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Preview: The New Gamer - We like to write about games.

The New Gamer - We like to write about games.


Failure By Degrees

Tue, 17 Mar 2009 21:40:35 +0000

Man, why am I hoarding money on an abandoned space station? Why do I have to be told three times in five minutes that I need to shoot the limbs off the monsters? Why does shooting the limbs off the monsters even make sense? Dead Space is a game that works in the moment. There are evil alien babies that scamper around walls and fling spikes at you from black tentacles. They don't just look small and deformed, they are literally mutant babies. That's totally messed up! There's a type of monster that resurrects other monsters, and every time you see it you freak out and fire all your assault rifle bullets, ignoring all other enemies and maybe getting yourself killed in the process. A tentacle grabs you and drags you along the floor while you clumsily aim your gun at its big, glowing weak spot. It takes a second before you even realize you're not in a cutscene. When you finally figure it out, you have to scramble, aim your gun as fast as you can, and pray that you don't get smushed to bits. You are freaked out. But a couple days later, you wonder if the game really needed to repeat that scene two more times. You wonder why the tentacle has a giant glowing yellow pustule on it. Dead Space is like that. Cobbled together, a little too cocksure, and a little too willing to cherry-pick ideas from better games to spackle over its holes. It has a store because Resident Evil 4 had a store. It has a gravity gun because Half-Life 2 had a gravity gun. It has audio logs from survivors detailing the plot because System Shock 2 (or Bioshock, if you prefer) had audio logs from survivors detailing the plot. Remember how Resident Evil 4 had a shooting gallery that gave you prizes? Let's do something with zero g basketball that gives you prizes! These things are not nearly as noticeable when you're actually playing the game. You loved those other games! Later, you'll think about it more critically. You'll wonder who built a hallway on that space station that could only be traversed by using telekinetic powers from a robot suit to drag over a high tech hospital bed that (conveniently) also functions as a gap-spanning platform. Mankind has been building bridges for thousands of years, and that seems like about the least efficient way to do it. Buying flamethrowers from vending machines is ridiculous too, but that doesn't bother me because flamethrowers are awesome, and so is buying guns in games. The fact that this space-faring culture hasn't figured out how to build a corridor without leaving a gigantic hole in the middle of it that can only be traversed by magical psychic powers is not awesome, it's more like retarded. Show me the estimate that said it would be cheaper to equip every crewman on board that vessel with a telekinetic gauntlet than it would've been to just put a couple planks over that hole. That's the problem with Dead Space, nothing stands up to close scrutiny. An alien trapped in an escape pod is jettisoned from your infected ship, and the military vessel coming to aid you picks it up, unknowingly putting the crazed alien in the middle of a 24-hour soldier buffet. That's some classic horror-movie "don't open that door!" set-up. It's enough to make you buy it... for a minute. But hey: how did one of those things take out a whole bunch of people armed with real-live guns when I've been killing them for four hours with a high-tech blowtorch? For that matter, why did they even let it out of the escape pod? If it was me in that situation and the pod I just saved from deep space had a frothing, flailing, scythe-armed alien creature in side I might think it over. Y'know, maybe make a cup of coffee before I opened the hatch and let him loose across the ship. Taken bit by bit, it's exciting. Does that make it worth playing? More than once you're tasked with killing zombie aliens in a decompressed area of the ship, where the only sounds are your character's choking breaths as his suit's oxygen runs out. Those moments are pretty intense. If they were intense then, why aren't they intense now? Why don't I look back on them with the sam[...]

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Gears of War 2

Tue, 27 Jan 2009 18:13:21 +0000

Lots of people consider innovation the most important thing about game design. If a game isn't doing something new, if it isn't blowing you away at every step, then you start to wonder if it's worth your time. Think of how many often people give sequels the short end of the stick. If a game is too much like its predecessor, people can get antsy. Well Gears of War 2 tries to innovate. Maybe it doesn't try to innovate in the way that other games do, exploring wild new horizons of exploration and interaction, but it does have a whole level inside of a giant worm that lives underground and eats rocks. Also, they put you in a car again. The innovation is there is not so much the vehicle mission. No, the innovation is that it sucks marginally less than the vehicle mission in the original Gears of War. There are games out there that we want to try something different. Everyone got pretty wiped on Katamari Damacy after awhile because the soulless execs felt the need to milk that cow until the udders bled. These games exist and, on the whole, I'd say we want people trying things that are exciting and new. This is the same logic that says that we don’t want every film coming out of Hollywood to be directed by Michael Bay and starring Martin Lawrence, even if Bad Boys was a pretty sweet flick. The difference is this: from the start, Gears of War was not exactly on par with the contemporary videogame greats. Regardless of your thoughts on Metal Gear Solid the series certainly prompts discussion. I am willing to believe the Gears series prompts discussion too, I just have a feeling it mostly happens over Xbox Live headsets and it’s the sort of thing that my mother must never hear. Stuff like Katamari and Metal Gear are like movies directed by some French guy with a funny name that your ex-girlfriend drags you to go watch and the whole time she and her friend are tittering along about how sad the main character’s life is when really he just seems like a douchey loser, and if he’d stop being an awkward klutz all the time then maybe he’d get the girl. Risky, talky, weird games flop more often than they succeed, but we want them to keep doing it because when they win, they win big. Gears of War, at one point in its life, held no pretensions of being that kind of game. It was like Total Recall. That movie is awesome because Quaid has to use the reactor to save Mars and he's going to do it even if it means he’s gonna have to put a bullet in Sharon Stone’s head and chop Michael Ironside's arms off and throw them down an elevator shaft. If there was a purpose to all the alien killing in Gears of War I don't remember it clearly. I can say that there was at least one point where I was told to do something specific involving a bomb. Then the characters did it in a cutscene. This, of course, prompted swarms of evil aliens to explode from the very soil of the planet in an attempt to halt our progress. Well we dispatched them but good! Then we killed some more aliens! Eventually we were on a train. Then the game ended. It was radiant in its simplicity. Gears of War 2 tries to get all fancy. Problem is, we all know even if you put a pig in a dress you can't send it to prom. Or, I guess you can send it to prom but it'll get made fun of and develop an eating disorder. And why shouldn't it? That pig was destined to become bacon, and as bacon it would’ve made so many people happy. Now it’s trying to gussy itself up as some sort of "fancy" pig and look where that’s gotten us: nowhere. We don't even have any bacon. We were all expecting bacon! My metaphor is a little tortured, because Gears of War 2 is still a fantastically fun game, but it's really only a fantastically fun game when it's playing exactly like the first one did. All the extra stuff (platforming in worm levels, too-long vehicle missions, the conclusion of the subplot with Dom's wife that teeters between laughably bad and horrendously offensive) is there because we’re supposed to believe that we’ve been given an explosive evolution [...]

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Silent Hill: Homecoming

Sat, 20 Dec 2008 21:10:44 +0000

They keep pumping them out. Silent Hill: Homecoming boasts list of lame features is so long you’ll probably want to grab a snack before I start rattling them off. There's a useless dodge maneuver that works only half the time, there's an annoying combo system that really doesn't belong in survival horror of any variety (but if they were forced to do it, like if their family was held up at a gunpoint, you think they could've at least done a better job), there's Pyramid Head and lordy-lordy I'm so glad they keep putting that asshole in things whenever they get the chance. It could be worse, I guess, they could have just made a half-assed Pyramid Head wannabe like they did with Silent Hill: Origins. Or maybe they'll partner with Square and put a Super-Deformed version of him in the next Itadaki Street. Maybe the worst of the bunch is that you can call the shocking plot twist from a mile away. I played Silent Hill 2 too, and since nobody's hit me in the back of the head with a lead pipe in the time since then I can still kind of remember how that game ended. Blissfully free of brain trauma, I am fully able to recall that it's almost the exact same twist as Silent Hill 2. Almost. Now they’ve added ritual sacrifice! I'm willing to buy that there's one creepy resort town with an underground demon cult attached to it, but I think a town like fifty miles away with an even more demonic cult that kills their own children wouldn't get away with it for very long. Just think of the conversations between neighbors, "So, Tom, haven’t seen your kid in awhile. Where's he been?" "Uh, college...?" And heck, I'm the generous sort so I'm willing to accept that nobody who's in on the whole conspiracy is perturbed by what's going on. I guess they're just used to the vagina-faced monsters. It becomes an issue when your main character saunters in and asks, point blank, "What's up with all the monsters?" That seems like a question that demands a straight answer. The reason he can't get an straight answer is because there is no straight answer, except for this: everything is happening in this game because this crap happened in other Silent Hill games and it was awesome there, right guys? There's no consistent game logic, it's all just flavor scattered around for fanservice. That's why we have Pyramid Head even though it makes no sense for him to be here, and even though they didn’t even TRY to half-ass his characterization from Silent Hill 2. Now he's just some asshole with a giant knife that goes around bisecting people. Why? Well, I don't know. Maybe mom never loved him. Or maybe his parents were okay, they just taught him the importance of using everything you have. After all, you don't own a six foot long knife and then go around NOT splitting people in half, do you? We got a couple good games. Man, remember Silent Hill 3? It had that great song by Akira Yamaoka and Mary-Elizabeth McGlynn. That was pretty sweet! And remember shooting that lizard in the first one? I was all like "Oh man, wait for him to open his mouth!" as opposed to this one where, I don't know, the big tittied nurses are back again for some reason. This is the constant complaint: do we not get why those undead chicks were all bosomy in Silent Hill 2? Do we not know why there was a vagina-esque monster? It's all about sexual tension and violence and creepy stuff like that. Is there sexual tension in Silent Hill: Homecoming? I don't know, I hope not. Considering the only backstory in the game is about the main character's preteen brother, that would be a little weird. With fanservice as their only reason to be, the nurses persist. But IS it fanservice? Is this what the fans want, more Pyramid Head? Dude's only in the game for two minutes and it's still enough to ruin everything. Do they want dialogue trees? Dying in during a boss fight and having to repeat the lame button presses makes it obvious that all the answers lead you to the same conclusion. Really all they've done is invent a new excuse for an unskippable[...]

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To All The Scouts I've Loved

Sun, 07 Dec 2008 23:42:53 +0000

Rosie's my tank killer. I've given her a gun with limited range, but upgraded damage and a bigger clip. When she gets behind the tank it's as good as dead. I could use a heavy weapons unit for it, but she’s more mobile, and her machine gun keeps her useful against infantry. More so, I kind of think she’s a badass. It feels good to watch a helpless tank’s HP bar tick away with each successive shot. Nina's my all around. I tend to work her in a team with Rosie. She's got a more generic machine gun. It's not as strong against tanks, but it's good at taking down troops at range. I first fell in love with her on mission 7. In a fantastic bit of luck I placed Nina facing the ramp where most of the enemy troops would funnel down. Not a scout or shocktrooper made it past her alive, and the cover of the trench kept her damage to a minimum. That mission took me a couple tries, and every time Nina took up the exact same position. Ted's my sacrificial lamb. Something about his happy-go-lucky attitude that makes me think he doesn't mind getting shot down. So when I'm not sure if my smokescreen is enough to keep the machinegun bunkers from firing on my advancing ground troops, Ted is always first in line to check things out. I'd say the man deserves a medal, but his closet is probably already clogged with purple hearts. I use Alicia for capturing camps. Just about any scout with any kit could get the job done just as well, but Alicia and I have a special rapport. One mission I got tired of being slaughtered by snipers and decided just to make a go of it. I bulldozed my tank down the main square, exploding enemy units and dropping a well placed smoke grenade for cover. Alicia followed in the tank's shadow, sniping infantry as she went, and with just the two of them I finished the previously unbeatable mission in only two turns. Largo's my Hail Mary. It feels good leapfrogging the pendulously slow heavy weapons units from camp to camp, and there's something magical about using up all your turns running one of them up a hill, behind a tank, and sealing the deal in one shot. You’re not sure if you have enough movement left, but if you don't win right now then the enemy's going to overrun you. That's where Largo comes in. I give him my last four turns and see if he can't work something out. When that humming blue radiator is in sight (a tank's weak point, natch) there's a shudder of anticipation. I line up my shot and hit the fire button, holding my breath all the while. He hasn't failed me yet. Alex saved my bacon once. At the end of a particularly gruesome mission I didn't have many troops left. Failure to understand the objective meant I wasted a lot of time, and the enemy boss tank took advantage of that, killing my men, then killing the reinforcements that went in to save them. Alex stepped up to the task and, by some miracle, wasn’t gunned down by reactionary fire as he ran towards the objective. A couple bullets later and the mission was complete, though just barely. Now he sets up the Hail Mary. If I need Largo in position then it's usually up to Alex to clear the way. When was the last strategy game where I thought of my characters as names instead of White Mage, Black Mage, or Warrior? Has there ever been one? Half of the characters I mentioned are generics, throwaway non-story characters that don’t even appear in cutscenes. The most dialogue you'll hear from them is the one or two catchphrases on the battlefield (I'm partial to Nina’s "Yeehaw!", which makes me think she's two six-guns away from a ten-gallon hat, and since cowgirls are awesome, so too is Nina), and yet I’ve created my own little roles for each one. In all my games of Final Fantasy Tactics I never named a Chemist my #1 Ninja killer. When has there ever been a game who treated its cannon fodder characters with such respect? Again and again they've endeared themselves to me. I've only suffered one permanent death. It was in one of the earlier missions. I felt pretty [...]

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What About The Oasis?

Mon, 17 Nov 2008 22:25:40 +0000

(To warn you, again, the whole ending's gonna get spoiled) Originally this was going to be about the small settlement of Arefu. The Arefu quest stands out as a pretty abject failure, the perfect example of when Fallout 3 falls flat on its face. A boy murders his family, runs away with a gang of "vampires" and, with enough speech skill on your part, will eventually go back to live with his village without any visible regret. I love a happy ending, especially when it involves killing family members! The lack of gravitas is pretty silly. That everything returns to normal after you give the parent-murdering kid a quick talking to is pretty absurd, especially taking the expertly handled Tenpenny Tower into account. I'd love to explain myself further, but I had this experience with Fallout 3 that blew Arefu out of the water: I beat it. The end came quicker than I'd expected. For such an expansive game, Fallout 3's main quest can't be longer than ten hours (even that seems like a stretch). I left my childhood home inside the comforting radiation-proof vault in search of my missing father. I found him in the D.C. wasteland, and he convinced me to work with him on his life's ambition: purifying the Earth’s water of radiation. Later he sacrificed himself to keep the project out of the hands of the evil shadow-government known as the Enclave. After his death I managed to get the rest of the pieces in line. And here I am. I've defeated the Enclave and I'm finally poised to activate the device, but there's a problem: the chamber is filled with a lethal amount of radiation. Whoever goes in there to start the purification process isn't coming out. That's where it breaks down. The game conveniently ignores that I've been surviving radiation through the use of anti-rad medicine for as long as I’ve been playing. It ignores that I can run around inside the chamber, surviving the "deadly" radiation for basically as long as my anti-rad supplies hold out. It also ignores that I have someone traveling with me who is immune to radiation (not only that, there's two other radiation-immune characters I could've had traveling with me). Fawkes, my companion, refuses to save my life by entering the deadly (though, not deadly to him) chamber. The game’s cops out by having him say "I wouldn’t want to deny you your destiny." This reminds me that these characters aren't real. Oh yeah, I'm playing a video game, and right now it's not even a well written one. If we’re not allowed to have a game with sensical human emotions (you saved Fawkes's life earlier, and now he refuses to save yours) can we at least have one that’s internally consistent? Where did this super-lethal radiation come from? Is my nearly radiation-proof suit not good enough to protect me now when it has been in every other encounter? But I feel, as hopeless as the ending sequence is, that the ending itself hurt me the most. Earlier Fallout games had endings that weren't perfect, but they were had fleshed out, and largely satisfying. Every settlement the player interacted with was given its own aside, describing how the player's actions had shaped the future of the world. There was something to tell you what difference your efforts made (if any). There's no lengthy exposition at the end of Fallout 3. Instead, the final cinematic is ninety seconds long and split into four or five discrete chunks, each exceedingly generic, and each with a 'you were nice at this part!' or 'you were mean at this part!' version. Then it’s over. That's it. Go home kids. Bad endings don’t necessarily make bad games. I don't think what I did in Fallout was wasted, but the piss-poor sequence laid a sense of pointlessness over some of the quests I’d completed. Some of them demand exposition because what happens is more than experience points and quest rewards you’re given. What really threw it into relief was the one I did immediately before finishing the game: The Oasis. In the furthes[...]

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The Situation At Tenpenny Tower

Mon, 10 Nov 2008 16:12:51 +0000

America's capital is an irradiated wasteland, almost devoid of life. Somewhere out there, far to the west of the Washington Monument, sits Tenpenny Tower. Tenpenny's citizens, effete shop clerks and socialites, likely consider it the sole surviving bastion of civilization. They buy fancy clothes and sip expensive liquor, cozily protected by their gated community and cadre of armed guards. Elsewhere, in the rubble of a nearby subway tunnel, lives a group of people gruesomely deformed by radiation. They are ghouls, and they are hatching a plan to take up residence in the tower. Their offers of money were rebuked with threats and violence. Now, their leader has decided to take the Tenpenny by force. You arrive as the conflict comes to a head. The Tenpenny guards offer a pretty hefty bounty for murdering the ghouls, who they see as vicious, dangerous savages. Although, with enough coercion, Mr. Tenpenny (the tower's owner) can be convinced to let the ghouls take up residence. He does so with hesitation, and he adds threat of violence should the ghouls "act up." Roy, leader of the ghouls, isn't too happy with this, but he says he'll take it. It certainly seems like the right way to do things. Both sides were ready to murder each other, and you’re provided plenty of positive reinforcement by way of karma bonuses (the game’s way of saying you did the right thing) when you convince the most bigoted of the Tenpenny residents to hit the road and make way for the ghouls. As you head back to the tower, feeling satisfied about a job well done, the game informs you that Mr. Tenpenny has been killed. Roy has murdered him. And, in the following days, all other non-ghoul residents are killed as well. The "good karma" reward tastes a little acrid in your mouth. Didn’t you do the right thing? You drove out the bigots, you paved the way for acceptance, you did everything right, but somehow you managed to let a group of innocent people die. Especially heinous is the death of an older man, a dapper adventurer (now retired) who'd employed a ghoul sidekick in his earlier days. Though he was a little blasé, he at least had the sense to know that ghouls weren’t the disgusting monsters that most people believed them to be. Now he’s dead, just like everyone else. Indeed, the only way to prevent the eradication of either side is to murder the leaders of both groups. With Tenpenny out of the way, Roy has to be eliminated. Killing is the only chance the two groups in tower have at coexistence. Even then, the deaths of the leaders doesn’t always work, and it feels more like a programming error than a moral solution. Tenpenny Tower is the setting of a morality play as good as any we've seen in gaming. Certainly it's easier to empathize with the downtrodden subway dwellers (a female ghoul remarks that the way Roy looks at her makes her feel like a human being again, instead of a malformed creature), but it's difficult to find severe enough fault in most of the socialites to justify murder. Sure they were judgmental, and some despicable, but most of them never actually harmed anyone. They certainly didn’t deserve to die. Every solution to the Tenpenny quest ends in murder. All that's left is for you to decide how many people have to be killed. Roy believed he was fighting for his rights, but once he seized power he proved to be just as vindictive and bigoted as those he'd usurped. There are no laws about discrimination in the wasteland. Does anyone, ghouls included, have a right to be anywhere? Roy says it himself: you can only keep that which you can hold on to. There's no good answer to the situation at Tenpenny Tower. I almost wish I'd never been there, and it makes me wonder what would happen if I just left it alone. Would Roy eventually seize the building, or would Tenpenny siege Roy's camp? Or would they stay there forever, waiting while the quest sat unresolved my log book? It’s probably the [...]

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I Wish I'd Bought Fallout 3 On The PC

Thu, 06 Nov 2008 17:28:20 +0000

Basically, yeah. Aiming with the Xbox controller is just about impossible, so I usually don't bother with anything but VATS aiming except when an enemy's almost dead.

I should have bought it on PC, but I wasn't convinced it was gonna be good and that dang Gamefly queue is so tempting.

Now what am I gonna do? I could chuck my 10+ hours of progress and start over on PC. I might actually consider it if this wasn't the most gamingest time of the year and I didn't have a backlog of five games already.

I still might just start all over. Left 4 Dead's coming out soon, and I need a reason to retrieve my PC from storage.

So help me. Someone stop me from buying this game on PC. Especially with Wrath of the Lich King coming next week, I can't afford this waste of time.

But when I think about it, it sure would be easier to read that hideous green/black monochrome text the game uses if I was sitting directly in front of a monitor. Even with a 40 inch TV, lying on the bed ten feet away gives me terrible eye strain.

...I don't want to buy on PC, I don't want to buy on PC...

Metal Gear Solid 4

Fri, 24 Oct 2008 18:25:06 +0000

I decided to go on a Metal Gear vision quest in preparation for the launch of MGS4. I played all the Solid games in quick succession, then picked up the newest one. Over about a month I was reminded why I loved MGS1, why I loathed MGS2, and, hey, I actually managed to finish MGS3 (most shocking: I actually kind of liked it). Even with all that new-found goodwill, I was still a little iffy about MGS4. The only thing I could say about Kojima is that I have no idea how I feel about the guy. Sometimes you get the impression that he's an idea man. He's the type of guy that can think up the most fantastic worlds you could ever imagine, but you don't always want him sitting in the director's chair. The guy's probably the most unsubtle director on the planet. That much is obvious from the outset of MGS4. Here, in the first act, a supercharged robot-suited badgirl named Raging Raven flies around a battlefield dropping bombs and shouting “RAGE! RAGE! RAGE! RAGE!” as if she were a Pokémon and that was her catchphrase. There are more badgirls in robots suits, like Laughing Octopus and Crying Wolf. They all have similar name-related mantras. That’s the Kojima artifice in full effect. He has Raging Ravens that scream “RAGE!.” He has Otacon, soft-hearted sidekick who cries whenever anything happens in the plot ever. His main character is an aged super soldier who smokes a pack a day and goes into a coughing fit whenever a scene needs a bit more gravitas. When I was younger, playing through these games for the first time, I didn’t get it. All I knew was that one night I had to wait for the ending of MGS2 before we could pick up the pizza we ordered. Nearly an hour later MGS2 still wasn’t over. Eventually the pizza guys called to ask if we were still coming (our food was getting cold). Events like that understandably colored my perception of Metal Gear Solid. Now, after playing all the MGS games again, I think I finally get what the series is about. It’s big and it’s bold. It’s this grand old soap opera. It’s only meant to be taken seriously in so far as Hideo Kojima really thinks it is meant to be taken seriously. I’m probably behind the curve on that, and that’s fine. I’ve learned that Kojima’s not entirely serious, but he’s not exactly Mr. Fancy-Free either. Have you seen his interviews? With that smirk of his and those dorky glasses I can’t help but believe that some portion of him thinks that this Metal Gear thing is the most serious thing that's ever been made. And it follows that if something's that serious then you shouldn’t mind sitting through thirty minutes of exposition with Big Boss, a guy who's been presumed dead for the entire series, and doesn't even show up until after the end credits. Big Boss repeats silly lines like "That new world is yours to live in... not as a snake, but as a man" for half an hour while you grip the controller and watch. If script has got him saying "you’re no longer a tool now" then following that up with "you’re nobody’s toy" is a little superfluous, and following THAT up with "you’re your own man now" makes you question if the word superfluous has any meaning at all. It keeps coming back to how unsubtle it all is. And my issue isn’t that the dialogue is out of place, this is what we've come to expect from Kojima, but that it makes you miss poignancy of the game’s message. I picked up Shadow of the Colossus again a few days after playing MGS4. Playing through it, I was immediately reminded of just how subtle games can be. Shadow of the Colossus tells you nothing at the start and continues to tell you nothing throughout the game. Still, it’s possible to infer what’s going on. If you can’t guess at the whole plot, you can at least tell that something isn't quite right. Metal Gear Solid doesn’t do that, it never has. Metal Gear Solid is in your face. [...]

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Saling Chicago: Street Sick

Sat, 05 Jul 2008 18:43:51 +0000

We're back on the streets of Chicago, pawing through strangers' garages in search for game and geek-based treasure! Need to catch up on prior garagesaling exploits? Check out the archives! Glenn: Next time I'm sick and want to go wandering around Chicago for several hours, baking in the swamp-like humidity, slap me. unitdaisy: I did think it unwise, but you clearly verbalized your wish to explore the unknown and swampy. Glenn: I don't remember much about this week, apart from feeling like I was moving underwater and everything and everyone was swimming slowly around me so ... I'm going to need a little help here. unitdaisy: We went to a neighborhood sale. They supplied a nearly useless map, and most of the sales were streets and streets away from one another. Not very neighborly if you ask me. No wonder you were disoriented. Glenn: Sale ... so far away ... *schhhhhnnnckl* Glenn: Game Boy games!! I hope they have Super Mario Advance 2. I want to play Super Mario Advance 2 on the couch. With some soup. And pillows. Lots of pillows. unitdaisy: The cracking young entrepreneurs didn't think ahead to have change on hand... Glenn: Change? What do you want me to change? What does that have to do with my $20 bill? unitdaisy: ...plunging my poor cotton-brained companion into despair. unitdaisy: I thought these shiny mechanical people would make good friends for sick people. Even through delirium, I was firmly corrected. Glenn: Jiggers and a horse's ass. What was I thinking? unitdaisy: I dare not suggest. Glenn: That Rocktober towel might go well with some technyquil. unitdaisy: You will not find any of that in our house. Our house which has no room for Rocktober towels either. Glenn: To alleviate sinus pain, take two of these and call Dr. Mario in the morning. unitdaisy: Vindication! I am saving the world one sick person at a time when I play Dr. Mario for hours! Glenn: I can't play these on the couch. unitdaisy: Unhelpful games, shame on them for being inaccessible from a prone position. Glenn: Poor orphaned controllers. Someone will find you a nice home. unitdaisy: Not our home! He gets a little sick and suddenly every lost puppy and controller plays on his sympathies. Glenn: Doggie Robot, can you make me feel better? unitdaisy: See? Glenn: The owl was the last straw. unitdaisy: Indeed and although you were quite a trooper (I was worried). It was time to retire to the gentle comfort of sleeper sofa and pillows. [...]

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Saling Chicago: Lucky Rabbit's Foot

Fri, 27 Jun 2008 13:49:03 +0000

It's been two years but we're finally back on the streets of Chicago, one couple pawing through strangers' garages in search for game and geek-based treasure! Need to catch up on our prior garagesaling exploits? Check out the archives! Glenn: Hey, over the last two years I learned how to wake up like a real early-bird garagesaler! Unfortunately, unitdaisy apparently used those two years to learn how to oversleep. We didn't leave the house until nearly 10am! unitdaisy: Now really, I hardly think it was my fault. It just the sheets are so comfy, so very (yawn)... Glenn: Granted, I was still somewhat groggy as we trudged to the first sale, but what we found woke me up like a slap to the face. I know it's not the best Space Quest but, it's pristine and waiting for me to crack it open! unitdaisy: But it's so hard to open something that has remained in its original packaging for so long. After a time the artifact value outweighs the immediate pleasure value. Glenn: The next sale didn't look too promising from afar. Clothes hanging off of trees read as gigantic 'CAUTION: DISAPPOINTMENT AHEAD' signs to me. unitdaisy: Me, too. No one is ever selling their Dior couture off a clothes line. Glenn: But apparently the one of the two female proprietors was madly getting rid of an oddball assortment of quality comics! I scored this Drawn and Quarterly for a buck! Glenn: Eightball! Action Girl! Some random, but intriguing, Dark Horse Comics anthology! All ours now! unitdaisy: When are we going to pick up a new bookcase, too? It seems our most frequent purchases come with pages. Glenn: Still aglow from the wealth of comics we found, we trundled over to the next sale and found... Glenn: Mullets. Hmmm, I have plenty of pleasure in the back, but I could do with some business up-front ... unitdaisy: Huh-un. All business or all pleasure, I don't go halfsies. Glenn: What's tackier than trying to sell tape dubs of CDs? unitdaisy: Selling the CDs after you've burned them all to your hard drive. Glenn: Dancing Cowboy Santa! And the seller specifically set the stereo out there so all could be hypnotized by his wide, gyrating hips. unitdaisy: Santa does not have birthing hips. Glenn: After being disgusted by Santa, we fled for safer grounds: The thrift stores. Glenn: Everyone loves 16mm! Anyone want to see some student films?? unitdaisy: Not my realm of student expression. Glenn: While I was still buzzing about Space Quest 6 and our supreme (but not Supreme) comics haul, I was a bit glum that we hadn't stumbled upon more games. But then unitdaisy spied two oddly shaped cases on the thrift store wall. unitdaisy: I'm perspicacious! Glenn: They were Game Gear cases, and both were packed to the gills with games, manuals, Game Gear accessories, and even Game Gears. Glenn: And thanks to some sweet-talking by unitdaisy, we managed to swap the games in the worn, stained case with the games in the pristine case, and managed to get a discount on it somehow: $27 instead of the marked $30. Oh, and it even came with some accessories and items of interest... unitdaisy: I'm silver-tongued! Glenn: ...such as this fantastically "preserved" lucky rabbit's foot that was stuffed in with the manuals. I wonder just how long it's suffocated in that case. unitdaisy: OK, now I'm just creeped out. Glenn: And now, thanks to this outing, I inexplicably have more Game Gears than brick-shaped Game Boys (three vs. two). But, no matter how you look at it, the end result was a bargain. Plus, thanks to the A/C adapter, I can finally stop buying AA batteries in bulk whenever I want to turn this piece of SEGA history on. unitdaisy: Soon we can open our own video game museum! Glenn: To cap the day off, we checked out the newly opened Italian sandwich shop around the corner and lunched on fine meats and bread (even if I wasn't a [...]

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