November 15, 2022

Are Millennials / Zoomers nostalgic for GameStop, as Gen X is for Blockbuster?

I'm going to re-post a lengthy comment of mine into a standalone post, since it is a bit far from the original topic, though still of general interest. See the comments beginning here for the background -- talking about the availability, or not, of classic video games in the online-only era, when physical media no longer exists, more or less.

Part of my broader interest in contemporary archaeology, like collections of beer and soda containers left behind in hang-out spaces in the woods around suburbia, back when young people used to go there for fun (mainly in the '70s and '80s). Or carvings in sidewalk cement, or carvings on trees, and the like. Physical, tangible traces and remains of an earlier "vibe" or zeitgeist -- not just intangible memories and stories.

Corporeal (as opposed to cerebral) people of any generation could be interested in this stuff, so here it goes.

* * *

Are Millennials and Zoomers nostalgic for GameStop now? I would be. I know there was the meme stock thing, but I mean actual nostalgia for the store, the way they get misty-eyed about GameFAQs walkthroughs.

I stopped playing most new video games after the '90s, but still hit up GameStop in the 2000s to get those compilations of old games for the PS2 or GameCube -- the only reason I bought those consoles. (Used and cheap, both the games and consoles.)

Only contempo games I bought (used, cheap) were for the GBA and DS, which was still keeping 2D alive over 3D, and the drawing / illustration style alive over the photographic / cinematographic style.

I picked up the Game Boy Player adapter for the GameCube, allowing the GBA cartridges to play on a TV (without emulation of the GBA or the games -- same tech used for the GBP as the GBA). In the bargain bin for probably $5, with the disc, case, manual, everything. Now goes for well over $100, and sadly something I had to sell during a major move.

And just milling around the store, browsing, being around other people, maybe chit-chatting with the workers.

Similar to how Gen X will always wax nostalgic for the heyday of the video rental store. And like that staple of the community, the video game store had its small chains or mom & pop stores, like Play N Trade, not only the mega-corpo of GameStop.

It was obligatory to hate on GameStop if you were a gamer in the 2000s, and I imagine into the 2010s. Now looking back on it, have gamers changed their minds? Its business model sucked, they ripped you off if you sold them anything, they always tried to push pre-orders, bla bla bla -- but still, it was a staple of the community, a cultural hang-out space for like-minded people, nothing online or digital about it, but physical and tangible and *social*.

Once upon a time, it was also obligatory to hate on GameStop and others for slapping those price stickers on the games and consoles, requiring meticulous removal. Nowadays, do Millennials and Zoomers get nostalgic for those physical traces of a bygone social-cultural era?

Like having VHS tapes that were originally from a public library, or a Blockbuster, or mom & pop video store. I have several like that, and the different types of cases, or the labels indicating who used to own it, do give them an extra level of nostalgia.

If Gen X-ers can get nostalgic for Blockbuster Video, Millennials and Zoomers can sure as hell get nostalgic for GameStop.


  1. As someone pretty active in the retro community, not so much. Due to a lot of the reasons you listed - pushing the preorders or warranties, blatantly used games covered with sticker gunk sold as 'new'. Gamestop was seen as a necessary evil (before Amazon or digital downloads dominating gamers buying habits), and never really had the 'community' that you can find even today in a lot of mom-n-pop game stores (weekly Smash Bros tournaments, tabletop games, etc). If anything, there's some nostalgia for buying games at Toys R Us. Looking at the plastic printouts of game covers with the dangling packet of paper slips, pulling the slip out and taking to the front counter where the clerk would fetch you your game.

    Sample pic:

  2. JRT, I bought a PS2 last year and bought the Midway Arcade Classics and discs from other game manufacturers of arcade games from the late 70's to early 90's. No quarters and still hold up today.

  3. Maybe GameStop needs to go out of business before the nostalgia kicks in for that specific store. Or maybe hardcore gamers will never like it, but normie Millennials and Zoomers will have a fondness for browsing games IRL, people-watching, talking to workers about what's going on in gaming news, etc.

    Or maybe they'll get nostalgic for brick-and-mortar game stores, just not GameStop in particular.

    At least they'll get nostalgic for how affordable all that stuff used to be, before QE and QE-on-steroids doubled or tripled the prices during the 2010s and early 2020s.

    Yeah, I miss the Wall O' Box Arts at Toys R Us. I think I only ever bought two or three games that way myself (still remember Guerrilla War for NES, b/c it was the cheapest at $35 vs. $50 for most others, thankfully a fun and endlessly replayable overhead shoot run n gun).

    And the in-store demo display units -- I *vividly* remember when Turbo-Grafx 16 came out, playing Keith Courage for an hour or so before my dad finally dragged me away. My best friend Robbie ended up getting one, played Alien Crush, Splatterhouse, and of course Bonk's Adventure over and over. Luckily I got mine in 2009 before the QE handouts funneled into the tech sector gave nerds more money than they knew what to do with, doubling the prices of everything video game-related.

    I also remember an in-game display for the Suuuuper Nintendo, before it was even released. Tagged along with my mom on a business trip to New York City in 1990, walked casually by some random storefront, and saw a suuuuuper detailed version of Mario Brothers... hold on, that's an entirely new console playing a whole new Mario game! I think I played that while she went and grabbed lunch somewhere for awhile.

    No helicopter parents back then. Just leaving your 9-10 year-old son to play bideo games in New York City -- I was about to say "totally unsupervised," but the store clerk and other customers were there. They wouldn't let anything bad happen to me, right? It wasn't that dangerous, even at the height of the crime wave in the early '90s.

  4. It's crazy how eager those old companies like Midway were to re-publish their heyday's output, during the 2000s, and on all platforms rather than exclusively with one. Midway, Bally, Atari, Coleco, Intellivision, etc., no longer really existed, and were happy to see continued or renewed interest in their creations.

    Even the big companies like Capcom, Sega, and Nintendo published compilations of their classics.

    Fast-forward to now, and it's only Nintendo and Capcom who want their creations preserved. I thought Sega was bad, but had no idea how much worse Konami has been. (I don't keep up with bideo game newz, evidently "Konami sucks" has been standard for the better part of a decade now.)

    And sadly, Konami bought up Hudson Soft's library, so their games will perish as well -- even though Konami didn't even have a hand in creating them! They bought the rights to them, just to sit on them and memory-hole them.

    Similar situation with Square Enix, preventing their own library from seeing the light of day (or only in a heavily remade form, for $40, like Secret of Mana). Original, non-remade games like Chrono Trigger are $15 to download, vs. the standard $5-10 for an old game. Greedy.

    And sadly, just as Konami bought Hudson Soft's games only to kill them off, Square Enix bought Taito's games, to kill them off. Taito published 2 huge compilations in 2005 and '06, right as they were bought out by S.E. Taito Legends had about 30 games, and vol. 2 had 40 games, including their mega-hits -- Space Invaders franchise, Bubble Bobble and Rainbow Islands, Darius franchise, Operation Wolf -- along with less popular but still fun games like Arabian Magic (hack n slash arcade game).

    For current gamers, you can only get Taito Milestones on the Switch -- a measly 10 games, all of which are "literally who?" games. Not a single entry from the Space Invaders long history, Bubble Bobble, Darius, etc. And they want $24!!! Collections are usually just $20, and this is a collection of nothing. S.E. is even worse than Konami for memory-holing and price-gouging.

  5. I was wondering why entire franchises are not present in the "console-wide collections" for Switch. It's bad enough that they have to be accessed through a recurring monthly subscription service, rather than bought to own forever, whether as a whole collection or a la carte. But even then, the "over 100!!111!" games for the NES, SNES, and Genesis (if you pay for the premium service only), are missing entire franchises.

    No Castlevania, Contra, or Ninja Turtles -- Konami. No Adventure Island, Bomberman, or Bonk -- Konami sitting on Hudson Soft. No Final Fantasy or Mana -- Square Enix. No Space Invaders, Bubble Bobble, Darius -- S.E. sitting on Taito.

    Some of these are available on narrower collections online, like the early Castlevanias having a collection, the GBA ones having their own, but nothing for the DS ones -- are they assuming you will buy a 3DS before they go out of print, and download them that way?

    Anyway, there's 2 glaring omissions there -- Symphony of the Night and Rondo of Blood. Turns out they are on a single, 2-game-only "collection" (Requiem). However, it's only for download for PS4 / 5, not Switch, Xbox, Steam, etc., like the other Castlevania bundles. And it's still $20 like the others, even though you're only getting 2 games.

    And that's if you're lucky! Like I said, those classic Taito franchises, in their entirety, are not available for download, or for streaming access through Switch's subscription deal.

  6. In any case, online downloads cannot be sold, traded, or gifted in a second-hand market (except if they're coming with the entire piece of hardware). Neither can games you play for a monthly subscription without owning.

    Physical media can be. That's how I got almost all of those compilation discs in the 2000s -- from GameStop and other used media stores.

    People can whine about GameStop and middlemen all they want, but they are just there because of the secondary market. A world without them is one where there's no secondary market for them to manage, like the online download / stream world of today.

    So you pay out the ass because second-hand copies will can never exist. That means you can never get games cheaper than the going market rate for unused copies, and you can never recoup some of what you paid for a game when/if you no longer want to own it and take it to a re-seller middleman like GameStop.

    The structural nature of no second-hand market, the QE and QE-on-steroids inflation, and the price-gouging from zombie corpos makes it hard for kids these days to really get into a variety of games.

    No wonder kids like my 14 year-old nephew just hang out on Roblox all day, every day, instead of rotating through games (and having some faves they never got rid of), like kids used to. He -- rather, his dad -- would be competing with the legions of grown-up nerds fattened up with ill-gotten QE handouts, no second-hand options, etc.

    Well, just stick him in one game forever, and even with all the nickel-and-diming they do in that game, it's still less expensive than downloading a variety of games on Steam (which is not possible anyway, since the a la carte option for older games is gone, and they're only availble in $20+ collections -- and new games a la carte begin at like $40).

    Some of the Holo girls have asked about "what games do kids these days play?" recently, and the chat always answers "Roblox". It's true -- it's that game, and only that game. If the second-hand market were thriving, he'd have all sorts of other games to play -- and then sell back, pick up something new, ad infinitum.

    If I were his dad, the only decent option I see is the $20 per year subscription to Switch's NES + SNES service. Yeah, there are huge gaps in what should be there, but it's less than $2 a month for over 100 decent games, including some classics from Nintendo, Capcom, Namco, Technos, etc. (if not by greedy failures Konami and Square Enix, or their acquisitions from Hudson Soft and Taito).

  7. Definitely not nostalgic yet for GameStop, but Funcoland and the videogame rental mom and pops for sure.

    I remember a demo of Majora's mask in Sears that blew me away. Or renting the same game every week for N64 hoping nobody deleted your save (they obviously did). My Dad would buy us like a videogame every month, used of course.

    Gaming is so terrible now. Like all other entertainment media.

  8. Funcoland was right in the sweet spot historically -- after several generations of consoles had come and gone, so there was plenty of supply for a second-hand store. But before a huge chunk of the audience was grown-up nerds with too much money (or too many credit cards), so there was very little on the demand side (lots of customers, but they were all poor -- kids).

    I remember getting NES games for $3-5 in the late '90s there, when it was 2 generations old. No attention to rarity, desirability, and super-prices b/c no one was a gay self-important "collector of bideo gamebz antiquities" or whatever.

    They even had those fat whole-console Nintendo Power guides for cheap. It wasn't just the games and consoles themselves.

    It was like what I imagine the comic book hobby was like in the '70s or '80s, before the bubble of the early '90s and afterward, when the Boomers who read the classics in the '60s as kids had grown up and were spending zillions of dollars on those preserved classics, and doing financial speculation on current issues as well.

    I don't know when toys became corrupted by grown-up nerds... seems like the 2000s or maybe 2010s (when everything became corrupted by QE). I could buy original (loose) Star Wars toys in the '90s for a few bucks each. Only at comic conventions in the '90s did they start charging more because they were collectible. You could still find them at garage sales, thrift shops, etc.

    I bought one of those cymbal-smashing chimpanzees ("Musical Jolly Chimp") from the '60s or so, in the mid-'90s for only $15-20, in the original box, at a used toy store. Made in Japan -- not China or Korea or Papua New Guinea.

    Seems like toys were first ruined if they were connected to comic books, so they were dragged along into the "comic books for grown-ups" phenomenon. And I distinctly remember Wizard magazine, a price guide for comics, starting a toy guide within, focusing on Star Wars and comic-book toys (like Secret Wars).

    I guess the toys like the cymbal chimp, which had no tie to heavily branded entertainment franchises, escaped a little longer. They weren't merch.

    But sometime in the 2000s or 2010s, every old toy became a highly desired collectible, whether it was originally sold and marketed as merch or not.

    Already by the 2010s, toys were no longer marketed toward kids, but toward grown-up nerds -- Funko pops, for example.

    Last time I saw vintage toys in a thrift store was 2014, when I scored some old He-Man and Thundercats action figures for a few bucks. It's a miracle that they wound up there 30 years later, and not overpriced on ebay.

    But 2014 was nearly a decade ago! (Feel old yet, Zoomers? Hehe.)

  9. I have to write up a post on the gross-out toys mania of the second half of the '80s, it actually ties into the excitement cycle model (that was also when all those dark children's movies were made). Vulnerable phase, gremlin phase.

    They also had gross-out candies, too -- actually was reminded of that craze by Gura's "cursed cooking" stream from Halloween.

    She would've been in heaven if she'd been born 15 or so years earlier. Plus getting to watch the Jem anime every day after school, hehe. Honorary '80s kid. ^_^

  10. BTW Goob, we real fans don't hold it against you that your PC is dying. You're the on-air talent, responsible for singing, chatting, playing a game, or whatever the content du jour is.

    You're not supposed to double as your own hardware procurement dept, IT support, your own audio engineer, etc. That's what your company should be hiring someone else to do.

    It's not possible to be world-class at both of those types of tasks -- one is scatterbrained spontaneous gypsy Gemini creative mode, the other is logical analytical technical mechanical mode.

    And not to overstate the obvious, but you're a girly girrrrllll -- you're not supposed to be a cheeto-dusted neckbeard who makes the internet connection work, optimizes your PC performance, and all that other crap. You're the one who exudes cuteness, or serenades with a cabaret setlist, for the audience to enjoy!

    You shouldn't even have audio problems -- TV shows have special audio workers who set up the microphones, check levels, etc. And touring musicians have roadies set up their gear before a concert -- and troubleshoot during the concert if something blows up. That's not the band members' responsibility!

    Not being a computer nerd, I sadly can't help you on this specific problem. But I'm sure your legions of fans have some tech-savvy types who would even volunteer their help, to keep their goddess afloat on her bed of cyber-clouds.

    But you might also be able to use your leverage as Da Numba One Chuuba to make Cover pay them a little something for their troubles... or maybe just some free rare merch, idk, they might like that better anyway.

    We non-autistic fans of yours appreciate the guerrilla karaoke set, and would never expect a girly girl to behave like a sperglord guy and be a computer wiz.

    Have you been listening to 2010s folk revival music lately, BTW? Quite a few tonight. :)

    And I will wait
    I will wait for Goob

  11. Mumei working hard to throw us off the scent about her being Canadian, by talking about Canadians as foreigners ("how do they speak...?"). Then slips into using meters to refer to how high Mt. Everest is. We use the Imperial system in America. Hehe.

    Looking back, that's why she freaked out so much when she called carbonated drinks "pop" and chat noticed. If she were American, that would only mark her as a Midwestern American -- no big deal, she would probably keep on saying "pop".

    But in her mind, she thought she'd been revealed as a Canadian, since that's what all Anglophone Canadians call it. So she stopped saying it, and says "soda" now.

    If she's going to commit to the bit, she should consult a list of words that differ between America and Canada, so she doesn't accidentally say "zed" for the last letter of the alphabet, etc.

    Looking over a list now, the word the pops out most is "toque" instead of "beanie" for a knit cap. She might be tangenting about her day during the winter, or doing storytime about her childhood, and talk about how she was so cold because she'd forgotten to bring her toque -- Americans are going to stop dead in their tracks and ask wtf does that mean?

    But it'd probably be easier to just come out and say "Yeah btw, I grew up in Canada, though I make no claims about where I'm living now". Ina and Kronii are openly Canadian, so are xQc and Pokimane among the big accounts on Twitch. It's really no big deal!

    If she's worried about becoming self-conscious -- "What will they think of me if I come out as Canadian?" -- I think she's only going to get more self-conscious by trying to hide it, and always being suspicious of herself. "Wait, that word I just said -- is that what the Americans say, too? Or did I just out myself as Canadian again, dangit?!?!?!"

    But she really has come out of her shell during this year, enough to play her heartbeat for a moment during the ASMR stream tonight. So maybe it's just a matter of getting a bit more comfortable with the audience, trusting that they won't bail on her just cuz she's a leaf. I swear, we won't!

    1. Strange, as an English-speaking Canadian I always thought that our term for carbonated drinks was "soft drink" and until now I would have thought "pop" is just an American term, but apparently "soft drink" is only part of Quebec English. I had no idea they said "pop" in Ontario and other places.

      It must go to show that even English in Quebec is kind of its own thing. I used to do work where I was facing the general public in Montreal, and countless visitors from other parts of Canada, mostly Ontario, would tell me that I had good English, despite English being my first language.

      Interesting to learn anyway.

  12. Strange to think that Fauna's the only American in Council (although Irys is, too -- West Coaster, by her accent and demeanor, like fer sherrr). BTW, one of the greatest match-ups I've ever seen, Fauna and Irys in Switch Sports:

    Normally Fauna likes to play the role of the older sister to Zoomers like Gura, Mumei, and Bae, but she and Irys are basically the same age, both tail-end Millennials. So she didn't have her usual sense of control or seniority, and her inner sweaty gamer came out more, since she was with a peer.

    But there was still the dynamic that she gets into with Gura, where Fauna is the more introverted and relatively seiso one, while Gura or Irys are more talkative and yabai, trying to provoke "tee hee, who me?" Fauna into being a little risque or cursed herself.

    Very interesting pairing, and hopefully one we'll get to see again sometime. ^_^

    One last thing from that trombone game stream that tipped me off about Mumei being Canadian, is her not knowing the "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" song that well. Fauna and Gura were pretty familiar with it, so are most Americans, even Zoomers. But not Canadians, because their sport is hockey, not baseball.

    The American national anthem has greater international recognition because it's what we play whenever we're abroad. And it's one of those "10 quick facts you must know about America" that foreigners could learn.

    Whereas "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" is more of a folk song that we only sing here, it's not a highly sacred or prestigious thing like the national anthem. So it's unlikely foreigners would be exposed to it as much as "The Star Spangled Banner".

  13. Do streamer girls have someone do their hair & make-up, like the on-air talents do in TV, movies, modeling, etc.?

    I seem to remember Pokimane only ever talking about how she herself had done this with her make-up, and that with her hair. Sometimes that's a content category unto itself -- get ready with me, while I do my hair & make-up.

    It's weird to see how much the managers / talent agencies / whoever put onto the talents themselves, compared to earlier media formats. And no craft services table, cafeteria, etc.

    Is it because streaming is more of a reality-based format? TV faces get pros to do their make-up and hair, have dedicated audio engineers on site to make sure their mics work, and have meals catered every day, because they all go to a central office building.

    Whereas streamers stay in their home, to not break the illusion of it being a slice of life. And what normal person has a hair & make-up assistant, IT specialist, or catered meals, in their own home every day?

    Maybe if the premise were "lifestyles of the rich and famous" like the Kardashians. But not a streamer whose premise is they're your friend and you're hanging out together. Showing signs of being rich & famous would make it feel like they were out of the audience's league -- for friendship or social ties, let alone if they had romantic illusions. Friendships tend to stay within wealth tiers.

    So, doing their own hair & make-up, troubleshooting their own tech problems, makes them more relatable. The only thing that breaks that illusion is when they order food to be delivered, which is like catering, instead of making their own meals.

    Uber Eats dropping off food every stream? Cha-ching! "She's not so much like me after all..."

    If they're going to order food (which corrupts your soul, instead of making it yourself like a real human being), they should do it off-stream. Then either eat it on-stream by saying "I went out to pick this up earlier, just getting around to eating it now" or just eating it off-stream as well. More relatable than imagining all those fees adding up for food delivery.

  14. Imagine not being loved by your oshi, who's dedicated herself to pushing through a scuffed stream just to make sure her faithful fans get some hang-out and performance time...

    There's a reason why the whole world loves her, it's because she's the Goobinator.

    She can't be demoralized. She doesn't feel blackpills, scuff, or cringe. And she absolutely will not log off... EVER, until you are fansa'd.

    Or on a slightly different theme, maybe she's more like a soldier, albeit a girly girl one. She's waging a crusade of cuteness, and won't relent until we are all cleansed and converted to the One True Way.

    Haters and conspirators may try to interfere with her attempt to connect with her fandom, but she will not give up on us. She's not going down without a fight, or she's not ending the stream without a PC crash. Till the bitter end, "strap in, boys," like she said herself.

    Who could possibly reject their earthly guardian angel? Couldn't be the chumbies...

  15. Vladimir Berkov11/17/22, 5:59 AM

    I’m at the border of x and millennial so remember going to both. I’m not sure GameStop is as memorable because every trip to blockbuster as a kid was somewhat unique. Usually the trip wasn’t meant to rent one specific movie, there was browsing to do, seeing what was new or newly downgraded to the cheaper main/older releases area. Also renting tapes was cheap, so you rented tapes way more than bought games.

    One thing special about that era of GameStop and physical games was the release days where you’d sort of an event over being the first to get a new cod or whatever. That’s lost now with digital.

    I do miss big box computer and electronic stores big time. Comp-USA, circuit city, even 90s Best Buy and office stores were interesting. Hastings, Fry’s, a lot of unique stores gone.

  16. Speaking of midnight launches, Fauna's about to stream the new Pokemon game right as it's available (a series I've never seen or played before, if you can believe it, and I think you can).

    That's the new midnight launch -- hanging out with your friends in a streamer's chat who has exclusive perms to play it. It's virtual of course, since no one will ever leave the house to do anything other than buy groceries or go to work ever again. Sadge.

    Having said that, there were quite a few groups of teens and early 20-somethings out and about today...

  17. Boy, were the Holo girls following me around in ghostly form today!

    Looking around an antique mall, I started tapping the keys in my coat pocket to the beat of an eerily familiar, jazzy retro disco kind of song... when suddenly the voice starts singing in Japanese. It was a city pop song that Gura had sung before! Probably several times, if I recognized it. Couldn't tell you which one it was, though.

    Then in their basement, I saw a big heavy Hudson Bay wool blanket, reminding me of Mumei, not just because she's Canadian, but because she was talking recently about how to beat the cold during winter. I really should put together an overview post about that topic.

    Then at the antique store across the street from the first one, someone was talking to the owner about a friend who'd brought her a gift from Austria -- a mound of salt. That must've been from Salzburg, where Kiwawa hails from! (Tons of salt in that part of the Alps, not so much in the lower-lying areas around Vienna.)

    Picked up some more used Disney DVDs as well at the used media and thrift stores, now only a few away from having all the major animated movies. Little Miss "I Basically Lived at Disney World For Several Years" would be proud. ^_^ And no, you can't replicate them with streaming them on Disney+ because of all the extra features, documentaries, interviews, etc. that are packed into those 2-disc editions. Jealousss???

  18. At the used video game store tonight, there was a Zoomer couple there (not nerds or video game addicts, just your typical Zoomers). They drifted over toward a station that had several CRT TVs, with retro consoles and games hooked up to them.

    They actually started playing Sonic (or Sonic 2) for the Genesis, and they knew what it was -- "the original one". Played it for a little bit, then moved on with their browsing.

    If they'd been bideo gamebz addicts, they would've been gushing and playing for hours. But being normies, they just stopped to play for a bit. Yet even they knew what it was, and saw the appeal of holding a controller, watching a real TV, playing the original hardware, etc.


    OK, now off to hang out with my younger big sister Fauna for the virtual midnight launch!

  19. Manic Pixie Dream Girl alert: Dylan singing "Girl of Your Dreams" (it's right there in the title), with a manic bouncy beat, though more of an art-ho than cute wiw pixie vibe:

    Her other songs are not really MPDG, more by and for the people-hating demographic (low view of themselves, others, guys, girls, everyone). But at least this one song is something fresh and uplifting.

    Is she born during a manic phase of the 15-year excitement cycle, like all the other MPDGs? Why of course -- born in '99. Also like the others, a butt girl rather than boob girl. However, pretty slim hips, whereas the MPDGs tend to have more feminine / hourglass shapes.

    I appreciate getting at least this much from the recorded music industry, but overall it's in total collapse and can't discover, promote, and create the right stuff for its talents.

    Like why does Gura have to take over the world as this cycle's Manic Pixie Dream Girl, in the live-streamer format? No movies? TV shows? Record label deal? I don't mind, we get more content from her this way, and a closer / parasocial bond, anyway. Good thing that these vtuber talent agencies are still somewhat functional, because everything else doesn't even exist anymore.

    Remember the Olivia Rodrigo phenomenon of 2021? What did they do to build on that, either with her or another talent? Yeah, it's over. Every last bit of creative juice from the entirety of the music industry was funneled into her album, and that's all she wrote.

    Tune out of music, tune into streams.

    (Pokimane and Pippa Pipkin, representing quite a spectrum between them, are also manic-phase births like Gura. It's actually hard to find one who's not, so just go with the flow of the streamer format, and enjoy something new and yet familiar, rather than dead.)

  20. Mmmm, Kiwawa was right about her country's chocolate, in her "Austrian snacks" stream with Bae. I was still thinking about Salzburg being named after its role in the salt trade, and decided to stop by Aldi to see if they had anything Austrian (they're a German company).

    What do you know? -- Austrian chocolate! (Choceur brand) I got the one made with milk chocolate and hazelnut paste. It's sweeter and creamier, whereas American chocolate is more bitter and pungent -- which I like! I love funky flavors, especially in something that is supposed to be an indulgence.

    But it's nice to try add something new to the menu. Not replacing what was already there, just adding something new.

    I'm going to refrain from making a variety of references to Alpine milkmaids...

  21. And the Aldi Austrian chocolate is so much cheaper than just about anything American.

    It's a 5.3 oz bar for $1.39 -- or about $4.20 (hehe) per pound! Try finding anything that cheap here, whether in bulk or individual bars, milk / dark / etc. Impossible. And it wasn't even on sale, it was at the normal price.

    The closest thing we have here is Hershey's Symphony brand -- creamier and a bit sweeter than Hershey's usual recipe, and named "Symphony" to evoke Olde Worlde sophistication from places like Germany and Austria, aimed at a yuppie audience.

    It comes in a 4.25 oz bar for $2, although you can often find it on sale for $1.50. But that's still more expensive by weight than Aldi's bar (about $5.65 per pound, or about 33% more expensive, even on sale).

  22. Faunnie MacKirin's Celticity showing again tonight. Trying to think of some Bioshock character's name that began with "Mc" or "Mac," she said, "Well, it's not MacDonald" -- the stereotypical, first guess that any non-Celtic person would think of, because of the fast food place. "Like, MacDougall or something".

    Pretty rare choice to jump to after MacDonald, and most people who aren't Celtic wouldn't have enough options stored in their mind to choose from. "Eh y'know, one-a-them Mic names."

    It's a Scottish name, BTW, not Irish, which confirms her as Scotch-Irish (or maybe plain old Scottish), not Irish-Irish, as I suspected. Not garrulous enough to be Irish, hehe.

    Since she's really on board with the '90s / y2k revival of the purple + green combo, how about something like this to keep you warm and comfy -- and Celtic -- during the cold season? It's a steal, too, for Pendleton!

    I don't know what size you wear, but you mentioned to Mumei that you can do some basic alterations, so if it isn't too far away, go for it!

    Some black leggings underneath, to protect skin from the scratchy wool, and to add to the '90s-ness with the black background and vivid green + purple attention area.

    Tres chic!

  23. That's '90s vintage, BTW. Green + purple combo, obviously, but also the logo / label is from the '90s.

    If you're living out on the West Coast these days, you can't afford to not have some eccentric yet fashionable vintage threads, right? And 100% wool, Made in USA -- impossible to find that anymore. Including Pendleton, which off-shored everything to China a few years ago, sadge. They lasted through the NAFTA and early China trade deal era, but now they got got, too. Just another empty brand with no substance underneath it.

    But luckily for you, there's still tons of the good ol' stuff out there, sometimes without having to break the bank.

    Can you write it off as a business expense on your taxes, if it's part of your streamer gear, to get you in character / reflect one of your avatar designs?

    Wait, so *that's* why you design outfits for your avatar that you would want IRL -- then when you buy them for yourself, it's a business expense. Clever girl...

  24. > ywn go thrifting and vintage-hunting with Fauna, Mumei, and Gooba

    One of the things I miss most about having a girl bff, now that everyone is permanently online and won't go to brick-and-mortar stores.

    Fellow straight guys just *do not* know what they're missing, because they think it'll be like a girl and her gay bff going shopping together. Except the gay guy has little idea about what's attractive in a girl, and she isn't going to try to gauge his level of attraction to what she's trying on.

    She's modeling those clothes partly for herself (all those mirrors in the changing room), but also FOR YOU, dummy. She could be strutting her hot ripe stuff down the street for all sorts of randos to be gawking at -- and yet, here she is, putting on a one-woman fashion show for an audience of one, the only guy in the world whose opinion matters so much to her that she invited you along for a private viewing.

    Maybe you have to be a super-hot guy with a sense of style yourself, idk, but I doubt it. I've heard other guys who are not, complaining about being dragged along by their gf / wife during clothes-shopping, how tedious and soul-sucking they find it.

    It must be somewhat common, but it's wasted on them, because they're already dead inside and could never get lit up inside by the thought that their girl is all excited to make herself all pretty to gauge his reaction, and get the rush of validation when he says, "Well, don't you look pretty in that!"

    I could never imagine my Greatest Gen grandfather trying to neg or otherwise act like a petty gay faggot around my grandmother (or any other women he was flirting with), by trying to give an "elbows too pointy" criticism of what she was trying on. Or huffing and puffing about how long it's going to take (sounds like a guy who gets bored wondering how long some other activity is going to take). That's some Al Bundy / Boomer / Divorce Generation shit.

    Girl who is important in your life makes an effor to look pretty for your validation. You give her the validation, sincerely. End of story! On with the next activity of the day. It's so simple, why do losers whine about it so much?

    I think I'll start telling the Holo girls they look really cute and pretty today when they stream, even though I have no idea what they're wearing. I can just sense it! With the face-streamers, you can tell they get a little kick out of sincere compliments about their outfit or hair that day.

    Plus maybe that would nudge them to put on prettier outfits, if they were inclined to just throw on some sweatpants and sweatshirt that day since nobody will know. "Well, yeah, but all those compliments are going to be coming along, and I want to deserve them. Better put on a cute skirt instead of the sweats, and I'll feel some genuine validation when I hear their kind words."

    Might as well start now, hehe.

    Fauna, that was quite the cute outfit and pretty hairstyle you were sporting today! We know you didn't have to, and we appreciate how thoughtful you are toward your saplings. :)

  25. Also, I had some pumpkin spice cheesecake tonight (can you tell?), after the spirit of Fauna spoke to me while I was browsing the frozen section at Aldi.

    Couldn't find any coconout milk egg nog, though, but will keep an eye out. Mmm, the most saturated-fatty of the alt-milks. ^_^ The only kind I drink.

    When I couldn't drink dairy milk starting in my mid-20s, I tried almond milk -- too watery, no substance -- and rice milk -- too sweet. I hear oat milk is just sugar water, too. It's always been a no-brainer -- coconut milk has the most fat, most saturated fat, and one of the rare places to get those short and medium-chain fatty acids, for faster metabolism (not as many chemical bonds to break down).

    If you reeeeally want an energy rush without the crash of sugar or caffeine, step up to the big leagues and do what I did before going out dancing twice every weekend. Get a nice full tablespoon of coconut oil -- not milk, cream, etc., the oil that comes in jars. It doesn't have a very pleasant mouthfeel, and the taste depends on how much you can tolerate coconut. But probably, you'll need to chase it with something watery and bright (I just took a little bit of an electrolyte drink).

    Wow, is that a rush!

    But since I wasn't going out for 4 hours of vigorous dancing tonight, I decided on some decaf Constant Comment tea, instead, hehe. Nice spicy mix to go with the PSL cheesecake, and I thought the orange peel in the tea played off well against the pumpkin (bright and astringent vs. the earthy pumpkin, as well as the fatty cheese).

  26. Fauna + Mumei's synchronized nasal spray, and sympathetic stuffy noses, was peak female egalitarianism (start of the Getting Over It collab). So cute and girly even in their cursed moments.

  27. Experienced a different sort of female mirroring yesterday. For some reason, people are more out & about lately, hopefully it's for good and not just a fluke. Stores are not as dead as they have been.

    Anyway, on the way into a thrift store, two Zoomer babes were leaving right as I was entering, and the exotic one held the door open for me. I told her "Thank you," and she reflexively said back, "thank youuuuu...." smiling with a starry look in her eyes.

    I know, Zoomers and Millennials are awkward victims of helicopter parenting, and don't have enough IRL experience to know these stock phrases like "thank you" and "you're welcome". But this one also had that "pleasantly caught by surprise" dumbfounded look.

    A random hot guy actually out IRL and not posting gay selfies on social media for cheap clicks instead of palpable eye-contact? Someone's got to try keeping IRL alive... and since this was their first time out of the home in probably months, they were doubly excited by what they found, rather than it being totally dead as they might've been expecting.

    And speaking of style, pretty easy to "steal his look". Dark blue jeans, dark brown ankle boots, white shirt with multi-toned brown stripes, darkish brown wool sweater, navy blue beret.

    In a different thrift store, there was a black guy wearing a navy beret as well -- what's stopping this from becoming a trend with guys? It's one of the few items I have that consistently gets unsolicited compliments, whether they're MILFs slowing down their jog just to tell me how much they love it, or Zoomer cashiers at a grocery store.

    Easiest and cheapest way to make an impression. "Assuming you can pull it off" -- bullshit, that cope can be said about any style choice. Just do it, get used to it, and you won't even be thinking about it. That's how you get confident, through repeated practice / exposure.

  28. Also, normally I only get goo-goo-gaa-gaa behavior when I'm clean-shaven, but I had a few days worth of stubble on my face, though I had cleanly shaven my neck.

    Reminder that guys growing out their beards is part of male-male competition, not attracting females. Primarily shows up during historical periods of elite over-production, when competition for status gets intense. Last such time being the Gilded Age (soaring inequality), followed by the heyday of clean-shaven-ness during the egalitarian mid-20th century.

    Now that inequality is taking off again, back to Gilded Age styles (except moi, I'd rather get looks from cute babes than get sucked into status contests among striver guys).

    Also a reminder that girls don't want a true "daddy" look, else I'd have to be overweight, hairy, bearded, etc. to get this attention. What they really want is "my friend's hot older brother" -- within 5 years of 30, as they see it. (Although I'm in my early 40s, and look / feel 10-15 years younger.)

    "Daddy" is just an edgy word to make it sound more transgressive than their desires really are. Girls who actually want a stocky, hairy, bearded / weathered face, to beat the shit out of them are a tiny minority of depressives. They have themselves, want to be punished, and they hate men, and need one who will reinforce their low view of men. They're actually transgressive, and to be avoided.

    The ones who merely say the word "daddy" are just edgy youngsters who want a hot "guy who could just have gotten married", around 30. Just like how "MILF" or "mommy" these days means someone who could've just had her first baby, not a 40-something with kids in high school a la Stacy's Mom 20 years ago.

    1. Was at the mall today waiting for the Apple store and it DID feel busy. Busier almost than pre-corona. It almost felt like going back in time, there were a noticeable number of goth/alternative girls, Hot Topic and the like even seemed busy. With the retro trend for hair, glasses and clothes there were a lot of normie white girls who had that wholesome 80s 90s midwestern vibe. The sort of look that would have seemed profoundly square 10 years ago. Add in some mall music heavy on distortion and it felt almost like the 90s again. Almost.

  29. More signs of fragmentation of US society. Americans don't want to be on Twitter anymore. The Trump right are on Parler and Truth Social now, while the woke left are heading over to Mastodon.


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