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January 2017 Retro Gaming Article

January 11, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Seeing the sale of Craftsman Tols brings memories of playing and buying Atari games at Sears

Super Retro Boy from Retro-Bit
I consider Craftsman one of Sears' stronger brands and am saddened to see them fading away having shopped there most of my life.
Headlines stating Craftsman was being sold to Stanley Black & Decker was quite a shock and for only $900 million. Sure, I could go on an awesome spree with that sort of cash, but it seems like a small amount given the brand and quality associated with Sears' renown tool brand.

Wasn't it just yesterday I was looking through Atari 2600 games in Sears, debating which title looked the most promising? In the early 80s, without the internet's vast resources, box art and word-of-mouth were the primary factors in choosing a new video game.

Super Retro Boy from Retro-Bit However, in my area, Sears was one of the few stores in which you could play a selection of Atari titles! Alas, that was decades ago, but I still shop at Sears for all sorts of things from shirts and tools to Christmas lights.

I have quite a few Sears Tele-Games game carts from the era in which they rebranded Atari as an in-house brand. The Sears Video Arcade was an Atari-sanctioned rebranding of the 2600 game console. These items were found in Sears from the late 70s into the early 80's.

Sears stopped selling video games in late 2014 with the Wii U - oddly timed in the swing of the holiday shopping season. Earlier that year, in late April, rumors of inventory blowouts surfaced with $99 Wii U consoles. In November, the Sears website displayed deep discounts in error for the Nintendo 3DS. Both events led to price-matching fiascos with other retailers.

As a side note: I still own my grandfather's old Black & Decker power drill. It's a beast and still works wonderfully because it came from an era when craftsmanship and quality mattered. Products were built to last. Today, Black & Decker is low quality and resides on box-store shelves. Planned obsolescence is a more modern concept focused on selling poor quality items as a cost-cutting and revenue generating model.

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