ArkInventory Rule for Rare Baits in 7.1.5

ArkInventory did not include a ready-made category for the rare bait items in Legion, so I made a rule for it. Hope this helps!

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Round 1 Taunton – Arcade Opening

Round 1 is a Japanese arcade conglomerate, as in “All those things they say about Japanese arcades is true (and partially because of) of Round 1”. They are known for arcade games, karaoke, bowling, and amusements in Japan. That’s not remarkable, as Sega does this, Taito does this, loads of independent arcade operators do this, in Japan. 

Round 1, however, started to branch out to the US. What?!

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Japanese arcades still thrive, partially due to the limited space in Japanese homes, and partially due to the fact that culturally, “going out to play games” is still a thing. There are several different games that use a networked score and setting tracking system in the arcade that see wide usage in Japan, despite subscription fees. Sega has “All-net” which it uses for games like Mai Mai and Cthunim, Namco has Banapass, which it uses for Crossbeats and Tekken, and Konami has E-Amusement, which it has used for years in music games like DDR, IIDX, Pop’n Music, etc, but also uses in games like Road Warriors, Silent Hill, and Bishi Bashi. These networks were ONLY available in Japan until very recently, and only in Asia until even more recently. Konami in the US has tried E-Amusement on three separate occasions, with Supernova 2 US in Naperville, IL, with Beatmania IIDX Gold in Woonsocket, RI, and in Los Angeles, CA at the Round1 with DDR 2015’s Location Test (which, honestly, is irrelevant, read on). None of them truly broke out of the “Testing” phase, and demand only passing mention.

Round 1 has tremendous clout in this scene, as they’ve been able to break down walls that have been impenetrable before them. They stock games in their US location that are Japanese, and REQUIRE the networks to boot. So, for the first time, we have games like Gitadora, IIDX, Sound Voltex, and others that are not only here, up to date (read: not bootlegs), and on the official Japanese networks. That is a huge, huge thing.

There have been locations in California for a few years now, and one or two in Texas. A bit too far for a trip to an arcade, but still nice knowing that its there. I knew that a Round 1 was being built in Taunton, MA for some time, as I’d taken a trip to Framingham, MA for a wedding, and was able to check out Game Underground, but heard rumors floating around about R1 in Taunton, which is pretty close. I’d not paid attention to it for a while, but heard that they were opening on 12/26/2015. I’m working all that week, but the weekend is open… So I check hotel rates, and low and behold… $99! I collect my friends, and 5 of us leave at 4AM from Baltimore on 12/26. 

Connecticut has the best rest stops. New Jersey’s rest stops are filthy, in comparison. Their sign work is hap-hazard, though.

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We arrived at the Hilton in Providence, RI around 10:30, and they let us check in early, which was lovely. Ryan met us in Providence, and we jammed into his car and drove the last 40 minutes up to Taunton. We stopped at a diner called “Cindy’s”, which is pretty funny, if you consider that the reason 3/5 of the car was interested in this trip was because of the software from a certain pig-themed website. They had really excellent food, and their yelp aggregate was 4.5 stars, with 1 of 4 “$” signs, which PJ has fairly interested in. Canned soda was a detriment. Honestly, its 2015, get a soda fountain.

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After our giant breakfast, we finished the rest of the trip, and made it to Round 1 just about 12:55PM, about 5 minutes before open. The place was clean and smelled “new”. Quote Nick, “This is the absolutely the last time this place will smell like this.”

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We quickly found our way to the music games, and I was slightly miffed to learn that early reports that the DDR machine was old, and running old software, were accurate. The pads for all three dance games were also sitting on their wheels, and I asked the arcade tech to put the feet down, which he did, thankfully. The DDR machine needed a monitor cap kit and flyback, and the pads needed to be raised up in a pretty serious way. It was like stepping into pot holes. 

The pump machines were a pleasant surprise. Two TX machines side by side are imposing and impressive. The Prime machine was essentially inaudible, but the arcade tech fixed that as he was fixing the pad feet. Infinity was all goofed up, the USB ports were not configured correctly, in fact, one of them wasn’t plugged in at all. The game was also not in HD mode, which looked BUSTED next to the prime machine. I asked the tech to fix stuff and told him exactly what was wrong. It felt very neat to work with a Japanese arcade tech from R1 corporate on a machine. I told my wife “A Japanese guy working on a Korean game produced by Americans.” I lost my USB stick there too!

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The crane game section at R1 was impressive as hell. I know its a HUGE draw in Japan, and was actually expecting to get some market research done, which I did. R1 uses card swipes, which benefit from the obfuscation of a credit system (4 credits for a dollar, but if you buy $50 you get credits extra, etc). The crane games were averaging $2 a play (if paid for outright with non-bonus credits). I saw people swipe and swipe and swipe for a $4 plush. At an academic level, I’d like to know how much of that entire place the crane games pay for, how much the extensive redemption game section pays for, etc. I bet redemption and cranes pay for most of it, and the profit comes from beer, etc. 

We decided to take a break around 7. I had compression gear on, because dance games get me sweaty, and I stank really bad. We went to a place called “2 Jerks Barbecue”. The server was a nice guy, recommended the ribs. They were good, but not Black Hog. Nothing is, though. I will say that their brussels sprouts might be the best I’ve ever had. They were roasted to perfection and had gigantic pieces of ham in them. 

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We went back to Round 1 after that, and I played some SDVX and Initial D, which was a lot of fun. We also took a picture in a Purikura, which is a Japanese Photo Booth with tons of options, including making your eyes super huge. 

We left around 10:30, and the server from the BBQ place was outside, as he was under 25 and they wouldn’t let him in. So, we got him in, and his party, and bailed. We got back to the hotel around midnight, and walked to 7-11 through Providence’s Federal Hill neighborhood. That neighborhood alleges to be the happening neighborhood but it kinda sucked. We crashed out pretty hard and woke up around 9. Munk and I walked to Starbucks and, thanks to Hilton Honors, had some breakfast vouchers at Shula’s in the hotel. We did that, and hit the road. It took us about 10 hours to get home (though we DID stop at Red Robin in Hamilton, NJ).

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Overall, a memorable trip, but not for the arcade part. The whole thing harkens back to a time when we’d travel to NJ for video games. Funny enough that the only person that is still around that I used to do that with is PJ, and he was with me. We were checking into different places on Facebook, and people were asking us why the hell we were there (in addition to sticking out a bit in local dining establishments, with no New England accent). Telling people we were there for an arcade opening seemed to incite some funny looks. I hope to never get to a point in my life where a trip is considered “stupid” because its something that not everyone does. I had a great time, and voted with my wallet. If Round 1 can make Dave and Busters move in the right direction, I can’t wait for the future of arcade gaming. I hope I never “grow out” of it. 

In fact, I pledge to infect my kids with a love of bright lights, road trips, junk food, bad jokes, in-jokes, obscure references, irreverent comments, and great friends. And dance games, lets not forget how we got here 🙂

LED upgrades to Pump It Up Pads!

Last post, I told you that I got a dance game. I did.

I’ve cleaned one side of the pads, ordered some parts, and did some planning, but the latest and greatest was that I replaced the old CFL pad lights with LEDs.

The old ones look like this. They have a silly little inverter and a dust guard and the base is made from wood. These things are completely useless, and they’re fragile and ultimately a waste.

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The process is very easy. I looked at this video from OMG Kon! and ordered 10 of the LED strips from superbrightleds.com. The part number is LSMCC-CW4X3-LP and the link is here. I actually ordered 18, because we’re going to convert PJ’s DDR 573 machine to these as well. The shipping was ~$5, and it came in about a week.

Once you’ve gotten your pad open, remove the entire wood piece that holds the CFL assembly. There is a small plug that connects a yellow and white wire to the assembly, make sure you unplug that! Thats the power for our LEDs. You can then strip about 1/4” of an inch from each one and put quick disconnects on them. I use alternating male and female so that you can only plug the LED in the correct way (ground on the LED is female, positive is male, and on the cab, ground is male, and positive is female).

On your pump cab, the white wire is ground, and the yellow is positive. Give your pads a good cleaning and vacuuming while you’re in there! Mount your LED using the supplied adhesive directly to the metal.

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Check them out!

I bought a dance game

I bought a dance game. I’ve played “Dance Dance Revolution” for the better part of two decades (wow, that was intense to type), so the thought of owning a machine has loomed large in my head since I bought my house in 2008. I was under the assumption that a dance game simply would not fit in my house, because doors are not wide enough. Turns out that the standard interior door is 29.5-30”, which is not wide enough. The back door to my basement, however, its 34”, which is well wide enough, so the search began.

There are several versions of a DDR machine, the Japanese version being the “one you want”. These machines can be had from $600 to $2000, and while the market dictates, usually $1200 is a good price. There are some parties that import machines directly from japan with the latest-and-greatest hardware, usually for $3000-4000. I was set to buy one of those in February, but Ganon got sick, and pretty well drained the DDR machine fund (and a couple others too). if I can’t have the one i *want*, I figured, I’ll get one for a steal. 

After searching for several months, it became clear that the market was not supporting my vision for an adequate price. Its worth mentioning at this point that another game exists, called “Pump it Up”. I’ve never been a huge fan of this game, but it is actively developed, and I’ve played it a lot in the last year at Save Point in Westminster, MD. The new versions, infinity and prime, are really excellent. Its amazing how a game so similar can feel miles apart in style. 

At any rate, several arcade liquidation auctions came and went, with no real results (besides people paying way, way, WAY too much for 10-15 year old arcade games). I’d resigned myself to wait even longer, thinking about even going into the “new machine” territory, the $3k-4k range, again. I was working a catering gig on October 10, 2015, and I got a text from a friend that said “Pump GXv2 with an mk6 in richmond for cheap!!!! WE’RE GETTING IT TOMORROW”

(There are several versions of DDR machines, and there are even more versions of PIU machines. There are 3 “computers” used for DDR games and there are 4 “computers” used for pump games. GXv2 is nice, because it has a 34” flat screen CRT display, which is gigantic, and the mk6 is capable of running a lot of cool stuff, including the newest versions of the software).

I got off of work at 1 AM in Glen Burnie, MD. I was able to take home a bunch of food from this event, which was awesome. I go in the car and got home around 1:30, or so, put all the food away, and took a shower, and around 2:30, i sat down to “sleep” a bit. Took about a 20-30 minute nap, and jumped back in the car to go to Richmond.

Of course the tunnel was closed. Great. 

So I get to the DC beltway, and I’m meeting Eric, who has the truck. He’s driving from Westminster, MD, so coming down 270, and I think “sure, no problem, we’ll hit a park and ride and go from there.” But funny thing about DC: there are none. So I drove down 495, and finally kicked over to a 7-11 in Annandale and camped out. After he met me there, we traveled to the Wal-Mart in Fairfax, and I jumped in the truck, and away we went. 

I have been struggling with some neck problems, so it should be noted that, if you intend to move a dance game, try not to go into it with neck problems.

Several hours later (through Fredericksburg, through Richmond, and onward, into Colonial Heights), we arrived at a Sheetz. I thought this was just to meet up with Eric’s friend, who turned out to be a guy that I well SHOULD have known, and have probably been in the same room with, multiple times, by now. So, we refuel and pick up Spencer, and we drive to the Southpark Mall, which is about a quarter mile away from the Sheetz (there was a plan, even though i didn’t know there was a plan), and we head into “Fun Depot”. This mall, y’all, is literally moments away from a Burlington Coat Factory. Granted, we were there on a Sunday morning, but the place was DEAD. Not even mall walkers!

So this place is a full-on arcade, redemption and everything, but, as malls are doing, its apparent that the real estate rates are plummeting, because this guy has a HUGE amount of storage there. Anyhow, there sits my machine, neglected.

 

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We played a quick game on it, and Eric told me it was in bad shape. My side was fine, I think he might have been negging but who knows. Eric is distracted by a shiny thing (two Virtual-On machines for sale) and I’m left to make this decision. It hits me, all of a sudden, that I’m about to spend a lot of money on something that is really, really stupid in the long run. But I like it. And its cheap ($650). Some great quotes from the previous owner, Alex, include “This is the most money this thing has made. Probably more than its made in the last 5 years” and “They don’t even play one song. They put a token in, start a song, and walk away.” So I buy it. 

We load it in the truck, which, let me tell you, is horrendous. Here is me and Spencer mean mugging.

 

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You may have noticed that the truck is a military humvee. It is. 

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I was nearly late to my wife’s birthday dinner because of a dance game. We got back to Fairfax to get my car around 3:15, and it became evident that we’d never make it to Baltimore and get this thing unloaded. Eric suggested that he come to my house on Monday to take care of this thing, and so away he went… With my dear dance game in the back of his truck. 

Laura’s birthday dinner is at Kobe in White Marsh, so I struggle through dinner (still no sleep, if you recall from way up there), and its pretty good, to be honest. I haven’t been to a hibachi style restaurant in some time. We got home and I absolutely crashed. Sleep is so wonderful when you’re missing it that badly!

Fast forward to the next day, and my neck is killing me, but Eric says he’ll be here tonight, (Monday, October 12, 2015) at 4PM. He shows up at 6:30, and decides, as if it was nothing, we’re going to take the monitor out because reasons.

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The monitor removed, the computer removed, the amp removed, the pads detached, we THEN carry the machine down my steps. It wasn’t that bad, just awkward. Heavy and awkward. Nick, Steph, Eric and I got this goddamned thing into my house. So it’s here. Its missing a lot, it is in desperate need of a cleaning. But its playable!

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Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask

At the risk of becoming a TOTAL fanboy, I’m going to temper this post with the opening statement: I am not a paid advertiser for Level5 games, or Nintendo.

I love the Professor Layton series of Nintendo DS games. Love is a strong word, but I’m actually ready to use it. The games, if you haven’t played them, are essentially narrative puzzle games with anime-esque cut scenes that tell a story. It doesn’t seem all that engaging, and I guess it isn’t. The voice acting in the cut scenes adds some depth to the characters, and makes you want to get to know them. I’m not sure if I am prone to empathy towards video game characters, but I tend to get pretty attached to them, and their story. I’m not going to go as far as “heartbreak,” but when Garrosh Hellscream killed Cairne Bloodhoof in World of Warcraft: The Shattering, I was as angry as I’ve been about a story. I felt betrayed, and these are just pixels in a game. I wish I could utilize a creative medium that would evoke such emotions from people!

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I’m certain I can think of other characters i’ve exhibited way too much empathy for… Gau in Final Fantasy 6, Dixie Kong in DKC3, even Starfox has some moments. I guess what I’m saying is that Professor Layton is a brilliant guy (so he’s portrayed) and he’s got as much of a story as any video game character. Of course, any detective type narrative paints the detective as brilliant, since having a garbage detective doesn’t exactly make thrilling entertainment. 

I can’t tone-down my interest in these games. I know that when games, ANY game, is released there is related marketing stuff, and I’m winding up the hype machine, figuring out which of the promo items i’m most interested in digging up. I played a lot of the DS games, but have since lost the games, so I think the first step is getting a really good, solid collection, and perhaps an action figure, or something small. The music to the games is pretty neat, so maybe the OSTs as well?