I was let off work a little early on Friday because of the holiday weekend. I thought I'd hit the comic book shop before going home as Fantastic Four #589 was out and it might have more Dire Wraiths in it. (I ultimately discovered it doesn't, but Rom is mentioned by a letter writer in the letter column.) To avoid an intersection that gets nasty at rush hour, I decided to take the old way to the store. Unfortunately, I was having a senior moment and started to take the way to a store that's been out of business for years now.
After getting back on track, I realized I was passing a thrift store I'd seen a few times, but hadn't yet stopped at, so I did. I'd been in the store maybe a minute when I spotted a Master Merlin. I'd never actually held one of these sequels to the classic Parker Brothers electronic game, so I quickly grabbed it. When I finally got the battery compartment open, it looked okay. Some minor battery acid on one contact, but nothing that looked like it would prevent it from working. Worth a $2 gamble, I thought. I also found a Michael Bolton CD with several of his hits on it. He probably hit his peak back when I was in college and my iPod is currently Bolton-less, so this is a great buy at $1.
I finally stumbled upon a box of 2600 games. And VIC-20 games? Huh. Anyway, looking through them, I see one title that I don't think I have. Unfortunately, my PDA with my lists of games owned died a while back, so I'm shopping blind. After being quoted a $3.50 price with only $5 on me (cash only store) and $3 already committed, I decide to take the gamble that it won't go anywhere before tomorrow after I check to see if I have it.
I get home. The Master Merlin works fine, I'm happy to report. And it turns out I indeed do not have Solar Storm by Imagic in my 2600 collection. Let the worry begin that it'll disappear before I can return.
Finally, late Saturday afternoon I get back to the store. The box is still there, but someone's moved some of the games around. Looking, looking, whew, it's still here. When I get to the register, it's only $2.50 plus tax. Either I heard him wrong yesterday or their prices are inconsistent. Finally tested it late Saturday night, just before posting this, and it works just fine.
I honestly cannot remember the last time I found an Atari 2600 game I didn't have at a thrift store. Yes, I found one at a video game store last year, but that's not quite the same. Most of my finds of games I didn't already have of late have been Intellivision games, which is not my primary system of interest. The 2600 is. I'll be savoring this for a few days.
Postscript: My timing couldn't have been better, apparently. On Monday, this thrift store posted an ad to Craigslist specifically mentioning "Atari Video Game systems" [sic]. So if this thrift store wasn't on my competition's radar before, it is now.