21 July 2014

Greetings from Québec... []

So the past few days I've been on vacation in Québec City. It's a fun place to visit, with lots of historical things to see (interspersed with the usual tourist traps) and amazing places to eat. Of course, it's also incredibly overpriced, but that's de rigeur (lol French).

On that note, it's of value to know at least a few words of French if you plan to visit. However, all you usually need to do is greet people with "Hello" instead of "Bonjour" and they will switch to English. So as long as you learn basic signage ("Entrée" and "Sortie" and "Arrêt", etc.) one should be fine.

I did also manage to find some time to say hello to a friend of mine, a local of Quebec City, whom I'd only ever spoken to online. As we're both collectors of retro video games, he insisted upon taking me to a shop not far from my hotel.
The store wasn't much to look at from the outside, but as soon as I entered I knew the trip had been worthwhile. Those in the Pittsburgh area will know of a store chain called The Exchange (I'm not altogether certain how widespread it is) which buys and sells movies, music, and games. This store was just the games, and it had them aplenty.

Not only did it have several shelves of Atari 2600 games, but it also had a sizable selection of both Nintendo, Super Nintendo, Famicom, and Super Famicom games, as well as Sega Genesis, Turbografx-16, etc. I was a bit annoyed to find several ColecoVision cartridges sorted among the Atari ones, but as they're easily identifiable (by the indentation in the back for the controller overlay, if not the word ColecoVision on the front), it wasn't too much of a problem.

What impressed me most, however, was a Vectrex console sitting on the counter. If only they had games for it other than Cosmic Chasm, which was being sold with the console (and which I already have).

Before we left, my friend and I had to go a few rounds on the free-play Mortal Kombat machine. Raiden is so cheap (muahahahaha).

I also walked away with five more Atari 2600 carts to add to my collection (see attached photo).

Fortunately, Canada also uses NTSC television, so there shouldn't be any region issues. EDIT: Yep, they all work.

Full disclosure: this is actually being posted from the United States. I started composing it on the plane in Québec before takeoff, out of range of the airport's wi-fi network (and International data usage is expensive!), so the rest of it is being written (pecked out on my cell phone's keypad) on the flight back, to be submitted once I am again on terra firma and regain access to the Internet.  It's the thought that counts.  EDIT: Actually, I posted it before walking through customs, so technically I wasn't in the country yet when it went live...

Final thoughts: If you haven't yet visited Québec City, do so, if only for a couple days. I think I still enjoy walking around Montréal more, with their vast, expansive underground complexes, but Québec is now officially Ninja-approved.


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