Tag: Video games

Scalpers Suck

Nintendo SwitchTypically when you mention scalpers images of $500 Guns and Roses tickets come to mind. As much as that pains me there is also a new type of scalper that really sets me off. Last week Nintendo released their 7th home console in the US, The Nintendo Switch. Almost immediately, and as little surprise to anyone who hoped to get one of their Classic NES consoles this Christmas, the pre-orders disappeared as soon as they posted. When release day came, lists of Switches for sale filled eBay and even Amazon.com with one minor difference. They all ran at least $70 more than the suggested retail price. To the bystander, it looked as though every one of those pre-ordered systems was now being cashed in for a quick 100 bucks. Unlike with concert tickets, it is all free and legal.

On the one hand it makes sense for sites like eBay to welcome these sales as they get a commission on each one. The harder question is why a site like Amazon would allow it. Well, that isn’t to hard to figure out either because they also get a cut of the sale. So it makes sense for them. Hell they probably made 8 or 10% on the original sale so if that person turns around and puts it up they stand to make another 15% on that sale as well. As an adult it’s easy for me to say no thank you and wait for the item to return to stock at its original price. An adult with a kid will have to figure out how much their incessant whining is worth compared to the hit on their wallet. I urge you, resist. As long as people are willing to pay inflated prices for the convenience of being the first to own this practice will only continue, and dare I say worsen.

My Time at Zapcon

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Have you ever wanted to step back in time and relive something for your past? I had the chance to do that last weekend when I attended Zapcon, the yearly classic pinball and video game party. A party it was.

I spent most of Saturday playing all the machines that kindled my love of video games and pinball. I am sadden to say there remains very few arcades and the ones that do bear little resemblance to the pinball halls I blew my quarters in every chance I could. This brought it all back to everyone who attended.

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Rows of pinball and video games filled the room lit only by the glow from the LEDs and CRT screens. Just like in the old arcades. Granted this little foray into nostalgia has little to do with writing, but I think it’s good to point out that even as writers we need hobbies, distractions, whatever, outside of our beloved craft. This keeps our creative juices flowing and helps avoid writer’s block or worse burnout. Let’s have some sharing time in the comments section let everyone know what you do to step away from the keyboard.

Escapism

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Me outside my house in Ceti IV with my Starfleet shirt.

Sometimes we all need someplace to sneak away to even if it is a fictitious hamlet filled with furry animals. What? Let me explain. I recently downloaded Animal Crossing New Leaf to my Nintendo 3DS. My wife and I spent far more hours than we would care to admit in the original release on the Gamecube. The latest release plays much like the original with a few new twists and customization. Also due to the magic of advancing technology the game looks a little better despite being on a handheld.

The hardest thing about Animal Crossing is explaining the game to others. You don’t earn points or level up. There are no bosses to fight, stages to clear or even an end to the game. Most of your time will be spent doing things like weeding, digging up fossils, running errands and fishing. You do these things to earn bells, the currency in Animal Crossing, that you will use to buy furniture for your house and clothes for your back. Speaking of your house, in a game that mimics reality, somewhat, you even have a mortgage that must be paid off if you want a bigger house. You will want a bigger make believe house, for more pretend furniture.

Typically I prefer video games with more story behind them. Animal Crossing is sort of a throw back to when games were just fun and you only played for the enjoyment of the time spent. That was back when said enjoyment only lasted until your next quarter ran out. There was no story in Pong, just hit the white box across the screen, or Space Invaders for that matter. Even the game that launched an Italian Plumber to stardom, Donkey Kong, had no story other than don’t ket yourself killed on the way to the princess. I bet you didn’t know this, in the original Donkey Kong, Mario was only known as Jumpman, his moniker would come in later games. Stories eventually evolved with the technology and the medium, but sometimes escaping to a little place for some fishing is just the thing after a busy day at work. And that joker on the commute home that wouldn’t get off your tail, it’s nice to know you can go someplace to forget about him where all you have to do is hand a duck an orange to make their day. Oh I still get my head shots on in first person shooters and quest for hidden treasures but I am so glad I have Animal Crossing for times when I want to get away.

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