Keyboard Geniuses

Civilization V: Harald Bluetooth Gormsson

Taking A Liking To Vikings

Highlights from the week’s comment threads.

By Matt Kodner • July 12, 2013

Keyboard Geniuses is our weekly glance at a few intriguing, witty, or otherwise notable posts from the Gameological discussion threads. Comments have been excerpted and edited here for grammar, length, and/or clarity. You can follow the links to see the full threads.

True Life: I’m A Viking

After playing Civilization V more than a few times as the Vikings, Drew Toal decided to see how his virtual pillagers stacked up against their historical counterparts. Drew recruited an authority on Vikings to help him out, namely Robert Ferguson, the author of The Vikings. A discussion of the Vikings’ relationship with Christianity and “modernity” led Ixbalum to chime in:

One of the things that made Catholic bureaucracy so effective was organization: Being a son or daughter of someone didn’t matter, and for all the cronyism, it was close to a modern corporation in that sense. It’s also why their records are so good. As to writing, the Vikings certainly had that [before Christianity spread to their culture], as runic alphabets—ironically adopted from the old Italic ones—were already in use, but they weren’t much use for writing Latin. And Latin was one of the lingua franca back then if you were trading.

Also, if you are a religious philosopher I suppose, one could argue that modernity takes many of its cues from the philosophy that was transmitted from the Greeks via Christianity and Islam. The whole mind-body-spirit separation that we take for granted comes from that in many ways. An animist would simply not look at the world like that (and they don’t). There’s a load of irony in the idea that secularism is made possible by the existence of the Church.

Sa3ad clarified a point that Ferguson made about the Zoroastrians, an ancient Iranian religion that Drew’s virtual Vikings haphazardly adopted:

A bit of a tangent, but I felt compelled to point out that Zoroastrians aren’t fire worshippers either, and they didn’t and still don’t cremate their dead (unless they have to, see below), making that misunderstanding even sillier. Traditionally, Zoroastrians dispose of their dead in something we in English refer to as a ‘Tower of Silence,’ a place where vultures are allowed to pick the corpses clean of flesh.

Why? Well, because they believe corpses are impure while fire and earth are holy and must not be defiled. You can’t bury someone in the ground, and you certainly can’t taint a fire with their corpse. The Parsi community of India (the only contemporary Zoroastrians I can name at the top of my head) have run into a problem where most of the country’s vultures have died off, making this previously quick and clean process far messier and smellier. Nowadays, these towers are being surrounded by residential buildings (the daily smell and sight of rotting corpses might lead to a few complaints by the neighbors), and therefore, some Parsis have turned to cremation as an alternative.

As for them worshipping fire, they actually worship a deity by the name of Ahura Mazda (apparently existing in the pantheon of the Old Iranian religion but given a new context in the teachings of Zoroaster—cf. Canaanite El and the Judeo-Christian-Islamic deity) who is destined to triumph over the evil Ahriman with the help of mankind. If I’m wrong about any of this, please excuse me—Iranian history and religion is not my field of expertise.

P.S: Fun fact, Freddie Mercury of Queen fame was from a Parsi family.

Adventures In EVE
EVE: Online

Earlier this week, the EVE Online community saw one of its biggest blunders ever when a digital spaceship worth around $10,000 in real world money (kind of) was blown up. John Teti reported on the fiasco, and Roswulf chimed in with an interesting reason why this wasn’t so profound a loss:

I’ve been on a read-about-EVE bender the last few days, and this ties into some of the better stuff I’ve read (mostly by Mittani, a very eloquent, very smart, EVE villain).

Ships are replaceable, so the real resources in high-level, large scale EVE competitive play are players. Therefore, having fun is not only an extrinsic good (yay fun!) but the strategy that maximizes maximizes mid-term and long-term results. So many video games render morale essentially irrelevant to combat; EVE’s resource-rich game environment coupled with a ludicrously steep entry curve make cultivating player morale the centerpiece of its campaigns. The reason Pandemic Legion can bear the loss of a $10,000 supercarrier is because they derived some joy from watching it burn.

Of course, this also means that some EVE groups focus—intelligently and diabolically—not on destroying enemy ships, but on destroying enemy joy. And that’s why I doubt I’ll ever go on a playing EVE bender.

Elsewhere, Stakkalee told us about an EVE-playing friend with one heck of a dream:

A friend of mine has gotten into EVE recently, and his eyes light up when he starts telling me about some shenanigans in low-security space, or how he got his new battleship, or how he’s set up shop in a mid-security starbase and is selling rigs to players whose faction rating won’t let them venture into the high-security spaces. He’s daydreaming about becoming some sort of EVE war correspondent, because he listens to podcasts from other users who’ve made the same “career” choice. EVE seems to me like everything you want in an MMO—players who take the game seriously, and user-generated content that grows organically from the players’ interactions.

Parent-A-Center
Rogue Legacy

John Teti reviewed Rogue Legacy, a randomized adventure game that makes storming an evil castle a family affair to say the least. John connected with the game’s conceit of sending generations’ worth of progenies into the castle, and expressed discomfort around the idea of parenting as a “job.” Spacemonkey Mafia reflected on his own role as a dad:

Being a father, I do often joke that since my primary biological imperative has been fulfilled, I may as well walk into the ocean. I should wait, I guess, at least until my child no longer chooses to get her head stuck in the banister.

But nothing brought the idea of my own mortality into sharper focus than my participation in creating the person who, if the world is just (no promises), will bury me.

And while I am too petty and too cynical to ever exclaim fatherhood as my “No. 1 job,” that doesn’t mean I don’t try and behave as though it is whenever I am with my child.

Specifically for two reasons. The first being that we did bring her into this world; we do have some moral imperative for preparing her for the kaleidoscope of contradictory shittiness and confusion endemic to this broken world. The second being—and this is the great hope of every parent, so succinctly expressed in this game—that our children will find a solution to the seemingly terminal puzzle of our own destructive compulsions that has eluded us and our parents and their parents before them.

If that idea can be expressed, along with the inclusion of some Magic Sword-style side-scrolling fantasy power-ups, I’m all in. That is the fundamental contradiction of parenthood. You prepare them as best you can for the dungeon you never, ever want the dear ones to enter.

In response, Girard had a slightly different reaction to the idea:

Unlike Teti’s sentiment here, I definitely find the idea of parenting as a “number one job” admirable rather than pitiful, but like Teti I do find that reality of it somewhat terrifying.

I only had one parent play a significant role in my life, and parenting was without question her No. 1 job. Virtually everything she did when we were growing up was for my brother and I, and she pretty much divested herself for us, enduring a great deal of sacrifice and hardship for our sake. (My other parent was basically a mustache who lived across the ocean, where he could skimp on child support with impunity despite making way more than my mom, and who flew over every 2 or 3 years to take us to the zoo and play Risk for a weekend).

The sheer amount of love and selflessness she exhibited and continues to exhibit is staggering and humbling and impressive and has secured her place in my adult mind in the pantheon of heroic figures I most try to model my life upon. But it also sets an extremely high bar for me if I ever become a parent. Admittedly (hopefully) I wouldn’t be going it alone the way my mom had to, but even so I can’t help but feel I’d have a monomaniacal impulse to devote everything to the cause of my kid, a level of self-sacrifice I’m not super-interested in.

I much prefer teaching. I have a nicely demarcated eight hours when my kids are, without question, the first thing on my mind, and when every fiber of my being is turned toward them and their lives and their needs. But then I can clock out at 5:00 and focus on Girard stuff. (Ostensibly, at least, though sometimes I find myself prepping, planning and thinking when I’m off the clock…)

Collect Calls
Fallout 3: Bobbleheads

For this week’s Q&A, we asked staffers and readers about their favorite in-game collectibles. Mattman Begins found a scattered horde of diary entries to be an intriguing addition to Deadlight:

I’ll say that the most recent collectibles I pursued that felt like more than just colored icons for your Steam achievement profile would be the diary entries and random doodads scattered around Seattle in Deadlight. No idea at first why pages from the protagonist’s diary would be found in a shopping cart next to an abandoned refrigerator in an alley you were running through for the first time…but the content of the pages themselves eventually made that question to be the point of the exercise, for me. I like that the pages initially suggested a different perspective on what was happening in the game. And from a much more personal and involving standpoint than the endless, nearly pointless tomes of Morrowind/Oblivion/Skyrim.

While Gary X chimed in elsewhere with his favorite collectibles, his rage dump re: Donkey Kong 64 made for some mighty fine reading (and a lot of readers can probably sympathize):

I have probably mentioned this before, but FUCK DONKEY KONG 64. FUCK. THAT. GAME.

Ugh. Young Gary X once decided that it would be the next game he 100-percented (after Mario 64 & the Zelda games) because he had a game guide. Except somehow, I got EVERYTHING but a pack of 5 bananas on that fucking mushroom level as fucking Chunky Kong or whatever—the fucking fat monkey—and no matter where I went, no matter how many strategy guides I cross-referenced, I could never fucking find those 5 fucking bananas. Ever. I played those goddamn arcade machines twice (TWICE!), and still didn’t 100-percent that game. I remember to this fucking day. I would never try to 100-percent a game again until Red Dead Redemption.

I remember thinking the lighting was impressive, though.

Cloks provided us with a cautionary tale about gambling away useless video game money:

The only in-game collectibles I’ve bothered to get a complete set of were the figurines in The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap. The game set a store up like a vending machine that dispenses toys randomly. The catch here was that you could pay more seashells to rig the odds in your favor and get the figurines that you hadn’t already pried from the machine. Eventually, I realized that you could scam the game into giving you a wealth of seashells just a few screens from where you’d buy the figurines, and I did this often enough to assemble a complete virtual set. The reward in the game was a medal shaped exactly like the shop owner, which became a permanent part of your inventory (replacing the seashell spot), so you could be reminded of how much time you’d wasted.

I suppose this was intended to be a reward—Carlov’s face was made out of pixelated gold and everything—but I took it as a not-so-subtle dig at the player, as some programmer at Capcom realized that they’d been able to steal so many hours of human progress by adding a small feature to con the obsessive into slaving after a virtual reward.

This spurred me into collecting only rewards in games that offer external proof of the hardship I’ve endured, so I’ll direct the curious to gaze upon my 1,500+ achievements and weep.

Grinding The Turtle
Dishonored

Steve Heisler praised Dishonored’s brevity in a For Our Consideration op-ed. Many role-playing games are padded with the practice of “grinding” to level up characters, a phenomenon that David Dalyrimple is all too familiar with:

I’m wary of games that don’t seem to ever end. There are numerous RPGs that encourage you to grind for better gear and skills, but they don’t give you anything worthwhile to do with those new skills. When I was grinding giant turtles in Final Fantasy XIII, it occurred to me that the only reward was to become a more efficient turtle-killer. And maybe a trophy?

From now on, whenever I have to grind, I’ll be sure to call it “grinding the turtle.” Thanks for that one, David!

The Truth About Kappas

Speaking of turtles, Matt Gerardi brought to our attention a series of smoooove covers of songs from Kapp’n, Animal Crossing: New Leaf’s stalwart ferry-turtle-thing. But apparently, according to Chalkdust, it’s not a turtle at all:

Green turtle? Oh no! By localizing Kapp’n as such, they’ve obfuscated his true identity and put all Animal Crossing villagers in danger! He is actually a kappa, a mythological Japanese river imp who engages in all manner of mischief, ranging from benign to deadly. At the very least, by skipping past his songs, you may be angering him, so keep your shirikodama covered, lest he try and steal it through, uh, unpleasant means.

Here is one artist’s terrifying rendition of a kappa. The resemblance to New Leaf’s salty crooner is uncanny. Well folks, that’s it. Everybody, thanks for reading and commenting, and we’ll see you next week.

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88 Responses to “Taking A Liking To Vikings”

  1. DrFlimFlam says:

    It was a cold and lonely weekend without Comment Cat last Friday. I shudder to think of Thanksgiving weekend.

    Lots of good discussions about parenting and kappa. That’s my kind of talkin’ ’bout stuff!

    • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

      Given their propensity for whole grains, raw vegetables and free-range anus blood, as well as their dabbling in holistic medicines, I’m now convinced that forty percent of the customers at the co-ops I’ve worked at were Kappa.

      Edit: And if you spill any of the electrolyte-infused reverse osmosis SmartWater from the basins atop their head, fucking forget about it.

      • PaganPoet says:

        So, Space, no comment about my use of your image when talking about kappa? See my comment below.

        • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

          Hah!  I clicked on the first link and enjoyed the sprite capture, and then apparently got distracted by a sparkle of light or something.
             It’s true that kappa and I were often confused for each other in those old, sprite days.  We’d always talk about it at parties, but that’s the only thing we had to talk about.  Those guys are gross.

    • Girard says:

      Maybe, but the Koopa most certainly are.

  2. PaganPoet says:

    The “imps” from Final Fantasy VI are actually kappa as well: http://images1.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20121018062617/finalfantasy/images/4/41/FF6ImpSprites.PNG

    I didn’t know what to think of them when I first played this game. Green anthromorphic ducks with halos?

  3. Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

    Called it.

  4. Spacemonkey Mafia says:

    Weekend Prompt!
       So the Steam Summer sale is finally upon us with the deliberate inevitability of a Pleistocene land glacier.
       But susceptible as I am to the refined white sugar buzz of a good digital deal, nothing beats the victory of a good old-fashioned analog deal.
       Like the time I found a mint copy of Wind Waker at a garage sale for a lean $1.
       What is your favorite deal you ever got on a video game?

    • DrFlimFlam says:

      Wind Waker for $1, oh that burns. I would love to play that with my son but it’s either fork out far too much or get a WiiU someday (which I will).

      I used to love to go deal-hunting for games, back when I had more time and money both. One of my tricks (which works less well but still does at times) is to just visit Toys R Us, which will often move bombs for $10. The Saboteur, a game known around these parts as a diamond in the rough, was there, and I checked it out. Easily my favorite open world game yet, and probably the only game I’d ever be willing to 100% like that twice.

    • Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

      Oh oh, I know this one! One day as a kid walking home from school I found a copy of Goldneye 007 in halfway buried in some dirt. This was maybe a year or so after it came out. I was SO FUCKING PUMPED. Me and my friend i walked home with ran the rest of the way to my house, cleaned of the dirt and checked to see if it worked. AND IT DID. I still have the cart. 

    • PaganPoet says:

      I bought a box of SNES cartridges from a garage sale for $10 which included Final Fantasy VI, Chrono Trigger, Yoshi’s Island, Super Street Fighter II Turbo, and Super Metroid. A good day, that was.

      • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

        Holy shit.  God himself assembled that collection.

        • PaganPoet says:

          For sure. 3 of those games are definitely in my top ten of all time (FFVI, Chrono Trigger, and Super Metroid), and the other 2 are awesome as well. There were some other, less memorable games in the box too (I remember some 7UP licensed platformer game starring the Spot as the protagonist), but an awesome deal any way you slice it.

      • DrFlimFlam says:

         That is a DEAL.

        • PaganPoet says:

          I think it was some parents cleaning out their kid’s stuff. This was in 1998, so the PS1/N64 was well underway, he or she probably didn’t play their SNES much any more. I don’t think they realized how much some of those games were worth, actually. I saw a used FFVI cartridge at a GameStop around the same time being sold for $40 because it was relatively hard to come across.

        • WaxTom says:

          Copies of Chrono Trigger can sell at over $100 online sometimes, and Super Metroid isn’t cheap either!

        • DrFlimFlam says:

          We have a local small business that buys and sells games from multiple generations. Their collection of games is impressive, including big RPGs for PS1 that I used to own and now stare jealously at, even though I’d never play them, and SNES carts for $40+.

        • Fluka says:

          @PaganPoet:disqus And somewhere, a kid returning home from college exclaimed “You sold WHAT?!”

        • Citric says:

          @drflimflam:disqus There’s a chain like that in the city where I used to live – HiTech Gametraders – and I always feel a tinge of regret when I see what Star Ocean 2 goes for. But then again, I sold it (to them!) for more than I paid for it anyway and it would otherwise just sit on my shelf, neglected.

          Their selection is kind of amazing though, and consistent across their different locations, I don’t know how they haven’t completely chased Gamestop out of that city.

      • WaxTom says:

        What pagan gods do you worship who look upon you so favorably, and where do I sign up?

      • Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

        That is such a good haul. Goddamn. I want to get more carts for my snes but the good ones cost way more than I want to spend. 

    • GhaleonQ says:

      For 30 dollars and all of my old strategy guides (right when American strategy guides were starting to get bad and not worth someone keeping from GameFAQs), I got a Japanese Neo Geo Pocket Color and almost every game I wanted for it.

      I think the GBA, DS, and PSP are phenomenal handhelds, but I think the NGPC tops every handheld besides those. 60 percent of its games are good and 10 percent are great.  Had it had a healthier life, it could have reached GBA levels.  http://www.neo-geo.com/pocket (scroll down)

      • Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

        Hnnng, Metal Slug. The DS version kind of sucks. At least Contra 4 kicks ass. 

        So which games did you get? Looks like mostly there are a some good fighters. Is Ogre Battle good, I vaguely remember hearing good things about that series.

        • GhaleonQ says:

          It’s definitely the worst Ogre game, but that’s mostly because all of them are phenomenal (The Knight Of Lodis included!).  You should play the PSP remake of Let Us Cling Together now.  It might be your favorite tactics game.  I like Person Of Lordly Caliber (which is a strategy game) 2nd best, and it demonstrates how the Nintendo 64 could have competed with the Playstation 1.  It’s magic.

          The fighters are all solid and differentiate themselves from their console counterparts.  Even if that annoys you, Gals Fighters and Match Of The Millennium are handheld-exclusive.  Copy-and-paste that for every Neo Geo franchise (Metal Slug: 2nd Mission is underrated, but is more Metal Slug 7 than Contra 4; rather than play it, you should play Uprising, which was surprisingly spectacular).

          However, I’m about the weird stuff.  The game usually called Ganbare, Neo Poke-Kun is WarioWare/Made In Wario before it existed along with Tamagotchi, and might be my favorite game on the system.  Cool Cool Jam, unlike its Neo Geo sequel, is like a role-playing rhythm game.  Faselei is a complicated, underplayed tactics game.  Card Fighters Clash (ESPECIALLY the one that didn’t get localized, Expand Edition) converted me from thinking card games sucked and is a fair number of people’s favorite handheld game ever.

          They’re all really good, but it’s also that it has games not copied elsewhere.

      • The_Misanthrope says:

         Aside from the Gameboy’s Pokemon-fueled market dominance, was there any other reason that it failed so spectacularly stateside?  I don’t remember seeing them in stores in my area.

        • GhaleonQ says:

          I really need to learn more about S.N.K. the company, since it’s 1 of my 5 favorites ever.

          However, I imagine it’s because a bunch of failed systems and competition put them in a rough position in 2000.  They were purchased, minimized like Sega under Sammy, and blew up a year after the Pocket Color came out.  South Koreans made their games until they sort of resurrected.

          So, I BELIEVE it was more the status of S.N.K. itself rather than its limited launch and whooping-by-Pokemon.

        • Citric says:

          I remember something about Aruze gutting SNK’s North American operations. I kind of wanted one because I heard Faselei was really good – and I like robot-based strategy games – but it was cancelled and recalled right before that was set to be released.

      • Enkidum says:

        I just realized I have two Neo Geo Pocket Colors, with the connecting cord. The only game we have is a mah-jong one, which is annoyingly difficult to beat.

        Suppose I should look up some cartridges some time.

    • WaxTom says:

      Probably getting a free Atari 2600 and a bunch of games for writing a story. That was nice.

      The worst deal I ever did was when I traded a copy of the relatively expensive Super Metroid for Super Mario World which, while a great game, is pretty much dirt cheap. Urgh, dumb dumb dumb.

      As you can see, I live in a video game based economy that runs on trade and bartering.

      • DrFlimFlam says:

        I was real cool about the games I sold back when I was shrinking my collection. Until I became a parent. Now I have no Mansions of Luigi’s and no Wind to wake. Or, erm, Min to Pik. There were lots of GC games I wish I still had. I still have most of them, but dangit, some I never should have let go.

      • PaganPoet says:

        I traded my Game Gear with a friend for his Game Boy. My parents were so mad at me. I think I got the better deal.

    • Kyle O'Reilly says:

       Garage sales are most definitely going to be a predominant figure for this prompt.

      When I was younger we owned one system up until I was well into gradeschool and that was a NES. That NES did right by us, no doubt about it, but we were still milking well into the lifespan of the SNES and the infancy of the PS1. 

      But we pulled up to a garage sale one day and while I was mindlessly thumbing through mixtapes and one armed GI Joes my brother walks up with a cardboard box and a big grin on his face.

      “Guess what I got for five bucks?”

      “What?”

      “A Sega Genesis, with all three Sonic games.”

      *sound of 3rd grade me’s jaw hitting the floor*

      Now of course, I realize that even then the Sega was pretty old but at the time it felt like we took a step into the future.  Also Sonic is the perfect game for brothers to play because Tales has almost no affect on the outcome of anything and only serves to allow annoying little brothers like me to play the Casino level with their older brother over and over and over.

    • aklab says:

      Great question! Like a lot of folks, most of my childhood game acquisitions involved byzantine bus-stop trades. Man, I really lucked out when my friend Mike started smoking pot in 8th grade and quickly wanted to sell all his SNES and N64 games really cheap. 

      But I have a more recent example: Binding of Isaac in a Steam sale last year for something like $1.50. I’m not saying every game should be evaluated in its playtime/cost ratio (Thirty Flights of Loving’s 20 minutes was certainly worth $5), but that BoI deal worked out to about a penny an hour. 

    • Citric says:

      All I have is a deal lost.

      Local game rentery went out of business. Suikoden II and Valkyrie Profile, $20 each. One mom who said I had enough games and wouldn’t spot me the cash.

      NOW THEY’RE WORTH HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS, MOM.

      • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

        Thanksgiving with the Citric’s must be a tense affair.

      • DrFlimFlam says:

        Oh, weird. I was able to FIND and then sell both of those for profit at one point.

        Thanks, Citric’s Mom!

      • caspiancomic says:

        Sometimes I get a real kick out of checking eBay for the most outrageously priced copy of Suikoden II I can find, and then laugh like a madman as I plunk my well loved copy down into the PS3 and just toot around because I can.

        One day I’m going to wear that disc out, and I will cry forever. I really hope that game comes to PSN, I need a backup copy really badly.

        • PaganPoet says:

          Alas, I never finished Suikoden II. That $949 price tag just mocks me.

        • Girard says:

          I still have a copy sitting in my mom’s basement or something, somewhere. I feel like I should give it another spin, as there’s not much I remember about it.

      • Effigy_Power says:

        “I got you something better, dear. It’s a bitter life lesson.”

    • Fluka says:

      Free, legal copy of FTL, from a friend!  Free is the best deal.

      The game then spread like a terrible virus through my friends and coworkers.

    • Boonehams says:

      Bought Metroid Prime Trilogy brand new for about $25 at a Gamestop.  For those unaware, it doesn’t sound like a great deal, but have you seen its asking price recently? Even used copies sell for $100 or more.

      • Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

        I still haven’t got around to playing Prime 3 but the first one is absolutely phenomenal and the 2nd one is pretty awesome too. I am still kicking myself for not picking the trilogy version when i saw it for ~$20.

        • Boonehams says:

          I already owned Primes 1 & 2, but didn’t have 3. Since 3 was about the same price as Trilogy (in the store), I thought, “Why not?” and bought Trilogy completely unaware of its true worth.

    • Effigy_Power says:

       $4 for Just Cause 2 and all its DLC.
      There are better games, there are nicer games, there are more interesting and better made games, but there are hardly bigger, more beautiful and free games than this.
      I got roughly way too many hours out of this game and I haven’t even really managed to complete any goals beyond the main quest. As far as bang for buck goes, this game delivers.

      • ProfFarnsworth says:

        I also just picked this up for the same price as well as the strategy guide, (since I am absolutely terrible at figuring out where I am in quests in open world games and I love game art work. Mostly the game art work).

    • Girard says:

      The closest thing I have to this, I think, is when my similarly dorky, cynical high school best friend and I discovered one summer that, in examining the two buy/sell/trade places in our hometown, which were only a few blocks apart on the same street, we noticed that one was selling Shaq Fu for quite a bit more than the other. So we bought the (surprisingly numerous) copies of Shaw Fu from the cheaper place and sold them back to the other place, and made, like $10 a cartridge.

      Occasionally we’d stop back in there to see if any of those Shaq Fus had budged. They hadn’t. They still had, like a dozen or so of the things there.

      We didn’t feel too bad about scamming(-ish) the place we sold them to, as the place was actually a front for a mail-order piracy racket anyway (my OTHER high school best friend did take advantage of their black-market predilections once to get his PSX modded so we could play Battle & Chase…).

      • Citric says:

        My favorite part of this story is that the store never got curious as to why these kids had so many copies of Shaq Fu. 

        I did a similar thing with Wild Arms 3, though I broke even and only did it on one copy. I’m not entirely sure why I played the entirety of Wild Arms 3, since in hindsight I hated it, but it wound up being free I guess.

        • Girard says:

          We did it one cart at a time (though sometimes multiple carts in a single day – we were bored, snarky teenagers during a lazy summer vacation), so maybe they didn’t realize what was going on?

    • Aurora Boreanaz says:

      (From the “Just Barely a Video Game” category)  At an electronics swap meet in the Bay Area, I got an obscure computer RPG for $1 called STAR SAGA ONE: BEYOND THE BOUNDARY.

      It came in a huge box, because it was so old it had to have all of the story printed in reference booklets, and contained a star map made out of dozens of triangular sectors.  You picked one of six characters to play, and so could play with up to five others.  Me being the lonely kid I was, I played it by myself and loved it.  It had trading and exploration to keep track of, and so you could travel back and forth between systems to trade goods for ship upgrades.  When I finished it, I learned that there was a sequel.  It took me about eight months before I found the sequel at a software show in a local hotel, this time for $15 or $20.

      At the end of THAT game, I learned of the final game in the trilogy.  Sadly, the company went out of business before finishing it.

    • Cloks says:

      Uh, right before the retro-gaming craze really hit hard I got the urge to play Super Nintendo because I never had one as a kid. I bought a wonky, half-broken one with Shaq Fu for 40 bucks. This in itself is a terrible deal but it led to me looking for Super Nintendo games now that I had a system to play them on.

      The real deal starts here: I was at Half Price Books and looking for old games. They had none on the sale shelves but I noticed an un-priced stack behind the counter. I asked the guy how much they were and he looked them over, pricing them at 2 each except for one that was 4 because it was rarer. The games: Super Mario World, Super Mario Collection, Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Super Metroid, Donkey Kong Country 1 and 2 and a handful of titles that don’t immediately come to mind. The four dollar game was Breath of Fire, which turned out not to be the game with the most value out of all those (probably Super Metroid). The real kicker is that I spent ~18 bucks for a great intro collection and now that Half Price Books uses a standard pricing scheme at all stores you can’t do that.

      Rambling!

  5. stakkalee says:

    Sweet, it’s good to be back.  I was at a loss for what to do last Friday!  Our most-commented article this week was the Hoarders Q&A with 148 comments, but I imagine by the end of the day the WAYPTW thread will have surpassed it.  As for our Top 5 Most Liked (non-KG) comments, here we go:
    1) With 27 likes, @cloks:disqus is a scholar of the Apocalypse.
    2) With 22 likes @Zach_Handlen:disqus hums “The Circle of Life”.
    3) And we have a 3-way tie for third!  With 19 likes apiece, @Sam_Barsanti:disqus has an economical idea!  @The_Guilty_Party:disqus praises our favorite de-whiskered writer, and @WaxTom:disqus understands the Chinese market.
    And now for the awarding of the plaid jackets – we have 2 new members today, so give it up for @Ixbalum:disqus and @sa3ad:disqus!  And now our returning members: @Roswulf:disqus gets his second stud for his third mention! @Chalkdust:disqus and @GaryX:disqus are each getting a third stud, @MattmanBegins:disqus and @DaveDalrymple:disqus get their fifth studs, @Cloks:disqus gets his seventh, I get my ninth, @Spacemonkey_Mafia:disqus gets a 23rd stud, moving him into 3rd place overall ahead of @caspiancomic:disqus, and as devastating and unstoppable as the Russian winter @ParacletePizza:disqus maintains his lead with his 27th stud!  Hot damn!
    And finally for the Linkdump, here’s a neat little 2-minute video of people playing Minecraft with the Oculus Rift and the Virtuix Treadmill, and they barely look ridiculous at all!  That’s it for this week.  Enjoy your gaming, and remember to keep it scintillating!

    • Effigy_Power says:

      It’s a sad world when my lazily scribbled blurb basically parroting Sam Nelson’s Fable-antics that I wrote at 3am in the morning isn’t chosen for the highest echelons of glory.
      Thanks Obama.

      • PaganPoet says:

        Just add it to the list, Effie.

      • Roswulf says:

        Well, Teti DID reveal this weak that he hates traditional families and only has any sense of feeling for the mindless killing machines of the ocean (have you ever seen Teti and the Sharknado together? HAVE YOU?)

        Clearly he is Obama in disguise! I demand to see Teti’s birth certificate!

    • The_Helmaroc_King says:

      I’ve seen comments you people wouldn’t believe. Attack eagles fighting off British troops in the American colonies, dogs forced to choose who lives and who dies, illusions shattering in the dark near the uncanny valley. All those comments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time… to die…

    • Cloks says:

      Wow, this Cloks guy is sweeping the charts! I bet he’s only well liked because of how handsome he is.

    •  ♫Five/Five/Five-studded comments♫ 

      Thanks, stakks.  Congratulations on your nine-peat yourself, as well as all other honorees in a well-spoken week.  @Effigy_Power:disqus , like Peter Tomarken’s prophetic “we’re gonna have Big Bucks today, I can feel it”, I predict you’ll take the number 1, 2, AND 3 spots next week to make up for lost Comment Cat recognition.  And no Whammies, either.

      Speaking of accomplished females…this came up in my newsfeed today over on the orange house o’ news where I gleefully participate in the evil left-wing conspiracy during the week.  It’s rare to see gaming of any kind make a tangential appearance among the politically-minded (unless it’s certain politically-minded people trying to shut gaming down).  My initial impression, based on that description, is positive…but I’m curious what others here might think, or might know, about the idea of a Girls’ Gaming House.

      • stakkalee says:

        This is an interesting idea, and anything that moves the needle on cultural perceptions of gaming and gender towards greater inclusivity is very welcome.  I have some concerns about the corporate-sponsored TV show side of it – I don’t doubt the motives or sincerity of the people behind this project, but participating in a commercial creative endeavor like a TV show always necessitates compromise and I just hope they don’t have to make too many.  On the other hand I think a TV show about competitive gamers could go a long way towards getting narrative elements into eSports which will help to make gaming-as-a-spectator sport more viable, as PBS’ Idea Channel covered in a recent video.

      • Effigy_Power says:

        “Speaking of accomplished females”…
        Okay. What do you want? Do you need bail or something?

        • Bail?  Oh, heh heh, certainly not!  Certainly not.  It’s just, um.  @Cloks:disqus ‘s parents used the money I normally pay people to be nice to me around here.  And I thought I’d…no?  No refunds without a receipt?  I, um…you know, maybe I left it in my car.  Let me go check my car.

    • George_Liquor says:

      Hey, I just found out what your avatar is. I thought you were some sort of freaky skull or something, but you’re 1 ms into a nuke going off. 

      • stakkalee says:

        Yup, Tumbler-Snapper.  Back when government code names had style.

        • Effigy_Power says:

          Operation “Kill everything that we don’t need and everyone who isn’t us” just didn’t have the same ring.

  6. DrunkDalek says:

    I wanted to mention that the GiantBomb guys did a memorial Bombcast for the late Ryan Davis. Hearing it is both therapeutic and heart-breaking, as the guys all tell stories and talk about what Ryan meant to everybody. It’s worth a listen.

    http://www.giantbomb.com/podcasts/giant-bombcast-07-09-2013/1600-530/

  7. Dave Dalrymple says:

    Dalyrimple?

    You’re forgiven, Matt. An episode of Seinfeld even pointed out that my last name is hard to spell.