Category: I Bought Stuff!


Hey, y’all. I’m really sorry about the dearth of updates as of late. For the past few months, I’ve been down in the doldrums. No drive to write, to make videos, to stream. Sometimes, something comes around that seems pretty neat and I’ll write about it. I haven’t missed a single month in the blog’s 5+ year history, and I’m not breaking the chain any time soon, so I felt it was time to write again.

Having a yearly tradition on this site helps a lot too.

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The Portland Retro Gaming Expo happened last weekend (the 20th to the 22nd), and it’s always a hoot to go. The cool deals, the amazing art, walking around the show floor and accidentally bumping into people like MetalJesusRocks and Bob Mackey of Retronauts among other notable people in the gaming internetosphere, the works.

Of course, as you can tell by the subject, I bought a few things.

Admittedly, at this stage in my collection career, I’ve slowed down in my collecting quest considerably. Most of the iconic games or systems that I’d want are just way out of my price range, especially for someone with fairly low income like myself. Though, seeing someone sell stuff like a JVC X’eye – a Genesis/Sega CD hybrid – or even visual novels entirely in Japanese is at least worth a look even if I can’t pony up the cash to own them.
However, I did walk away with a few things of interest, at least to me. Let’s go!


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$2 – Soldier of Fortune: Gold Edition (PS2)

Soldier of Fortune is one of those underrated gems. While on the surface it’s a boilerplate action game with a clunky inventory system, the appeal was cranking the violence factor to 11 and making it so you could literally blow limbs off with a shotgun. This was literally the game’s appeal, as the first level gives you the shotgun real early to show off this GHOUL technology, as Raven Software called it.

Sadly, it may never get a re-release because Activision doesn’t care about older franchises, plus the costs of relicensing the Soldier of Fortune name from the magazine of the same name probably wouldn’t recuperate costs even with frequent GOG and Steam sales. A shame, really.

I own the original on PC – albeit it’s the later Platinum Edition release; and a Dreamcast release oddly published by Crave Entertainment. I didn’t know a PS2 version existed. Surprisingly, this was also not published by Activision, but rather published by a pre-Advent Rising Majesco.

They also touted four player split-screen multiplayer, as well as USB mouse and keyboard support, which puts it in the rare league of PS2 games that support mouse and keyboard for something besides text chat. Other games that use this include the ports of Half-Life and Unreal Tournament, and according to my friend weasel, Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII, oddly.

The low $2 price tag helped, too.

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$10 – Four PC games:

  • Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter
  • Wanted: Weapons of Fate
  • Turning Point: Fall of Liberty
  • Carol Vorderman’s Sudoku

I like collecting what I’ve called “junky” PC games. Ones of dubious quality, or ones that would fit right at home in the bargain bins of any place that sold computer games. At a booth that also had unplayable PC games like Auto Assault (I have a story about that one, ask me about it sometime), was some of this stuff I couldn’t resist picking up.

I think owning the PC GRAW and Wanted is a nice contrast: Both games were made by GRIN, and were during two important periods as a game developer: When they were nearly at the top with GRAW, and when Wanted was one third of the triple whammy that would later shutter the company – the other two games being Terminator: Salvation and the 2009 Bionic Commando reboot. While GRIN has since splintered off into several studios – most notably Overkill, makers of Payday; and Fatshark, makers of Warhammer: The End Times Vermintide – these games are a nice time capsule, as it were. Since these were made before PC games pretty much became “CDs with the Steam client installer and a code to redeem the game”, I get to relive the tail-end of the pre-Steam PC era. Complete with stuff like GRAW having 6 CDs instead of a single DVD. Ugh.

Turning Point is a “what if Germany won World War II” game by Spark Unlimited, the makers of such fine products like Legendary, Yaiba Ninja Gaiden Z and Call of Duty: Finest Hour. Basically Wolfenstein: The New Order before TNO and with more suck.

Carol Vorderman’s Sudoku, on the other hand… Well, I might save that for a future blog post. For real. It’s interesting for a “bloody yank” like me, that’s all I’ll say about that.

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Hi hello. It’s been a bit since I posted, and it’s been rough for me lately to really get that drive to actually post stuff here. So this will be a fairly quick one.

I went to the Portland Retro Gaming Expo last weekend, as is custom for me. I’ve been writing about it almost every year, and it’s great as always. Nice blend of retro stuff from the Atari/NES days to even an Xbox system link section where games from Outrun 2006: Coast to Coast and Halo 2 were being played throughout the weekend.

I tagged along with my friend Weasel who writes for Hardcore Gaming 101, and a fascinating little blog called Grinding the Rumor Mill that he should get back around to updating sometime (hint, hint). Most of the time we were perusing and finding interesting things here and there with not a lot of purchases (at least for me). Despite that, we both saw cool stuff. I posted some of my pictures to the Secret Area Facebook page here.

(PS: You should go to the Facebook page and give it a like and a share. Helps a lot!)

Though, I did grab a few games, none of them I’d classify “retro” except maybe the PS2 stuff. But enough about that, let’s show my “haul”…

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TimeSplitters (PS2): $5

One of the launch titles for the PS2, and heard it was good in its own right. I already had TimeSplitters 2 and Future Perfect on the original Xbox, thought I might as well complete the trilogy.

KillSwitch (PS2): $5

Despite the $1 price tag, I actually paid $5 for this. One of the early cover shooters before Gears of War made it blow up into something big. Might be fun to mess around with.

Iron Chef America: Supreme Cuisine (Wii) and Call of Duty: Black Ops II Original Soundtrack: .50 each

This was in one of those discount “everything’s 50 cents” bin, which was actually pretty nice.

Iron Chef America was one of those schlocky licensed titles released during the heyday of the Wii’s life. Yes, it has caricatures of Mark Dacascos as The Chairman, host Alton Brown, and Iron Chefs Cat Cora, Mario Batali and Masaharu Morimoto. (Guess Bobby Flay was busy that day.) The only other reason I remember this was Kotaku doing a preview that featured Dacascos as the Chairman name-dropping Kotaku in the teaser. Sadly, that seems to be lost to time. 😦

As for the CODBLOPS II soundtrack, it’s one of the few games that I’ve seen Jack Wall compose for that wasn’t Myst III: Exile or Mass Effect. While most Call of Duty games don’t have particularly iconic soundtracks, I couldn’t pass it up at this price.

Forza Horizon (360) and 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand (360): $15

Probably the most recent games in this pile. I liked Forza Horizon presents: Fast and Furious, and I’m always up for an arcade-like racing game experience. As for 50 Cent… well, I want fitty to jump off that big-ass ramp.


 

Hopefully I’ll get out of this funk and have more interesting stuff for you guys over the holidays. I know there’s a bunch of you that like my stuff, and I always appreciate it. It’s what keeps me going.

Sometimes when you’re like me and you’re bored in a department store, you tend to wander around to other sections to find some amusement or cheap deals. In my case, I browsed the clearance section of a toy aisle. Suddenly I found these little beauties:

These were originally $8 each. Somehow they got even cheaper than this. Don’t know how, but hey, discounts are great.

They’re Mega Bloks tie-ins for Halo and Call of Duty. Since I hadn’t messed with Lego (or its derivatives) for years, it felt like the perfect time to rekindle my interest in brick-building toys. It also gives me something to do when not sleeping all day.

I used to have a lot of Lego as a kid. One of my birthdays I ended up getting about several Lego playsets, with the only non-Lego thing being a VHS copy of D3: The Mighty Ducks. Though my interest in Lego waned as I got older, we still have the bricks around somewhere, in a giant tub somewhere in the house. One of my dreams is to rebuild the old playsets, but that requires time and money I don’t really have.

So these are made by Canadian company Mega Bloks. If Lego is Coca-Cola, Mega Bloks would probably be Dr. Pepper. They’re both fairly known, but one is more iconic than the other. Mega Bloks tends to get the video game licenses more than Lego does, likely more content with making playsets off much bigger properties and telling TT Games to churn out a new Lego tie-in game every year. Any major video game franchise you can think of in the past few years has a Mega Bloks play set associated with them: In addition to Halo and Call of Duty, I’ve seen ones for Assassin’s CreedSkylanders, and probably a few others I’m missing. Mega Bloks basically has the video game brick market covered.

This box was beaten to hell. I should’ve asked if I could get a deeper discount on damaged goods. So much for resale value…

So let’s dive in. The Halo Mega Bloks features a covenant guard riding a Ghost, one of the iconic vehicles of the franchise. It’s no Master Chief in a Warthog, but it’ll do. The Covenant guard also has pieces that make them resemble Jul ‘Mdama, a character introduced in the 343 Industries era of Halo games. Alas, my only experiences with Halo is limited, and I actually had to do some research to figure out who this character was.

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Imagine the hassle I had keeping this mofo upright.

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Sometimes you get bored and lack motivation to do something. What do you do when you’re me, a guy who writes silly things on the internet and looking for dumb stuff to write about.

That’s right, time for some thrift store shopping~

I will admit that most of the items I found are random curiosities more than anything. There are some fairly common and interesting things in here, however, and may be something to write about in a future blog post. If all else fails, it’s a good document of all the junk I get and how I got it.

I roamed around the Oak Grove/Oregon City area for this, checking two chain thrift stores and a Goodwill, plus a special hobby shop on the edge of Oregon City. So let’s rock.

Four CDs (99 cents each)

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There’s a post-it over Quake III Team Arena because the CD key would otherwise be visible. Granted, it probably doesn’t mean much these days…

My first hit was a local chain thrift store. I thought I was gonna strike out, but the CDs I got have some interest.

I had Quake Mission Pack 1: Scourge of Armagon, but not the second expansion, Dissolution of Eternity. Now I do. I remember not hearing too many great things, but hey, might as well get it to complete my Quake collection.

I also snagged Quake III Team Arena, aka the “holy shit Unreal Tournament is SUPER POPULAR let’s make this hasty expansion” game. Again, mostly to complete the collection. Nowadays Quake Live pretty much fills the Quake III/Team Arena void, so this are more for collection’s sake.

The third and final game is Shellshock Nam ’67, one of the many Vietnam War games that came out in the early to mid 2000s. This game is notable for being made by Guerrilla Games, the guys who’d be later known for the semi-popular Killzone series. This was the sole game they made independently before Sony bought them around 2004. I don’t know if this game’s any good, but it can’t be that bad, can it?

Then there’s the last one: A Cheetah Girls Karaoke CD. This is probably the weirdest of the lot, but I bought it because it’s a Karaoke CD that supports the CD+G format for Karaoke machines (and related devices, such as the Sega CD and 3DO). I wrote about it briefly a few years ago, you can check that out here.

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Before, I wrote blogs about the stuff I bought under the relatively boring “Game finds” title. I wanted something more punchy, more entertaining. Then the name came to me. It’s sillier, but I like it more.

So, re-introducing a semi-regular feature on the blog: I bought stuff!

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This one will be all the stuff I got at this year’s Portland Retro Gaming Expo. I could go into great lengths about the PGRE itself, but I don’t think it’s necessary. I did get to enjoy classics like Outrun and Crazy Taxi, I saw some pro-level Tetris being played, I saw people play multiplayer Star Wars Battlefront 2 over Xbox System Link, and I met the guys who made Game Sack. This was a good year as always, and I anticipate the next year being bigger and better.

I will publicly admit that all but 2 of the things I bought were recent 360/Wii/PS2 stuff, mostly shooters. You could call me a “fake retro gamer,” but I’ve gotten to the point where either I have everything I want, or the things I want are ridiculously expensive to me. Like I’d totally want the Spyro the Dragon trilogy, but I ain’t paying $20-25 for each game, especially when I bought the entire trilogy on the PlayStation Network for a buck a piece. I am not a man who can throw hundreds on Turbografx-16s, Steel Battallion controllers or even a complete copy of Panic Restaurant (though I give Chris Kohler guts for even offering $800 for it). So instead I go for the cheaper stuff, and that’s usually games from a generation or two back.

It’s probably the best time to start grabbing Wii, 360 and PS3 stuff. As people start gravitating towards the prettier PS4 and Xbox One, some games are gonna get harder and harder to get. So I got a fair share of stuff and junk. Let’s see what I bought.

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A 5 for $10 deal of the following:

  • Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter (360)

  • Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 (360)

  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (360)

  • Gears of War 2 (360)

  • Call of Duty 3 (Wii)

So one booth, Another Castle, was doing a ridiculous fire sale on Sunday. One of the aisles had 2 games for $5, or 5 for $10. Most of them were shooters or sports games, and I thought I’d grab some of the few that I missed out on for a good bargain.

GRAW and GRAW2 were pretty solid third-person shooters for their time. I don’t expect them to have aged gracefully, but the first one was the big action game people were playing on their 360s ’til Gears of War came along. Since I had gotten Future Soldier earlier in the year, I thought I might as well grab all the Ghost Recon games on the 360.

I had beaten Modern Warfare 3 in the past, back when I had a Gamefly subscription. Hell, I even wrote a blog on the shoddy PC port after dabbling in it on a Steam free weekend. This was basically the fifth game of the set. It was either this or EA’s Medal of Honor reboot from 2010, and I decided to go with the ridiculously over-the-top shooter as opposed to the copycat.

I always wanted to try Wii versions of popular 360/PS3 games, like Call of Duty 3. It felt like it was built for the Wii first considering the ridiculous quick-time events involving fighting enemy soldiers. Here’s hoping I can get used to waggle motions, as I had difficulty playing through Medal of Honor Heroes II with it’s weird first-person shooter/light gun hybrid control scheme.

Funny enough, the only Gears of War game I owned was the first. Heard great things about 2, and good things about the later ones. I bet this would be fun in co-op.

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So this past weekend, I went to the Portland Retro Gaming Expo. It’s my fourth time to the con, and I remember when it was wedged into a small conference area in the DoubleTree Hilton near Lloyd Center to it’s current home at the Oregon Convention Center.

Last year I had recorded video footage from the event, but didn’t use any of it and didn’t write anything about it. This year, I promised myself I’d actually blog about it this time. Especially since the people that run the Expo actually linked to my entry from 2012, where I had gotten a bunch of stuff, talked to “Gamesmaster” Howard Phillips, and had David Crane sign a copy of Pitfall I found at the same expo. I have to thank the expo for even giving my podunk blog a few extra views every now and then. 🙂

This is more of a “what I saw” post. I didn’t spend much at the con itself, but I did find a bunch of really, really interesting gaming stuff. Join me as we look at some of the things these vendors had to offer.

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Holy crap, when’s the last time I publicly documented my game finds on the blog? Seems like it was just last year when I wrote about find a “NOT FOR RESALE” copy of Streets of Rage 2, and a 20 minute video that about 3 of you watched. Let’s resurrect this old series, because I got some good stuff this time around.

Through most of 2014, I’ve found mostly cheap games, stuff like Eye Toy: Antigrav, licensed games based on The Great Escape and Starsky & Hutch, old PC games such as Mickey’s Word Adventures, even recent Game Informer issues for 50 cents each. If you’re following me on Twitter, you might’ve seen these already.

Funny enough, I found Mickey’s Word Adventures after taking advice from YouTuber Lazy Game Reviews. After mentioning him on Twitter, I found out one of my finds were in a viewer finds segment of his “LGR Thrifts” show. I was floored when I saw it too, I didn’t expect it to be featured in the slightest. (It’s at the end of this episode, if you’re wondering. Look for the magazines on green bedding.)

Back in June while I was job hunting, I went into my local Bi-Mart. I’ve mentioned Bi-Mart before when I wrote about Atari Hot Wheels, and it hasn’t changed one iota: It still feels like I stepped into a late ’80s supermarket. While perusing their games section, I found a whole bunch of these:

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Man, remember when the Rabbids were a thing? I can’t say I miss them.

It’s Rayman Raving Rabbids for the Game Boy Advance, sealed, for $6. I’m finding sealed Game Boy Advance games. In 2014. Even the guy at the counter was surprised, mentioning a war fighting game and a World of Warcraft expansion also collecting dust. His words: “Somebody made the wrong call on this one.” At least this copy of Raving Rabbids has a home now. I bet there’s still plenty of copies, two months later.

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Back in late 2012, I wrote about Atari Hot Wheels. These were Hot Wheels cars based on old Atari games that had rather dubious car choices. At the end of the article, I had mentioned that I also had Sega Hot Wheels, and that I’d get around to writing about them someday. Well, now is the time, because I finally completed the whole set a few days ago.

So the Atari ones were not the first video game tie-in Hot Wheels cars. These Sega ones came considerably earlier, from 2003 to be exact. By this time Sega had already abandoned their console heritage and started publishing games for the other game systems like the PlayStation 2 and the Xbox. Each car is based off an existing Sega game from around that time period, and like the Atari Hot Wheels, a few of them are based on unique Hot Wheels lines than real cars. But enough about that, let’s look at the cars themselves:

  • A car from the “Fandango” series based on Space Channel 5
  • A car from the “Phaeton” series based on The House of the Dead III
  • A 2003 Lotus Esprit, based on the Shinobi reboot
  • A car from the “GT Racer” series based on Super Monkey Ball
  • and a custom 2003 Mercury Cougar based on Jet Set Radio Future.

These cars give a perfect snapshot of Sega from this period. This was back when they were experimenting with old series frequently and making sequels to games like Jet Set Radio. This was back when Sega actually cared and made cool new games, as opposed to today where they’re content with pumping out mediocre Sonic the Hedgehog games while making decent bank on the Total War and Football Manager series. But I digress.

The Sega Hot Wheels look considerably cooler than the Atari ones, as they’re based on car lines that would seem grounded in reality rather than the weird toy cars they made for the Atari ones. You could probably use these on those Hot Wheels racing tracks that were super popular twenty years ago. I think I still have mine kicking around somewhere…

As for how I got these, it’s a little more complicated than paying $12 at a Bi-Mart for them. I already had the Space Channel 5Shinobi and Super Monkey Ball cars as they were in a giant bin full of 2001-2004 era Hot Wheels cars that we have that probably have little to no value. I found the House of the Dead III car at a garage sale last year, and picked up the JSRF car at an antique store in Milwaukie, OR for the low low price of 50 cents. So now I have two complete Hot Wheels sets. This, along with having a Back to the Future DeLorean Hot Wheels, makes me have a pretty modest Hot Wheels collection now. Though, I probably won’t start collecting all of them, I do have my limits.

Now, I’m willing to bet that these aren’t all the video game Hot Wheels out there. Knowing Nintendo’s crazy marketing frenzy in the early ’90s, there might be a Mario car. There might’ve been other companies willing to make deals with Mattel for more Hot Wheels tie-ins. If there’s any more like these, let me know in the comments (or on Twitter, Facebook, et al) and maybe I’ll be back here again talking about other Hot Wheels cars based on video games.

What a way to start 2014, with more silly game trinkets…

A few days ago, I had snagged this wonderful gem:

Streets of Rage 2, a Sega Genesis classic, for $5. Initially I passed on this, but then I realized it’s Streets of Rage 2, a freakin’ Genesis classic. That Yuzo Koshiro soundtrack! Who could pass that up? The dummy writing this. Thankfully, I was able to correct my mistake and grab it as a wonderful addition to my Genesis collection, along with a Sonic cartridge compilation called Sonic Classics.

Granted, it’s just a cartridge copy and it isn’t in the best of shape, but it’s nice to have. There’s something special about this cartridge: The giant “NOT FOR RESALE” label on it. Anyone who’s into collecting Sega Genesis stuff may have also seen the big “NOT FOR RESALE” stickers on copies of Sonic the Hedgehog. My Sonic the Hedgehog 2 came with my Sega Genesis long ago also with a “Not for Resale” sticker on it. Many pack-in games on the Genesis also came with the “not for resale” sticker on them. It made me wonder: Why is this ugly text on there, and what was its purpose?

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Man, when’s the last time I did a game finds video? Back in January, to be exact. Well, after several months in the making, I finally got around to making the damn video a few days ago.

Boy oh boy, there’s a lot of stuff in there. A bunch of PlayStation games, cheap magazines, games from across the ocean, and undeniably my biggest game find yet. Give it a look and see what you guys think. Expect something more substantial later this week, maybe about that soundtrack I mentioned in the video.

One more thing: I will be at PAX Prime again this year. I might do a blog entry or two after the event, since I won’t be able to bring a computer with me to liveblog anything. It’ll be more fun this year since it’ll be four days long.

(If you’re viewing this from a place where you can’t watch videos, or you like handy dandy lists instead, there’s a list of everything I got under the “Read More” link below.)
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Yeah, it’s been a while since I’ve done a blog entry on game finds. I found a bunch of stuff, and decided to get with the times and actually make a video out of it.

I decided to get back into the groove of making YouTube videos. I used to make videos from around 2007-2010, but lost interest for reasons I can’t explain. Realizing that YouTube is a thing I shouldn’t ignore in 2013, I started a new YouTube channel dedicated to this blog. I’ll likely be making videos from time to time, including making the game finds entries more video-focused.

For those who can’t view YouTube, here’s a quick summary of what I got over the course of January:

  • Largo Winch.// Commando SAR (PS1): A budget title by Ubisoft based on a French TV series, which in itself is based on a Belgian comic book. We never got either of those.
  • Wipeout XL/2097 soundtrack: CD soundtrack featuring some of the artists who contributed tracks to the game, with a bunch of other electronic artists thrown in for good measure. After the video, I accidentally dropped the CD on the floor, shattering parts of the case. CD still works, though.
  • Sonic Mega Collection Plus (Xbox): Sonic compilation. Better than the original Mega Collection since you don’t need to play Sonic 3 500 times to unlock Sonic 3 & Knuckles.
  • DJ Hero 2 (360): Shrinkwrapped. Dozens of copies in one Goodwill. If you got the original DJ Hero and/or the turntable, check your Goodwills! Funny enough, this Goodwill is the same one where I also found Blur and Singularity shrinkwrapped.
  • American McGee’s Alice (PC) with Strategy guide: Found at a different Goodwill, the ones with everything in bins. Thankfully this was locked away in a case. Box is crushed, but the strategy guide is a nice bonus.

I’ll likely be making more video content in the coming weeks. I forgot how fun it is to make videos sometimes.

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.

It’s gonna be a double-header for game finds this time around. We’re gonna be covering not only the stuff I got from last weekend’s haul at the Portland Retro Gaming Expo, but also what I stumbled upon after PAX back in early September. It’s gonna be a fun one, indeed.

I got these three games after PAX finished in Seattle. I had some free time to kill before I had to get to the train station, so I had a donut at Top Pot Doughnuts — highly recommend you do so if you’re visiting Seattle — and found a Value Village several blocks away from where the main convention center was. After poking around the store, which was in an old building as it had freight elevators, I found these three gems.

Police Quest 2: The Vengeance and The Colonel’s Bequest are classic Sierra-published games. This was back in Sierra’s hey day, when they made a whole bunch of adventure game titles. Granted, most of them have not aged well, but having the complete box copies of both games is a treat. The Colonel’s Bequest was the first game in a mystery series starring Laura Bow, which she returned in another Sierra game a few years later, The Dagger of Amon Ra. I have no idea if this is any good. Police Quest 2 is probably the same silly stuff that most Sierra games did where you had to follow every step of police procedure to the absolute letter. The series had a few games, including a spinoff series, SWAT, which went from being a bad FMV game to a strategy game to a solid squad FPS that rivaled Rainbow Six in its day. Police Quest 2 had copied 5 1/4″ floppies of the game in the box, which is weird since the original disks are already inside. I guess somebody didn’t watch Don’t Copy That Floppy. Both games were $3 each.

Pat Sajak’s Lucky Letters, on the other hand, was more of a gimmick purchase. It had never been opened, and one copy there had a dozen price stickers on it, going from $20, to $10, to $5, and probably $1-2 by the end of it. Pat Sajak’s first foray into video games, it’s a hybrid of crossword puzzles with the game show “The Joker’s Wild.” Put into a sleek casual games package, it’s probably worth looking into later. This would also be Pat Sajak’s video game debut, despite being the host of Wheel of Fortune since 1982, he didn’t actually appear in a Wheel game until very recently, in the 2010 Wheel game for the Wii. I wonder why it took him so long before he finally caved in…

The rest of PAX swag was a shitload of buttons, energy drinks, cards and promo stuff, and Guitar Hero: Van Halen. I can thank One of Swords for the last one. Now onto the Portland Retro Gaming Expo stuff.

Oh dear, there’s a lot of stuff here. Let’s go through it from the upper-left forward:

  • Politicians 2009 trading cards: Somebody was giving these away as I left the expo on Sunday evening. Have no clue what they are, what they’re for, nor do I care. Free anyhow.
  • Pitfall! (2600): The 2600 classic. Signed by David Crane himself. I could’ve gotten a better copy of it, but I didn’t have time to look through the vendors to find a more pristine copy, so this will do. $2.
  • Super C (NES): The sequel to Contra. All of the major Contra games are kinda pricey these days due to high demand, including not-quite-a-Contra-game Contra Force. But I was able to get a good price on this one. $8.
  • Dragon Warrior (NES): Never was a JRPG guy, but I had to own the NES classic that started the famed Dragon Quest series, as well as being a common pack-in for Nintendo Power subscribers. Bought it from Chris Kohler’s little booth, which had a bunch of little interesting games here and there. $4.
  • Metal Gear and Snake’s Revenge (NES): Ah yes, the bastard childs of the Metal Gear franchise. A few friends of mine were talking about those games, and I decided to go hunt these down for kicks. I found Snake’s Revenge at one booth, and had a random convention goer find me Metal Gear at another booth. $5 for each one.
  • Aphids on the Lettuce: You know that circuit-bending system guy I mentioned in the last entry? Well, he was giving these away as well. His circuit-bending stuff is real interesting, I’d love to know more sometime. As for the CD, it’s some mashup CD of Beck tunes, and I’m not a big Beck fan. Can’t complain about free stuff, though.
  • Double Dragon (NES): The NES brawler classic. That one game Jimmy Woods got 50,000 points in 2 minutes on The Wizard. I owned Double Dragon II, but not the original. And I’m certainly not looking for Double Dragon III, even though I’d love to play as Bimmy and Jimmy. $6.
  • Jeopardy! (NES): Ah yes, a video game adaption of the game show classic. This is a funny story: I once bought a box of Jeopardy! for the NES several years back for $1. The box was beat up, the manual was in good shape, but there was one problem: The game inside was Jeopardy! 25th Anniversary Edition, which was released 3 years later. I still kept it in the original Jeopardy! box and had not realized I didn’t have the original game until very recently. Got this one for free along with Double Dragon above. It also had a metric fuckton of stickers, of which I still didn’t get rid of all of them.
  • John Madden Football ’92 (Genesis): The only Genesis game of the lot, I got this for two reasons: Because it’s a dirt cheap football game, and it’s the one Madden game that had the ambulance for injuries that they took out of Madden ’93. $1. Insert your Moonbase Alpha “john madden” joke here.
  • Star Raiders (2600): Some booth was giving this away for free on Sunday. No idea if it works. Probably does, I rarely hear of busted 2600 carts.

That’s it. Honestly, I could’ve gotten more, but what I got is good enough. I would’ve liked to check out the NES and SNES reproductions, but I ain’t paying $75 to play a translated Live a Live on my SNES. Especially since I could probably get those for half that online. These people need to not jack up the price so damn much on those, I bet they’d sell more if they were reasonably priced, like $30 or something.

Now I’m gonna go and dust off my NES and clean all these games and see if they work. or I’ll ignore them and play more Doom mods instead, which is the more likely result.

So, the Penny Arcade Expo is coming up. That video game thing in Seattle, that’s two days away. I’m gonna be heading there on Thursday (that’s tomorrow as I write this!) so I may post a few blog entries during or after the event. Today, instead of packing and getting ready to hop on a train tomorrow, I decided to go check some thrift stores and hope to find some stuff. And I definitely found stuff. This’ll be a small, but interesting haul indeed.

The two games on the left are Metal Head and Virtua Fighter, both for the Genesis 32X add-on. At $3 each, I couldn’t resist passing them up, just to build up my 32X collection. I wished one of the games was Knuckles’ Chaotix, that goes for about $30 now, and that’s for just the cartridge! Both of the Goodwills I went to had an unusual influx of NES, SNES and Genesis games, but most of them were licensed schlock, sports games or awful titles like Pit Fighter for the SNES, so I decided to save the $4-5 asking price for those games for something even better, such as the thing to the right of the 32X games.
In the past few years, I’ve stumbled upon various Star Wars and Star Trek video games in thrift stores, but usually passed them all up because I’m not a fan of those series. But the thing above was too good to pass up: The LucasArts Archives Volume IV: The Star Wars Collection Volume II. I never knew LucasArts did any sort of box compilations of their past titles, and having them all in one place seems pretty neat. The games it comes with are:

  • Star Wars: TIE Fighter Collector’s Series — a version of TIE Fighter that uses the engine of one of the later games, X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter
  • Dark Forces
  • Star Wars: X-Wing Collector’s Series — same changes as TIE Fighter above
  • Star Wars: X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter – Flight School — A stripped down demo version of X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter
  • Star Wars: Yoda Stories
  • Star Wars: Behind the Magic: Vehicles Special Edition — An interactive encyclopedia of sorts.
  • Dark Forces II: Jedi Knight — Demo version
  • Jedi Knight: Mysteries of the Sith — Demo version

I’ve heard of a few of these, such as TIE Fighter and X-Wing being amazing flight games for their times, and Dark Forces being a first-person shooter that went against the infamous “Doom clone” moniker that plagued a lot of first-person shooter games of the 90s. Others such as Yoda Stories I had heard were amazingly bad. It’s a bummer half the compilation is just demo discs rather than the full games, but I guess I can’t complain for $5. I’d be amazed if any of this runs, it says it requires Pentium II processors and mentions they were unable to verify compatibility with Windows 98 at the time, so this is pretty ancient. I’m not gonna try to reconfigure these games with DOSBox. At least, not right away, anyway.

It seems this was the last LucasArts compilation, as no other ones were made after this second Star Wars one. Past ones such as Volume I had classics like Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, Day of the Tentacle and Sam and Max Hit the Road, which sounds like a hell of a bargain back in those days. Nowadays LucasArts has almost all of these games available through other outlets like Steam, complete with DOSBox compatibility right out of the box, so it’s probably a better deal than trying to hunt down these games. But this was probably a great deal around the ’90s when you probably heard your friends talk about these games but didn’t wanna pay loads for the individual games. I love compilations like this, I wish everybody did this more. It’s great for the late-to-the-party folks who are just getting around to playing some of the greats.

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