- By Chris Curtis
A home entertainment considered completely outmoded or obsolete by the mainstream public re-emerges after years of neglect into newfound popularity. Sounds like the story of the vinyl LP, right? Well, it is, but it’s also the story of an even older recreation that may seem passé in today’s high-tech world. The board game, which dates back at least to Ancient Egypt, has made a dramatic comeback in recent years. But in most cases, it’s not old games being revived. Rather, hundreds of new titles are being produced annually by both established companies and upstart indies, many via crowdfunding. It’s been said we’re living through the Golden Age of Boardgames, and while other artforms may have had their best days behind them, it’s inspiring to see a craft refining itself and getting objectively better.
The ball got rolling for modern games in the mid-'90s with a German game called Settlers of Catan. It gained worldwide popularity, and impressed many with its ease of play and elegant and efficient game mechanics. For Americans, who had grown up on luck-based roll-the-dice-and-move games, Catan and other “Eurogames” showed that gameplay could be more strategic yet still light and casual. Interest was stoked by word-of-mouth and the internet, and by the early 2000s American game designers and manufacturers were taking note, and responding with strong titles of their own. Designers from around the world increasingly jumped into the creative arena, with Japan especially producing many outstanding games.
What specifically makes modern games (or “Designer” games - so-called because the creator’s name is usually on the box) different than games we’re accustomed to? Very few function like Monopoly, where the player is constant victim to the whims of the dice and board, landing on a space and following instructions. Many have no dice at all and some involve only cards or tiles. Usually, players will have at least one meaningful decision to make every time their turn comes up, so strategy plays a greater role. Themes are often fanciful or historical, which can make the game more immersive, especially with well-designed components and artwork. Designer games are often less cut-throat and confrontational than games like Sorry. They avoid player elimination (i.e., you go bankrupt and must sit out the remainder of the game) and typically keep the running time under an hour or so with less downtime. Many games can be played in 20 minutes or less, which make them easier to fit into contemporary schedules.
- By Chris Curtis
We are very excited to announce that we've acquired the amazing CD collection of LA Free Music Society member Juan Gomez! This one-of-a-kind collection will be on display and available for sale at Amoeba Hollywood starting Saturday, October 22nd. Juan's collection leans toward the catalog of mindfully experimental artists with classical influence, with many obscure releases and long out-of-print titles among the assemblage. It features over 700 pieces, including hard-to-find gems from artists such as Philip Glass and Olga Neuwirth, as well as labels Kairos, ECM New Series, Wergo, and Neos.
Juan Gomez, as an early adapter and member of the improvisational LAFMS collective, has always had an interest in contemporary music of all kinds. His taste for modernism also drew him into the musical landscape of 20th century avant-garde composers and thus inspired his interest in collecting their recordings early on. As a young man, the recordings he experienced at his local library of Arnold Schoenberg, Karlheinz Stockhausen, and John Cage helped to strongly influence his music buying tastes.
Canadian R&B/pop singer and songwriter Alessia Cara was recently at Amoeba Hollywood looking for some cool new records and we got a chance to chat with her for our "What's In My Bag?" series. Take, for instance, Amy Winehouse's debut album, Frank, which is one of Cara's all-time favorite albums. "It's just a really interesting mixture of jazz and hip hop." The first track, "Stronger Than Me," especially stood out to Cara. "The entire album is beautiful, I love it," she says.
Alessia Cara began her career by performing covers of popular songs on YouTube. She attracted the attention of Def Jam, who released her official debut single, "Here," in 2015. Her debut full-length studio album, Know-It-All, appeared later that year, with "Here" landing the singer her first top-five Billboard single.
That same year, she made her first appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. In 2016, she took home the award for Breakthrough Artist of the Year at the Juno Awards. After touring with Coldplay in the first half of 2016, she then embarked on her own solo headlining tour of North America. She was nominated for the BET Awards 2016 Best New Artist and the American Music Awards 2016 New Artist of the Year.
Lady Gaga's new album, Joanne, is officially out on Friday, October 21st but we're giving you the chance to buy it early at Amoeba Hollywood's listening party! Join us on Thursday, October 20th at 8pm to purchase Joanne, enjoy tasty treats, and take home special gifts with purchase, including Joanne beer koozies, posters, and stickers (while supplies last). Plus, we'll be playing the new album in its entirety!
Joanne will be available for sale on regular and deluxe edition CD in-store only at Amoeba Hollywood starting at 8pm until we close at 11pm.
Can't make it to our early sale? You can pre-order Joanne on CD or deluxe edition CD online from Amoeba.com (and it'll ship FREE to the U.S.) or stop by our stores on Friday, October 21st when it's out worldwide.
Bay Area fans, be sure to visit Amoeba San Francisco and Amoeba Berkeley on release day to pick up your copy of the album and take home Joanne koozies and posters with purchase - while they last!
Amoeba Hollywood's next Sidewalk Sale is Saturday, October 22 from 12pm - 4pm, right outside the store. It's your chance to score huge deals on music, movies, books, comics and more!
- DVD box sets: 2 for $8
- DVDs: $2 each or 3 for $5
- Blu-ray: $4 each or 3 for $10
- CDs: buy 1 get 1 [of equal or lesser value] free
- Freshly stocked 45s: 2 for $1
- Great deals on magazines, comics, books, toys & T-shirts
- $1 LPs & much more!
All sidewalk sale items are aggressively sale priced. Therefore, we do not accept store credits, gift certificates, coupons or other offered store sales for any sidewalk sale items. Additionally, we cannot offer customer holds or mail order. All sales are final.