Brian Ho (brianho) wrote,
Brian Ho

NPR, video game auction, and a not-so-pointless boycott

I've been listening to WFYI-FM 90.1, the local NPR affiliate, with growing regularity for about the past year.  I find it generally intriguing more engaging than music on the radio or on CDs.  I appreciate feeling more informed and having interesting things to think about.  I've decided I'm likely one of very few or perhaps the only SRT-4 owner that is a regular NPR listener.  I'm guessing the two demographics don't really overlap too much. :P

Since it's public radio, they've been doing their annoying bi-annual pledge drive...begging for people to send money every 15 minutes.  I decided that I do value their service enough to contribute and made a pledge on Friday.  I just wish they had a less annoying way of getting their funding. :P  So I can call myself a member.  I feel pretty good about that.

On Saturday, Brandon and I went to a video game auction at the state fairgrounds.  It's a consignment auction that happens every few months and that I have been going to periodically for many years. 

Brandon had gone one other time with me several months ago.  That particular visit was rather underattended and they had only about 25% or so of the amount of stuff I was used to seeing.  This visit was much better with probably about 2/3 of what I can remember from years ago.  It was reassuring to see it wasn't completely dying out.

Brandon was in the market for a cabinet to put a monitor he had bought in.  So he was not concerned if any of the internals of such a cabinet were working as he plans to build something up from scratch.  He just needs a "box" to put it in.  Unfortunately, there weren't too many broken machines at this auction and was outbid on the best options for him there.

I was just there to "window shop" and help move stuff if Brandon bought something.  Interestingly, this auction marked the first time I have ever seen a Bemani series cabinet at this auction.

KeyboardMania 3rd Mix

Quite surprisingly, there was a KeyboardMania 3rd Mix machine.  Since this is a consignment auction, the machines usually come from around the area.  The only KBM machine I know of around is in Ft. Wayne.  Ft. Wayne people: Is it still there?

At any rate, the 2P monitor was messed up and some of the keys on that side were a bit mangled.  Otherwise, the machine played fine and seemed to be in pretty good shape.  We even found KBM 1st and 2nd discs and security dongles inside the cabinet.

I don't really want KBM, but I decided I might make a try for it if I could get it really cheap.  There seemed to be only one other person at the auction interested in it as only the two of us bid on it.  My last bid was $625.  He outbid me at $650.  I decided to just let it go.

I didn't want it that badly.  If I had bought it, I'd probably play it for awhile and then resell it, but the chances of selling it for more than $1000 aren't very good since it's not an in-demand game.  I was concerned that the bad monitor could be an expensive fix.  Add taxes and auction fees, and I would be running the risk of losing money on it.  I also didn't have a good way of moving it there since we had measured it and it wouldn't fit in Brandon's minivan.

But the fact that it had the other two mixes inside have me kicking myself at least a little.  Oh well, I guess what's done is done.

Pump It Up Perfect Collection

Also at the auction was a Pump It Up DX machine running Perfect Collection.  I found out that this was the machine from the church I had heard about in Muncie.  Unfortunately, the monitor stopped working in transit.  The guy setting it up said it had worked when they left, but they weren't able to get it working at the auction.  Everything else seemed to work though, and it seemed in pretty good shape.  It sold for $825.  The monitor could be an easy fix (loose cable or something).  If so, it would be an amazing deal at that price.  If not, it's probably about right after the replacement cost of a monitor.

Pump It Up The O.B.G

There was yet another PIU DX cabinet there.  This one was running The O.B.G, the same mix as at GreaTimes in Beech Grove.  This particular machine was in pretty horrible condition.  Many of the steps weren't registering, and it was missing the marquee.  What makes that really bad is that the marquee also has the main speakers on it.  So all you could hear on this machine was the bass of the cabinet subwoofers.  But the monitor worked, so it sold for $1025.  It just goes to show how much a bad monitor devalues a game.  In my opinion, the seller made out like a bandit and the buyer bought himself a lemon.

Code One Dispatch/Daytona USA 2

Driving games...There was a Daytona USA 2 machine there.  It was in decent shape and sold for $1400...more than I care about it.  I like Daytona (1) better anyway.  Also in this picture was Code One Dispatch, a driving game from Konami that I had heard about but never seen.  It was kind of disappointing...interesting concept, but kind of dull and overly unrealistic gameplay.  Taking a right hand corner in a fire truck at 100 mph and popping it up on two wheels is kind of funny, but just too ridiculous in the long run. :P

But it was in fantastic condition.  It hardly looked used at all (maybe it wasn't popular?) even though it's a 6 year old game.  It sold for $925.

Race Drivin'

Finally, a driving game from my past: Race Drivin'.  The flat-shaded polygonal graphics are really dated now, but it's still a pretty good simulation.  The only real disappointment is the low frame rate.  This particular cabinet was in surprisingly great condition given that it's a 16 year old game!  The pedals needed a little work, but the monitor looked fantastic: sharp and no burn-in.  Maybe it was a replacement.  I didn't write down what this sold for, but it was <$500.  Tempting...but I passed.

One of the cabinets Brandon was interested in was actually the last one sold, so for the first time ever I stayed all the way to the end of auction at around 5pm.  At that point, we had been there almost 7 hours!

One final note, Blockbuster has given me an actual point to one of my pointless boycotts...

A couple weeks ago I received a message on my answering machine from Blockbuster.  It was an automated message informing me that I had an overdue movie or something and about charges to my account.  Of course I've been boycotting Blockbuster for years, so I knew it had to be a mistake.  Then I really knew it was a mistake when they said I could call the store for more information and gave me a phone number that wasn't even in the same area code.  I basically just ignored it.

I received another call a few days later and ignored it as well.  But yesterday I actually received a post card to the same effect.  It was addressed to my correct address, but it was in somebody else's name.  The post card had a Missouri return address.  So it seemed they had my address AND phone number associated with somebody else's account.

I figured I should call and try to clear it up.  The girl at the store, she said I could just ignore it, but I wanted to fix their records.  I really don't want to hear from Blockbuster at all--and especially not from a store in Missouri!

As I was talking to the girl, I realized that their area code was 314.  That would be easy to "fat finger" my area code.  I did a reverse telephone lookup on the web of my phone number with a 314 area code...BINGO!  That's probably exactly what happened.  So their database was trying to be "helpful" by cross-referencing my address with the phone number entered.

Two things bother me about that...1) I haven't had a Blockbuster membership in years.  I wasn't even living at my current address at the time (though I probably had the same phone number).  2) Their system is too stupid to not alert a clerk that he/she is entering a member that lives ALMOST 300 MILES AWAY!

I already hated Blockbuster.  This situation certainly doesn't win them any points.

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