's Mt Drash is at $900 and holding, at least until snipe time.

03/15/2004Just in case you hadn't caught it yet... FortranDragon is auctioning his (boxed) Ultima: Escape from Mt Drash. It's already over $500.
03/08/2004I just discovered that YOIS got a mention and a link in a GameSpy article on finding older games. Nifty!
03/07/2004I added a bunch of new trade items earlier today, including the duplicate Questbusters issues I now have after a nice score on eBay. Plus a few more at BidVille.

Also, thanks to a Shoppe visitor's trade, I was finally able to replace the Hayden Crystal Caverns that got mangled by Dan Kitchen's negligence. (Guess who's not signing this one?)

03/06/2004Received word that Silas Warner, best known for the original Castle Wolfenstein (and Beyond) passed away earlier this week. He was a phenomenal talent, and he will be missed.
03/02/2004Thought I had him: A couple of weeks ago I won an auction for a large number of Questbusters newsletters, which came the other day. As I was going through them I found some writing on the back of one issue, a phone number with "Talk to -> Shey" underneath. It just might be an old phone number for Shay Addams! (Column readers may recall my Vegas quest for him.) Of course I called immediately, only to reach the cell phone of some woman who'd had the number for over a year and had never heard of Shay. Next step, write to the address on the back of the QB issue, and see if they're still in touch with him. Keep ya posted. (For cover scans of nearly all QB issues visit Howard Feldman's Computer Game Museum -- note the new URL.)

Collectors are also encouraged to check out the CURIOUS scale, employing the latest wickedly cool acronym from GOTCHA. This is a work in progress for cataloguing the relative availability or rarity of games ("C" = Common, "U" = Uncommon, "R" = Rare, etc.), in a central data mining repository. Contributions are welcome if you have expertise with a particular company's games. Eventually I will be including CURIOUS scarcity ratings on Shoppe items' pages.

Plans are slowly getting underway for the first-ever Software Collectors Expo, in the same vein as Classic Gaming Expo and PhillyClassic, but geared more toward computer gamers. Right now we're looking at the possibility of joining forces with the Vintage Computer Festival. Watch this page for updates and announcements. If you're interested in helping with organizing the show, please join the discussion group.

Oh, and I picked up an Apple IIGS on my latest game-hunting expedition with TomMage, so I can now verify IIGS disks if anyone needs it done. Got my 486 PC back up too, thanks to several members of SWCollect, so I can once again check and copy 5.25" disks.

02/03/2004I'm still a bit behind with open trades and transactions... When I wrap up a column everything else tends to get put on hold, but I promise I'll get to it in the next couple of days. LMK if you get an expiry message and I'll keep your trade open.
02/02/2004From Jim Leonard, regarding the SWCollect mailing list:

"Just a quick note that the swcollect@oldskool.org list is having an issue because of the recent mydoom email virus. Currently, the list works, but no member add/remove requests can be processed. So if you recommend someone to the list and they can't join, that's why. I hope to have the problem corrected after February 12th when the virus self-destructs."

02/01/2004A new Shoppe column has been posted, just in time for Groundhog Day! This time around we look at the new Shoppe (the house I bought last year), protecting your collection investment, Ultima: Escape from Mt Drash, why "Games Aren't Readable"... and a little something about T-shirts. B-)
01/30/2004I know I haven't posted much lately. Had a few really busy weeks at work, and there's a system go-live this weekend. I've got a new column almost done, and I'll post it once all that settles down. This one is worth the wait, especially for long-time followers of the Shoppe.
01/27/2004Added a few more items, see below.
01/24/2004Just heard the news: Last week Legend Entertainment, the last great commercial I-F company, has officially been shut down. Bummer. Thanks to Marco for passing on the news. I wish Bob Bates the best of luck in his future endeavors.
01/18/2004Still recovering from an extremely busy work week, so I'm just now getting the latest batch of packages together. If e-mail response seemed slow lately, that's why.

Be sure to check out the first issue of Armchair Arcade, a new webzine about classic gaming. Bill Loguidice's article on game packaging includes a shot of my Starcross saucer.

01/07/2004I've heard from a couple of people who have gotten an error message when trying to sign up for the YOIS mailing list. Checking the list, I see a number of recent subscribers with "unconfirmed" status. If you're having trouble getting signed up, please let me know.
01/05/2004The latest Ultima: Escape from Mt. Drash auction (the second in eBay history) closed at $765 last night, down exactly $100 from the first one. Once again this was a loose cassette, no box or instructions. They're slowly starting to come out of the woodwork, it would seem.

The seller held a private auction, but if the winning bidder would like to come forward on the swcollect list, we'd love to hear from you. (We just like to keep track of who has the valid copies of Drash to guard against fraudulent claims; we promise not to bug you about selling, copying, etc.)


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