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  • 13 Jun
    导出博客文章Hampshire 319 for 6 (Adams 86, Smith 67) v DurhamScorecard Hampshire took
    advantage when their desire to bat first was granted by Durhams acting captain,
    Mark Stoneman, in pleasant conditions at Chester-le-Street.With the top five all
    passing 40, the visitors built on an opening stand of 160 to reach 319 for 6 at
    the close of the first day.After Jimmy Adams led the way with 86 greater riches
    were promised when Michael Carberry and the recalled Adam Wheater were putting
    on 73 in 15 overs for the fourth wicket.They took 28 off the first five overs
    with the new ball, only to depart in quick succession.Having played himself in
    carefully in his new role at No. 4, Carberry moved impressively through the
    gears to reach 48 before he shaped to pull Graham Onions from outside off and
    bottom-edged into his stumps.A straight drive by Wheater gave him his seventh
    four and took him to 44 off 40 balls. But his attacking instincts left him in no
    position to deal with some skiddy extra pace as Barry McCarthys next ball pinned
    him lbw.McCarthy, who will shortly be on Ireland duty again in the one-day
    series against Afghanistan, shared the second new ball in the absence of Chris
    Rushworth.After bowling 16 of the first 40 overs as Durham desperately sought a
    breakthrough Rushworth was off the field for the rest of the day.He conceded
    only 30 runs and beat both openers several times, although the greatest scares
    came in the first four balls.Jimmy Adams, sent back when almost halfway down the
    pitch after Will Smith played to midwicket, would have been out had the throw
    throw hit the stumps. Then Smith went perilously close to playing on.Adams drove
    nicely through the off side and had a couple of leg glances among the eight
    fours in his 76-ball half-century.Smith needed 121 balls to reach his 50 and
    continued to leave the many balls wide of off stump before nibbling at one which
    left him in Keaton Jennings second over of gentle medium pace.Smith was caught
    behind for 67 and Adams drove a head-high catch to Jennings at midwicket off
    McCarthy. Tom Alsop played well for 40 before offspinner Ryan Pringle hurried
    one through to have him lbw to bring in Wheater, who twice reverse-swept Pringle
    to the boundary.Jennings, deputising at first slip for the injured Paul
    Collingwood for much of the day, clung on at the second attempt late in the day
    to remove Ryan McLaren, giving Paul Coughlin a wicket in his first Championship
    appearance of the season. Custom
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    What general manager Dave Nonis called "short and productive" negotiations ended
    with Kessel signing a US$64-million, eight-year contract on Tuesday. None of
    this wouldve happened had Jennifer Thompson not gone thriftin. This was in April
    2013, and she was browsing clothes and $1 DVDs at the Steele Creek Goodwill in
    Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, when she noticed it behind the glass
    counter. The video game title sparked a memory, a Yahoo article about the rarest
    games in the world. Jennifer carefully drove her 99 Honda Accord across the
    street to McDonalds, just to use the restaurants Wi-Fi to make sure she hadnt
    been wrong. She then crossed the street again and purchased the game for $8 from
    the $30 she had in her bank account, praying the clerk wouldnt recognize what it
    was and stop her.When she took it for validation to a used video game store in
    Charlotte, the young man behind the counter rustled open the plastic bag and
    beheld the game -- pristine in its cardboard box covered by much of the original
    cellophane -- coughing the words Oh my god. He offered her all the money in the
    register for it. She turned him down.Before Stadium Events for the Nintendo
    Entertainment System came into their lives, Jennifer and her now-husband, Jeff,
    were scraping by. They lived in a double-wide trailer with a mouse problem and a
    buckling floor, so close to the Carolina Speedway that the sounds of engines
    from the dirt track kept them awake at night. Jeff had been laid off from his
    job working power lines, and Jennifer was taking classes at Belmont Abbey
    College, collecting coupons so they could get free deodorant and shampoo. The
    couple were slowly saving money, had plans to buy a house, but didnt know how
    many years it might take.This game could change all of that. It had a strange
    mythology, and a sect of people who obsessed about it and were insane enough to
    spend their mortgages just to acquire it.The orthodontist wanted the game, more
    than any other of the thousands hed already accrued. Hed daydreamed about what
    Stadium Events would look like inside the display case in his basement game
    room, the fulfillment it would give him.The only orthodontist in Bedford,
    Indiana, Tod Curtis was 41, with a wife and two kids, and well-liked in the
    small town. He had a free arcade in the front room of his practice. Like many
    children of the 80s, he cherished the NES -- introduced to the U.S. in 1986, it
    remains one of the best-selling consoles of all time -- and Tod kept a
    spreadsheet with the names of every game made for it, all 750-plus of them.
    Stadium Events was the last one he needed. In 2008, he wrote Hooray! in the
    margin after buying a cartridge for $1,475, but when he placed this game
    alongside his others, the joy it brought was fleeting. So a few years later, he
    found a second copy on eBay, winning it for $11,518.19. This one was in good
    shape, a cartridge in its original box with a single glaring cut running down
    its back, missing only the instruction manual. But, again, something nagged at
    him.It was hard for him to explain why he wanted an even better copy. Anyone who
    might see the expanse of his game room -- safely behind the key-coded deadbolted
    door -- would not only stand in awe but also feel a little sad for him. His
    obsession was not merely acquiring or displaying the games; it was about the
    quest and some childhood longing that buying the games temporarily sated.The
    obsession was also an emotional investment. Growing up, he collected baseball
    cards. I never had a Honus Wagner rookie, he lamented. Thats what this game is
    to this hobby. I dont know how many Honus Wagner cards are out there compared to
    how many Stadium Events there are. If the game is really that rare, you can see
    in 20 years it coming up at Christies, where people are going to pay
    $900,000.Tim Atwood discovered copies of the game. In 1992, he was on a crew
    cleaning out an abandoned warehouse near a JCPenney on the east side of Grand
    Rapids, Michigan, and at the time didnt know much about Nintendo. The word was
    ubiquitous -- the NES had been out for six years -- but meant only Mario to a
    guy like Tim. Workers in the warehouse were tossing everything into a garbage
    bin, including dusty arcade cabinets. Tim saw a pallet of small cardboard boxes
    in the corner of the warehouse; those boxes turned out to be about 250 sealed
    cases of individual games for the NES made before 1991, all waiting to be
    scrapped. He knew someone with a storage space. For reasons he still cant
    explain, he decided to keep the pallet for himself instead of throwing it
    away.Twenty-four years later, he had become something like a myth, the
    60-year-old who loved Mountain Dew and playing the now-retro NES, who might be
    sitting on a fortune. Even those closest to him didnt know the whole truth of
    the cases. Finally, his friend Tom Curtin persuaded Tim to take just one
    picture, to send a message to the video game collecting community. It was a
    blurry photo, but the words stamped on the side of the case came through clear
    enough: BANDAI AMERICA, INC. STADIUM EVENTS. 6PCS. Tom posted the picture on
    NintendoAge.com, the largest online gathering place for fans and collectors,
    with the title: After years of waiting ... it is here and its beautiful!Thats
    when the frickin s---storm happened, Tim says. I shouldve kept my big mouth
    shut.The game calls out to collectors. It is seductive because of its rarity but
    also a testament to the darker side of a hobby reaching new heights of
    popularity.It isnt a good game. Its a boring game. Released in 1987 by the
    Japanese company Bandai, Stadium Events was made for a piece of peripheral
    hardware called the Family Fun Fitness mat. Playing it required jumping on the
    mats sensors to emulate running, the characters in the game sprinting, hurdling
    in accord with how fast the player could go. The graphics werent anything
    special. The easiest way to play was to give up running and crouch in front of
    the pad and slap your hands on the sensors as fast as possible --
    cheating.Nonetheless, Nintendo of America president Minoru Arakawa thought the
    technology could be huge, so the company purchased the mat and relaunched it as
    the Power Pad. Stadium Events was then rebranded as World Class Track Meet, so
    as not to confuse the market, according to Gail Tilden, who worked for Nintendo
    at the time.But what happened to the Stadium Events that had already been made?
    Nintendo and Bandai have declined to shed any light on the matter, leaving
    collectors to speculate. Rumor had it that the game had been sold at only one
    Woolworths, which turned out to be false. Other collectors subscribe to the
    theory that Nintendo destroyed the remaining copies.Not even Howard Phillips
    knows the truth. He was the face of Nintendo of America from the mid-80s until
    1990, testing and promoting NES games in Nintendo Power magazine. (A child of
    the 80s might remember him as the guru in a bow tie in the Howard and Nestor
    comic.) There were 10,000 copies, maybe, produced, he says. That sounds like a
    crazy- big number given that so few have shown up. Ten thousand copies for the
    North American release was close to minimum run. If there were 10,000, I dont
    know where they ended up. I dont have recollection of us burying them in a
    landfill. Destroying them or reworking them wouldve been a laborious task.
    Getting the label off wouldve been overly laborious on a per-unit basis. So ...
    the rarity is a mystery, isnt it?Down the years, the games mythos has only
    grown, a backstory muddled with wild yarns from collectors on how they got it
    and where they kept it. Someone in Atlanta named Cory (who was afraid to have
    his last name published) paid $35,100 for a sealed copy that he kept in an
    acrylic case with UV protection, which he then hid inside a Kashi cereal box.
    Dain Anderson, who created the Nintendo Age site, had considered the game his
    white whale for years -- he traded more than $34,000 worth of Atari games to get
    just one copy. Another collector traded a $30,000 piece of art for a sealed copy
    (there were five verified to exist). A lawyer in Wisconsin got his through a
    divorce: I dont have enough to pay you, his client told him, but I hear you like
    Nintendo games ...Pat Contri, who co-hosts one of the most popular gaming
    podcasts on iTunes, the Completely Unnecessary Podcast, owns every other
    officially licensed NES game, but he says he wont buy Stadium Events on
    principle. He recently self-published Ultimate Nintendo: Guide to the NES
    Library 1985-1995, a 437-page book that rates NES games on a five-star system,
    and Stadium Events scored 1.5 stars. Meanwhile, hundreds of the other games are
    hardly worth anything at all; Super Mario Bros., arguably the greatest Nintendo
    game of all time, is worth around $11. You can buy an identical copy of the game
    [World Class Track Meet] for $3, Pat says. Stadium Events gets pushed up on a
    pedestal. I despise the aura around it -- an aura of elitism. It draws out the
    worst of the hobby.Of coursee, a large part of Stadium Events value is driven by
    its perceived scarcity, which means that if more copies surface -- copies that
    might have been sitting in some attic, or maybe in some abandoned warehouse --
    there could be turmoil in the collecting community, a sudden erosion of the
    games worth.dddddddddddd And if the game loses its worth, what happens to the
    people who obsessed over it, let alone spent small fortunes on it?Tim Atwood sat
    silently at his home near a dairy farm in central Michigan, smoking a joint, his
    own blend of weed grown in his backyard. He named it Kid Icarus, after the
    famous but infuriating NES game. He was contemplating: Would he ever really
    consider selling his sealed case of Stadium Events?When his friend Tom posted
    the fuzzy image of the case on Nintendo Age, collectors called him a dangerous
    hermit, and some questioned whether the picture was real. Others were glad he
    could conceivably destroy the games value by flooding the market.Thats actually
    my last case, Tim finally revealed. In fact, he continued, he originally had not
    one but three sealed cases of Stadium Events, each containing six copies --
    upward of $300,000 worth of games. Hed already opened the other two and sold off
    the contents the past few years. He chose collectors he liked and made those
    lucky recipients sign a nondisclosure agreement, keeping the source of the game
    and its price secret. That would mean instead of there being five sealed copies
    of Stadium Events, as verified by the Video Game Authority grading network this
    year, there were actually 23, when you include the six still in Tims possession
    and the 12 people who had one but couldnt tell a soul.Tim insisted he didnt need
    the money. He occasionally sold some games on eBay when he needed cash, drew his
    disability from a car accident and lived an otherwise quiet life. Once, he said,
    hed given someone a $1,000 game for a single dollar, just to see the look on
    that persons face. He did stuff like that to piss off other collectors, whom he
    blamed for inflating the value of the game.As for those who speculated that his
    remaining case was fake, well, Tim didnt care, though he admitted that he had
    shown it only to his lawyer and to the person who had rented him the storage
    space where he kept it. He also had an immense NES collection in his barn, just
    about every game, sealed. A fortune in plastic cartridges that had never seen
    daylight. Whatever he claimed about cases of Stadium Events rang believable.Tom,
    who had driven all the way from Boston to hang out and play games with his
    friend on this day, kept joking that if he beat Tim in Mario Golf: Toadstool
    Tour on the GameCube that Tim would have to take him to see the infamous box.
    Not a peek at the copies of Stadium Events contained inside. Just the box.Tim
    rolled a cigarette. The blue of midafternoon faded into the unlit sky, the black
    of the middle of nowhere. You can smoke my weed, the cigarettes, you can even
    stay here, he said. But Ill tell you the one thing you cant do -- see that box
    of Stadium Events.He would never sell the remaining box. He would leave it as
    inheritance and let his grown kids figure out what the hell to do with it.The
    orthodontist sat in front of his computer near the end of the auction on
    GameGavel.com, hoping to buy the Thompsons copy and terrified that his account
    might not work correctly or that there would be just enough of a delay on the
    site for his bid to fail.His hands, normally steady in his trade, turned clammy
    and uncertain. It was maybe the most beautiful copy of Stadium Events that Tod
    had found. There was no way he could let it go: a pristine copy of the game,
    complete with its manual, the cellophane still attached to the box. He stood up,
    paced, sat back down -- a wreck. His wife was standing behind him, yelling, Buy
    it! Buy it! He typed the bid at the last second: $25,000, an admittedly
    outrageous amount of money.There was a delay. Finally, the words popped up: Tod
    was the winner.He jumped out of his chair, toward his wife; they fell into each
    other, danced. Hed done it, again. More money thrown after this obsession. But
    this was different; he knew this was the end, nowhere else to go. He slumped
    back into the chair victorious, suddenly reminded of the practicalities of a
    bank transfer to a couple in a small town in North Carolina.No matter what I
    collect now, it cant match the experience of collecting that NES set. Its not
    possible, he would later say. Its kind of like being a Red Sox fan, like I was
    growing up. I wanted more than anything for the Red Sox to win that 1986 Series.
    I was devastated when they didnt. But if they had, that would have meant losing
    the thrill of the hunt for the next two decades.The game arrived in the mail,
    packed by the Thompsons like a Russian nesting doll, box inside of box. Sitting
    in his basement, he was mindful of the mechanics of each deep breath -- raising
    the box with the Japanese art style illustration on the cover, two runners in
    motion, one in red shorts, the other with blue shorts and a headband, competing
    in an Olympic sprint. He had a spot at the left edge of the Nintendo case for
    the box, where it joined his other copy. He even put on his white orthodontist
    gloves to first touch the game. Gosh, its beautiful, he said.He has yet to play
    it.The game put a down payment on a little brick house with black shutters in
    Gastonia for Jennifer and Jeff. It bought a microfiber couch and a pool table.
    It helped pay off Jennifers student loans. It paid for some of her Pyrex
    collection stacked in luminous colors in the dining room, with just $2,000 left
    over to put in the bank.One day not long ago, Jennifer stood in her kitchen,
    frying bacon and giggling. I dont know if it changed our lives, she said,
    drawing the I into an ah in a lilting accent. Jeff, a tall, hefty dude in a ball
    cap, shook his head. Oh, but it definitely sped everything up, he said. This has
    been wild.After breakfast, the couple gazed at each other, at one point holding
    hands, almost in comic affirmation of their journey together, via video game,
    which had led them to an orthodontist in Indiana, and to this. Every time they
    hired someone new at work, his co-workers, first thing, would beg Jeff: Tell us
    the story! Tell the story of the game ...Jeff laughed. Its such a horrible game,
    though.In 2015, Tod heard from a man named Jay Bartlett, who loved video games
    so much he took on a quest to meet other collectors, trying to procure every
    licensed NES game within the span of a month. It was, literally, a Nintendo
    quest, a documentary of the same name that trailed him on his road trip. Stadium
    Events, the movie foreshadowed, would be the hardest of all to get. At the end
    of the movie, Jay visited the only orthodontist in Bedford, Indiana.Jay stood in
    Tods basement as the orthodontist held his copy of Stadium Events, considering
    whether he would sell it. Tod knew he didnt need three copies of the game. He
    didnt want to hoard them, and he knew other collectors wanted it. Tod saw plenty
    of himself in Jay, that feeling of wanting to be complete. He held out the game,
    his copy with the long cut in the back of the box -- relinquishing his
    ownership, passing it like a family heirloom from one obsessive to another.He
    was the perfect buyer, Tod says today. Someone who was passionate about it,
    someone with a great background story. But even now, Tod admits he dreams about
    what might be inside Tim Atwoods remaining box and whether anyone could ever
    persuade Tim to sell. Obsessions dont stop just because you have everything you
    obsessed over.For Jay, as he carried the game in a leather satchel from Indiana
    to his home in London, Ontario, Stadium Events seemed an archaeological
    artifact. He felt an awesome power; he was a new member of an arguably insane
    club. Hearing him describe how he landed the game is like listening to someone
    recount a feat of athletic prowess, as though acquiring it were a matter of
    endurance: There arent many people who could go for it ...He wanted the game on
    display, where its importance would cast shadows on all the other games in his
    collection. He felt the game altered how people viewed him. He had Stadium
    Events, he was worthy; hed passed some invisible threshold.No other game changes
    you like this one, he said. You cant go back after it.Almost every night before
    he could go to sleep, Jay walked the hallway past his game room, opening the
    door a crack, staring for a few seconds into the darkness, then flicking the
    light switch, illuminating the box with the runners on the cover, one with the
    sweatband and one with the red shorts, and the telling scar running down the
    back.He had to make sure it was really there. ' ' '