General Retro Discussion

Hopefully this is ok. This thread is for general retro talk about things that really don't need to have a whole thread made for them. It's not really an off-topic thread, because it needs to stick to the retro topic. But this can be a catch-all for shorter discussions that don't deserve a thread.

Does anyone remember an old store, called Best? We used to shop at Best when I lived in North Carolina in the late 80s. It was a huge store that was split into two sections. One half of the store was for all kinds of household items. And the other half of the store was all electronics, and it was awesome! That's back when I was big into my Commodore 64, and they had a whole section of C64 software. I remember being a junior in high school, and the only thing I wanted for my birthday that year was an Assembler for my C64 so I could program in Assembly Language and compile it. I remember marching into that store and picking that off the shelf, and I was so excited about it.



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I don't know whether it's a full-scale retro thing, but I have some sentiment to boxed games. There's not much of them left in my collection, but one thing is really unique - the collector's edition of Heroes V. This box was specially prepared for Polish gamers. Among some standard things that a collector's edition should include, there's a hand-signed thank you card from the co-founders of CD Projekt. Not everyone knows that the company started as a local distributor of games on the Polish market in the mid 90s. The growing digital market forced it to change the form of business to game development and digital distribution. The collector's edition is from times when physical distribution was still a thing.




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I mentioned in @PCG_Ted's weekend Q about CEs that I've never bought one. But your one looks fantastic, I'd definitely go for a quality item like that.

It's one of the few CEs that I own and probably the prettiest. :) This wooden chest looks cool!

A local distributor of cracked games at first though.

That's true. It was in the fist half of the 90s iirc. I'm not even sure whether they were an officially registered company back then.
A local distributor of cracked games at first though.
Ah, the future is bright for them! I did a case study of publishing ~30 years ago and discovered the US industry got its start by pirating all the UK output for a few centuries, altho more so in the 19th—Dickens, Thackeray, Brontes were among many whose works were simply reprinted and sold in US, without any compensation.

It was only in late 19th when US authors became a thing that USA adopted copyright seriously, altho it was to be another century before US joined the Berne Convention—the international copyright agreement.
Wonder if they ever get China to go along with Copyright... I doubt it, its how they manage to sell so much stuff that isn't labelled as coming from them. Very hard to get quality anything now. Guess that is Trademarks but its all the same. They mostly ignore it.

Copyright only there to protect Publishers. 1st version of it was obvious, didn't mention creators but that was overturned by Parliament after about 200 years as it had been used to mess with politics, and one party finally got power who got rid of it, and so they created the 2nd version that pretends to protect creator but really set up to protect Publishers still. This worked great. Publishers could control what was printed and its only writers who didn't make waves that we know of today... as they were published.

Internet and home publishing sort of ruined that but Publishers just control the numbering system for books as well as all the major databases used in schools/libraries, so they can still control what people see, and they still pretty protective of anyone trying to use their stuff for free.

I erm, did a library course so I remember some of the history of Copyright. I had to give a 20 minute talk on it.
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Wonder if they ever get China to go along with Copyright... I doubt it, its how they manage to sell so much stuff that isn't labelled as coming from them.
I used to be a big fan of Nintendo's Wii U, which was a fiscal disaster. I remember when they finally got it approved to sell in China, which is very hard to do. We were hoping that would massively boost sales and actually help it to compete with the other consoles, because I don't think any of the others were selling there at the time. But it didn't make any difference at all for the Wii U to get the Chinese market. Why? Because the market is ruled by knock-off consoles that are loaded with pirated games. In China, it's much easier to sell those than legit gaming devices. And why would anyone buy a legit console with no games when they could buy a cheaper one loaded with games?
Copyright only there to protect Publishers
It varies by country of course, within the scope of the various international treaties and UN oversight. I can only speak for English language countries, but in those copyright protects the creators, and contracts protect the publishers.

Publishers could control what was printed
That is true, but not related to copyright—rather to the costs of preparation, printing, distribution and inventory management.

its only writers who didn't make waves that we know of today
Again, perhaps it varies by country. In 20th century, France was widely regarded as the place where anyone could get printed, so many radical and avant garde authors flourished there.

Publishers just control the numbering system for books
No, that doesn't vary by country, and is under the auspices of the ISO.

Publishers … still pretty protective of anyone trying to use their stuff for free
Yes and no. The big pubs are probably much as you say, but many small pubs embrace DRM-free as a business strategy, and are aware that even raw piracy is usually beneficial to overall sales.
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It sure sounds suspiciously similar to Best Buy, a big box store with all sorts of electronics, stereos, TVs, appliances, cassettes/CDs, and computer games. Best Buy is still around, but it's only a shadow of what it once was (at least in my eyes).
It does sound similar, and at first, I thought Best Buy was like a rebranding. But there is no connection at all. Best went out of business quite a while ago. And even though Best had a huge electronics section, the other half of the store was more like a hybrid between Walmart and Service Merchandise. It sold all kinds of household items. But if I remember correctly, the household side was like Service Merchandise, in that you had to get a ticket for whatever was displayed on the shelf, and they got your item out of the stock in the back. Seems like the electronics side wasn't like that, though.
Quiz: How well do you know these classic arcade games?

How did I do, you ask? Well, you know…



Guess not enough misspent time in my youth :(
I got 5/7. I'm kind of disappointed, though. I misread #1. I thought it was asking for the first home video game console, and Magnavox Odyssey wasn't even on the list. So I got that one wrong. I also missed the highest grossing arcade machine. I should have chosen the obvious answer.


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NPR did an interview of the guy who created Pong, Allan Alcorn , for the 50th anniversary:

"You like to get these strange ones...."
Apr 8, 2023
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You know what's like a wacky journey back in time? Retro gaming! It's like wearing plaid pants and a fanny pack while jamming to "Achy Breaky Heart" on your Walkman. The graphics are all pixelated and the gameplay is simple but tricky - just like trying to fix a broken VCR.

Now, if you want to get your hands on some of those classic games from way back when, you could go searchin' for physical copies online or at a thrift store. But let me tell you, some of those oldies-but-goodies can be scarcer than a hen's teeth. And even if you do find 'em, they might cost you an arm and a leg. So, unless you're rollin' in dough, this option might not be the way to go. :confused:.