Before we get to the real YOIS column, let me just apologize profusely for the impish little April Fool's Day prank I sent out yesterday. Just so everyone knows, the entire column and stock list were 100% grade-A B.S. -- I did not buy a whole case of shrinkwrapped Starcross saucers, I did not meet the guy who owns an original Akalabeth, I did not confirm the existence of Synapse / Broderbund's Ronin and Infocom's PC Quarterstaff, and I especially am not closing YOIS's doors.

My apologies to the unfortunate souls who took any of it seriously... although I thought it was pretty obviously a joke, once you had a good look at the stock list. (Zork Zero for the UNIVAC?!? C'monnnnn...!)

But please don't be too disappointed. In recent months I've acquired at least three large collections as well as cleaned out the duplicates in my own. What follows is still the largest update I've ever done, with enough rare items to satisfy die-hard Shoppers for the time being. Hopefully this list will be even better than the fake one.

And so, while we're still on the subject of shameless misinformation, let's talk about...

Software and More, Definitely "More"

About a month ago, I was very troubled to find an e-mail from Software & More stating that someone had been writing a lot of negative feedback about them on newsgroups and causing their software sales to plummet dramatically. When SW&M confronted this individual, asking why, he apparently passed them along to me.

Obviously this has everything to do with the past column in which I wrote a lengthy article about re-shrinkwrapped games. SW&M made it into this column because I wanted to make other collectors aware of the issue I was experiencing -- that some of their games were bought from another dealer who reshrinked all open packages, and that potential buyers of shrinked games should check with SW&M to find out where the package came from, to be sure it was indeed in the original wrap.

My intent was not to advise anyone against buying from SW&M, I simply wanted to make people aware that if they had bought original shrinkwrap games from this store, they should double-check them to be sure they are indeed the original wrap. I was trying to use the column to provide a service to the collecting community.

Obviously someone severely misinterpreted the whole thing as a big SW&M put-down, which is not what I wanted to do at all. Looking back, I think the main reason for this may have been the "Software & Less?" article title I chose in what I now see as particularly poor judgment on my part.

So having said all that, I'd like to publicly apologize to Tony and Paula of Software & More, and to state that I personally have nothing against them. I've bought from them on several occasions and have been pleased with their service. The only problem I've ever had is the shrinkwrap deal, which they've worked to resolve. Apparently this little column has far greater influence than I realized, and I will make an effort to be more clear about matters in the future.

Finally, can I just make one plea on behalf of collectible software sellers everywhere? If you have a problem with a dealer, please, PLEASE talk to them. Let them know how you feel, and try to resolve your issues BEFORE you go smearing their rep on a newsgroup.

So give Software & More a try. They offer some good deals on a lot of the Infocom titles. And if you feel the game you bought from S&M isn't the original wrap, well, last time I asked they offered a refund on unopened packages. (I'm not sure whether this still stands -- ASK them!)

Telarium Apocrypha

This time around, I can shed some light on the two "soon to be released" titles mentioned in Telarium's first newsletter. I refer to, of course, The Grand Adventure and Starman Jones.

The Grand Adventure was to be based on the fantasy world of Philip Jose Farmer, spanning at least two of his novels. Farmer happens to reside right here in Peoria, so I took the opportunity to meet with him at a local book signing back in December. I showed him the newsletter mentioning his name and asked if anyone from Telarium / Trillium had ever contacted him.

Mr Farmer reported never having heard of the company or the proposed adaption of his work (though he is quite an old dude, and it was 15 years ago). And given their consistent omission from adventure game lists, it's pretty safe to say neither GA nor SJ exists. Still, I'll try and track down some of the Telarium authors and let everyone know if any work at all was begun on them.

Recommended Surfing

Well, seeing how it's been so long since the last column, I have three sites to share with you. The first comes from fellow collector Eric Sansoni, and... it's been so long since I talked to him I forget what's on it. (Sorry, Eric!) Anyway, check it out. Also I found a site with a article on game-collecting.

The Obligatory Pointless Trivia

Revisiting the Infocom Mastertronics:

This Will Be on the Test

Your assignment this month: Check your collections for the On-Line Systems (Sierra) Hi-Res adventuress -- Wizard and the Princess, Dark Crystal, Ulysses, Mystery House, etc., and LMK what package variations you have. Next time we'll review these and discuss scarcity.

New This Month

Slightly different change in the list's format this month. In the past I've been throwing all the non-Infocom parser games under one heading, and all the non-parser games under another. To hopefully cut down on the mess a little, everything's now grouped by publisher, organized alphabetically (except Infocom, which still heads the list). Also I plan on eBaying away the remaining non-parser stuff in a few weeks. Get it cheap now, or wait and get it cheap on the auction block!

A lot of real diamonds this time, some unopened Zork blister packs, an Enchanter Trilogy slipcase, shrinked folios, couple Infocom Mastertronics, a Fooblitzky, a huge stack of 'Visis (my current pet-name for InvisiClues booklets), and more grey boxes than any one human being should be allowed to possess. Seriously, if you can't find something you want here, you've got a problem.

But don't hesitate to ask for something not on the list. Even if it's not a text game, I'll try and track it down for you. As always, everything I'm looking to trade for is in the list following the items for sale. In particular I'm in need of some spare grey-box plastic lids, if anyone has 'em.

Finally, don't forget that the new postal rates are now in effect. Priority mail is now $3.20 for up to two pounds, and about $1.10 for every pound beyond that. International mail's up a bit too, I believe. (Tip: Catch me on a good day and buy enough so I'll offer to cover shipping. Taking a few of those non-parser games off my hands wouldn't hurt!)

And now... The non-made-up, 100% real Ye Olde Infocomme Shoppe April 1999 update.

I swear ta God.

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