Chi-Style Drunksaling: Vol. 5.9 - Hard Candy & Clones

September 22, 2006 By Glenn Turner

Unitdaisy and I were so inspired by the (now defunct) drunkgamers.com's garagesaling adventures that we decided to follow their example and searched about Chicago, scrounging for games and, when we were done, forced others to relive our experience.

For those unfamiliar with the term drunksaling, it's simple: it's kamikaze garagesaling for video games! The following events unfurled on August 26th, 2006.

G. Turner: We didn't know whether this week was going to happen or not - the weather reports fluctuated between storm & clear skies so often that it made my head spin. As you can see by the above picture, it's not quite storming but the sky definitely has a tinge of menace to it.

unitdaisy: Still, it doesn't worry me as much as back in the day when we had to wait for buses in the pouring rain.

G. Turner: Why would anyone try to sell this filth? Oh, right - it's easier than cleaning it.

unitdaisy: Goodness gracious! I can't believe someone actually looked at this and thought "Ok, someone might want to buy this."

G. Turner: While running in fear that the sale's disgusting incense-ashtray would attack us, we ran into the following:

G. Turner: An entire block of shuttered hospital, including an abandoned and fenced-off parking lot. It's like our own private Silent Hill, and a mere three blocks from our house!

unitdaisy: Who put up a chain link fence while the parking lot was full and trapped all those poor souls?

G. Turner: I know where we're going for Halloween!

unitdaisy: Only if you find a big pointy mask to wear.

G. Turner: We arrived at our next sale, a neighborhood alleyway garage sale, just in time to run into Chicago's finest:

G. Turner: According to what we gleaned from eavesdropping, these cops are sent to check and make sure those operating garage sales have the proper permits. Of course, they don't actually do that - they just do cursory walks around the sales and conveniently forget to actually ask for documentation. Nice work if you can get it, I suppose.

unitdaisy: I think they felt it was beneath them to go around and check for permits; I agree. I would much rather have my police officers tracking down violent criminals, illegal garage sales seem a lesser priority.

G. Turner: Without their valiant protection, I wouldn't have found this bounty of Xbox demo discs!

G. Turner: Or this low-rent Tetris portable!

unitdaisy: I actually would not have minded buying this just to see what music was on there.

G. Turner: Goddamn I can't wait for Harp Hero.

unitdaisy: Yeah, that will come out shortly after "Spoons Hero" and shortly before I move out.

G. Turner: Continuing our theme of unsettlingly dilapidated architecture...

unitdaisy: Chicago is a world class architecture city. This may be the work of a new avant guard designer. Frank Gehry eat your heart out.

G. Turner: There was a time when we once delighted in finding outdated technical manuals. Sadly, those days are far, far behind us.

G. Turner: I ain't afraid of no ghost.

unitdaisy: Hmmm, I'll test that theory later, you'll just never know when.

G. Turner: It was at this point I had to remind the missus that our VCR is deep, deep in storage.

unitdaisy: But, but we could have excavated it! This would have been worth it...

G. Turner: Plug & Play is fun, but not as good as the real thing.

G. Turner: If this were a film site, this would be my find of the week. I'm a huge Peter Greenaway fan, and Prospero's Books is one of my favorites of his. And to think that I would have missed this supplemental text if it weren't for unitdaisy's watchful eye!

unitdaisy: My eyes are perspicacious. (ooo unitdaisy loves using her favorite word!)

G. Turner: Around this time, the weather started getting nasty. Clouds were raging across the sky and the wind was whipping through the trees. However, we refuse to quit unless it's pouring, so onward we pressed! Unfortunately all we found at the next sale was face cream.

G. Turner: Actually, they may be candles. I can't tell. Either way, there are a lot of them, whatever they are.

unitdaisy: Actually you can tell by reading the box label in the picture as I discerned with my perspicacity.

G. Turner: I think we've repeatedly learned that we can't always trust what we read. In fact, I think that was a Lesson of the Week!

G. Turner: This is the filthiest candy dispenser I've ever seen. You couldn't pay me to take that off your hands, much less pay you.

unitdaisy: Why would they not dump the container out before selling it - this is truly the week of the lazy sellers.

unitdaisy: City fauna in it's natural habitat.

G. Turner: Generic teenage rebellion kit, only $39.95!

G. Turner: Sure, we may have not hit the video game goldmine yet, but we're doing gangbusters on the print front. For those who aren't food geeks, this is a first print of Mrs. Kellogg's Science in the Kitchen. Mrs. Kellogg is the author of this health-oriented text, as in the wife of Mr. Kellogg, as in 'Corn Flakes' and 'that guy who ran the sanitarium in The Road to Wellville'. This recipe book, while containing not-so-delicious recipes, represents the culture of dietary and culinary needs of the times. While calling her the late 1800's version of Alton Brown is probably a bit far-fetched, the book was still well-worth the price we talked the seller down to.

unitdaisy: Now we can have healthy bowels.

G. Turner: But is the sale at the top of the stairs, or the bottom?

unitdaisy: Ooo the choices...

G. Turner: Sadly, all that met us at the top of the stairs (those who answered 'bottom' chose poorly) was a box full of Piers Anthony novels. Oh, and some grungy pillows.

unitdaisy: Now listen here, those were lovely pillows and they will be the stars of my sitting room.

G. Turner: unitdaisy's roots are showing.

unitdaisy: So pretty.

G. Turner: Finally, some games! If only I cared more about Trophy Hunter and creating my own floor plans!

G. Turner: I'll take my Sonic any way I can get it. Except in spinball form please, thanks.

G. Turner: Oh yeah, I forgot pictures can capture guilt and preserve it forever. When we walked up to this sale and saw these games, we heard a young kid (six years old, perhaps?) talking to the proprietor of the sale and his father about buying something. They never specifically said what, and it seemed that they'd be talking about it long after we'd be gone, so I darted in, paid for the game I was interested in (Republic), and we started to leave. Just as we had made our exit, we heard the father say 'here's the money, buy the game' to which the owner replied 'oh, they just bought it.'

Stealing from a six-year-old. I feel like a big man now!

unitdaisy: Oh please I have no sympathy for the child. When we arrived he was trying to get his father to buy him all the baseball cards instead of just picking out the ones he wanted. If he hadn't wasted his time being greedy he would have been able to buy the game before we even appeared. What does a six-year old need with a communist simulation anyway? He is much too impressionable to be playing it - we saved him from a life of motorcycle riding and rabble-rousing.

G. Turner: That's true - the game is rated T for Teen. We weren't stealing, we were parenting!

G. Turner: Am I the only one creeped out by the idea that someone's reselling candy on their front lawn? Also, Good & Plenty is delicious.

G. Turner: If we ran an 'image of the week' bit, this would be my pick – hands-down. Just look at how intensely he's shouting while swinging that stunted bat!

unitdaisy: Men who get that emotionally involved in pretend sports are foolish. Yeah I'm talking about you, all you fantasy football players.

G. Turner: This is my pick for materials for the next Brick Flick.

G. Turner: Okay, by this point it was closing in on 2pm and a smattering of raindrops had started to fall from the sky. This 5200, which lacked a power supply (and who knows what else), was in desperate need of a cleaning, and had nothing but terribly common games bundled with it and was terribly overpriced. We pitched a 'more realistic' price to the head of the sale, which resulted in her placing a phone call and, ten minutes later, denying our request. So it goes.

unitdaisy: Yeah, goes back in her basement, cause no one was going to pay the asking price.

G. Turner: I'm not exactly sure why, but this is becoming an increasingly common sight at many garage sales: loads and loads of Official Playstation Magazines and Official Xbox Magazines, but never an actual video game for sale.

unitdaisy: Hey little boy, want something sweet?

G. Turner: Stop trying to sell me laced candy!! It's time to go where people don't know the meaning of sweets – let's head to the thrift stores!

G. Turner: What you see in front of you are our winnings from one of the local Village Discounts, i.e. the chain of resale shops that get really upset if you photograph inside. So that's why these are being photoed on top of a Red Eye newspaper dispenser. And now, thanks to The Village, we have a complete King's Quest set, which kind of makes our earlier King's Quest acquisitions look like a pile of crap. And what's that machine in the bag...?

unitdaisy: An answering machine?

G. Turner: See, that's exactly what I was wondering while standing in the very, very, very long service line. The red screamed 'Famicom' but the rest shouted 'household appliance'. Eventually curiosity won out and I forked over $15 for it. More on the mystery machine in a bit.

G. Turner: Hmmm Wing Commander IV? And for a Mac?

G. Turner: $15?! Maybe another day Mr. Hammill and Mr. McDowell.

unitdaisy: This and bottle of rum, do it yourself recovery.

G. Turner: It is miraculous.

G. Turner: We found these at the second local Village Discount. Those who have been reading us for far too long might be saying 'but, you bought a Game Gear two years ago! Yes but, sadly, shortly after I wrote that Columns article, the sound started dying on it. Plus I never had an A/C adapter for it. And this Game Gear came with a free copy of Sonic 2!

unitdaisy: It fits in your pocket! Your very large pocket, now I hope you have two very large pockets.

G. Turner: While parking our car to hit up the final thrift store of the day, I spied with my little eye the following license plate:

G. Turner: It's hard not to applaud that.

G. Turner: Hey, a Gamecube!

unitdaisy: I knew Nintendo was not clever enough to come up with that name themselves.

G. Turner: Syberia's the only new addition here. It's a fine game, if you're too cheap to buy sedatives.

unitdaisy: Zzzz... wha?

Find of the Week: So, remember that odd machine that we lumped in with the King's Quest package? It turns out that I'm just not all that familiar with my Famiclones: it's a Family Boy! In other words, it's a top-loading, non-Nintendo-created console that plays both NES and Famicom games. Consequently, it plays many of my NES games with much less hassle than my two NES decks, which are much more finicky than the Family Boy (although the Family Boy really didn't like my Castlevania 3 cart). Obviously, the big appeal here is the support for Famicom carts, and that's what cinches it as Find of the Week!

Lesson of the Week: Not so much a lesson but a reiteration of what Chris Kohler has repeatedly written: buy now, or you'll regret it later. I was terribly close to ditching the Family Boy but instead decided to take a chance. Ditto with the Game Gear, and I'm sure that A/C adapter will end up paying for itself now that I won't have to constantly refuel the machine with AA batteries. The one exception was the 5200 we ran across - the console itself is far too common and, simply, we don't care about it enough to buy it without cords.

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11 comments for ‘Chi-Style Drunksaling: Vol. 5.9 - Hard Candy & Clones’

#1 Duffman Sep 22, 2006 04:57pm

I just want to say that the school newspaper came out today and all of your articles are so much better than anything they have ever written.

#2 Rex Warner Sep 22, 2006 06:21pm

For SHAAAAAME. Not knowing that "Game Gear" AC adapters are as common as hydrogen atoms? I cluck my e-tongue at you, chidingly.

Or something.

#3 jt-3d Sep 22, 2006 06:51pm

I enjoyed reading this one more than usual. Maybe the dreary weather suits my dreary mood. Nevertheless, while the sales may have sucked for you, the writeup was a great read for me.

#4 Glenn Turner Sep 23, 2006 03:17am

Rex Warner wrote:
For SHAAAAAME. Not knowing that "Game Gear" AC adapters are as common as hydrogen atoms? I cluck my e-tongue at you, chidingly.

Or something.

Heh ... well, to be fair, the AC adapter was the icing on the cake. The real problem was the quickly degrading condition of the speaker on my original Game Gear, and the addition of Sonic 2 to my collection was certainly a plus. Also, we've never stumbled upon an Game Gear AC adapter in the wild, although I'm sure they're easily available online (or at least, a generic Game Gear-compatible adapter would be). I'm just lazy when it comes to online ordering (if we weren't, I suspect we wouldn't be making the garage sale rounds in the first place!)

I'm glad to hear ya guys liked the latest write-up! It looks like there are only a few weeks left, but we'll be making the most of 'em!

#5 R. LeFeuvre Sep 23, 2006 03:59am

If you are looking for a great way to play Famicon games the key is to look for old NES cartridges. At the beginning Nintendo was just taking the Famicon boards and sticking a Fami-NES pin converter in there. They eventually started manufacturing all games for the US NES system...

The key to finding them is weight -- the games that have the converters are slightly heavier. Gyromite is one of the best to look for, it's got a good chance of being the right one, its not _that_ rare and who the hell wants Gyromite anyway (unless you have ROB and even then... eh...)?

Then all you do is open the game up, grab the converter and BAM you can play Famicon games in your NES.

And that brick snowman was not made from official LEGO bricks! Never will I use it! BLASPHEMER! PURITY PREVAILS!

#6 WholeFnShow Sep 23, 2006 11:24am

Generic teenage rebellion kit, only $39.95!

That received quite the chuckle, good stuff.

And hey screw you UD. Fantasy Football is more than just a game. It's life!

#7 Rex Warner Sep 25, 2006 07:16pm

Protip: The Genesis 2 AC adapter is the Game Gear AC adapter. And the 32X AC adapter.

And the AC adapter for the sun, interestingly enough.

#8 Dublyner Sep 25, 2006 09:07pm

Have you ever considered making a market guide for would-be garagesalers?

I really have no idea what a reasonable price is for an Atari 5200.

#9 Glenn Turner Sep 25, 2006 09:51pm

I don't really think we're even close to qualified for that sort of gig, as we really aren't all that knowledgable about hardware and software scarcity and value. However, for software market guides there's Digital Press, and for the Atari-specific, Atari Age, which is usually what we trawl through when curious about hard-to-find items.

Protip: The Genesis 2 AC adapter is the Game Gear AC adapter. And the 32X AC adapter.

And I see it also powers the Nomad - that's good info to have!

#10 Rex Warner Sep 26, 2006 09:59am

Dublyner wrote:
Have you ever considered making a market guide for would-be garagesalers?

I really have no idea what a reasonable price is for an Atari 5200.

Without the AC adapter AND the RF switch, no more than $6.

In fact, $10 should really be your upper limit for any pre-Dreamcast system. Unless it's a holy grail, like the TurboGrafX 16/Turbo Duo, Neo Geo, or the 3DO. That's just for the system and connectors. Don't be afraid to throw down $30 for an NES Power Set with 20 games. God, jump at such a motherlode.

The most I've paid for a game system at a yardsale was (ugh) $30 for a Master System (Hang On and Safari Hunt onboard) with the Zillion gun, and a couple games. Not a good bargain, but I'll never again find the treasure troves I did years ago when I got 3 Master Systems and about 200 carts and cards for $15. Lost it all... ;_;

The best deal? TurboGrafX16, back cover panel, one controller, AC adapter and RF switch... $5

If you're going to find anything, you should go yardsaling every weekend, from 8AM to 2PM on Saturdays. Sometimes just driving around and following signs produces the best results. Or sometimes you can find a sign stapled to a telephone pole that says HUGE 20 FAMILY GARAGE SALE, and find out it was last weekend, but the fuckers never took the signs down.

And my favorite, walking into the sale just in time to see some landwhale carting off a $25 XBox for her screaming brat in the car. What's left at the sale? Avon products, recliner with a broken seat, a black and white TV, baby clothes, broken garden tools, and a crusty keyboard with a $5 tag on it.

Just a pastiche of every crap sale I've hit... though I did miss a $25 XBox by like eight seconds in May.

#11 jt-3d Oct 6, 2006 01:28am

G. Turner wrote:
G. Turner: Sadly, all that met us at the top of the stairs (those who answered 'bottom' chose poorly) was a box full of Piers Anthony novels. Oh, and some grungy pillows.

Finaly I figured out where this came from and me with all the movies too. tsk tsk Yeah, yeah, it's been bugging me. I kept trying to atribute it to The Holy Grail. Oldster brain fart. Just thought I'd share my moment of triumph.