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Friday, December 9, 2011

Happy December!

Happy December!

First up we've made an important update at Avane, we now take credit cards directly so you can use your Visa, Mastercard, Discover or American Express card directly on our site using our secure server. We do still accept Paypal and Google Checkout Payments for those who prefer them.

Because we are in the midst of the Holiday Season, we're seeing a lot of gift orders. If you're planning on buying a gift you should make sure to check out our Order Cut Off Dates for Holiday delivery:
   First Class
 Parcel Post
Priority Mail
 Express Mail
 Domestic Mail  December 16  December 15  December 20  December 21
 International Mail  December 7  N/A  December 9  December 12

International Customers will have to get their orders in ASAP to make delivery by December 24th, but there's still a lot of time for customers in the US to get in their orders. To help you mark everyone off your list we're offering a coupon code for 25% off on orders of $75 or more. It's: Holiday2011 this code expires on December 21st so don't miss it.

Additionally we offer Gift Certificates in any amount from $1 to $500. Gift Certificates don't expire and don't have any fees, they're the perfect gift for any hard to shop for fan of vintage geekery.

We have over 800 items in stock right now many of which would make excellent geeky gifts for friends and loved ones.

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Monday, November 21, 2011

Sailor Moon Fans are Everywhere

In preparation for the Holiday shopping season we've been adding new items to our shop. This involves a lot of tedious prep work which means we spend a lot time watching various stuff on Netflix while we do it. This past weekend we decided it was a great time to watch documentaries about Drag Queens (hot on the heels of the previous week's household marathon of RuPaul's Drag Race).  So while watching Wigstock: The Movie , Jen spotted what she assured me was a Sailor Moon wand. I wasn't looking up at the time and thought she may have just been suffering from a Sailor Moon obsession, which she is, but wasn't the cause this time. She backed it up and lo and behold  a Spiral Heart wand:


 Moonies, they can pop up anywhere at any time. Given that the documentary was filmed in 1994, this young lady was clearly ahead of her time as Sailor moon wasn't even airing in the US yet. Hats off to you random unnamed moonie, thanks for making our day a little more interesting.

~Stephanie


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Saturday, November 5, 2011

Collection Oddities: 1989 Mario Cheez Whiz Jar

It's been awhile since we've had time to do a collection oddities post, but this special item joined our collection a few weeks back and it's just too fantastically odd not to share. So I bring you The Official Mario Cheez Whiz Jar:


It looks upsetting but it's just water and food coloring

It was empty when  got it so we filled it with colored water to help show the details. In retrospect yellow water may not have been the best choice, but ambiguously yellow water is markedly less horrifying than the 1 kg (2.2 lbs) of processed cheese that originally filled the jar, especially when you consider it would be 22 years old now. *shudder*


 In spite of having this misfortune of being a promotion for what is quite possibly one of the least edible "foods" to ever be commercially available, this is actually a pretty cool item. Unlike most promotional food items that just have an image screen printed on them, the entire jar is fully molded into a portly princess saving plumber.
Without the yellow water he seems sort of cross eyed

Even the lid is interesting and features Mario and the Super Mario Brothers logo.

In English and French in case you need to know how to translate "Process cheese spread"
 In spite of our opinion that it's great, there's no denying that it's weird. I mean the concept of an entire 1kg jar of Cheez Whiz is pretty odd in itself, who could possibly eat that much gooey plastic?  Then, it's shaped like Mario for some sort of unclear promotion, "It's Mario, It's yellowish orange plastic, together at last! Buy it!" Does Mario love Cheez Whiz? Are the circuit boards in Mario 2 made of Cheez whiz? What?

Regardless of the mind boggling reasons such a thing exists, it does and it fabulous and no cracktastic Mario collection should be without one.

 ~Stephanie

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Monday, October 31, 2011

The Top Ten Scariest Video Game Monsters and Villians of All Time

With the exception of initial input, this entire post was thought up and brought to life by regular contributor Richard.

Video games have an opportunity to provide us with horror in ways that television and film can not. A video game can put us in control, make us decide our fate and the best way to try and escape a deadly nightmare. And on that journey we will find monsters and villains that truly left an exclamation point. Here I have compiled a list of what I feel to the ten scariest video game monsters. For one reason or another, I believe that these characters have something to offer a true horror fan, even if sometimes you have to dig deep to see it. After all, horror is nothing without imagination, if newer horror films and fans are any indication. So with nothing else to say, let's get right into it. Don't lose your head.

The Top Ten Scariest Video Game Monsters and Villians of All Time




10. The W Star (Drahkken, SNES) - So to claim anything scary can happen in this particular title may seem odd at first, but there are a few moments that are noteworthy at least to nerds as big as me and my circle. Drahkken is an old RPG from the early nineties which tried to utilize a three-dimensional, first person environment. It wasn't exactly successful but did make the game unique for it's time. One thing the game would do is change the time of day as you were playing. Once nightfall hit is when some shit would really start to go down. The player would notice the many stars in the sky, shining quite brightly. As you trek forward you may notice a W-shaped set of stars in the sky. Thinking nothing of it, you continue on. And then suddenly, those stars start to move, flapping up and down like some kind of crazy bird while a creepy music tone on a downward scale begins to play. Then suddenly you hear a loud, low sounding "boom," and everything stops of a second. Then out of nowhere, a flying creature with a skulllike head comes careening out of the sky and attacks. You inevitable think "What the HELL is that?!" and proceed to fight this thing, hoping you're leveled up enough to take it on. This occurance actually happens with multiple sets of stars in this game but the very first time we saw it was with the W-set, earning the name we gave it, the W Star. No matter how much you get used to this, it's always bizarre and unexpected granting it a place on this list.

See The Rest After the jump

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Happy October and Vacation Shipping Schedule


It's October and here in Minnesota we're seeing lovely leaf changes and getting some nice crisp fall days. Perfect weather for caramel apples and pumpkin pie. Hopefully wherever you are it's been just as nice.

Normally with the cooler weather it's the perfect time to do some store updates but due to an accidental drop our laptop is broken, so we've had limited internet access and haven't been able to add anything new. That being said though they are a bit delayed we have been able to process orders normally so if you're expecting something it's on it's way. :)We've ordered a new laptop so hopefully things will be back to normal in a few weeks.

On the note of shipping scheduling, we'll be going on vacation from the 9th to 15th we're leaving the shop open while gone, but our new computer won't be here until after we come back so we won't be able to answer questions or process orders until we return. We expect our first shipping day after we get back to be Tuesday the 18th so please keep that in mind when placing an order. All Orders placed by Thursday the 6th will be shipped before we leave for vacation so if you want something by next week be sure to get your order in sometime in the next two days.

We hope you all enjoy the lovely month of October and we look forward to being able to doing business with you soon.






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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Sales Time!

Here's a Sale, it never fails, it makes me wanna wag my tail when it comes I want to wail SAAALLEEE! (brought to you by the mail song from Blue's Clues)

So silly song aside, we really are having a sale, a few of them actually. First up is our manga sale.

 We've already reduced our manga and comic prices drastically and most are less than $3 a volume with many at $1. On top of these already low prices we're currently offering 30% off on all our manga with coupon Code: Mangasale
 
This code works on any Manga, Comics, or Books in are our aptly named Comics Manga and Books section. So go find yourself some awesome reading material!

Next leg of our sale is the Clearance section. You know how sometimes you pu something in your closet and forget about it until leg warmers aren't cool anymore? Well that's happened in our stock room so we've been marking down a lot of stuff  that's been sitting too long being unloved. Most of it's cooler than leg warmers have ever been too for example:


This super awesome promo poster for Kai Doh Maru. It's down from $5 to $2 and even if you've never seen it, it has gorgeous art!


Or there's this super adorable Magical Do Re Mi/ Ojamajo Doremi UFO Catcher of Momoko with a cookie, down to $5 from $9


Or if you're looking for something more vintage, there's this super cute Care Bears Warm Feelings board game. Down to $7 from $9

That's just a tiny sampling of our sale pages, so head on over to our clearance section and snag yourself a great deal before they're gone. For an even better deal you can combine clearance prices with the manga sale code, so go forth and shop cheaply!

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Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Secret Life of our Sailor Moon Dolls

Have you ever wondered what your dolls are up to while you're at work or sometimes just in the next room? Well I can't speak for all dolls, but with some careful investigation we discovered that our dolls, lead active, interesting lives when they're not posing on a shelf for us. These pictures are the result.

I originally did this as a series of picture posts on twitter, they've been recollected here with a bit of additional info. In case you're wondering why there's no Sailor chibimoon and no Sailor Saturn it's because they're secret lives are so secret, even we don't know about them. (or because we don't have 6inch Japanese dolls of those two) So with that out of the way,


Sailor Mercury is a world renowned Star Wars Model Builder. This AT-AT model is one of her finest accomplishments.

  Sailor Venus is secretly a biker, we caught her on her way back from Sturgis.


Sailor Pluto is an accomplished equestrian, her horse is name Dusty.


 Sailor Mars is a Trekkie and spends her weekends attending Star Trek conventions, this picture marks her fourth meet & greet with Brent Spiner and Patrick Stewart.


Kino Makoto, AKA Sailor Jupiter, loves the movie Akira and started her own yearly convention.


Sailor Neptune uses intense training sessions with close personal friend Godzilla to keep her fighting edge.


Sailor Uranus Trained to be a Bounty Hunter on Spaceship Beebop in case this whole Sailor Senshi thing doesn't work out.




Usagi, AKA Sailor Moon, is really into the organic movement and grows all her own food.


And there you have it, you never know what your dolls might be up to when you're not looking.

~Stephanie

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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Happy Birthday Sailor Moon! ( & coupon code)

It's Usagi and Chibiusa's Birthday today!


If you're a Saior Moon lover like we are that means it's a cause for celebration! So for the rest of today only you can get 10% off your purchase of sailor moon items in our shop! Just use coupon code Usagi

But hurry about because it's only good until midnight tonight!


If you're not in a shopping mood, Join us for a celebration over on Twitter and help us and the other moonies make #Sailormoon a trending topic for her birthday!

(If for some crazy reason you aren't a Sailor Moon fan, we have the Inuyasha sale  still going on as well)




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Friday, June 24, 2011

Store Stuff: Coupon Code on Inuyasha items

Rumiko Takahasi had a number of successful anime and manga franchises including: Urusei Yatsura, Mermaid Saga and Ranma 1/2 . But none have been so popular (in the western world at least) as her feudal fairytale, InuYasha. With demons, magic, maidens, an enigmatic ancient setting and occasional appearances by Kagome's big fat cat, there's something for everyone to like in InuYasha. While Inuyasha fans aren't as numerous as they used to be, the series has stood the test admirably and with good reason,  there's still quite fanbase. If you're part of this fanbase, we have a great coupon code for you! If you use coupon code SHIKON at checkout from now until July 1st, Extended to July 15th! You'll get 15% off all the InuYasha items in your cart , whether it be one little cell charm or everything in the section!

If you need help chosing what to spend your discount on we have a few suggestons:

Sesshomaru Ani Statue




This Ani-Statue of Sesshomaru is very detailed and looks great on display. As a bonus since it's made out of high grade plastic instead of resin, it's lot harder to break if you've got mischievous cats or grabby handed little cousins. Still mint (but not new) n the box, this lovely demon is normally $30, but would be $25.50 with discount.







Inuyasha Gashapon


If the Dog boy yourself is more your speed. We recommend this just as detailed, though quite a bit smaller, Inuyasha gashapon. This is an original Japanese figure by Bandai, and comes with all his original parts and stand. (sadly no box or papers though) originally priced at a budget friendly $9, he's $7.65.

(though for the record if you still want bigger and better, we've got the Inuyasha Ani-Statue available as well)







Kikyo UFO Catcher Figure

If you like shrine maidens more than demons or half demons, there's this rare and lovely Kikyo UFO catcher figure. It's a really lovely detailed figure with a beautiful serene face. The previous owner glued it dowb to the wrong stand which kind of an unfortunate thing, but not a huge detractor. Kiyo herself in in great shape and looks beautiful on display and how much time do you really spend looking at a stand? This rare figure was already priced at only $10 due to the stand issue and with discount is $8.50.








  If you don't like any of our selections we have over a dozen more Inuyasha goodies available right now, with the potentially for more before the coupon code ends. So if you're a fan you're band to see something that will look great in your collection. Happy shopping!


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Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Top Ten Most Underrated Video Games (As told by Richard)

Richard one of our regular contributors wrote this as a journal on another site, and while we're not all completely in agreement with this list we thought it well worth sharing here.

TOP TEN MOST UNDERRATED VIDEO GAMES


10. Pro Pinball: The Web (PC, Playstation) - As far as video pinball goes, you'll be hard pressed to find something competitive with this. It's incredibly fun, and high scoring so you feel really good about yourself. Aside from so-so sound effects, the game play here can get truly addicting and consuming. This game features super fun jackpot modes, great graphics and excellent physics, and this is especially true for its three sequels, Timeshock!, Big Race USA, and Fantastic Journey. I'd highly recommend this one for any pinball fan.



9. Zombies Ate My Neighbors (SNES) - I have to admit, this one made it to the list as the arbitrary winner of a list of a few other games that were last to be selected, but that isn't to say I don't have fond memories of this one growing up. You and a partner should you have one wonder your once peaceful suburban neighborhood, destroying zombies and other monsters with weapons such as water pistols, tomatoes, silverware, soda cans and more. Along the way you want to save the still living neighbors from being killed by the monsters. You lose if every living person (or dog) in a level perishes. You may also encounter things such as a ten story tall baby, killer clones of you and your buddy, and a delightful little level simply known as Chainsaw Hedgemaze Mayhem. This is a solid SNES game that doesn't short out of the fun.

8. No One Can Stop Mr. Domino! (Playstation) - This hidden gem hearkens back to the days when early 3D games, especially in the Playstation era, were often these quaint, quirky, strange, arcade-ish, and most importantly, very fun titles. Mr. Domino was a unique game of notable difficulty in which the player would control and anthropomorphic, walking domino as it would leave behind a limited supply of other dominoes at it progressed, and as the title implies, your little domino can not be stopped. The most you can do is slow down but coming to a full stop only happens when your energy is depleted, and your walking domino turns back into an inanimate little dotted rectangle.
The goal is to leave dominoes in front of various buttons on a repeating course, and leave a trail of dominoes from a marked spot and lead them to yet another button, repeating this as well as you can. Upon coming back around the course, you now run into your initial domino which will trigger some kind of action in the level which in most cases leads to the marked spot being disturbed. If a domino is there, then it will fall, sending any and all dominoes lined up in front of it tumbling to the floor. Do this right and you can create a course-length domino effect that's both impressive to achieve and fun to watch. Also on the course are health pickups, speed ups, slow downs, and reset tiles which reset the level back to default. The darker the back of your walking domino becomes, the less energy you have and the more urgently you need to walk over a health tile. Your health depletes faster as you progress to later levels. Pushing all required buttons in a level clears you to enter the next. So if you can, I highly suggest you pop Mr. Domino into your Playstation. And go ahead. Just try to stop him. I dare you.

See the rest after the jump

Monday, June 6, 2011

Birthday Coupon Code

The wonderful (but mostly silent) owner of Avane Shop, Jen is is turning 29 later this week, June 10th to be exact.:) In honor of this happy occasion we're giving away a few presents!

The next 10 orders get 29% off their total order at www.avaneshop.com Just use coupon Code: Birthday in the checkout screen. We have over a thousand items to browse through so there's bound to be something that strikes your fancy. Again this special gift is for the next 10 orders only so shop quickly or you'll miss out!

 

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Retro Review: Syberia PC

In spite of Syberia being a bit too new age wise (it came out in 2002) to really be considered retro (at least by my standards) it's old school point and click mentality made me think that it would be OK to sneak in.


Introduction

American lawyer, Kate Walker goes to France to sign some paperwork giving a large client control of an old toy factory. When she arrives she discovers a town full of strange but beautifully intricate automatons and a half century old secret. Suddenly a one day trip to take care of a few formalities becomes a life changing adventure aboard a clockwork train  heading for the fabled island of Syberia.



Overview

Controls aren't bad, it's a point and click so there's not a whole lot of guessing or wondering how something is done. However Kate can be kind of sluggish sometimes, watching her take the stairs was particularly annoying for me but did make me nostalgic for those old PS1 adventures games that suffered the same issue. Additionally looking for the right sweet spot to make something work or pick up a necessary item got tiresome sometimes, but nothing any adventure game player shouldn't be very familiar with.


Graphically it's nice overall. The character designs are pretty consistent with the time period though their movements themselves are bit stiff. The environments are imaginative and beautifully rendered with gorgeous art-nouveau and steampunk styling throughout, even the menu is pretty. My small issue is while they're lovely, the environments are pretty flat there's usually not a lot of background activity happening and you usually only see everything from one angle.


Soundwise it's good, but not phenomenal. It's got full voice-overs which normally in a game of this type I could take or leave, but other than a few
botched accents the voice actors were very believable.The only issue there was that it was the voices were often delayed, making many conversations awkward sounding especially when one character broke into another's speech or was supposed to be startling.

The music, was well written and appropriate, but I had a problem with it's usage. Every single time you accomplished a task like turning something on or putting something together, you got a big swell of music. Which was ok the first time and maybe even the 10th time, but after that I was completely over it. It drowned out any background noise or conversation for those couple of minutes you were stuck listening to it. It at least had the decency change depending on your area, but it still got old quickly, which honestly is kind of a shame because the music was otherwise a high point.

Gameplay

As a point and click style adventure, your primary means of going through the game is talking to NPCs, finding important documents, finding random objects, using said random object with information obtained from NPCs and documents to complete a task and move on with your game. Simple classic stuff here, not too much different from the sort of things we were playing back in the eighties (King's Quest anyone?) it just looks nicer.





The exploration leaves a bit to be desired. The locations are lovely and pretty well realized, but as I noted above they're a bit flat. Most places you can only see from one angle and there isn't really a lot of room to wander around. You're always on a main path that will take you to a puzzle or objective, sightseeing off the beaten path isn't an option. Additionally, Kate often wouldn't speak to NPCs that weren't absolutely necessary, or examine and comment on her environment unless it was relevant to the story right then. This sort of thing is a huge pet peeve of mine in any adventure game, as I feel extraneous environmental details, while unimportant to storyline, add to the depth and overall feel of a game. I will say however, that in some ways this detraction is also a blessing in some ways. As I mentioned briefly above, Kate walks painfully slowly even when running. I often found myself dreading any backtracking I had to do, so having full run of the land might not be so great. On the other hand, I'm playing an adventure game because I want an adventure I can feel connected to and immersed in, not a carnival haunted house style experience on rails.

I can't discuss the puzzles in any detail without ruining things, but they're pretty easy for a veteran gamer, not so easy they insult your intelligence though. Even if you're not an experienced game adventurer, they're not so hard you find yourself wanting to send the programmers some less than complementary emails. Most solutions are either discussed somewhere or by someone or are pretty logical once you have all the required items. I only found a few places where I got stuck because the next course of action wasn't exactly logical or ever discussed, but not really anything out of the ordinary for this type of game.


The storyline is interesting and compelling, Kate spends most of the game trying to track down the mysterious heir, master automaton maker and mammoth obsessee, Hans Voralburg. Tracking Hans is no easy task as by all accounts no one has seen him for years, and some think him long dead. Her only clues are his now dead sister's notes and some of Hans' creations including a clockwork train, and Oscar the amazing automaton train conductor who's AI tends toward the neurotic with special attention paid to needless bureaucracy. The two of them encounter a large cast of colorful NPCs ranging from a hotel clerks and barge captains to a drunken astronaut and a world famous opera singer. Most of the NPC are pretty fleshed out as well with refreshingly non-archetypal personalities. Even the locations themselves have interesting and complex histories for Katie to learn about.

Kate Walker's own personality comes through surprisingly natural character development. You learn about Kate's life via a series of cell phone conversations with her mother, best friend, fiancee, and boss. A nice change from the normal "my name is ___ and here's my life story" randomly blurted out in a cutscene found in many lesser quality games. By the end of the game I found myself thinking of Kate not quite as friend, but still fondly and familiarly, like an old high school acquaintance I would like to catch up with over coffee.


They only issue with the storyline is the ending. Without ruining any details, it's abrupt, anti-climatic and clearly a lead-in to a sequel. Personally I can't stand it when game publishers (or movie makers, or novel writers) do that instead of giving you a real ending, there are ways of both giving your story and end that won't make your players feel like they wasted hours for nothing and still leave your options open for a sequel. I didn't necessarily feel like I wasted my time at the end of Syberia, but I did feel a bit cheated.




Conclusion

Syberia is a good game, it's got a nice classic feel and a unique, compelling storyline. Visually it's treat, every single object, environment and menu has been carefully and artfully designed and beautifully rendered. The game isn't without it's flaws, as discussed above, but the positives outweigh them. So, if you've got a few hours to spare and are looking for a unique adventure Syberia won't disappoint.

~Stephanie

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Collection Oddities: Bootleg Sailor Moon Car Pencil Box

Our collection of weird Sailor Moon items isn't just limited to officially licensed crack, we have a wide variety of unofficial items as well. Now finding a crack bootleg item is like shooting fish in a barrel, but we try to get some of crackest of the crack items. That being said we present you with one of the worst offenders, A Car Shaped Pencil Box:



Who knew that Sailor Moon and Sailor Chibimoon rode around in such a flashy car? Though admittedly Usagi won't be driving it for much longer if she doesn't put more than one posing finger on the wheel. Stranger still who knew they hung out with other magical girls like Momoko from wedding peach? Though even though she looks like she's smiling in the back window, something much more sinister may be going on..

Instead of having a normal hood, this car is so fancy the whole top comes up for extra easy access, snazzy!


You've got to wonder how exactly they're getting around. I'm really not a car person, but I've seen a variety of engines none of which seem to resemble an unplayable race themed board game. On the plus side it seems like a pretty unique green environmentally friendly solution, a moon princess has to be socially conscious after all.

In all reality, this a tin pencil box with a hinged lid and single inner tray, it probably would hold your pencil, but wouldn't hold up to much wear and tear. We bought it online (for around $5 including shipping) but it almost certainly came out of some back alley Chinatown dollar store.However, in spite of it's many flaws and innaccuracies, this is a fun and unique piece for our collection and will serve us well holding wands, time keys and doll stands.

~Stephanie

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