On this day I made a 40-minute trek to reclaim bits and pieces from my childhood. If there was one thing I enjoyed more than playing with my gaming group in the early-mid 90's, it was reading the latest EGM-slash-GameFan
Through neither eBay nor Craigslist, but a message board, I found a collector who was a 40-minute drive away, and had a crap load of magazine doubles. I didn't know for sure which issues he had, but he was a well-respected member of the community, and invited me to stop by some day to pick out which doubles I wanted to buy. We agreed on Sunday, March 19, 2006
And so it was on that warm idyllic Sunday afternoon that I began my odyssey. It was a nice, peaceful, quiet suburban neighborhood. As I stepped out of my car I could hear the gleeful laughter and scampering of the local kids playing on their lawn.... the sprinklers watering the plants.... the smell of the grass... an ice cream truck slowly passed by... this was classic upper-middle class America
We greeted at his front door. On the sofa was his laptop and I laughed inside when I saw he had the message board up on his browser. He looked like what I imagined. He guided me to his garage, which had been transformed into a gaming dungeon. Arcade machines adorned the walls proudly and, of course, a ton of boxes home to countless doubles rested on one side of the room
I stifled through looking solely for EGM and GameFan
I was looking for the 16-bit goodness. I gathered all the 16-bit related GameFan doubles he had on offer, of which there were 13 issues. He didn't have the earliest ones but I didn't care, I was just so excited to see these old memories in the flesh for the first time in... God... it must have been well over a dozen years
As this was going on, we chatted about games, the message board and whatnot. After I procured the GameFan doubles I wanted, I went to work with EGM. I already had re-bought the entire 1994 EGM set, which my brother subscribed to back in the day but threw out in the late 90's. So I was looking for whichever 1992 and '93 issues he had -- the "Golden Age" of not just16-bit gaming, but EGM's as well
Luck be my lady, he had doubles of January '92 through December '93, sans two issues
We laid the issues out on his washing machine
Now, it was pricing time...
And as I looked at the bundle of goodness sitting there on his washing machine, this was where I could feel the needle bursting my bubble of joy. You see, I only brought with me $68 cash. SIXTY-EIGHT
There were 35 magazines. That would be less than TWO DOLLARS per issue!
Online, they can easily go for $5-$10 each, some possibly $15 an issue!
Oh well, I can remember thinking. I'd be more than happy if I come away with half of 'em...
"So," he started, waving his hand at the stack of issues. "How much do you think would be fair for all of this?"
Reaching in my pocket, I pulled out what I had
"I got sixty-eight dollars," I said, expecting the worst
I paused and anticipated his disappointment.... or laughter
... Maybe both
And then, with a smile crossing his face....
"Sounds good to me"
WOW. I almost did a double-take! That made my entire week! You couldn't find a deal online this good, ever
He's a savvy guy. He knew he could have made double or triple. But, lucky for me, he only cared about seeing them go to a good home
He helped carry the magazines to my car and then invited me to check out his game room upstairs. There he had his personal "untouchables" (fitting term for a man who just gave me a Gandhi-sized deal) magazine collection, and they ranged from ELECTRONIC GAMES to VIDEO GAMES AND COMPUTER ENTERTAINMENT. I mentioned I was looking for SUPER PLAY -- a UK Super Nintendo magazine held in high reverence within diehard SNES circles. He didn't have that one
About ten minutes later, we bidded farewell
That afternoon while I was driving home on the freeway, I took a couple glances at the treasure resting gently on my passenger seat... still in awe and sheer disbelief
Every once in a while, on a lazy warm idyllic Sunday afternoon -- JUST LIKE that fateful Sunday of March 19, 2006.... I grab a couple random issues, plop in bed and spend a few moments re-reading and re-living the magic that was EGM and GameFan... recalling a much simpler time
A time when the Genesis and Super Nintendo were battling, when arcade games only cost 25 cents... my old gaming group... my old best buddy Nelson...
These mags are simply classic... simply timeless...