16 June 2009

Found needed 2600 cart for -$1

It hasn't happened in a long time, but today I got a 2600 cartridge I didn't have before: Pete Rose Baseball. Unfortunately, this wasn't a quarter find at a garage sale or flea market, but when you've got as many 2600 games as I do (about 300), you'll take about anything new. And in reality, I actually made money on the deal. Well, sort of.

You see, a few weeks ago I found out via Craigslist that there was a new used game shop in town. It deals exclusively in consoles older than current. That is, everything that's not Wii, PS3, or Xbox 360. They've got PONG consoles on their shelves, for Winslow's sake! While I never completely lost interest, collecting video games has been on the back burner with me for a long time. Finding this store, however, has got me interested again.

My interest was mildly renewed upon finding another used game store a few months ago. But this newest store is an improvement over that one in two ways. First, while the other does have some 2600- and NES-era games, the selection is very limited. Second, it's closer. :-) And in general, it's just nice to have a couple non-GameStop video game stores in town.

So, getting back to the point. My trade bait is an absolute mess. I came to realize I've go to pare things down a bit a while back, but haven't done much towards that yet. One of the things I acquired that's got to go are some used Genesis games I'm not really interested in from the local Freecycle group. Those were handy, so today I took them down. There was a couple versions of Street Fighter II, Primal Rage, and some sports games. Unsuprisingly, they only offer $0.50 for sports games, so I wound up with a grand total of $5 for them.

Checking the 2600 games, however, I discovered the Pete Rose Baseball. A game I actually needed! Although worth more, it was $3.99, so she gave me the game and $1. All for a bunch of carts I got for free. So I guess that's:

1) Troll for games on Freecycle.
2) Trade them in.
3) Profit!

08 June 2009

Old photo of Douglas Adams, insane resolution

If you hadn't heard, Jason Scott of textfiles.com is working on a text adventure documentary called "Get Lamp." His latest update mentions the PR photo of Douglas Adams and Steve Meretzky that made the rounds back when the Infocom Hitchhiker's game was released. Scott got to scan an original slide of the photo and has now made it available at 8760 x 6010! Go to the previous link for the blog entry, which gives a bit of context, then click on the photo there for the Flickr link.

04 June 2009

Hasbro's Rom trademarks refused, but it's not over

Obligatory disclaimer: I am not a lawyer! So take anything I say about trademarks with the grain of salt.
In checking on the status of Hasbro's trademark applications for "Rom" and "Rom the Spaceknight," I learned a little bit more about just what information the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has available throughout the registration process. It turns out that the USPTO had issues with every single one of Hasbro's applications. Letters were sent in January and Hasbro was given six months to respond. So we might know something by July 21!

While we're waiting, I thought I'd explain briefly the problems with the filings. First, in every single case Hasbro was told the classification they requested was too broad. Hasbro's lawyer(s) simply copied the description of the entire classes of goods they were applying for. The USPTO wants something more specific in each case. For example, rather than "games," they want something like "computer game consoles for use with an external display screen or monitor."

Second, all the trademarks for "Rom" were initially refused for being "merely descriptive." In other words, Hasbro can't trademark "Rom" for something involving "Read Only Memory" because it's a common descriptive term. Similarly, in all the "Rom the Spaceknight" applications, Hasbro was told they must disclaim the word "Rom" as part of the trademark. In other words, they can claim a specific, stylized logo including the word "Rom," but they can make no claim to the word itself. (I should point out that Hasbro did not submit any specific logos with their applications.) It turns out Casio already has a trademark on a "ROM" logo they use on memory cards for some electronic musical instruments, as seen below.

But the best refusal I've saved for last. Three of the four applications for "Rom the Spaceknight" were refused because of the registered trademark Marvel got for "Spaceknights" back in 2001! Yes, you read that right; Hasbro was refused because of Marvel's limited series featuring Rom's children. Oh, the irony! And unlike Parker Brothers/Hasbro, who let the original Rom trademark expire, Marvel applied for an extension in 2007, meaning Spaceknights should remain a registered trademark of Marvel until 2017, at which time they can apply for another ten-year extension.

Now as I said, Hasbro can refute the USPTO's refusals and answer their calls for clarification, but they're quickly running out of time. I don't know how much lag there is between the USPTO receiving materials and updating their database, but hopefully we'll see something by the end of next month. I promise you that once I know something, I'll share it.

[Next trademark update]