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Monday, April 4, 2011

Goodwill Hunting 2: Extreme Edition: Day 1

Ether is a terrible drug.
This is what my camera saw the first time I tried to take a picture of this place.
This image is NOT Photoshopped. I must've turned my wrist... Or it was trying to warn me.

A thousand Apologies for the infrequency of updates. The forces that be have kept me from keeping the blog updated, but I will have a little more time free up in the coming weeks so bear with me. Last week, I teased a continuation of the Goodwill hunting series. Obviously not the movie, but the hunt through Goodwills and similar thrift shops, on my quest for rare and unusual video games, peripherals and merchandise. My travels would take me to Richmond, the capitol of Virginia. A city where I saw one stretch of about three city blocks occupied by a mammoth goodwill, a pawnshop, and four or five various other thrift stores. There was so much stuff in fact, that I will be breaking this post up into two parts, Instead of the anticipated one. So without further adieu.

The First Goodwill
Goodwill Game Gear
I can't believe someone would just give
this thing away!
From the moment we walked into the first Goodwill on our list of shops to browse I knew we were in for a rush of discovery, but I had no idea that the first leg of our journey would contain such a treasure as this. If I didn't already have one of these that recently had faulty video capacitors replaced, I would totally jump all over this thing. I mean, a Game Gear with a Game Genie, 2 games, a screen magnifier, car and home AC adapters, and a case? For $10.25?! That is the kind of find most collectors dream about. The only issue I could find with the unit was that you had to hold it at a 70ยบ angle to see anything, but it was otherwise perfect! There were a few other odds and ends about, but this was the only article really worth going over in depth.

The Dirt Mall
Bait and Switch
The sign seems obvious... But that's not what's in there.

Flea Market?
Wow... Just... wow...
This was definitely an experience, I can say that for certain. What I can't say for certain is how I managed to not only go into this place twice without losing my wallet or an eye. This "FLEA MARKET" is not so much a flea market, so much as it is a dirt mall filled with knockoff shoes, clothes, electronics, color changing contacts (Good luck with those), and glass pipes for "tobacco." This place looks like an inner-city ghetto decided to squat in a K-Mart while the management was on vacation. Despite it's ragged look however, buried deep beneath the heaps of fake Gucchi bags, light-up belt buckles, fake designer jeans, and the creepy guy who tried to make me think I knew him as he walked by; this potential crime-scene held some remarkable retro gaming and pop-culture artifacts. So enough about the state of this place, let's explore the wonders within.

The Intellivision
Beautiful isn't it?
Even the "Intelligent television," has been known to go slummin'. Though I'm not the biggest Intellivision fan around, (that distinction goes to Samurai Smurfette who's featured in April's issue of Fraggs Magazine), I can't downplay the significance of this find. Seemingly complete and in near-mint condition with a manual, this bastard would have come home with me had it not been for the hefty $75.00 price tag and my lack of interest in the platform :-/. If it hasn't been micturated upon by vagrants or sold already, it's definitely a worthwhile trip to pick this thing up. 

Big Ol' Heap of Consoles
Genesis Does...
At least they aren't in a dumpster, right?
Just to the right of the Intellivision lie heaps of old, beat up consoles. Among them, a few Atari 2600s (both Junior and the old school wood-panel models), a Dreamcast, a stack of Sega Genesis systems, and some Sega Saturn games. This was the first real collection of used games and systems I came across in the dirt mall, so I Figured it warranted mentioning with a few photos. It's also the first merchandise I'd found that looked like it actually belonged in a flea market. I didn't buy anything yet, as I wasn't wanting for spare parts or systems, and I  was still waiting for a big score.

Atari 400
An Atari what?
The last booth we visited ,was a veritable gold mine! There were two guys manning it who insisted on not using ebay for some reason or another, and despite knowing the value of their merchandise, sold everything for far less than it was worth. Odd fellows, but from the sound of it, they simply got a big thrill out of buying up truckloads of unwanted stuff and reselling it via auctions and flea markets. They both seemed sorta crestfallen by the state of this particular flea market, and remarked that the way it was advertised was a bit of a bait and switch. But I was very happy to see them there. The Atari 400 to the left was only $10, but it was filthy and didn't come with any of the components. They assured me it worked, but who knows for sure? These guys were fairly shrewd as well. The younger of the two pegged me as a collector off the bat, and actually managed to answer any questions I had without struggle. Hell, they even offered to sell me the lot of consoles for $50. As tempting as a room filled with musty old game systems sounded, I passed. That's when I saw this sucker hanging out at the end of their little alcove.

Fortress Maximus?!
No dick jokes... What are you, twelve?
The Nerd Primes among you know exactly what this is, for everyone else, allow me to explain. What's pictured above is the coveted Fortress Maximus which-as far as I know, is the largest Transformer ever made. It also happens to be one of the rarest. This Fort Max may be in a state of disrepair, but think of it as buying a rusted-out hotrod. Sure it's rotting out in the driveway for all your neighbors to see, but as time goes by you find opportunities to work on it, and pieces show up here and there. Before you know it you've got a sleek roadster that simultaneously makes your neighbors jealous and your dick seem bigger... That, but in a toy robot... So it attracts way less pussy.

Someone tried to offer less than the $20 the owner was asking for it before I arrived, and left to try and make em sweat a bit. The owner said he'd sell it to me if I got him the cash first. Ten minutes later, I beat the kid by about 2 minutes, and got to bask in his defeated expression before making my final exit from the dirt mall. Seeing as how a complete Fort Max can demand a price well into the $600 range, it serves the brat right for trying to haggle on an already great deal. All in all, a successful trip.

A friend is going to pay me what I paid for Fort Max and I'll have his Christmas and Birthdays covered for awhile (this thing is missing quite a few pieces). As cool as Fortress Maximus is, the real cool shit went down on day 2.

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