Year-End Game Beatings

This post may seem a bit early for an end-of-year reflection, but I’ll be out of town for a few weeks and likely won’t have too much time to sit down and write closer to the new year.  I apologize in advance for all the blog-citement I’m going to be missing while I’m away.  I’ll do my best to keep up with all your wonderful posts.

Over the past (almost) two years on this blog, I’ve been captivated by how organized all you folks are.  You keep track of which games you’ve played as well as when you start and finish them.  You make goals on what you’re going to accomplish, and formulate a plausible timeline to complete things in.  These, along with other little pieces of data got me thinking: I’m unorganized!  Sure, with the blog I have a running list of games I’ve bought and an inventory to match in various places, but I’ve often felt a little sheepish when looking at people’s yearly “completed games” lists.  I’m a slow gamer.  I don’t often break 10 games per year at the rate I go, but I take my time playing games for several reasons.

  1. I have a full time job, and it’s a job that often comes home with me at night and on weekends.  It’s simply hard to make time to play as much as I’d like.
  2. I love the stories of games I play so much that I hate finishing them.  Once they’re finished, it means they’re over, usually forever.
  3. I get overwhelmed with what to play next sometimes.  There are so many things I want to play and I get all bent out of shape trying to choose something.  I guess having too much choice is a good problem to have.

Number 3 was why I embarked on the Sega Master System RPG quest at the end of 2016, to help focus my gaming a bit.  I’ve made some progress through it but am nowhere near having completed it by now, which I’m totally fine with.  Hopefully 2018 will bring many more good times with my Master System, as well as a variety of other consoles and their wonderful games.

In the meantime, in my slight attempt to get organized at the beginning of 2017, I started keeping track of the games I’ve finished in my “Game Beatings” spreadsheet.  These are games I finished either for the first time or for the millionth time, but I threw them all in a list to share with you all.  Here they are, roughly grouped by console:

The Legend of Zelda
Super Mario Bros.
Super Mario Bros. 2
Super Mario Bros. 3
Master of Darkness
Miracle Warriors (1st time)
Phantasy Star (1st time)
Psychic World (1st time)
SpellCaster (1st time)
Ys: The Vanished Omens (1st time)
Stackhead Iario (my glitched version of SMB1)
Sonic the Hedgehog 2
Kirby’s Dreamland
Super Mario Land
Pitfall II (1st time)
Harvest Moon 64 (1st time)
The Impossible Game

It may not seem particularly impressive, but it’s my little list of completed games, a grand total of 16 (I’ve counted SMB1 and Stackhead Iario as one since they are the same game).  I also played mostly through Wonderboy in Monster Land, Wonderboy in Shinobi World, and Dragon Crystal.  I might work on finishing them in the new year now that my rage towards them has dwindled substantially, but as of now, they remain incomplete.  There are others I could mention here as partially completed, but I’ve felt like my brain has been on fire for a number of days now.  Nothing else is coming to me for the moment.

I don’t really have big goals for 2018 except to continue playing through the games I’ve collected, and find some more time to make new Let’s Plays and do some video reviews for fun.  I’m definitely going to create a second column in my “Game Beatings” spreadsheet for 2018, so perhaps I’ll surprise myself with a more robust accomplished list in about 365 days from now.

What did you guys play in 2017?  What was your favourite new/old game you played?  My favourites by far were Harvest Moon, Miracle Warriors and Pitfall II.  I am going to have the Pitfall II music stuck in my head for a while after re-listening to it.


Thank you all very much for reading.  It has been a bunch of fun being on this wonderful adventure with you all.  All the best in the holiday season!

-GG

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Nintendo Goodies

It has been some time since I’ve been able to find anything even remotely interesting at a thrift store, but that all changed the other day. After coming up empty for months, I found a few NES games huddled together in the glass case, and I could’ve sworn they had my name on them!

I found three NES games there: Gauntlet, Gauntlet II, and Shadowgate.  Though I was happy to see some retro games in the wild, I was particularly unimpressed with the pricing of each game: $20!  I couldn’t believe it.  Checking into these games online showed prices ranging anywhere from $10-$20, and the price tag of $20 per game was certainly closer to the high end by far.  In the past, the local thrift store has usually leaned toward the lower end of the pricing, especially for cartridge-only items.  I luckily had a 25% off coupon or else those games could’ve stayed right where they were for all I cared, but I did end up buying them in the end with the discount.  I’m honestly feeling really discouraged about this particular store, as well as others in my area.  Over the last year or so, the last few havens of where I felt I could find fairly priced games are starting to get greedy, which means that I’m likely going to stop shopping there sooner than later.  How can I continue a collecting blog when I won’t be able to buy games in town anymore?!  Bah.  Either way, for the time being, here is a photo of the three games!

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Gauntlet is the Tengen release, and I don’t have a lot of unofficial NES games save a handful.  I’ve heard that there is absolutely no difference between the Tengen version and the official release in terms of gameplay or content – even the cartridge art is identical.  Shadowgate and Gauntlet II were in lovely shape and literally look like they’ve never been inserted into an NES.  I honestly wonder how people end up dumping things in this condition off at a thrift store in the first place.  I wish I could somehow draw people in to give me their games instead of sending them off to these greedy stores!

I answered a classifieds ad recently that was an absolute steal.  Someone was selling Soul Blazer for SNES, and though I had a copy of that one already, I bought a second copy to put in the mail for my cousin.  I took a photo of mine and his copy together since I barely ever see this game out and about, and it’s unlikely I’ll ever see two copies together again!

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The same person put up another ad a few days later for 8 SNES games, and though I had all of them already bit Pilotwings, I couldn’t help myself.  There were some absolutely great games in there, and I like to buy up well-priced games to use for trades at swaps.  Here’s a photo of all the games I picked up with my very favourite Pusheen mermaid.  The guy even threw in an SNES Game Genie.  I picked up all these games for $200, which is a very, very excellent deal.  The games are:

Donkey Kong Country
Donkey Kong Country 2
Actraiser 2
Pilotwings
Super Metroid
Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island
Secret of Mana
Super Mario RPG

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I really lucked out buying these since many of the new-to-me cartridges were in better condition than the copies of the games I had already.  Worn/torn labels, sticker goo, un-removable security labels/stickers, etc. are all things I wish a lot of my games didn’t have on them.  These labels were in particularly excellent shape!  In the photo below, my previous copies are on the left, and the newly purchased copies are on the right.  The sun totally interfered with my photo here, but I promise that new Yoshi’s Island is lovelier than old Yoshi’s Island.

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I was pretty excited to finally get a different copy of Yoshi’s Island because the copy I bought with my SNES when I was 17 had always been really finicky.  It would take a lot of wiggling and praying to get that one working, and wouldn’t you know?  The new copy is even worse!  I started wondering if this particular game just has issues, but I think it’s just my luck to come across that game for the second time in my life only to have it perform less well than my ill-performing first copy.  Ugh.  Even with the addition of some extra solder on the PCB contacts to increase the contact area in the console slot didn’t seem to help much.  I’m just going to go with the fact that it isn’t meant to be.  On the bright side though, I did swap the front covers.  That green crayon scrawl is now out of sight!  I’ll be excited for spring/summer swap season to roll around so I can see what trades lie on the horizon.  Maybe Harvest Moon for SNES?  Who can say for sure?!

Lastly, I found another SNES game at a store out of town: Dragon View!  It wasn’t a game I had even heard of before glancing upon it in the store, and I hummed and hawed a whole bunch before finally taking it home with me.  I’m glad I did because it’s apparently an uncommon game that is pretty good according to some reviews I read.  It’s the sequel to the reviled Drakkhen, but Dragon View apparently fixed all the problems that Drakkhen brought to the table and added a whole bunch of new awesome stuff.  The opening sequence and title screen both look amazing, and loading up an old save file on the cartridge had me bopping my head along to some awesome-sounding tunes!  I’m pretty excited to try this one out and maybe even review it down the road.  There doesn’t seem to be too much out there on this particular game.

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Well, this might be one of my last posts for a while.  Things are looking awfully sparse out there in the game collecting world, and with more and more stores around here getting greedy, I’m not sure how much more luck I’ll be able to have locally in the next few weeks/months.  I will try to think up some cool other stuff to post in the meantime though.  I love this blog and all you folks out there, so hopefully I can showcase a few things I had hanging around pre-blog, among other things.  Stay tuned!

Thanks for reading!  I hope you’re all having a wonderful week.

-GG

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Classifieds: It’s Raining Atari

I’d have to say that my boyfriend and I have been pretty lucky when meeting up with people from online classifieds ads.  Sure, we’ve run into the occasional smooth-talking reseller, but we’ve always had our wits about us.  I’ve mentioned this before, but buying games as often as we do, we frequently run into the same people again and again.  Sometimes this can be pretty awkward if we’ve had a mediocre or negative experience with someone, but oftentimes we meet some interesting people.  Conveniently, one of these kind folks sold us some great Atari 2600 and Colecovision games a few weeks ago.  He was getting rid of them because he didn’t have any nostalgia for that generation of gaming and showed us his game room that was packed full of GameCube and Playstation games.  I’d peg him at about 22-25 years old.

There were 86 games in total here, and fortunately not too many were doubles of ones we already had.  After a thorough cleaning and de-gunking of everything, we tested all of the cartridges in our faithful composite-modded Atari 2600 light sixer.  Now, I normally don’t meet up with many cartridges that don’t work, but there was a small pile that built up during testing that we cleaned and cleaned and still didn’t work by the end of it all.  Oink! and Jungle Hunt were two of these games, and the third one was the Smurf game.  Smurf looked as if it had been opened up before (the screws were exposed from under the label), and when we looked inside of it, its PCB was snapped into pieces and part of it was missing!  I was pretty sad about that even though the game is supposed to be terrible.  One fun moment I had was testing out Journey Escape.  An 8-bit rendition of Don’t Stop Believing by Journey started to bleep-bloop out of my stereo, which then lead to me shattering all the glassware in my house while belting out the tune.  What an unexpected surprise!

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This person that originally owned these games also seemed to have an incredible love for the game Venture.  There were three separate copies of the game: The Atari 2600 cartridge, the Coleco cartridge made for the Atari 2600, and a straight up Coleco-only cartridge.  Venture looks like a pretty cool game  based on what little I’ve seen of it.  I’m interested to see the differences between the various releases!

There was another person selling Atari games on the classifieds, and I was particularly intrigued by his ad because he had some rare ones in there!  The three rare ones were by Spectravideo, and they run at an 8 or 9 rarity rating on the Atari Age website.  The games are Master Builder, Bumper Bash, and Gas Hog.  All three looked to be in great condition and fired up on the first try.  As far as Atari games go these ones were a bit pricey, but I’m happy I got them!

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There were other games to be had as well, and only two of them were doubles: Centipede and Mario Bros.  My other Mario Bros. cartridge is a bit of a dud.  It goes into my Atari and never, ever wants to come out again.  There’s something wrong with its insertion mechanism, so this new one is a nice upgrade.  Flash Gordon and Mr. Do! were also two games I was hoping to run into sooner than later, and here they are!  Mr. Do! has some especially good music and gameplay that I’ve always wanted to try out.  It reminds me of a weird Dig Dug, and Dig Dug is pretty amazing!

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Another wonderful game in this bunch was Star Wars: The Arcade Game.  I already had at least two copies of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back by this point, but I had always wanted to find the other.  Both games have the iconic Star Wars theme song at startup, but The Arcade Game’s ditty is a little more detailed.  I kept resetting the game to listen to it while testing its functionality, much to the chagrin of my partner who was cooking supper in the next room.  It’s amazing what they could smash into a little cartridge back in the 80s.

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Lastly, there were some boxed games that the guy threw in for an extra $10 at the door, which I was happy to pay for.  I had often seen these M Network games boxless with no label art and wondered if their boxes and manuals were any more appealing than the weird, ugly cartridges.  I was quite pleased to see that that is the case!  Both Armor Ambush and Lock N’ Chase came with manuals and other inserts, but Air-Sea Battle came only with the cartridge.  Many of my Atari games are loose, so it’s definitely nice to get some more boxes for my shelf!

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Because I didn’t grow up with Atari like many other people around my age, I’m always learning about new games that I might like to try out sometime.  Hopefully my search for these kinds of games continues to be fruitful!  In the meantime, I have lots to play!

Thank you very much for reading!

-GG

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Buying a Large Collection: A Retrospective

Back in April, I spent a fairly large sum of money (in the thousands) buying up one of my old friend’s entire game collection.  Having had about six months to ponder the decision and to weigh the pros and cons of the entire ordeal in hindsight, I thought it might be good to share my thoughts and answer the question: would I do it again?

So many games in once place is tough to turn down.

Walking into my friend’s basement and seeing boxes and boxes of games there for the taking was a surreal experience.  For many gamers that love collecting and playing games, seeing literally hundreds of games in once place all at the same time can be like a dream come true, but also completely overwhelming.  I remember seeing some items in the mix like Bomberman 64: The Second Attack, a copy of Lunar: Silver Star Story, a boxed Secret of Mana among many other things and feeling like my hands were slowly being tied as questions busted into my brain: how could I leave this all behind?  Would I ever have an opportunity like this again?  These are the kinds of questions that would have kept me up at night for a long, long time.

The pressure of buying from friends and family can be daunting.

Especially when your friend is a salesman.  Upon entering the room with all the games, I immediately was given a tour of all the rare and wonderful things in the collection while many of the other aspects of it were glossed over.  I barely had a chance to peek through the boxes without being interrupted, or to get a private word in to talk things over with my partner before we were being asked if we were taking it all.  Given that my friend and I had been talking on and off for years about me buying his collection, he already knew where my heart was at and it was really hard to say no even if I wanted to.  He was also a tougher bargainer than me.  When I asked if I could pick and choose what I wanted, he insisted he’d have to increase the price of individual items since he wanted everything gone at once and it would be hard for him to sell the rest.  If he had been a stranger, I could’ve easily bought more time or walked away, but it was difficult to turn him down given everything that was there and our long history together as friends.

The cost vs. what we got was pretty good.

We got approximately 600 games, at least 50 manuals/game guides, and at least 20 boxed consoles/other items with lots of other rare and exclusive stuff (E3 documentation, press kits, demo discs, swag, a developer kit, a game dump of an unreleased game, etc.)  It was definitely a good deal from a monetary value perspective given how much good stuff was in the mix, but the issue I found myself scratching my head over was all the extra stuff that I didn’t really want.  Did I really want an entire box of GameCube sports games or generally terrible movie/television-based games that I’ll likely never play?  What am I supposed to do with much of the E3 stuff that I wasn’t there to gain any context about?  How about some of the accessories that I can’t imagine ever feeling compelled to try out (i.e. the GameCube racing wheel/pedal)?  These things are now mine to store and potentially sell some day if we decide to go that route.

We nearly doubled our collection in one day, but…

…we also ran into the issue of getting a lot of duplicates and extras of things.  There were not only duplicates of things we already had, but there were duplicates of certain items within the collection itself!  It takes a lot of work and time to organize and sell things, and a part of me wants nothing to do with selling on eBay because of some of the horror stories I’ve heard from friends throughout the years around bad buyers and scammers.  Selling locally is an option, but it’s a lot of time I just don’t have for the moment.  What smart person spends money to have to do more work afterward?

Things weren’t always what they seemed.

I think the thing that’s been bothering me the most is that I don’t know that my friend had my best interest in mind at all throughout the transaction.  He continually bragged about selling off lots of the “heavy hitters” of his collection a few years ago like his copies of Snatcher and Popful Mail for Sega CD as well as a bunch of other things along the way that I would’ve loved to have.  Though in my mind the entire interaction and transaction was a gesture of friendship and trust, it became pretty apparent to me that he wasn’t doing me any favours by selling me his collection – he seemed to be in it for the cash, and not for any reconnection or friendship after the fact.  It’s not as if my friend owed me anything after all these years, but it left me feeling a little… used?  I’m not sure that I can even quite put my finger directly on what I’m feeling and why I’m feeling it, but it certainly hasn’t left me feeling completely positive and excited.

Looking back on everything, even though I don’t have tender feelings and butterflies in my stomach every time I think about this experience, I think I would do it again if presented with the opportunity but with a little more control from my end.  I would’ve taken more time to think things over and maybe put aside my personal expectations as well.  I might have insisted on my friend pricing out the items that I really wanted to see if it’d be worth it to buy up everything, even if it meant taking a few more several hour trips out his way.

I know that we got a ton of really great things in this game lot that I’ll be able to enjoy for years to come, but I can’t help feeling a little sour about some aspects of the transaction.  In an ideal world my friend would’ve cut me a deal, we could’ve laughed about old times and become good friends again while bonding over it all.  That’s not what happened, and it kinda sucks.  At least my partner and I came out richer in two ways: we obviously obtained a ton of fantastic items and games, but we also gained a lot of important experience as a couple and in the form of life lessons.  For example, it’s unlikely I’ll do business with friends or family again at this level of investment.  I always treat game collecting as a fun and positive hobby experience rather than a rigid business transaction, so I need to get something emotional out of it at the end of the day.  As well-intentioned as friends and family may be, it’s hard to expect that others will be able to meet my expectations.

Hopefully this post gives you all something to consider if you’re ever thinking about a large purchase like this, or end up dealing with people you know rather than strangers.

Let me know what you think: would you have bought everything under these circumstances?  What would be your dream game lot to purchase?  Would you ever buy from family and friends?

Thanks for reading!

-GG

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The Sleepiest Swap of All

The last swap of the year for me is always bittersweet.  There’s something so lonely about the prospect of a winter without game hunting in far away places, but the quiescence of the snowy months ahead are a welcome peaceful time without the hustle and bustle of travelling every other weekend.

As I mentioned previously, the last two swaps we went to this year were plagued with less-than-good overnight accommodations, consisting mostly of sweaty polyester hotel sheets and loud, noisy hotel neighbours that made sleeping impossible.  I like to get a good night’s sleep before a game exchange to make sure I’m alert for good bargaining, but I was mostly left feeling sluggish and unprepared.  Despite the miserable sleep, the swaps was still successful, and I got to add a few long-coveted items to my collection.

For NES, I picked up two games: Monster Party, and Dragon Warrior IV.  I highly regret not picking up Monster Party the last time I saw it for $12, but I paid a little more at $20 for this copy.  It was in truly beautiful shape, and I really wanted to be able to fight some giant breaded shrimp inside a house in my spare time.  The cartridge was a bit finicky to get going and required ample cleaning, but it works!  Of the two games, Dragon Warrior IV was by far the most exciting for me.  This game has been at the very top of my list since I got serious about collecting a few years ago, and it has always been an elusive entity in my life.  I have been trying to buy a local copy of the game for almost a year now but gave up recently: the store owner tried to make a case as to why he was including shipping in his game prices, and after a long argument with him about how I shouldn’t have to pay shipping if I’m shopping local and driving to his store on my own dime, I gave up on it.  I haven’t returned since then and have no plans to.  They’re practically holding the game captive at a price of $110 with no box or manual.  Anywayyyy… I was quite pleased to nab this copy of the game for $70, which was about $40 less than what this stupid store had the game priced at without tax included (and in Ontario, tax is 13%!)  Either way, I’m glad I finally found this one.  I tested out the game and did a little dance to the improved title screen music.  Who doesn’t love that prominent baseline where there was no baseline before?

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Having recently finished SpellCaster for the Sega Master System lately, I was on the lookout for its Sega Genesis sequel Mystic Defender.  It seems that a Kain-like fellow has donned a lovely purple jumpsuit and some kickass elbow-gloves for this game.  From what I know of it, it departs from much of the point-and-click style of the first game and moves exclusively to action sequences.  I was tipped off to the game’s existence by someone that watches my Twitch streams.  I’m getting great info from everywhere these days!

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My obsession for buying up Game Boy games has continued!  I took a gamble on The Rescue of Princess Blobette, and I’m not sure if I came out ahead on that one or not.  I only paid a few dollars for it, so at the end of the day, it’s a game I get to try out!  Rolan’s Curse 2 was a really good game hidden in plain sight.  Finding the original Rolan’s Curse for Game Boy is what set my GB love ablaze to begin with, so its sequel was an easy addition to my game collection.  The game is supposed to build upon what the first one had, and the first game is really fun from the few hours I dabbled with it.  It was clearly well-loved considering that it’s got some light-wear from being stuffed into someone’s GB for a long while.  I also picked up Hamtaro: Ham-Ham Games.  I am a little too excited about Hamtaro games after finding Ham-Hams Unite! at the last event.  I rummaged through literally hundreds of GBA games that were in a variety of dirty, dusty sacks to see if both GBA Hamtaro games were available, but this was the only one I found.

Lastly, I picked up the manual for The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass.  This game is one of the only DS games I own loose.  Given that I love the Zelda series so much, it was only natural for me to take this little guy home with me as well.  My handheld collection is just bursting these days.  There’s so many great games on handheld systems!  I just wish streaming and recording DS games was easier and feasible with my current setup.

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Though we came away with just a small bunch of games this time, it was a lot of fun going to yet another wonderful event!  I don’t know if I’ll ever grow weary of these things.  Here’s a nice group photo of all the games we picked up this time around.

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One thing I haven’t mentioned here and might keep for a separate post in the future is a small arcade cocktail cabinet that my boyfriend and I picked up on this last adventure.  It’s all apart right now and in the process of having about 30 years of grime scrubbed/ground away from its surface, so it’s not very photogenic for the moment.  It does have four games on it though, including some of my favourite arcade games like Burger Time, Dig Dug and Ms. Pac-Man.  I will update as soon as I have something to update with!

Thank you very much for reading.

-GG

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There once was a girl who drove a lot to find games.

In my last post, I mentioned that I had made it to a couple of swaps in the last little while, and boy oh boy were they a lot of fun!  Despite some less than pleasant hotel stays (why are polyester sheets even allowed to be a thing that’s used, ever?), the last two swaps of the season were bountiful, and I’m excited to share what I found!

The first event I went to was back in September, and I know a vendor personally that regularly attends.  He told me that someone had recently sold him an absolutely enormous PS1 collection with near-perfect condition games, and I was intensely thrilled at the possibility of finally rounding out my Playstation RPGs.  Unfortunately he also mentioned that he couldn’t sell to me early or even put anything aside since everything was boxed up to  bring to the event.  He urged me to get there early so I could have first pick, but first pick at these things usually means picking through leftovers after all the vendors have had their way with the best of the best before the show opens.

We made it in only 10 minutes after the event opened and I made a bee-line for that particular table.  It was absolutely swarming with people and there was no room to squeeze in, so I had taken a look elsewhere to see what was lying around.  If you’ve been following here for even a little while you’ll probably know that I’ve become mildly obsessed with Game Boy games.  And Natsume games.  And also Hamtaro.  The games I found here catered to many of those desires!

The Hamtaro game was something I completely took a gamble on.  I loved the show growing up but was a little older when it came out.  I didn’t catch it nearly enough, but the idea of adorable hamsters having their own society makes me all warm and fuzzy on the inside just like the best hamsters are on the outside.  I digress.  Hamtaro Ham-Hams Unite! looks to be a strange puzzle game where you get to learn hamster slang and help people solve their problems.  Not only is this a really interesting premise, but the game is freaking adorable!  I’m so excited to try it out!  Spanky’s Quest was a game I hadn’t heard of, but I saw the Natsume logo on there and decided to dive in.  If it was at least as good as Harvest Moon, I was golden, right?  Well, it’s not quite HM, but it’s definitely something I think I will find a fun challenge.  It’s hard to explain, but I strongly think I’ll prefer this release over the version released for the SNES.  Lastly, Castlevania Adventure, though widely booed and hissed at by many, is something I’d like to try.  I’m slowly amassing many games from the series but have yet to actually complete any of them.

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My friend’s vendor table was still jam-packed with folks that were shoulder to shoulder, so I kept perusing the event floor looking for the next big discovery.  I did have a few trades with me and I wasn’t afraid to use them when I finally ran across a decently priced copy of Breath of Fire II for SNES.  This is one of the last SNES RPGs I needed to find, and I was okay buying it for $50 with a bit of a ripped label.  Who needs that guy’s beefy arm and part of the Super Nintendo logo thing anyway?  I’ve been looking for this game forever.  There has been a local copy at a hock shop for $69.99 + tax with a glued on printed paper label.  Yep.  You’re reading that right: a shitty, awful fake-label game that might not have even been authenticated for probably close to $85 with taxes in.  I’d much rather have taken my chances on this mildly torn label than give my money to those jerks.  Even if it’s badly translated, I look forward to endeavouring on this adventure sometime!

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By now, the table with many of the Playstation goodies I had been dreaming about were not being blocked by a wall of eager gamers.  Thankfully my friend had not been picked clean, and there were an absolute ton of PS1 games for the buying.  I had a huge box of trades hanging out in my back seat, so I asked the vendor to put aside a few things while I went and rummaged to find some trade bait.  After presenting my wares and haggling a fabulous deal, the games I got were Wild Arms, Legend of Mana, and Breath of Fire IV!

I can’t quite say exactly how long I’ve been looking for Legend of Mana, but it has been at least two years or so.  The thing that really set my collecting into motion before starting this blog was the desire to find and play Secret of Mana, a game a friend had lent me after I moved to a new city but never had the opportunity to start.  She took her game back and we stopped talking a short time later, and the more I watched/read about the game, the more I wanted to play it.  That need soon extended to other Mana games, and Legend of Mana was launched up to the top of my must-find list.  Wild Arms and Breath of Fire IV were also on my radar since I had several of the other games in both series, but there was something about finding Legend of Mana and not having to pay a cent for it that was a really pleasant experience for me.  I think I traded only five or six other pretty common games for all three games.  It was a smokin’ deal.

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As I continued wandering, I chanced upon another table that had some PS1 RPGs.  These were unfortunately ones bought from my friend before the event started as I had feared, and the prices had been jacked up a bit.  I took a hard, long look at the inventory.  There was a really poor condition Tales of Destiny 2 (the foil on both discs was raised so who knows if that would’ve played), but there were two copies of Tactics Ogre.  I had often seen the game mentioned in many top PS1 RPG lists, but it was never my focus in my initial delve into the Ogre Battle series.  Much of the research I first pieced together was around Ogre Battle 64 and March of the Black Queen (both of which are nearly identical to titles of Queen songs… weird, generally awful Queen songs…).  Despite not knowing exactly what I was getting myself into, I had faith that Tactics Ogre was going to be pretty good.  With a few things to trade still left over, I ended up paying $70 cash and got rid of a few extra PSP games I had.

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I was also very appreciative of some of the creativity of the game art.  It was lovely to see a link between Tactics Ogre’s case and manual art.  There are probably many examples of this in other games, but this is the first time I noticed it.  It’s so beautifully done.

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Before leaving for the day, one last perusal around the place left me staring at a beautiful deal: Caveman Games!  Another miserable hock shop employee refused to move on their price of $20 for the longest time, and I snagged this beauty for a grand total of $5.  Oh yeah.  I’m very glad I waited!  Now I can do the Wife Toss event all day long without wondering if I paid too much for a game where Wife Toss is a thing.

You might be wondering what a classy girl like me is doing with a train wreck like Crazy Castle.  You can put the blame squarely on the lovely shoulders of my boyfriend, who mistook it for a different Bugs Bunny game.  We are stuck with it now, so one of these days I suppose I’ll try to enjoy it.  Just know that I will do it with a frown that cannot be turned upside down.

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That just about wraps up that first swap event.  I wish I had more time to combine both swaps into one seamless post, but I’m desperately trying to catch up on work and also find the time to complete my next video masterpiece: 30-45 minutes of me taking care of Harvest Moon cows that smile constantly and melt my cold, Canadian heart.  If you ever needed a heartwarming video, keep your eyes open for that one.  It’ll be coming down the pipe as soon as I can find a moment to finish editing the beast.

(A message from a future version of myself: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hl-iN2-YOJ4)

Hopefully you all had a wonderful Halloween and are keeping warm with all this cool weather that suddenly won’t dissipate.  It feels like every day from now until March should be a blanket and tea day!

Thanks for reading, as always!

-GG

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Sega and Playstation walk into a bar…

After many prayers and fist-shakes, the gods of the classifieds ads have finally given me their blessing again.  Along with scouring the poorly-worded posts of people parting with their beloved games, I’ve also had some luck with finding a few decently priced games on eBay, making the items in this post exciting from a number of different ways.  I have mostly bumped into some games for the Sega Genesis and various Playstation consoles, so those are what I will focus on here.

I’m not entirely sure and perhaps someone else might help me to clarify, but it seems that prices of retro games seem to be on the decline.  This isn’t ubiquitous across the board, but in many cases, games I have wanted to buy seem to have come down in price by $20-$30 over the last few months.  I’m not sure why or how long it’ll last for, but I’m certainly not complaining!

Since I ended with one last time, I suppose it makes sense to start with one here: I found a boxed Game Genie for the Sega Genesis.  Unlike its SNES brother from the last post, the code book on this particular cheat device is enormous and covers a lot of really excellent games rather than an elite few.  I would almost be tempted to look for codes for games like The Lion King that I’m normally pretty decent at and see how much they mess with my usual style.  I had an NES Game Genie growing up, but with the Genesis, I was forced to get good at games by playing often and improving from my many, many mistakes.  This tool might be a blessing, or it might be a curse!

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I also found a bunch of really great games for the Genesis.  The first is Decap Attack, a game I hadn’t heard much about until it was staring me straight in the face.  This one seems to have come to me just in time for Halloween, and I can’t stop thinking that the mummified monster on the box art looks strangely like Gossamer from Bugs Bunny with his eyes in the wrong spot.  If I end up doing a Halloween stream, this game might make the list!

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In the same vein as many of my other purchases, there had to be some RPG-like games.  I ordered a copy of Sword of Vermilion from eBay, though it was missing its hint book.  The game had mixed reviews from what I could find online, but nonetheless, it’s a game I think I might take a liking to.  Alisia Dragoon is also hiding in the bottom right of the photo below as well, and that’s a game my better half had been wanting for a long while.  After I watched some gameplay online and read up on it, it certainly seemed like something I might be interested in playing as well, though it does seem like the difficulty spike toward the end of the game gets to be a little monotonous unless you start memorizing levels.  I think I can swing it though!

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I bought a few more Genesis games from a local classifieds seller last week, and some of the games were a bit of a surprise to me.  I had no idea at all that a Bomberman game existed on the Genesis at all, so my interest was definitely piqued when I saw a weird 80s/90s version of Bomberman looking fierce on the game label, clearly sporting a top with the bones of his enemies glued on as a reminder of his lethal capabilities.  The game actually looks like standard Bomberman fare.  The second game below, Sub Terrania, looks like it’ll be a lot of fun as well.  I had the pleasure of receiving Solar Jetman as a gift this past summer (thanks again to Rob from I Played the Game!), and though I’m generally still horrible at it, Sub Terrania seems to pick up where that game left off.  It somehow seems more manageable, though I’m sure that’s just my hope shining through.  I’ll probably also be horrible at this one!

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Another Genesis game I found lately was Fantasia.  Now, all I’ve managed to track down online are miserable reviews of this game.  I haven’t played it at all (not even to test it), nor do I recall anything at all about the Disney movie from my childhood except that there were angry brooms (I much prefer the angry brooms of Matoya from FFI, but I digress.)  I’m interested to see just how “bad” the game is for myself, because I generally feel like most people are way too hard on some games.  This may be one of them, or it might truly be a horrible atrocity.  Only time will tell.

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I almost didn’t ask further about Tinhead because for some reason I had it confused with Tinstar for SNES.  I’m glad I gave my head a shake and looked into it a little more because this game definitely looks like it has some potential.  On the surface it certainly looks like any other generic Genesis platformer, but something drew me in with this one.  This game came complete with its manual and box, so it’ll be a nice addition to the rest of my boxed games.

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The games I’ve been finding lately for PS1 are just freakin’ fantastic.  I can’t even begin to say how pleased I’ve been to grab some of these!

I’ll start with the game that was least exciting for me: Kartia.  Though it’s an Atlus game, it doesn’t seem to be particularly sought after or praised like many of the others from that particular company.  I hadn’t even heard of it at all until the person working at the thrift store happened to mention that the art on the cover looks very similar to that of early Japanese Final Fantasy cartridge art.  I’m still not sure what to make of it after doing a bit of reading and research about it.  Has anyone played this one before?

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Another game ready to be endeavoured for the Halloween season is Koudelka.  I had heard about this game from a lovely Twitter friend (@esperdreams), and it took me forever to find a copy.  I once had the opportunity to buy this game for $60 and passed, and ended up paying almost double at a local shop that I try to support.  Though this price is much more in line with what you might find on hiked up eBay prices, unfortunately I can’t win them all.  I’d love to say I get all deals all the time, but this isn’t always the case.  Either way, the game has been hyped up to me for a long while now, and who wouldn’t like a game where you apparently fight a possessed wedding dress?

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This second-last game I was elated to find for a good price online.  I’ve been a little obsessed with playing Harvest Moon 64 lately, and someone in my stream chat mentioned that Back to Nature was very similar to the gameplay/aesthetic of the 64 game.  Being me, lover of Harvest Moon cows and this particular iteration of the universe, I pounced upon a $30 copy from the internet and giggled with delight when I pulled it out of its shipping envelope.  I absolutely love love love everything about Harvest Moon 64, so anything that keeps me there a little longer will make me quite happy.  (For anyone interested, in HM64, I married Elli and we are having a baby soon!)

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Last but not least, I finally, finally found a copy of Valkyrie Profile.  You may recall some moaning and groaning from me a few billion posts back about how I could never get Vanguard Bandits, Vandal hearts and Valkyrie Profile straight in my head, but now that I own all three, I won’t have that problem anymore.  There’s a small story to this: my friend that works at the thrift store saw a copy of the game at the store and decided not to tell me because she wanted it for herself.  Unfortunately since there’s a time constraint on employee purchases of merchandise, it came and went before she could purchase it.  She only told me it was there after it was already sold, and I was quite sad to see that it had come and gone without even knowing.  That was the first time that game had ever popped up in town, and oddly enough, a few days later the game popped up on the local classifieds site.  I was a little shocked and thought for sure that this person had to have been the one who bought it and was reselling, but the game was lumped in with Kartia and a bunch of Final Fantasy PS1 titles for $150, so it was an absolute screamin’ deal.  I didn’t even care if he was a reseller at that point because I was excited to finally have that game in my hands!

I’ve heard so many wonderful things about Valkyrie Profile.  I recently posted a tweet asking if I’d missed any particularly important PS1 RPGs, and this title was one that came up much of the time as a be all end all, along with others like Suikoden II and Final Fantasy VII (and literally every other RPG for the console.)  You probably wouldn’t believe me if I told you, but the only PS1 games I’ve actually played are some of the Final Fantasy games, and a lot of Parappa the Rapper.  It’s quite sad considering how many beautiful, wonderful games I’ve finally found and would like to play.  Valkyrie Profile is definitely high up on my list.

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And there it is… a bunch of really wonderful games that now live with a really wonderful me! It has been so nice to round out the PS1 RPG collection this year and continue to push deeper into Genesis stuff too.  I’ve also been to a few swaps last month and this month, so I have a few swap-related posts on the horizon.  Hopefully you will continue to be shocked and amazed at the things I pull out of my sleeves and hats!

Happy Monday, and happy almost-Halloween.  Are you folks playing any Halloween-themed/related games this holiday?  I will probably selfishly continue to play Harvest Moon 64 and brush my happy cows rather than plunging into anything scary.  Decap Attack does look pretty promising though!

Thanks for reading.

-GG

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