Sunday, August 03, 2008

Branson redux, 360 cuts on the way, and more...

Took off a couple of extra days last week for a mini-vacation, and went back to Branson. It was my daughters last chance for Kid's Fest at Silver Dollar City before school starts back up (Aug 13th! Yay!). We were going to hit SDC on Wednesday, but when we got there Tuesday the forecast was 60% showers (evidently the ones that rolled through here Tuesday) so we pushed it back to Thursday. It ended up being hot and muggy, and a lot of other people must have skipped Wednesday because it was pretty packed.

We did stop at the other GameWerks location (see the June 4th entry) since I knew the one we found last time was closing. It was a really large location that carried everything 'retro' you could think of (Atari, NES, SNES, Sega Saturn, etc...) and most of the hardware also (I didn't remember the Atari Lynx units being so humongous). While we were trying to find this one, I ran across a Game Xchange in the phone book which was just enough off the main downtown drag it could have been open for a while and I wouldn't have known. I guess it's not really a franchise set up, but you can pay to use the name on your location. It was a lot smaller than GameWerks but the prices seemed along the same lines as the locations here.

My daughter wanted to go by Ride Makerz that we seen them working on last time we were there, it really is Build-a-Bear for boys and tweens. She managed to get a 'stock' (non-rc) vehicle for about $18, but you can always accessorize later. The one I wanted to put together (black Dodge Viper, special rims & tires, ground effects (light bars), and RC control) would have hit $80. It's a good thing you can add/change parts later then at least you could split it over 2-3 payments, and I thought the bears were bad.

On the way home we stopped off in Springfield for gas, and I spotted a GameStop (and movies too) in a strip mall so we pulled in and there was another GameStop out in the front building. I went in to discover it was an ex-EB Games location (you could tell with the 'wood' accents everywhere). Nice clean store on the inside, the only thing that struck me as odd was their top row of shelves had to be at least 8' high and they were using it for regular stock. When I left I drove around the corner thinking that maybe they had just moved from the back side to the front and hadn't taken down the sign yet. Nope, around the corner (maybe 150 yards I kid you not!) there was a GameStop (and movies too) location. It was an original GameStop as it had the same blue walls and floors as the Kellogg & Greenwich location here, since it was a and movies too it was pretty good sized store. They had a couple blu-rays, and HD DVD's in stock but nothing I didn't already have, since I didn't see any DVD's at the other location I assumed this was the only on that took them. I asked the lady working if they did a lot of business so close together and she said I would be surprised, she also mentioned that there were 2 more stores in south Springfield that
were only about 1 block apart (I actually think I've been to them before, there by Battlefield Mall diagonally across the street from each other).

All of this is fine two stores 150 yards from each other, but then when we were leaving the strip another store caught my eye, Vintage Stock. Keep in mind I'm still in the same strip center maybe 150 yards (the opposite direction) from the first GameStop, this place was huge they carried games (current, retro), movies, toys, comics, cards, imports, and records. They had a fairly large selection of blu-rays but seemed like everything (except Spider-Man 3 $19.99) was $21.99 used, I don't understand this pricing. I realize that overall blu-rays cost more, but I know for a fact that almost 80% of the titles they had I could buy cheaper online, NEW. It's like Game Xchange here prices all BR now at $19.95 used, umm need to tell you, that's not a deal. Check out the web site in the link above a little way down on the left side you can watch their commercial. Looks like they have ~30+ locations in Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, and a couple up in the KC area.

Big waves coming on the 360 hardware front? ARS Technica reported Friday that there were price cuts coming on all 360 models (unlike the 'clearance' sale on the 20GB units) $199.99 Arcades, $299.99 Pro (60GB), and $399.99 Elites. Then posted a article and image on Saturday showing a screenshot of an inventory system (looks like Circuit City to me...) showing the $199.99 price upcoming (9/7/08) on the Arcade system. The article points out this is pretty good timing, 1 week after Infinite Undiscovery, a couple weeks before the timed exclusive Rock Band 2 not to mention all the other holiday (can you say Gears 2, can you??) blockbusters. Speaking of Gears I dug out my copy a couple weekends ago (which must have been my 2nd because it was still sealed) and started playing again (there was a Play & Win contest going). I'm sure you could search back and find my 'feelings' on Gears, but to sum it up I wasn't a fan. I couldn't get the controls down comfortably, and was switching back and forth between Easy, and Hard it just wasn't what I was hyped for. I managed to get farther in the 2-3 days that I played this time than when I first got it. I got one 'Noob' voice message from someone on my friends list the first night, laughing that I hadn't completed the campaign, although in they're defense they did offer to play through with me on co-op.

New fall TV season is on it's way, and they have started the barrage of commercials tooting the new shows, and returns of the old favorites. I've been watching the webisodes for Heroes online, and looking forward to the new season.

No comments: