Twelve Months Sixty Dollars and a GameBoy Advance, December...errrr....
Wait a minute! What happened? Where's the game of the month? What hidden gem or magnanimous mort have you uncovered this month?
Sorry Charlie! No feature!
We interrupt your regularly scheduled feature for an important announcement from the Stan man himself. So without further ado, here it is: (if you don't like rants, then I suggest you go here)
Seriously people SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL BUSINESSES!
Why don't we have a feature for the final month of this project? I'll tell you why. The locally owned second hand store, MUST HAVE MUSIC AND MORE, that I exclusively shopped at for this project (and last year's project, and for 3 years before that) closed it's doors for good at the end of November. It's a freaking tragedy. That's why there is no feature.
The second hand store is the lifeblood of the classic gaming community. They are the only ones that care about classic, old, or used video games and the people that enjoy them. Does Best Buy care? No. Does GameStop care? Hell no, they don't even carry PS2 games anymore and the system was still getting new games not so long ago! No, the only people who care about the classic gamer are the independent folks who probably love classic games as much as you do. However, those little guys still have to compete in the Big Boy world with juggernauts like Best Buy and GameStop and the only way they stand a chance at surviving is through the support and dollars of good people like yourselves.
Look, I'll not lie to you, this rant comes from a very personal place. Over the past four years I got to know Neal, the very cool cat who owned MUST HAVE. He is a great guy and he has a great dog. He knows his classic video games and he is never too busy to help a wayward customer find out if A Sound of Thunder is a good game or not, or even what kind of game it is. He is also just an all around great member of the community. He opened his store in 2007 because he saw an opportunity to be his own boss doing something he loved. From the first time I went into his store, sometime in 2008, I could tell this was a real dude trying to do something cool. His prices were MORE than fair ($8 Metroid Prime in 2008, seriously), his selection was always strong and he knew his games pretty well. We spent a lot of time just hanging out chatting about games and game genres etc. This dude understood video games as a love and passion, not just as a way to make money (something our other "major" local second hand has lost sight of). This is why I wholeheartedly threw all of my money and support behind his store. It was a place that took the time to get to know me and made me feel welcome as more than just a customer.
However, I alone could not keep MUST HAVE in business. The $20 or so a month that I can scrape together to spend on movies and video games just wasn't going to do it. But I know there are other classic and used game gamers in this city other than myself. Not to mention that MUST HAVE also sold DVD's and CD's. Where were these people? To my knowledge MUST HAVE was one of only three local stores at the time selling used games for non-modern consoles. Has eBay really killed off the second hand market? I cannot believe that, eBay really sucks these days? So what gives?
Have we all just bought into the mentality that we must pay more and patronize the Big Boys and their knock-off bigger market local equivalents (heck at least they are local, even if they are gouging you a bit because they can).
Honestly, people, I don't know what we are doing as a culture. Are we so deluded by convenience? Are we so easily led into following the herd? Do we not care? I am guilty; many times it has been "easier" to go to the mass market. I have avoided a "couple of extra dollars" that the little guy has to charge to stay in business. But I am also able to see the error of my ways and make strong efforts to correct those mistakes. I have not set foot in a Wal-mart in several months, I honestly cannot recall the last time I was in one. I want to make a serious effort to support my neighbors and my friends and the good people in my community who are taking a stand and making an effort to provide what the mass market cannot: care. It sucks that it took this kind of loss to wake my lazy ass up. Sad really.
Mainly, though, I am just pissed and saddened by the loss of a great local business. And that has only strengthened my resolve. So in the wake of losing my favorite second hand store, I would like to showcase two of my other favorite local businesses that do a stellar job of being great friends, good neighbors and excellent businesses.
First is Wild and Woolly Video. The ultimate source for all movies from blockbusters to the most esoteric independent, these cats have it or can point you to it. They really know and love movies and it shows in the dedication they have to customer service. I have NEVER rented a film there that at least one member of the staff didn't have an insightful observation or recommendation about. They love film, love to talk film, and they know their stuff. Wild and Woolly is a Louisville institution and they totally rock. You can find them at http://www.wandwvideo.com/
Second is the Zone Comic Shop. As you people well know, I am a devotee of the nine panel page. My best friend Kyle introduced me to the Zone a million years ago when I first moved to the city and I have been a loyal customer ever since. The Zone bucks the stereotype of the cavernous nerd den that plagues the comic book industry. The store is well lit, clean and meticulously organized and maintained. Oh sure, you still get plenty of arguments about whether or not the lightning version of Superman could beat Ultimate Thor, but that is inherent in the culture. What you don't get is the feeling that you have to live in a basement and breathe through your mouth in order to belong there. Dan Thompson is the owner and proprietor of the store and the man LOVES comics, knows comics and the industry, and is as helpful to the person who has no idea what a New Teen Titan might be as he is to a super-nerd like myself. Dan kills it every day and puts all he has into making comic books something that everyone will love as much as he does. His staff shares that passion and it shows. You can visit them online at http://www.zonecomicshop.com/
You may not live in Louisville, KY, but if you ever find yourself there for any amount of time, please check these guys out, they are tops.
Ok, I have ranted enough and I am sure you are sick of it by now. I know I am. And besides I have lots of video games to play. As I promised, I owe you an announcement about EF in 2012. Well, it wasn't the announcement I had planned to make, but I do have some things to declare. 2012 will be an interesting year for EF. Due to all kinds of things, I have decided not to do a monthly feature like the past two 12601 projects. This is due in part to the rant you just endured, but it is also for personal reasons, mainly, I NEVER want to manufacture content for this blog that isn't honest and real and from the heart. I want this to be about my LOVE of video games, not my slavish devotion to a deadline and content for content's sake. So if I am not being compelled to write, I'm not going to put it out there. You deserve the best I can offer, not just me writing to fill space. That is my promise to you. I also promise to stay real about video games and tell it like it is. I think my next feature will pretty much prove that in spades and I hope to have it to you before Valentines Day.
Also, I am thinking really hard about becoming a priest of Ra-El, and that looks like it will take up a lot of free time. You know....
So thanks for reading and making 2011 really cool. Here is hoping 2012 is even better!