Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Miscellaneous blog bites, including Branson, consoles, COX, and Gamestop thoughts.

Well, made it back from Branson over the weekend, this time salmonella free (yay!), although the Bell is trying to lure me back with those Frutista Freeze drinks.

Overall not much had changed we lucked out and hit Silver Dollar City on Wednesday and it wasn't very busy at all, I don't think we waited more than 5-10 minutes in any ride line. The new Giant Swing was pretty cool, I wasn't too thrilled the first time at 9am right after breakfast, but later in the day we went back and rode it three more times and it was great. Rode all of the roller coaster 'regulars' Wildfire, Powder Keg (probably my current park favorite), Thunderation, and Fire-in-the-Hole as well as some of the other stand-by rides including Lost River of the Ozarks because my daughter was intent on getting wet. Keep in mind that last week we had a pretty nice day last Wed it was about 73 degrees with a light breeze, even though it was mid-afternoon when we rode (man was that water cold).

We hit some of the area shops including the pawn shop downtown (snagged a PS3 controller, blu-ray movie, and a PS2 game), and a Music/Video/Game shop (a couple more blu-ray discs). The last day we were there we were just kinda driving around and ran across a GameWerks store, picture a much larger GameXchange that sells every system format. There were Atari Lynx cartridges, TurboGrafx 16 cards, not to mention NES, SNES, N64, Genesis, GameGear, etc... After coming home and checking out the website it seems that it is a Branson area only shop with 2 locations. The pricing wasn't bad but didn't see anything I needed desperately, although their posted trade-in prices didn't look too bad either.

I got home to find that evidently the Ninja Gaiden II demo was up... in Japan... and was supposed to be coming for the U.S. later, which turned to Tuesday, which turned to today, and I still don't think it's up yet. The game however did ship yesterday so it's now available in stores, so who needs a demo? I've never understood why they don't get the demos out before the release of the game, I can't be the only person who sometimes is actually swayed one way or the other by a demo. BioShock great demo that cemented my craving for the game, I bought Culdcept Saga because I enjoyed the demo, of course it can teeter the opposite way too, Hour of Victory horrid demo that scared me, Turning Point, and Turok were others that didn't kindle any desire. Anyway I guess the moral is I need my demos early to help me make informed choices (especially on titles I'm not 100% sure about) sure there is some info I'll gather from customers, podcast, and various websites/forums, but nothing beats 10-30 minutes of 'hands on' time.

There is a demo up right now for Crash Time which looks to be a Burnout (think 1,or 2) clone, but there is so much trash talking going through the forums about it I don't think I'll even try it, on the other hand Xbox360fanboy says the demo for Civilization Revolution (single & multi-player) will hit LIVE and PSN tomorrow.

My dvr also had a surprise for me when I got back home, COX has added Sci-Fi, Lifetime, USA, Bravo, and MSNBC channels to the HD tier. USA is a welcome addition with new summer episodes of Burn Notice, Monk, Psych, and the new series In Plain Sight. There are a couple other new series I'm interested in checking out this summer Flashpoint (CBS), Fear Itself (NBC), Charlie Jade (Sci-Fi), and maybe Swingtown (ABC).

The Mole returned to ABC Monday night, and while I miss Anderson Cooper as host, I don't miss the celebrity crap from the last two seasons (back in 2003, and 2004). One of the fun aspects is playing along at home trying to figure out who the mole is, they give you clues each episode (usually obscure, and subtle) that reveals the Mole's identity, but until the final show when they show them and give you the context do you understand them. The first episode this season and in the first challenge one of the contestants (Victoria) had a green 'Mole' fingerprint on her helmet, blatantly obvious? Are they trying to get the home viewers in on the setup or is it some weird red herring?

Check out the current issue June 9, 2008 of Fortune magazine there is a 4-5 page article on GameStop, titled GameStop racks up the points: Meet the people who run the store your kids never want to leave.. More or less a timeline from the start when Barnes and Noble purchased B. Dalton and acquired 5 Software Etc. locations, to a couple years ago with the EB Games buyout.

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