Travel Blog (Traders Village, San Antonio, TX)

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If you have never been to Texas, you have not quite experienced the pride that the people here get by doing everything bigger. This was my first visit to Trader’s Village, and it was one of the largest flea markets I’ve ever been to. The place has so many shops and booths that you might not have the time see everything you wanted. I know I sure didn’t.IMG_1358.jpeg

Almost everything is covered in shed type booths. There are carnivals rides in the “arcade” and food venders, which all seemed to be doing more business than many of the venders. I talked to one owner of a baseball card and action figure themed shop, and he said the rain keeps customers away if the morning looks bad. He pays around $260 a month to keep his shed and seems to be pretty happy with his cash business. His business plan centers of “keeping customers back” by pricing everything for $1, even if he knows he could sell it for $10, so that people check his place first week to week and he can build a customer base weekend after weekend. I nicknamed him the Sam Walton of the Flea Market.

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Do you want to buy some birds? There are plenty to buy for cheap. Cages. Food. Why go to Petsmart when you can go to a flea market? Um …

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I was pretty impressed with some of the booths. This booth specialized in toys and games and most of it was stuff you can’t find in stores anymore. Maybe 60% was still new in the package and the prices varied. I’m not an expert on prices of newer toys, but it seems they were all priced for collectors to buy. I looked for the owner, and he wasn’t even in the shop. He was chilling 50 feet away at a seating area just watching his place from afar.

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And there I was, the reason why I came here. I’ve been searching for an original nintendo, but wanted to find one on the cheap with perhaps a stack of games. I visited one impressive shop and it seemed to specialize in everything electronic. He had gaming systems of all kinds: Nintendo, Super Nintendo, Nintendo 64, Gamecube, Playstation, Wii, XBOX, and even a few Atari systems. I got straight to the point and asked about the Nintendo in the box, and the owner (who said he’d been doing this since 1990) said he wanted $200 for it. Holy crap. This is beyond even ebay pricing. Okay. He saw the shock on my face, and said he also had two “new in the box’ Nintendos. How much did he want for them? $2000.

I rolled my eyes and now understood why his shed was filled with stuff, all the way to the ceiling as you can see. He had nintendo games, supernintendo games, and Nintendo 64 games in glass cases along with maybe a couple thousand playstation/xbox games for each system. I asked how much the games were, and he told me “depends on the game.” God damn. Where the hell was I? His business model is to actually eye each customer and play the negotiation game with each person?  I had $300 in my pocket ready to outfit my game room, but he lost me with this gimmicks. I didn’t feel like negotiating him down from $60 he probably wanted for the original Super Mario, down to the $5 you can get it for on ebay. He probably feels people will believe it’s a win-win to get it for $30 after he haggles you to death. He did point me to a nintendo (console only) that was slightly cracked, for $80. I walked out around 2 minutes after.

This was my experience with many of the shops: Gem shops, antique shops, comic book shops, book shops … even used baby strollers were priced at $100. This is absolutely ludicrous.

We left after spending a $4 for parking and $2 for a slushie for the kid.

 

 

 

Game Reviews: ActRaiser (SNES)

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I got this game as a christmas gift. When I opened it, I said, “Cool, another Super Nintendo game to try out.” I thanked my Uncle and went on to play Super Mario World for the next week. To me, that is why I wanted the system in the first place. You see, Mario had this new sidekick Yoshi that he could ride … well, I digress.

Eventually I got to ActRaiser, and at first, maybe due to my age, I didn’t know what the fuck was going on. I mean, I would play a stage, and then it would give me some Tinkerbell type angel to help build a city.

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I didn’t know what the hell I was doing for the longest time, mostly because the game was brand new and my friends didn’t even have it (back in the day, most of the key gamer “tips” came on the bus ride to school in the morning and after). Without a key gamer support system, I went out and learned the game by myself, eventually, beating the whole thing. It was a game that could be saved, so there was little problem taking the slow approach. Someone mentioned on my Sim City blog that this was the first simulation they played, and to me, this was more of a mix-sim. There was some city building, but the options were mostly where to build the next section of town.

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I still remember attacking the fucker from above. He was like a swamp-gargoyle. Like every stage boss, he had a trick to beat him. To beat this particular foe, was to realize he acted like some programmed robot (for some strange reason) and just jumped up and down and then to the other side to slowly shoot fireballs at you. All I had to do was sit on the edge of the ledge and hack him down.

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My favorite stage was the snow stage. The big boss was this cosmic snow dragon who could be beat fairly easily (I think just hitting the attack button to get multiple hits on it everytime it swooped down did the trick).

Eventually, after you vanquished all the mini-bosses and build a town on the entire continent, it was time for the final challenge. You attacked some alien big boss with an “enemy” power bar that seemed to take up most of the screen. It was brief and exciting, but seldom did I want to play the big boss again. I would go back and play the snow dragon, possibly foreshadowing my love for Game of Thrones 25 years later.

CHECK OUT MY REVIEW ON A FULL SIM GAME

Game Reviews: Sim City (SNES)

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I remember my first time witnessing the madness that is Sim City. I was spending the night at a friends house and the teenage babysitter basically ignored us as she stared at the screen and built a city. I walked up and smoothly asked a question on what I was witnessing.

Me: What’s the game?

Babysitter: What?

Me: What are you playing?

Babysitter: (with disdain of speaking to a boy 4 years younger) Sim City

Me: Cool. What are you doing?

Babysitter: Building roads.

Me: Why are you building so many roads?

Babysitter: Kid, go get a sliced of pizza and chill.

Me: Ok.

This was my whirlwind introduction to Sim City. I was like 10 years old and a high school freshman chick with a rack was building shit and making stuff happen and looking cool doing it. I would sneak downstairs and get peaks at her city throughout the night until she would pass out on the couch with a controller on her chest, and the city would continue to grow. I was amazed as this “manager of the year” and put Sim City on my Christmas wish list.

It was my first simulation game. With the help of leaving on my super nintendo all night long, I would build grand cities of infinite funds and learn the basic concept of city management (My mother many times crushed many hours of work by “accidentally” turning off the Super Nintendo, thinking it was left on inadvertently). Early on in my Sim City education, I would wake up and check on my city and find half of it burned down. Fuck. The next day, I would discover half the city without power. Fuck. Sim City7.jpg

Slowly but surely, I learned the principles of city management and eventually created masterworks. If there was such a thing as utopia, I built it when I was 10. Yes, I burned down 50 cities in the process, but it’s no matter, I became a city building boss that could impress a girl 4 years my senior. I even did the strange peculiar things like bulldozing all the roads in my city and replacing it with a rail system and ensuring everyone was in walking distance of a nice park. Because, you know, that’s what we wall want, right?

Eventually, I was ready to show off my city building skills and made plans to impress the babysitter. It took longer than I expected, but a few months later I went over to my friends house to spend the night again, but was disappointedly welcomed by his mother baking cookies.

The babysitter must have been in another castle.

I was a master builder of cities and my only reward was chocolate chip cookies.

Sim City, damn you.

READ ABOUT THE DAY I BOUGHT THE XBOX 360

 

Game Reviews: FZERO (SNES)

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Do any of you remember this classic? When I was like 10, I had a dream. I was going to be the fastest FZERO driver on the planet. Surely, hovercraft death racing would take off by the time I grew up. I had the entire backstory memorized to. (Back in the SNES days, little booklets would tell you some history and give an overview of the controls … unlike today where games give you a damn 30 minute tutorial to learn the controls)

So like any young kid with dreams, I logged hours and hours making sure I could handle all my crafts. I would run down stairs and grab dinner and bring it back to my room because “I was in the middle of competition, Mom.” Screen Shot 2016-04-09 at 4.33.11 PM.png

There was the Blue craft. Boy, did it steer like a can of death. It was almost like the ailerons were still in prototype mode. Whenever you skidded a turn, you kind of skidded. It was the “all around” car.

There was the Green craft. This thing is like a tank. It had the most horse power and could take lots of hits. It handled turns ok and but wasn’t exactly the fastest.

There was the Yellow craft. There wasn’t a kid on the block I knew who used this dainty piece of crap. It had the worst power and would blow up so damn fast if you wanted to “bump the person a little bit to let them know you’re there.” It handled turns the best and accelerated pretty good, but who gives a crap when yo are 10 when you want to ram some shit.

Then there was the craft I used the most. The Red craft aka the “flaming” craft was packed with the best engines the future could buy. It had the best top speed but the acceleration was total shit. Undaunted, I set many track records with the red car after learning the secrets to each track (hug the corners and tap the acceleration on the turns). I wonder if Twin Galaxies will honor FZERO records? I think after dedicated training, I could amaze the FZERO talent scouts of today. Maybe there is some parallel universe I can walk into and battle it out like THE LAST STARFIGHTER.

If any of you tout yourselves to be an FZERO champion, speak up, and we will compare times on “THE TRACK.”

You know which one I’m talking about. The one built for one purpose only … FZERO top speed.

TALKING ABOUT SPEED, CHECK OUT WHO HOLDS THE CURRENT SUPER MARIO RECORD