The Daily Pulse 08.30.04

Blah blah blah Introduction. The main eventer for all Inside Pulse. Words words words. Gets more hits somedays than all of IP.com combined. Yackety Schmackety. Egocentric ramblings. Let’s get into it.

Video Games. You know I love ’em. It’s why a vast majority of Inside Pulse readers read and know me. That RETROGRADING thing or what have you.

Anyway, there’s a special this week at EBGAMES. If you trade in 5 Used PS2, GameCube, or Xbox titles, they get you an extra $20 to your trade-in credit. Considering most games are less than 15$ trade in, that’s a great deal basically giving you an extra games worth of money. Or is that deal really so great.

As you heard me mention earlier, trading in games nowadays almost isn’t worth it. You end up trading in 4 or so games to get one new one. There was a time were some used games could get you up to 25-29 dollars a pop? Now? Even hard to find used games are about 11-15 dollars maximum. I find this odd considering the power of Ebay where you can sell used games for a lot more than you can at stores like EB or Gamestop. And yet the buyer can get them for less than at those two places. It’s an odd deal that you would think would position game stores into giving the consumer more money, but in fact they still buy back games for only a dollar or two.

So why would you still trade in games instead of just putting them on Ebay? A few reasons. The first being deadbeat bidders on Ebay. The second is the amount of time it takes to get the payment what with things going through the mail and all. Unless you have Paypal, which was recently settled a mass class action lawsuit for the company being as evil as evil gets. The third being both Paypal and Ebay take nips out of your profit, so unless the game is rare, it may not be worth it. The fourth being the fact you need a credit card to have seller’s account on Ebay, and a lot of 16 year olds don’t have that luxury. The fifth and final reason off the top of my head is simply the convenience. I touched on the time to get a payment from a buyer, but auctions on Ebay take 3-10 days to go through. And your local game store like Game Crazy is only a few minutes away from credit or cash.

So there are a lot of reasons why in fact Ebay has not caused EB or Game Crazy or Gamestop to raise their prices. However in the spirit of competition, all three major chains tend to offer deals to get you to trade in at their store. Some times it’s a buy 3 games get a 10% bonus to the overall value. Of course considering, at best, you’ll get 30$ for your three games, that’s only a measly three bucks. But still, it sound good on paper and so you rush in with all those old 50 cent to 2 dollar Madden and NBA games you might have. And get like ten bucks at the most for your sack of “Lakers vs Celtics and the NBA Playoffs” Genesis carts you have. Oh, who am I kidding. NO PLACE takes Genesis games anymore.

So knowing how little you actually get for your games, what’s the alternative? Let them pile up in your house making it you like you have OCD? Honestly? What is the point of keeping a shitload of games you know you will never play again? Just to show off to your other virginal overweight balding nerdy Star Trek vs. Star Wars debating friends how much money you spent on electronic entertainment? Unless you somehow think being Hoardecore is somehow HARDCORE, there’s no point in it.

Me? I have a lot of games. But I also have a lot of systems. I usually only keep about 20 games per system. My only exception are my beloved Neo Geo systems. Because I will admit to being a fan boy. But also because those games are very very expensive. A used NG cart is going to cost more that 2 brand new PS2 games sometimes. I don’t want to sell an old KoF cart and then regret it someday only to pay 150$ again to get it back. But other than that I only absolutely keep games I know I will play again in the future. I’ll admit I used to be a hoardecore collector. I’d keep rare games, obscure games, and practically every game I ever bought just because I didn’t want to sell the, Sure I loved Lunacy and the story was wonderful, but there was no replay value whatsoever and no point in replaying it, but by god I had to keep it because it was a MEGATEN game.

But hey, I grew out of it. Material possessions are fleeting after all, and what’s the point of keeping something on a shelf I would never play again when I could sell it, make a tiny bit of cash back (or in the case of Lunacy, about fifty bucks), and know that someone else would get the same joy of playing it that I did. That to me is worth far more than keeping it. I’d rather spread the legacy of a game and let word of mouth trickle down so that more and more people will play these games rather than sit on it never to have it be played again. After all, that’s what games are for. TO PLAY. I had this realization about five years ago and never looked back. Of course, you will have to pry my copy of Shining Force two out of my cold dead hands but that’s because I will still play it and replace the battery as often as I have to in order to enjoy its Shining Goodness.

That’s why I feel trading in games is totally worth it. Would you rather have four games you will never play again? Or would you rather have one that you know you’re going to play again and again. Me? I’ll take the one good game over 4 games that inspire apathy any day. Some may say you’re being ripped off due to the low resale value. I say you got some use out of the old games and are getting rid of clutter in your house in exchange for something new and fun that you really want. How can that be a bad thing?

So this week EB Games is doing a special as I mentioned. I went in to the one in Minnetonka as the workers there read and enjoy both InsidePulse and 411mania. Hell, I was greeted by “You’re the guy that gave Doom a 6.0!

I asked, “If I’m trading in 5 games, I get an extra $20 right?” They said yes. I then asked, “What if I wanted to trade in TWENTY games? Would I get an extra 80$?” They laughed and said sure. They’d ring it up that way. So I left and came back immediately with a bag full of games.

You should have seen their faces.

And god bless them, they did it. And with 20 games, I received $162.50 in credit. I figure I should show you know what I traded in and how much I got for each one as EB games doesn’t normally advertise their prices. The price shown will also include the bonus cash. As well I’m going to include Gamestop’s trade-in value for each so you can compare. This way you can see where to go to get more money for certain games.

1. Vampire Night (PS2). EBgames: $9.00 Gamestop: $12.82

2. GunValkyrie (Xbox). EBgames: $1.00 Gamestop: $0

3. Shadow of Destiny (PS2). EBgames: $5.75 Gamestop: $2.85

4. F-Zero GX (GCN). EBgames: $6.75 Gamestop: $3.56

5. BloodRayne (GCN). EBgames: $5.75. Gamestop: $2.85

6. Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance (Xbox). EBgames: $9.00 Gamestop: $4.28

7. Romance of the Three Kingdoms VII (PS2). EBGames: $7.00 Gamestop: $5.70

8. Shadow Hearts (PS2). EBGames: $10.00 Gamestop: $5.70

9. Fatal Frame 2 (PS2). EBgames: $11.00 Gamestop: $14.25

10. Xbox Music Mixer (Xbox). EBgames: $5.75 Gamestop: $0

11. Legend of Zelda Wind Waker (GCN). EBgames: $14.00 Gamestop: $8.55

12. Champions of Norrath (PS2). EBgames: $10.75 Gamestop: $5.70

13. Sonic Mega Collection (GCN). EBgames: $11.00 Gamestop: $5.70

14. Space Raiders (GCN). EBgames: $6.75. Gamestop: $4.99

15. Future Tactics (PS2). EBgames: $1.50. Gamestop: $0

16. House of the Dead 3 (Xbox). EBgames: $11.00 Gamestop: $4.99

17. Magic Pengel (Ps2). EBgames: $5.75. Gamestop: $2.85

18. Midway Arcade Treasures (Xbox). Ebgames: $11.00 Gamestop: $6.41

19. Otogi (Xbox). EBgames: $8.75. Gamestop: $6.41

20. Zelda Ocarina of Time Master Quest (GCN). Ebgames: $11.00 Gamestop: $9.97

So as you can see, Ebgames is by far the best place to go this week for trade-ins. But only because of the $20 bonus for games factored in. Otherwise it’s about half and half as to which of the big two chains would give you more money for you previously owned games. It is interesting to note how even with the bonus bucks, Gamestop still gives you more on Vampire Night and Fatal Frame 2. I guess people must not trade those in very often? As well, it’s interesting to note which games Gamestop refuses to take.

Also note that even with the bonus bucks, only 8 games went over ten dollars at EB. Only two would go into double digits in store credit at Gamestop.

So was it worth it? I think so. With my credit, I purchased a new copy of Skies of Arcadia Legends, which I have never owned. I’ve just had my Dreamcast version. I purchased a GBA to GBA link cable so I can finally give Liquidcross some decent Pokemon as he can’t play that game for shit. I preordered Digital Devil Saga: Avatar Tuner and Pokemon Leaf Green. And still had fifty bucks left over that I will use to preorder something later. That’s 4 games and an accessory I walked out with. All ones I know I will play and keep forever. I mean can you guys see me getting rid of Pokemon or a Megaten game? Well, Pokemon no. But I just mentioned earlier in this column I’ve sold Megaten games before. Now Persona games on the other hand… ;-)

So do I regret trading in any of those games? Not at all. I may miss Fatal Frame 2 and Sonic Mega Collection, but I will repurchase them both on the Xbox as those will be far superior to the originals I had. Shadow Hearts? Well, I have another copy coming in September as that was the bonus offer when I bought Shadow Hearts 1. The rest are all games I enjoyed but knew I’d never play again. I haven’t touched F-Zero GX since I reviewed it for 411mania. That was like a year ago. A YEAR! Why would I keep it? It made sense to get rid of these. I had no use or need for them. Midway Arcade Treasures? I have another copy on the Game Cube. The Xbox version came free with my beloved THE SUFFERING.

I guess the whole point of this section of today’s column is to not only show you where is the best of the big two chains to trade in games, but to let you know if you’re getting rid of games you don’t want or use, you’re not being ripped off. If you’re using that trade-in value for games you know you will enjoy for years, you’re not being ripped off. And if you really want for money for your old $49.99 purchases, then there is always Ebay.

Remember that having a massive collection JUST for the sake of having a games collection is like that middle aged man who goes out and buys a red sports car. Small penis syndrome. If you have the video games just to impress people, you need to take a good long look at yourself. Why not spend that money on an exercise bike. People will be more impressed with you being healthy that your gamer’s ass.

Now there are some games who yes, do have a large collection, but actually play all those games. Widro and Liquidcross are examples. But they are the exception to the rule. I just find it sad that a collection of people keep perpetuating the stereotype of gamers being sad little scrawny nerd saying “All your base is belong to us” or whatever the f*ck that Engrish saying was from a few years ago or talking in Leet or just generally being the kind of people who were so lacking in social skills that they were pretty much asked to be shoved in the locker or taunted for refusing to shower after gym class.

And speaking on that very subject…

Liquidcross already touched on this earlier, but Playboy is going to have Bloodrayne, everyone’s favorite Nazi-killing Dhampir (if you f*cking say Dunpeal I will scream. God damn horrible mistranslators on the Vampire Hunter D Bloodlust move making up a word instead of listening for what was really being said or checking the first VHD film for clarification. And most of f*ck the people actually using Dunpeal as a word.) pose nude in their softcore porn mag.

And people wonder why gamers have such a negative image? Like sweaty palmed sex fiend idiots scooping up Lara Croft game after Lara Croft game wasn’t bad enough? Ignoring some of the worst gameplay in the history of video gaming for the sake of look at some poorly pixilated computer generated ass shots? What the hell is wrong with these people. It’s not even a real woman! It doesn’t even look real! Lara Croft is a video game character! ARRRRGH!

And now people are going to pay money for pornographic images of a video game character. Money for digital boobies? Not boobies of a real person, but boobies of a not-quite vampire? My god people! If you are that desperate for undead bush shots, go find nudie goth girl porn or go to suicidegirls.com! You can look at real girls and PRETEND they are vampires. I mean, jesus, the same type of gamer mentality that even remotely thinks this is cool or neat is the same thinking that caused BMX XXX to exist!

Gamers are always going to be stereotyped as dorky losers as long as shit like this continues to go down. Thanks to Tomb Raider setting off the chain of bad games with ‘hot’ bimbos as the main characters, gamers have gone from being looked at as the people who live in their mom’s basement working a minimum wage job and debating over whether Mario could defeat Sonic or not, to sleazy perverts who live in their mom’s basement debating which Final Fantasy characters make the best pairing for slash fan fiction. Disgusting and sad little people, all of them.

Bloodrayne appearing in Playboy is everything that is currently wrong with the gaming industry wrapped up into one perfect package. It’s emphasizing graphics over a good story and excellent gameplay. It’s making gamers out to be pathetic obsessive freaks that won’t even look at real naked women over a computer generated one. It’s showing the game companies think little to nothing of your intelligence and know if they stick a girl in a thong on your screen, you’ll run out and pay fifty bucks for a game that is as much fun to play as being sodomized by a chainsaw. Ugh. Again, this is the type of mentality that has lead video gaming from being a form of entertainment based on skill, to something appealing to the lowest common denominator. This shit right here is why I shy away from most gamers. Because as long as they condone these massive acts of stupidity, they’re always going to be looked at as people that need a good wedgie.

Right. Enough talking about games. Sheesh.

Plugs

I’ll have an interview with Lexis Numerique up sometime today. Keep checking the games section.

Matt Yeager continues to be the only other guy to consistently do reviews for the Kliq. Thus he is the most deserving of a plug.

Liquidcross talks about Castlevania, a series that helps to cement my own status as a Subcultural Icon in more ways than one. Thanks for the royalty checks Konami!

Mathan is a fellow Guy Gardner fan as so I shall be nice to him. Even if he is not Beautiful.

Gloomchen is the only girl on the staff, which means most of you sad little men will read her column for that reason only, completely ignoring she has talent. And you wonder why other girls won’t write for us????????

John Caroll talks about Magic Knight Rayearth in manga form. I only own the Sega Saturn game and have seen the cartoon however.

James Hatton reviews the latest X-Men comic which shows Josh Wheaton to be as shitty in terms of writing/plotting vampire stuff as he is with comics. Ugh. Just lock him, Byrne, Liefield, and whoever thought it would be a good idea to make Iron Man an evil pawn since the inception of the character in a crate and then drop it into the bottom of the sea.

Cory Laflin writes the only sports column I ever look at on any website. And really, I only read it because he’s a damn good writer. I do wonder if he would ever do a buddy pick with the Lost Boys Cory’s. It could be called “C3”

Grutman makes a dork of himself in a way that only he, Gloomchen, and myself realize. Which is what makes it all the funnier. In jokes are just cool that way.

Eric S is secretly a shill for the anti-spyware industry and each of links in his columns you click on nets him a dollar. Really.

RECIPE TIME

FYI, I’m always amazed that this section is so popular. One of my readers in Australia actually made one of my previous recipes for his family and it went over exceptionally well. Keep cooking people. We’ve got to get some skills in you to ensure eventually someone may want to spawn with you.

This week, I’m talking Duck. The second best of all meats (Lamb is first), and by far the best of all poultry, Duck is best served rare to medium rare, and is a lot easier to cook and prepare than most people think. It also is far more affordable than you would assume, although still pricier than Chicken or Turkey. I have cook books devoted solely to this taste sensation and if you haven’t had a duck dinner before, you are missing out on one of life’s true simple pleasures.

Now often you hear a Plebian of Duck Ala L’orange. Or Duck with a plum hoi sin sauce. Those are the two most common ways you will hear of a duck meal. And yes, Duck goes amazingly well with fruit. The texture of the meat along with the rich and savory taste that can not be describe, only ingested blends with the sweetness of fruit to create a rich tapestry for your palate.

But this week I want to expand your horizons. I considered Duck with a black current sauce, which is a very common French dish, but I realized most Americans don’t know what a current is. So instead, I’m going to give you a combo you might not ever have thought of on your own. Sauteed with a blueberry sauce. Crazy, eh? This recipe also works with Raspberries or blackberries, but as blueberries are the most perfect fruit (I don’t really count a pomegranate as a fruit as you only eat the seeds) what better sauce to serve with a duck? As well if you’re not a berry fan, this same formula works with other fruits, like apricots and peaches. Hell, this recipe is really the all purpose fruit sauce for beginners.

INGREDIANTS

4 Pekin Duck breasts or 2 mallard duck breasts. Either way you should have 2 pounds of Daffy and Donald.

Salt and Pepper

1 cup blueberries

One-half cup port (or one-fourth cup water if you don’t want to use port)
1 cup concentrated duck broth/ one-fourth cup duck glaze (see below)

1 tablespoon of either raspberry, sherry, or red wine vinegar. More if you want that undercurrent flavor to be stronger

2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter

Steps

1. Use a sharp knife to score the skin of the duck breasts in two directions, about 20 slashes per direction. If you’re not sure what the term scoring means in a culinary setting, it basically means to make deep cuts in the skin of the duck, but not so deep that the meat is exposed. You should lean the knife to the side to cut through as much fat as possible. Give the breast a 90 degree turn and repeat. You should end up a ton of intersecting slashes. Think the face of Pinhead from Hellraiser for you low-browers.

2. Salt and pepper to taste. Place duck in the fridge to keep it cool while doing the next steps.

3. Rinse the blueberries and put them in the saucepan with the port. Cover the pan and cook for five minutes over medium heat, then remove the lid and continue cooking for another ten minutes. This concentrates the juices released by the berries. In the mean time, take that concentrated duck broth and reduce it in a separate saucepan to make that one-fourth cup glaze I mentioned earlier. Add the glaze to the blueberries and their juices, stir to combine, and then boil it for 1-2 minutes. The end result should be a very light, syrupy creation.

4. Whisk in the vinegar and butter and season to taste with salt.

5. Heat a sauce pan over medium to high heat and saute’ the duck breasts. Make sure they are SKIN SIDE DOWN. If you are using Pekin duck breasts, this should be 8-10 minutes of cooking, or 12-18 for the mullard. Turn the breasts over than crank up the heat to high. Cook for 1 minute if using pekin, or 2 if mullard.

6. Slice the breasts crosswise, arrange the slices on plates and then spoon the sauce over them.

If you want a good veggie to go with this, I suggest Asparagus, fresh peas, or green beans. If you need an alcoholic beverage, again Port is excellent with this meal if you’re into that. Otherwise I would recommend a fruity wine to match the sauce. Probably a German Riesling or a good Tokay-Pinot Gris. Enjoy.

InsidePulse Staff Member of the week

WEEK 3 WINNER: Brian J. Blottie Why? Because I’m successfully brainwashing him into being a Shin Megami Tensei junkie. Kinda like the Kliq have been, but I’m reaching out to the other sections now. And he bashes FFVII. Good for him. He wins.

INSIDE PULSE FAN FORUM MEMBER OF THE WEEK

WEEK 3 WINNER: Blatherbeard Why? Because I f*cking can hand out these awards to who ever I like. And I like him. Eat it up fanboys. Behold Chaos in its purest form.

Right. I’m done now.