Archive for December, 2012


Happy Holidays, everyone. Hope your Christmas was full of joy in some form, and that you got whatever you wanted for Christmas. For me, that was a new desk chair, an ION Drum Rocker for Rock Band, and a bunch of games varying from Assassin’s Creed II to Dishonored to Homefront. Oh well, not everything’s a winner. A few of these things I got will come useful in the New Year.

After the Spike TV Video Game Awards article, I really didn’t have much planned for the rest of the year. The Atari Hot Wheels article was a spur-of-the-moment thing I found out from a friend, and I was out yesterday hoping to find some gaming stuff. I found some at an antique shop, but it was pretty overpriced — Super Mario Bros. 3 for $12.50, a complete in box model 2 Sega Genesis for $65, etc — and the thrift stores had nothing that appealed to me that much. On a bus ride back, I noticed there was an arcade in Milwaukie, not too far from the main offices of Dark Horse Comics that I mentioned in a previous post about video game comic books. So I thought, hey, let’s have a little fun today.

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Sometimes video games and toys make a bizarre combination. Who knew that Atari and Hot Wheels joined forces to make a nostalgic car collection that came out this year, of all things? I didn’t know until someone mentioned these to me.

I was tipped off to these from a friend at Hardcore Gaming 101, who found one of these at a Bi-Mart. Ah yes, Bi-Mart, that podunk little chain of discount club stores based in the Pacific Northwest. Bi-Mart gives me that folksy vibe that reminds me of a supermarket that’s stuck in 1987. I even remember the TV commercials which looked so low budget you’d think they were made for public access. But enough about Bi-Mart, let’s look at the cars.

These are a set of six Hot Wheels cars based on famed Atari franchises. It’s funny how the Atari of today has stopped making original games completely and is content with squeezing as much blood from the old-school Atari stone as it can. I can’t blame them, Atari was a significant name in the early heyday of video games, gotta keep that spirit alive. The cars are based on old cars, and have decals that resemble the game’s graphics or the game’s cover art, where available.

The cars are the following:

  • A ’55 Chevy Panel based on Tempest
  • A custom ’52 Chevy based on Pong
  • A car from the “Fast Gassin” line, based on Missile Command
  • A car from the “Cool-One” line, based on Centipede
  • A ’49 Ford C.O.E. based on Breakout
  • and finally a GMC Motorhome based on the Atari 2600.

The car choices are absolutely bizarre, either they’re based on vehicles from the ’50s or unusual branded Hot Wheels. More suitable choices would have been stuff like the AMC Pacer or the Chevy Impala, stuff from the same time period as the games being featured. I do love the choice for the 2600 it just screams 70s thanks to that faux wood paneling that was pretty popular back then.

I’ll be honest, I’m not a huge toy collector, and that includes toy cars. Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars were meant to be played with, not collected. I’d play with these cars in the backyard with the dirty, worn out car playset that a neighbor had. At least, that’s how it was for me when I was younger. I do have a tub full of unopened Hot Wheels from about ten years ago, but their resale value is pretty much next-to-nil, so I’m holding onto them in the hopes they’re worth something someday. This isn’t even the first time Hot Wheels has made video game cars, Sega joined forces with Hot Wheels back in 2003 to advertise then-recent Sega games. I’m missing two of those, and maybe I’ll talk about those sometime.

The best part is that I paid $2 for all six, giving me $12 for silly video game cars. Thanks Bi-Mart! You are useful when I want silly junk at rock-bottom prices.

My god, it’s been two months since I’ve done one of these. To tell you the truth, I hadn’t had the urge to do some searching for a while. Then it hit me a few days ago, and decided to tackle some stuff today. It’s gonna be a bit short, but I snagged the following items over the course of yesterday and today:

Look at that cute tiny Genesis. :3

First, ABC Sports Presents: The Palm Springs Open (Philips CD-i). Whoa, a CD-i game. In a Goodwill no less! You don’t see that every day. The CD-i was Philips’ attempt to make a CD-based game system and it failed for a number of reasons. The most notable things it’s known for are the weird interactive CDs, game show adaptions like Jeopardy! and The Joker’s Wild Jr., and of course, those Nintendo-licensed games that have been talked about to death like Hotel Mario and Link: The Faces of Evil. I believe it’s the last thing that makes the system so pricey these days where CD-i systems go anywhere from $100-500 on eBay.  I also remember an infomercial for the CD-i where some repairman would replace some family’s busted computer with a CD-i while an actual repairman was lazy on the job. I kinda hope that infomercial crops up on the internet soon, it has to be seen to be believed.

Back to the game. The Palm Springs Open has never been opened. Which doesn’t mean much, really, but you don’t see unopened games often. Got it for $2.

Next, Parasite Eve (PlayStation). Just when I thought the CD-i game was a treat, I find this in the bottom of a CD rack at the front door of a local thrift store. I had heard good things about the Parasite Eve games — except for The 3rd Birthday, I heard that wasn’t very good so I decided to grab this one for posterity. This is an early print run where they packed a bonus disc with a playable demo to Xenogears and trailers for Bushido Blade 2, Brave Fencer Musashi and Final Fantasy VIII. I had a brainfart when I saw this game: The back of the case said “3 Discs,” which I didn’t realize meant “The game is two discs, the bonus disc makes it three total.” I was actually worried thinking this copy was missing a nonexistent disc three. This was also for $2. I believe the usual price for Parasite Eve is in the $10-15 range, but I’m probably gonna keep this one.

Third, El Matador (PC). Oh, this one’s a treat. There were a few PC games there at the local thrift store, but this one caught my attention the most. Made by Plastic Reality Technologies — a Czech studio — it’s a third-person shooter taking place in South America, where you play a DEA agent trying to stop a drug lord. I played the demo to this years ago, and realized that it’s a Max Payne clone. In fact, the game felt like Max Payne 3 before the actual Max Payne 3 existed. Any game that attempts bullet time and heavy action is okay in my book.

It gets even better: Hidden inside the box were receipts for this game from EB Games in downtown Portland. Apparently this guy bought the game one day for $40 new, and either he didn’t like the game or it blew up his PC or something, and took it back to EB for a refund the next day. The guy also bought Spyro: A Hero’s Tale, a Legend of Spyro game and Tak: The Great Juju Challenge if you’re curious on this guy’s taste in video games. I’m guessing this was during that transitional period when EB Games still existed, had already been assimilated by GameStop, but were still taking PC games. I wouldn’t be surprised if this was found in the GameStop back room and just dumped into this local thrift store since they don’t really sell retail PC games anymore. The price was $3 on the cover, but the guy at the counter marked it down 75%, thus only costing me 75¢! Oddly he wrote down the date I bought it just in case it didn’t work. Which is weird, because the usual policy for most games at thrift stores is “All Sales Final – No Returns.” Guess this game’s an exception?

After yesterday, I went through hell getting the final item today, after passing it up initially: Play TV Legends: Sega Genesis Volume 1. Released by Radica Games in 2003, this is one of many plug-n-play TV games that flooded the market in the early 2000s. I have a few of those plug-n-play games: One with Atari 2600 games by Activision, another with arcade games like Ms. Pac-Man, even a Commodore 64 plug-n-play. I honestly picked this up because I thought the little box the system in — resembling a model 2 Genesis — was kinda cute. It came with Sonic the Hedgehog, Altered Beast, Golden Axe, Flicky, Kid Chameleon and Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine. Because, hey, it ain’t a Genesis/Mega Drive compilation without Altered Beast and Golden Axe! It just needed Columns for the perfect trifecta.

I will say that I had hell getting it to work at first: the screw was stripped and we basically drilled it down to a point where we could pop the battery cover out, eventually finding out one of the contacts was corroded and had to be filed down to work. After an hour and a half of hell getting it to work, it sprang to life and worked perfectly fine.

This was one of those console-on-a-chip devices that were pretty common at the time, and according to the Sega Retro entry for this, there were further installments of the Play TV Legends series, including a Sonic the Hedgehog-focused compilation, one that came with Outrun 2019, and one that played Street Fighter II: Special Championship Edition and came with two controllers. Even Europe got a special edition that featured Sensible Soccer and Cannon Fodder! Man, I totally would get that one for kicks. After all the ordeal, $5 for this cute little device was worth it. I passed it up at first because of a similar brainfart moment like earlier: I noticed the 6V power jack, but missed the battery cover. I was thinking it required a power cable. Clearly my mind was off that day.

All in all, about $9.75 spent for all this silly gaming stuff. That’ll probably be the last things I’ll buy for myself this holiday season. Hope that you guys find some good finds yourself, wherever you are.

Ah, the Spike Video Game Awards. Advertised as a legitimate video game awards show — ignoring other, more professional award ceremonies — the Video Game Awards are celebrating their tenth year as being a hilarious trainwreck of TV executives trying to “understand” gamers combined with exclusive trailers for wonderful games like Command & Conquer Generals II. I personally haven’t watched the awards in years, opting to see the trailers on GameTrailers.com after the show is broadcast instead. Doesn’t mean I still can’t mock it endlessly every year. Unlike a certain Angry person, at least I have tact and don’t give Geoff Keighley the third degree about this, as he’s clearly held against his will, making a goofy awards show just to keep his job.

To commemorate the tenth anniversary of this wonderful award show, I thought I’d give you the highlights of the event. Note that this is not a complete list, anything prior to 2005 is pretty fuzzy, and since I don’t watch the event, I have to go by hearsay and likely second-hand information. So let me know if I left anything out, or made any errors in this. But enough of that, let’s get started!

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