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Ye Olde Infocomme Shoppe has moved!

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Not the website, just my physical address. I'm now at:

C.E. Forman
6823 N. Terra Vista Dr.
Peoria, IL 61614

You'll need to use both the street address and apartment number to ensure proper delivery. Please update your address books and use this address for all future mailings concerning Ye Olde Infocomme Shoppe. My e-mail address will not change.

I really appreciate everyone's patience over the last couple of months as I reorient myself and the Shoppe. I think you'll find this update to be well worth the extra-long wait.

That said, the new apartment is great! 1000 square feet, plenty of room for my ever-expanding collection, plus it's closer to work and to my favorite game-hunting grounds. If you're in the Illinois area (or even if you're not) and would like to drop by, visit the Shoppe (actually more of a closet) in person, chat about the classics, drool over all the cool stuff in my collection that I won't sell, etc., drop me a line. I'll throw in a free meal, regardless of whether any game-related transactions occur.

Dysan Dissertation

I'm not sure how many Shoppe-ers out there are familiar with the Dysan Infocom repackagings, so I thought I'd share a bit.

Shortly after the release of Infocom's folios in the early 80s, Dysan Series Software issued their own editions of all of these games. Awhile back, Tom Hlavaty (aka TomMage) loaned me a couple of disks and manuals so I could have a look. Essentially they're miniature versions of the large folio items, with some props -- such as the Enchanter scroll and Suspended game board -- folded a bit differently to squeeze them into smaller packagings. Like little baby Infocoms... They're cute! Special thanks to Tom for sending the disks and manuals (he didn't have any outer packaging) so I could take a peek at something I may otherwise never have seen.

Dysan's address was printed inside the manuals, and I tried contacting them but got "Return to Sender", as I expected. Apparently these saw very limited distribution compared with the grey boxes, and they're very hard to come by. If you have any, hold onto 'em tight. Me, I'm convinced there's a big untouched warehouse of 'em out there somewhere.

Getting My Priority Straight

It stunned the heck out of me, but my local post office has finally begun offerring Global Priority Mail boxes. These hold up to four smaller game boxes quite nicely, or a pair of Infocom grays (they're not as big as the U.S. Priority Mail boxes). It's an alternative for people overseas who want their games fast, goes for $22, and in some cases is the same price as standard air mail while getting a slightly faster delivery. Just to experiment, I sent one European order via Global Priority, no extra charge. Pete, if you're out there, let me know how it worked out.

New This Month

This month hails YOIS's largest update ever. Over 120 (!) new items grace the list, with tons of Infocom greys. At the moment I have a passion for shrinkwrapped Infocoms, and will trade my opened packages 2-for-1 for any wrapped titles I don't already have.

Folio city as well, with some worn but servicable Planetfall, Seastalker, and Sorcerer folders up for grabs, along with my first sizable stack of InvisiClues and maps. Even a couple of New Zork Times / Status Line issues. More spare props than usual this month, too, so if you're currently stuck with an incomplete package you might get lucky.

Non-Infocom items include a copy of Activision's Alter Ego, Level 9's Silicon Dreams, Paragon's Guardians of Infinity and Twilight's Ransom, Penguin's Ring Quest, Polarware's Oo-Topos, Rainbird's Corruption, Synapse's MindWheel, and Virgin's Wonderland, along with a number of Telariums in various incarnations. Plus the usual YOIS assortment of oddball stuff. Quite a few loose disks, for those of you looking to play rather than collect. (Loose disks are free with a two-stamp SASE, by the way, though I can't guarantee all of them work since I don't own every machine supported by Infocom.)

Now, if you'll forgive a little soapboxing, I'd like to talk for a moment about a disturbing trend on UseNet...

Price Gouging

Over the last month I've received a few e-mails from collectors who are angered over seeing outrageously high prices for items. It seems some sellers have begun charging around $40 - $50 for all complete Infocom grey boxes, and around $100+ for folios. We're not talking the Starcross saucer and Suspended mask here, we're talking $100 for the folders, regardless of their condition.

I really don't mean to sound preachy, but this kind of price-gouging can only hurt us all in the long run. This is the same thing that's happening on the cartridge-collecting groups and it's ruining the hobby for a lot of people who can't get these items in their geographic areas. Now admittedly some items are extremely scarce, hard to find, and in high demand, so a little sticker-shock is justified, but $100 for a badly-worn folio?! Let's ease off a bit, okay? You'll make more friends if you play fair.

Unfortunately there's nothing anyone can do to enforce prices in the Internet's free-market system. Even a price guide would serve as nothing more than that: a guide. Likewise, if some collectors are willingly paying $200 and up for scarce items there's no way to stop them. The best thing I can suggest is for collectors to simply not buy from extortionate dealers, and to let those dealers know why they're being boycotted.

I've heard from a few sellers who lower their prices if an item doesn't sell within a certain time period, or offer discounts to collectors who buy larger quantities, and those are good policies if your collectors know about them. Check the YOIS FAQ: All of the "rules" by which I run the Shoppe are spelled out there, as are my expected price ranges for common items (and you don't have to agree).

Other factors, such as repeat business, quantity ordered, and how much I need money at the moment, can also contribute to price. Sometimes I make a profit, sometimes I lose money, sometimes I break even. And any net gain is almost immediately put toward the purchase of more "trade-bait" (as TomMage calls it). For me, trading stuff is fun. I don't expect to make a living from it.

Even with these guidelines, I've probably been unfair my share of times too. If you feel the prices in YOIS are too high, please, I want to hear from you about it.

And there are of course the opposite extreme, people who request armloads of complete, often scarce, packages for only $5 - $10 apiece simply because "they're old games". But there's a happy medium in here somewhere, I'm sure, and I'd like to hear from both sides of the fence. I'll print some of the responses in the next YOIS update, along with a few I've already received and am holding onto for the time being.

But don't overlook one of the best solutions: Trading. Some titles saw limited distribution and in some areas are easier to obtain than others. In particular there are a lot of European packages out there that are difficult for us Yanks to come by, and vice-versa. I've always been partial to trades, especially when they involve something my own collection lacks. Adventure Market, run by Manuel Schulz, is a great site for posting trades.

Yack. Well. I was going to go into a discourse on the differences between props in Infocom's folios versus grey boxes, but I've used up all my space so it'll have to wait until next time.

Shoppe's open now in its new location, so come on in!

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