Occasions, and Milestones
January: The snowiest
(yes, it's a proper word) January in recent memory comes
to a close.
May: Our turtles always lay eggs around this time
of the year. They'll scrabble around, kick their legs, and
start laying eggs on what they suppose are suitable
June: Heat's coming in and our Purslane plants are
started to reach for the skies. We're going to revamp the
NCS site (this one, not the shopping sites) but we'll keep
the entire archive of old news updates intact on our
server so that they are accessible.
September: Summer's already over and the Purslane
crop was bountiful as usual. The sunflowers also did
alright on the rooftop this year.
January: We're in a
deep freeze in NYC as we kick off the new year. Trading
targets for the year include long dollar, short gold,
short crude with our pyramiding trading strategy which was
a Livermore bastion. Myth makers and their myth making can
only last for so long. As usual, we wait for the markets
to let us know when breakdowns and breakouts occur and
follow the trend.
February: Punxsutawney Phil sees its shadow but
Staten Island Chuck doesn't. As the Groundhog Day lore
goes, if the hog sees its shadow, there'll be six more
weeks of winter but if it doesn't, Spring will be here
within 2 weeks. When those groundhogs are being held up by
the celebrants on Groundhog Day, they're probably
thinking, "Why are these F&#*@s holding me up like a
pelt?" Chuck bit NYC's Mayor Bloomberg last year so maybe
the stress of predicting the weather is getting to the
rodents. February 25 Update: Punxsutawney was right
because winter's still lording over New England.
June: The Purslane plants on our rooftop garden are
already forming seedpods. The sunflowers are about 2' tall
and there's exactly one lemon growing from our lemon
trees. One. Last year, we had two. What appears to be
happening to the lemon buds (which eventually turn into
lemons) is they're being eaten by squirrels or birds. We
haven't caught the critter(s) in action yet.
December: Another year's in the bag as New York
City digs out from a mountain of snow. See ya in 2011.
January: Happy New
Year and all that jazz. We're braving below freezing
temperatures in NYC as we start the year but the local
weatherman are projecting warmer days ahead.
February: Similar to last year, Punxsutawney
Phil sees its shadow but Staten Island Chuck doesn't.
Maybe Chuck has it right this year because February 8 in
NYC was a balmy 57° throughout the afternoon.
March: Spring is in sight as Mother Nature works
off the last legs of Winter.
July: We're in the midst of summer but temperatures
in New York City are strangely mild. There was a stretch
in June where it rained every day for 2 weeks straight and
we haven't cracked 90° yet.
November: Mushihimesama Futari v1.5 was
worth the wait
December: Final Fantasy XIII (game and Lightning
bundle) make up nearly 30% of NCS' overall sales for the
month of December.
January: Just like
last year, temperatures in New York City are balmy as the
mercury hits the 50° and 60° ranges. We spot a few
pedestrians in shorts and t-shirts. The stock market takes
a precipitous dip to welcome the New Year and we reminisce
about Martin Armstrong's Economic Confidence Model and its
predictive abilities. If the model is on track, we should
get a healthy bounce and extended run starting on March
22, 2008. Regarding the current downdraft in the indices,
remember that nothing ever moves in a straight line.
February: Punxsutawney Phil sees its shadow but
Staten Island Chuck doesn't. We'll know who got it right
in six weeks...
March: Punxsutawney Phil (the OG) wins another
round. Retire Chuck before it gets embarrassing.
April: A rush of preorders this month as Japan
gears up for the summer sales season
September: Another year is almost over as we head
towards the holidays
December: We made it through an interesting year
with ups and downs around the globe.
January: The year starts off nice and warm with New
York City basking in 60˚
temperatures. We know the warmth won't last so we're
enjoying it while we can.
February: Temperatures dip below freezing and New
Yawkers suffer under the yoke of a cruel winter. On the
brighter side, all of our oil-service sector stocks
March: The weather brightens up towards the end of
March and the summer doldrums are in our sights.
May: We survived the Golden Week hiatus.
July: The heat is on in New York City as Mama
Nature ratchets the mercury up to triple digits.
September: We're at the tail-end of summer but the
holiday season is in our sights.
December: Another fruitful year is in the books and
we look towards 2008
January: The weather in New York shifts between
subfreezing and balmy as temperatures go from 16˚
to 58˚ and down again
in the space of 24-48 hours. Like a roller coaster.
March: On average, temperatures in March were lower
than those in January. Phoenix Wright [USA] on the NDS
garners a reprint and Tales of Eternia for the European
PSP continues to break sales records.
May: Warm weather reaches New York City and Central
Park is in full bloom. Pollen everywhere.
June: In the middle of the month, the heat wave
creeps into the City. Markets started dropping last month
to vindicate the age old adage of "Sell in May."
October: NCS hunkers down and prepares for the USA
and Japanese launches of the Nintendo Wii and the
December: The holiday season blows in and blows out
in the space of 2 weeks of frenzied trading.
January: 2005 kicks off to a slow start as Japanese
suppliers take their usual 1-2 week vacation.
March: Japanese PSP sales continue strong even as
the USA debut nears. The interest in the Japanese version
may be caused by rumors that the USA PSP will use a lower
quality screen... With no territory lockout for PSP games,
screen quality may be enough to push hedgers into becoming
April: In the blink of an eye, the first quarter is
over and we head onto the busy month of April where
publishers are keen on shipping a lot of product to
July: We're avoiding the summer doldrums so far
this year with brisk trade in games, toys, and the ever
lovin' scrap heap scramble.
November: With the Thanksgiving holiday over and
done, NCS gears up for the year end rush.
December: Another interesting year is
in the history books.
January: Happy New Year. January's been a cold month thus far but
spring's only 2 months away...something to look forward
to. The month starts out slow as it always does since
Japan is on extended holidays but things pick up mid-month
when Nintendo announces a new Famicom GBA SP variant and
Microsoft announces two limited edition Xbox consoles.
February: As we hurtle towards the end of
February, the weather perks up a bit and we're hitting the
high 40s. Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow...but Long
Island Chuck saved the day when he didn't. This bodes well
for an early spring and our money's on Chuck. Business
continues to be strong with a steady stream of imports
shipping every week. The final week of February is a
strong one with Psyvariar 2 on Dreamcast and Kaido Battle
2 on PS2 selling briskly.
March: The first week of March proves Long Island
Chuck right as temperatures swell into the 50s.
Punxsutawney was wrong and the old rodent probably needs to
retire... As the month comes to a close, roughly 60 new
imports in the last two weeks help us break another sales
record for the first quarter. Shikigami no Shiro 2 on the
DC helps a lot as does the new Sakura Taisen Paris game on
June: We awaken in the start of the summer to lazy
days and barbecues. There's an adage for the stock market
that goes "Sell in May and go away!" that we think applies
to overall business. While our sales are still rather
strong during the summer months, we do notice the downtick
in overall activity. We also tend to trade futures (SP
E-minis, JPY E-minis mostly) during the summer months
based on the "Sell in May..." principle and seasonal
trends leading up to September.
Sept: Back to school and back to vigorous business
as we prepare for the holiday season which is around the
Dec: Another good year on the back of the PSP and a
heavy influx of imports as the year closes out.
As the first quarter ends, NCS is content in knowing that
we made it through a parade of GBA SP sales relatively
unscathed and also handled the launch of the Gameboy
Player, Soul Calibur 2 on three consoles and the release
of the Freeloader on Gamecube. We also enjoyed strong
sales of the GC Action Replay although Xbox AR sales are
somewhat less than expected. Datel did what they could do
on the Xbox and buyers were striking to show their
displeasure with what was essentially an X-port instead of
a cheat device.
At the beginning of the second quarter, NCS nears conclusion on the
development of a new shopping site. The current shop has
served us well over the past few years but with the volume
of transactions that we handle now, we need a new engine
which helps us work more efficiently. A new look and feel
never hurts either. NCS will keep the current shop up as a
backup however since there's a few years worth of order
histories and reference products since the launch in 1999.
The new site debuts on May 28 and we're up and running
with another chapter.
The third and fourth quarters are brisk with new releases and we
end the year with another great season as holiday buyers
come out in force for stocking stuffers and other import
items that one wouldn't find at the local Walmart or chain
Similar to 2000, NCS starts the new year with Sakura
Taisen. Sega's Memorial Pack re-releases of all three
Sakura Taisen games on Dreamcast promise continued sales
to staunch fans seemingly unaffected by all the
rehashes. Sakura would also capture the hearts of it's
fan base with Sakura Taisen 4 on March 21 and the Sakura
Complete Box, which gathered together all four volumes in
the series. Otherwise, the Dreamcast limps along as
software releases slow to a trickle but ends the year with
a bang when Playmore ships King of Fighters 2001 and
promises KOF 2002 sometime in 2003.
The Japanese launch of the Xbox fizzles
with moderate interest in the console. NCS brings in the
Xbox Limited Edition console along with the regular
edition to moderate sales. Perhaps we can blame it on
the lack of "must-have" software but we see
great sales of the Japanese X-box controllers which are
smaller in girth than the USA joypads. As the year comes
to a close, Xbox releases in Japan pick up but are still
The Playstation 2's dominance in the import
market is assured with another impressive lineup of new
releases including names such as Xenosaga Episode 1,
Grandia Xtreme, Virtua Fighter 4, and Onimusha 2. The
first quarter ends with a strong PS2 flourish with
Tekken 4, Super Robot Wars Impact, and Kingdom Hearts
hitting the market. The fourth quarter sees similar
success with PS2 Kingdom Hearts Final Mix, Metal Gear
Solid 2 Substance and Kidou Shin Sangumi Moeyo Ken.
Old friends visit when Sun/Eolith
release King of Fighters 2001 and 2002 on the Neo Geo.
In between that, we enjoy Metal Slug 4 and Rage of the
Dragons. Sales are
always consistent for Neo releases and we order the
Japanese editions with confidence. NCS also brings in a
USA version of the four games for customers who desire the
English insert and manual.
The first quarter for the Gamecube sees a
small number of releases but sales pick up exponentially
when Biohazard ships to market. It marks our best
selling Gamecube to date, besting the sales performances
of Luigi's Mansion which we pretty much sold 1 for 1
with every Gamecube console we shipped last year.
Impressive performance for Capcom's remake of the
original Biohazard game bodes well for the franchise in
general. As the year closes, GC Phantasy Star Online and
Eternal Arcadia Legend lead sales.
Taisen leads the way into the new year by way of a
special Dreamcast console package, a complementing
joypad, and e-mail software. Sakura
Taisen 3 gives good follow-up and ships in March with
two limited editions. Unfortunately for the DC, Sega
announces cessation of it's Dreamcast production at the
end of January although software titles would still be
published for the remainder of the year. A powerful PS2
lineup dazzles the market with Zone of Enders, Devil May Cry,
Biohazard Code Veronica LE, and Metal Gear Solid 2; it's sophomore year
defines the PS2 as a serious contender. The
Gameboy Advance proves a smashing success when it ships
in Japan during the first quarter and performs equally
well in the USA a few months later. The Wonderswan Color
sees it's fortunes flag under the weight of Nintendo's
During the second half of the year, NCS
pre-occupies itself with Gamecube sales. The Japanese
launch is welcomed warmly, with mighty volumes shipped
to domestic and international customers. When the
Gamecube modification [USA/JPN] is discovered, sales
spike as Nintendo fans scramble to get their own
international CUBE. Microsoft ships X-Box to the USA
market but due to LAME distribution, NCS side-steps the
big mess. NCS
re-enters the Japanese toy business with Parappa plushes
and Samba plushes proving their mettle in a fickle
buyer's market. Candy Toys and various other
products are dabbled in as the holiday season rolls
kicks the Dreamcast Mod first in a 26-wire version and
then in 6-wire and currently 5-wire versions. The
Playstation 2 is launched with much fervor but the
software follow-through is suspect. Nevertheless,
Japanese PS2 sales are very strong and interest is high. The
beat goes on with Dance Dance Revolution on the DC and
DDR 3rd Mix on the Playstation 2. Final Fantasy IX is
released mid-year, safely ahead of the impending
juggernaut known as Dragon Quest VII. NCS stops
accepting new vendor accounts but maintains existing
wholesale buyers. The company ends the year with a
mighty mix of product offerings to cap our best year yet
- King of Fighters 2000 leads in gross numbers but
Guilty Gear X LE, Last Blade 2, Phantasy Star Online,
Daytona USA 2K1, and Card Captor Sakura boast stellar
opens the on-line store and fills it up with our
complete inventory. The store currently handles over 70%
of all sales. SNK strengthens their hand in the handheld
market with the Neo Geo Pocket Color. NCS enjoys brisk
sales of the NGP handheld and feels the conviction of
the Neo Geo fanbase. The Dreamcast import library
remains mighty and the DC product line takes over as
NCS' strongest seller. Near the end of the year, we hear
the Saturn swan song as publishers abandon the console.
The same goes for the Neo-Geo CD with King of Fighters
99 as the last release. The Neo Geo console also seems
sickly. NCS scales back wholesale operations and focuses
primarily on retail accounts.
Dreamcast debuts late in the year and causes much pain
and suffering with Sega's short supplies to the market.
Lived through it however and what didn't kill us made us
stronger. Wiser. Bemani is unleashed and a new genre is
born. The original Dance Dance Revolution is still an
office favorite with it's superb soundtrack (Butterfly
anyone?). It's a super Saturn year with Radiant
Silvergun on the money - still one of the most
sought-after shooters and a true gem from the Treasure
crew. Capcom strikes gold with the Saturn 4MB collection
of arcade conversions. The original Neo Geo Pocket is
released - a black & white handheld with great
promise and a seemingly bright future.
considers 1997 the 32-bit Golden Age with many, many
excellent imports released to market. It is around this
time that the realization sets in that the web will
change the way everyone conducts business and NCS looks
into daily updates on a bustling import market. One of
the best Saturn shooters arrives in the form of
Soukyugurentai and Square releases the first Final
Fantasy on the Playstion with numero VII which promptly
captures the imagination of a 32-bit hungry public.
Sakura Taisen is introduced to the world and a new fan
base develops for the fuchsia princess. Sakura is one of
our best sellers on the Saturn. Note that we said
"is" and not "was". It's got
Nintendo 64 is released, the Saturn gets Virtua On
fever, and the Playstation goes Namco retro. The
Nintendo 64 was a killer because of it's high cost at
debut. NCS took heavy losses since prices for the
console were quartered within a month of it's release
due to dead sales in Japan and the USA. Mario 64 wasn't
enough to save this one and Pilot Wings was dead on
arrival. It would be a harbinger of doom since N64 sales
in Japan have since died. Kaput. On the legal front, NCS
is sued by Sony because of the Playstation mod chip.
Sometimes it's not good to be a pioneer since it may
attract corporate wrath.
updates are still performed at random intervals but
we're beginning to believe... This is an early 1996
selection of updates but it was a memorable first half
because of Vampire Hunter on the Saturn. NCS sells over
1,000 units on the first day and another 2,000+ units in
the months that follow. We would beat these numbers by a
wide margin with the Capcom releases that would follow
such as Vampire Saviour, Marvel vs Street Fighter,
etc. The ability to import Capcom games a week before
our fiercest competitors helped NCS corner the Capcom
fighting game market. Some ardent rivals leave the
business and others join the market.
tiptoes into the web and issues spotty web updates due
to lack of conviction in the new medium. Much
of our early material has been lost since we figured the
web was a fleeting fad and the future remained on paper
and print. Most updates were weekly and only faxed to
our vendor accounts. Another mistake. The Playstation
and Saturn distinguish themselves with the PS strong in
3-D games while the Saturn offers Astal and Clockwork
Knight, both excellent 2-D platform titles.
Saturn and Playstation debut in Japan with PS consoles
hitting the USA retail market at a nice US$850 each and
the Saturn kicking in at US$750. Early Playstation games
such as Ridge Racer and Toshinden would command prices
of $125 each but fans damn the cost and feed the need
for 32-bit gaming. NCS is still doing business the old
fashioned way around this time but makes a push into
retail. The 32-bit consoles open up new opportunities.
goes heavy into the Super Famicom, Super Mega Drive,
Game Gear business; SFC carts cost $115 each thanks to
Nintendo's Japanese monopoly and "normal"
cartridge prices of Y11800 (US$110). NCS expands
wholesale operations to vendors around the country.
school players may remember NCS back in the day...
is conducted by phone and fax. The internet is still
relegated to universities, government and few envision a
web for the masses. Every week, we'd fax vendors our
weekly sales sheets for new releases. This was back when
long distance charges were still hefty.
enters the import gaming niche and supplies only local
vendors, neglecting the retail side. Big early mistake.
Other markets are explored to test viability. For a
while, we built PCs which was profitable but it was too
time and labor intensive.
begins as a part time coin-op vendor. The first machine
sold is a near-junked cabinet purchased from a local
pizza parlor. Miniscule profits at the dawn of business
ops pave the way for bigger things to come.