Bits and Pieces

What better time than the literal year end to wrap up a year of collecting! I have been slowly scooping up some choice games here and there, but only as I’ve managed to come across them. With a couple of small exceptions, the majority of my shopping has happened online. There’s so few opportunities these days to find games out and about, and after my last convention experience back in the spring, I’m still a bit sour on the idea of travelling to those events only to find so little quality for so much cash. We’ll see how I’m feeling next year of course, but for the moment, I’ve been happy to window shop from the warmth of my couch. Here are the remaining games I’ve bought since the last update!

First up are a bunch of NES cartridges. I’ve been noticing that this console in particular, along with other 8-bit generation ones like the Master System and Game Boy, seem to be where I have the most fun in gaming. I’ve been trying to track down more adventure games, and The Lone Ranger came highly recommended to me. It has a few different game modes but importantly has the staples of what I like in adventures: towns with NPCs for hints, interesting combat, and a bit of a story to keep things rolling along. Stanley: The Search for Dr. Livingston was a completely random purchase after I saw it pop up in someone’s collection post in a discord server I’m a part of. I bought both of them from a Canadian website that had some good sales on at the time, though they were still a bit pricier than I usually like to pay for my games. While perusing a flea market one day, I also ran into Wrath of the Black Manta and Cyber Stadium Series: Base Wars. A lot of folks also recommended Wrath of the Black Manta to me as another game that I might enjoy based on my interests in side scrolling adventure games, and I managed to find that one for only a couple of dollars. Cyber Stadium Series – Base Wars was something I’d heard a ton about since I know someone who speedruns it. I’m not usually the biggest sports game fan, but this one was a no-brainer to pick up since it’s not just the usual fare. All in all, these four cartridges are in relatively decent shape with a little bit of label peeling and some glue I need to remove. Otherwise though, I’m happy to have some lesser-discussed titles to dive into in the new year.

I rarely splurge on games and try to wait for good deals, but considering how little I spent on collecting this year overall, I treated myself to two very nice games for the NES: Shadow of the Ninja, and Shatter Hand. Both of them are action platformers with some fairly unique elements to them. I especially love the little robot partners you can conjure up in Shatter Hand, though I only played it for about an hour to test it out. They’re both quite difficult and I do enjoy the challenge they bring. They’re virtually perfect in terms of their condition as well, and I was happy to spend a little more on these two.

In more four-cartridge photo display action, here are more NES games! I’d been searching for Predator and The Adventure of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends for a long time and it’s great to finally own them. I really wanted Rocky & Bullwinkle for its stellar soundtrack (heh) and Predator just because I enjoyed the movie so much. Demon Sword and Sky Shark were spur of the moment buys. They were purchased from the same seller on an auction site, and back then, they had a flat rate shipping for the first item and a small fee for every additional one you bought afterward. It made sense to throw a couple of interesting-looking games into the mix, and all said, everything was quite cheap. Unfortunately the site did away with its good shipping policies so I haven’t been buying much from them anymore. Anyway, all of the cartridges here were in relatively good condition with no label tears or scuffs, with Demon Sword being a bit discoloured. It also turned out that I already had a copy of Sky Shark in my collection and mistook it for something else! I don’t miss the pressure of auctions!

For the last of the NES stuff I’ve picked up lately, I finally got my hands on a copy of Nightmare on Elm Street. I loved the movie franchise growing up and have always wanted an opportunity to play this, but the last convention I went to had it priced for an exorbitant amount. I’m glad I waited because I bought this one at my favourite game store and felt good supporting them since they’ve been struggling since the pandemic. It’s not in the greatest shape with lots of scuffs on the cartridge shell, but I have way uglier games than this one.

Moving on to some Game Boy now, I came across these two in very different ways. The Star Trek 25th Anniversary cartridge was purchased on an online bidding website for a few bucks, and it was mostly a curiosity since my husband’s a big fan of the PC version of the game. He needed to know how it translates to the Game Boy hardware. The second game here, Yogi Bear’s Gold Rush, was a completely unexpected find. A few months ago, I had purchased a random lot of gaming-related stuff from a fellow on our local classifieds site, and while he had a couple of photos of some of the things he was selling, there was an awful lot he hadn’t photographed. I found this game in the bottom of a shoebox with a bunch of manuals (I’ll talk about those below) and while it’s not in the greatest shape, it’s an… interesting addition to the collection. I played it for a little while and was quite taken aback with how unforgiving it is.

If you thought Nightmare on Elm Street was the ugliest game in this post, behold! Operation C was on sale on a website I was shopping on, and while the listing said the game was in “acceptable” condition, I didn’t expect the entire label to be missing. I suppose the price reflected that, but when it arrived, I was actually a little miffed that they hadn’t bothered to indicate that in the details section. At least I got it for a steal, but this will go into my collection as one of the label-less cartridges I have along with the Game Boy Colour Lufia game.

I also picked up two SNES games from my favourite game store: The Legend of the Mystical Ninja and Super Valis IV. I actually thought I already owned Legend of the Mystical Ninja, and when some folks from the streams were drumming up some excitement about it, I realized I’d had it confused with Super Ninja Boy the entire time. Oops! There are far too many ninja games to get mixed up in my mind, but I digress. Super Valis IV was a total surprise to stumble upon. It was one of the games I’d had on my list to look for at the convention earlier this year, but there was only one very expensive copy of it that I passed up. I now own the three Genesis games as well as the one SNES installment, so it’s great to be able to finally take those off my collecting list and play them.

Over a large part of the year, my husband and I watched the entirety of Star Trek: The Next Generation. It was my first viewing of the series and quite frankly, I think about that show a lot since we finished viewing it. One day I saw a copy of this SNES game of the same name and decided to pick it up without even looking into what kind of gameplay it might have. I still haven’t really researched it much, but hopefully it’ll be a nice way to revisit the series again in a different form someday down the line.

Back when I was perusing auction sites a little more regularly, I couldn’t help but get totally sucked into some gaming books. This is my second copy of the orange Nintendo Fun one, but the Winning at Nintendo was what I was especially interested in getting. While everyone else had Nintendo Power growing up, all I had was this one little book with a couple of NES games listed inside. I’ve been curious to see what other books existed in this lineup for a long time, and even though there are a couple of doubles, it was a treat looking through this one!

Earlier in this post, I talked about a lot that we bought containing relatively random gaming-related items, and these were the manual spoils. There were a couple for games I don’t even own but also a few I’d been looking for for a little while, like the Game Boy ones in the bottom right corner. Flashback was another I wanted to find, but I actually own the Genesis version (box and game). It’s now as complete as it’s getting with the SNES manual! There were a couple of game cases for titles I don’t own, mostly from PS3/XBox360 titles that I haven’t shown here. There was nothing particularly notable from my perspective.

And last but certainly not least, I found an item I’d been hoping to take home for a long time: Barcode Battler! You may recall that I already own some iterations of this device from way back in this blog, specifically one for the Game Boy and another for the Super Famicom. This one is a different beast altogether and a standalone, completely in English, and it came with its box, many of the cards, and even some homemade ones from the previous owner. If you’re not up to speed on what this is, it’s an RPG-style game where you can scan bar codes of all kinds and it’ll generate monsters or fighters for you, and then you can choose your moves and engage in one on one combat with another person or a CPU character. It’s very rudimentary, but it’s definitely something I’d like to spend some time with for a stream or even just for fun on my own sometime. I’d like to know what kind of monster a box of cookies or cereal might conjure up…

And that just about does it with one final post before we welcome in 2023. I still need to write about the Vectrex(es) that we picked up a couple of months ago, but that will have to wait until the new year.

Thank you all so much for all of your support over the many months and years, and for being patient with updates. I wish that collecting was still as frequent as it used to be for me, but it’s nice to be able to pop in here and chat with folks about the hobby once in a while.

Have a safe and happy new year, everyone! And as always, thanks for reading!


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The First Game Swap in Ages

Back in April, I finally got out to a fairly sizeable game swap event. I will admit that the idea of going into a large venue packed with people felt a bit daunting considering how isolated we’ve been during the entirety of the pandemic, but we planned well and ended up having an enjoyable day… for the most part.

You see, I had two main hunches coming into a convention post-pandemic. The first was that people selling would be relatively eager to move product that hasn’t had the chance to move for a long time. I hoped they might price things a little less than the going rate to accommodate with the mindset that selling more at slightly less is better than selling nothing at all. The second was that people selling would jack up their prices to compensate for lost time and the lack of product moving. Unfortunately, the latter was the case and that’s why, as you’ll see here, I didn’t end up buying very much. The fun was in the event itself and the idea that I could once again go out game collecting, but the hard-hitting truth about being priced out of game collecting is starting to weigh heavily in my mind.

If I can be blunt here: sellers at this particular swap were unwavering with their prices. Asking for combo deals or even $5 off a sticker price was a total hassle, and if someone wasn’t willing to meet me on price, I wasn’t willing to part with my money. Some of the prices were almost as bad as eBay + shipping, and shipping in Canada is pretty atrocious. Even within Canada sometimes, a Game Boy game ships at around $15, and anything bigger is usually $20 or more. Seeing those prices in person was a big eye-opener, and quite frankly I am not motivated to get out to these events in the future if I can pay the same amount to have things appear at my door, especially with the cost of fuel at the moment.

Compared to previous events, the variety in stock was also…weird for lack of a better word? Lots of sellers had several copies of the same undesirable games, and one in particular that stood out was one table with around 10 copies of Jack Nicklaus Golf for NES all priced at $10 a piece. To me, table real estate is precious so why fill it with things that won’t sell? And sure enough, at the end of the day, not one of them had gone. Anyway, the games I’m looking for these days are a little more on the uncommon side and if I did happen to find one, they were always completely out of my price range. I ended up buy a few things I wasn’t super pressed to find and brought those home instead. So with all this rambling out of the way, here’s what I ended up with.

The first game here is Monkeyshines for the Odyssey2. A few years ago, I picked up the console complete in the box with a bunch of games, and since then I’ve added a few to the collection as I’ve come across them. When possible, I really enjoy having the box and manual with these because while they’re simple, they sometimes have special explanations about the 1 and 2 player modes, or additional artwork. Unfortunately this was a lone cartridge on a table for a few bucks, so I took it home to add to my collection.

You might also recall that I was recently gifted an entire Commodore VIC-20 and some games, and I managed to find two more very cheap game cartridges hanging around on a table deep within the convention. I added Cosmic Cruncher and Avenger to the collection, and with so many cartridges now, I had to move them to a separate box! I was hoping to find some of the cartridges I had in childhood like Radar Rat Race or Gorf, but unfortunately those were nowhere to be found. There were also no tapes for the datasette, which was also a bummer.

I had a couple of NES games on my list to find, but the only one that was reasonably priced was A Boy and His Blob: Trouble on Blobolonia. I have been looking for this game for a long while, and even though I have the Wii remake version, the NES game looks like a lot of fun and has a fantastic soundtrack. This was in gorgeous condition with only a little peeling at some of the label corners as you can see, but otherwise it’s a really clean copy to stuff on the shelf.

I’ve looked through a lot of games over the years, and it’s always exciting when I discover a label I’ve never seen before. Heiankyo Alien is a case of this phenomenon, and it was available for $5. I bought it not knowing what to expect, and while in hindsight it doesn’t look like the most exciting gameplay, it was still a neat experience jumping in with no expectations. Way in the back of a box of Game Boy games at a different table, I dug out a copy of Beetlejuice. I’ve never, ever seen this game at a convention and even though it was a little pricey, I bought it. It’s a different game entirely from the NES version and has been praised well in reviews I’ve seen online. Not my proudest thrifting moment, but given that I was up against what felt like an immovable salesperson, I was content with the slight discount I was able to snag.

UN Squadron for the SNES is a game I wouldn’t normally be after since it’s a shooter, but it came highly recommended to me by a dear friend and I can’t say no to recommendations from good people! It was surprisingly a great price too, and even though it has that weird bubbling at the bottom of the label in this photo, it’s barely noticeable in real life.

I desperately looked for new Master System stuff to take home, but there wasn’t a lot of variety to choose from. I went in looking for Aladdin to no avail, but I did manage to track down a copy of Fantasy Zone (finally!) that was in very nice condition. It didn’t come with a cool poster inside or anything, but it’s nice to have this. I’ve owned a copy of Fantasy Zone II for as long as I’ve had a Master System and this addition was a long time coming!

And last but not least, I got a few games for the Sega Genesis. To date I’ve only played Syd of Valis and recently bought Valis III, but I’d been hoping to find the first installment for a while now. It looks a little slower-paced and clunky compared to the later games in the series, but I’m glad to have the three Genesis titles. I actually went in looking for Super Valis IV, but this will do! Beyond Oasis is something I’ve had recommended to me over and over again, and now I finally own it! This was the other game that was not so cheap to pick up, but I went for it since I’ve rarely seen it in the flesh at conventions. I can’t wait to play it! It’s an action RPG, and you know how I love my action RPGs.

Even though the first time back to a game swap in over two years was mainly underwhelming, it was great to have some semblance of normalcy back. I’m not sure if I’ll move any mountains to get out to more of these this year, but I did at least find a few things I’d been hoping to for a long while. I do have some packages coming in the mail, so I should have at least one more post up shortly when everything arrives. And if I feel like pulling myself out of bed at the crack of dawn, I might just try some yard sales on weekends to come. Maybe. Me and mornings don’t really mix.

Thanks for reading!


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The Patience

With a lack of an update for so long here, you may have come to the conclusion that my collecting habits died hard long ago. The truth is that while they haven’t succumbed completely, they’ve certainly slowed down to a very small trickle, and this post is going to encompass games I’ve either been graciously given or picked up over the past six months or so. There’s a mishmash of things here, but still a lot of really meaningful and personal additions to my collection. Some things I never dreamed of ever holding in my hands again, and yet now I own them. Let’s get started!

Starting out with one of the most modern purchases I’ve made in a while, it was a total no-brainer to pick up the Game & Watch for The Legend of Zelda that came out last fall. As a lover of the first Zelda game for NES, I was thrilled to see something so neat get released, though the tiny screen is the furthest thing from friendly for my old lady eyes. I don’t know that I will take this out very often, but it looks great beside my Super Mario Bros. one on the shelf.

After I had a blast with NES Rygar, a very nice person was kind enough to send me the PS2 game called Rygar: The Legendary Adventure. I can’t say that 3D games fall within what I could call my forte, but adoring the NES game as much as I do, I look forward to trying this one out and destroying things with the diskarmour!

My Virtual Boy collecting is nearly complete with the additions of Nester’s Funky Bowling and Virtual League Baseball. Nester’s Funky Bowling has eluded me for a long time, and I finally got it for a price I was willing to pay. Baseball was also available for a not-so-terrible price, and even with a bit of label damage, it was a worthy addition. All that’s left for me to collect are a few of the more expensive Japanese-only games and Waterworld, and since I currently have no plans to shell out a ton of cash for those, I’ll settle on calling things done for the moment.

This VIC-20 in the box came to me as a total and complete surprise. A very nice person reached out to me about having one collecting dust in his family’s home and offered to ship it to me, and I am an extremely happy owner of a working, wonderful computer. Having this back in hand after so many years feels great. My family had one when I was growing up and I played it all the time. I had eventually parted with it since a friend of mine at the time was heavy into collecting, and we didn’t have a way to hook it up anymore since we’d gotten rid of the CRT in the basement. I gave it away with all the games and many years later, I learned that he’d sold it to someone without asking if I wanted any of it back. It’s one of my biggest regrets, so getting another VIC-20 at this point and being able to re-experience some of my childhood again has been an absolute blessing. I need to pick up a copy of Radar Rat Race and Gorf!

What’s great is that the box is in relatively good shape and came with all its manuals. It also came with the Datasette unit which takes cassette tape games. I wish so much that I still had the tapes from my childhood to play again, but they’re long gone. I did adventure into making some new ones with moderate success, so maybe I’ll talk about that here or on YouTube someday.

Things have been pretty dry on the NES front, but one game I’ve been wanting for a long time is 3-D World Runner. I learned about it a long while back when I recorded a voiceover for a Nefarious Wes’ video review on the game. It looked like such a fun one and I rarely ever saw it at conventions in the past, but I picked this up at a game store I get out to once in a while. It’s in extremely good condition and looks as if it’s barely ever been played. I’m lucky!

These next two SNES games, Skyblazer and Pocky & Rocky are two I’ve been hunting for for what feels like an eternity. I will admit that I did not get a very good deal on either of these, but in an effort to support one of my favourite stores during the pandemic a few months ago, I didn’t want to haggle or push on price very much. It’s not as if I’d been spending a lot on games anyway, so I had a little extra money saved up. I’d rather support a business that deals in games so I’ll be able to keep buying from them long into the future rather than nickel and dime them and see them struggle even more. Either way, both of these were in great condition, and I’ve since completed Skyblazer. Pocky & Rocky is something I’m going to have to work pretty hard to get through since shooters are not a prominent part of my skillset as a gamer, but it’s really nice to have them both on the shelf.

Well, you’re looking at a photo I never thought I’d be able to take and include in a blog post. I can’t recall how many times in entries past that I’ve lamented over wanting to find Harvest Moon for the SNES. I searched high and low at conventions and out and about at game stores, and the few times I came across it, it was astronomically priced. Over time, the cost just kept climbing, but somehow, fate lined up where a wonderful human being had a copy they didn’t plan to play again and kindly put it in the mail for me. I was completely floored at his kindness and generosity, and I cried a whole bunch when I finally held it in my hands. It sounds silly to put it down in writing here, but after having such a stagnancy this collecting hobby that means so much to me, being able to finally own something that I’ve been searching for as long as I’ve known about this series was overwhelmingly… nice. And nice feelings are few and far between these days. This was one of the last games I’d really, desperately wanted to find for the SNES, and I can’t describe how much peace I have every time I see it up on the shelf in my game room. I am so, so grateful.

Ninja Taro for the Game Boy is yet another very awesome game I had been wanting to find for a long while. I found out about it years ago when I was looking into Game Boy RPGs, but it was another example of a game that never came into view at a price I was willing to pay. On eBay a few months ago, it finally popped up far below what it normally goes for, and I just happened to be in the right place at the right time. I jumped on it, and if you’re wondering how it plays, it’s a top-down action RPG that’s made in the same graphics style (maybe even the same engine?) as Rolan’s Curse. Except unlike that game, it actually has some exploration to do, and I am really looking forward to experiencing this one.

These last two purchases also came from the video game store I mentioned above: The Pirates of Dark Water and Shadowrun for the Sega Genesis are both very nice additions to the collection. The Pirates of Dark Water caught my eye a few years ago at a local hock shop, but it was priced at over $100 in the box with no manual, just like this copy. That store owner was notoriously difficult to negotiate with, so I never bought it and kept looking. I didn’t pay nearly that much for this copy but it’s nice to cross it off the list. With respect to Shadowrun, a few years ago, a friend had recommended I try out the series and said that the SNES game would be better to start with. The Genesis game apparently leans a little harder into the tabletop game’s mechanics etc. so I picked up the SNES game first and only found the Genesis now, years later. I love the MA-13 rating on there. I’m curious to see what would make that happen on a Sega Genesis game where blood spewing out of someone’s severed limbs is just a normal General Audiences rating!

There it is. Many months of collecting all in one place, with some extremely important personal additions to the collection. I will have another update coming soon since I actually got out to a game swap for the first time in over two years.

Thank you again to everyone of you that sent something my way, and of course to those of you that continue to support my endeavours here, on Twitch, and on YouTube. You’re all what make this hobby worthwhile.

And as always, thanks for reading.


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Things have been quiet here since the opportunities to go thrifting or buy things in person have been rather limited. A few weeks ago, we finally got out to a shop that has been closed for a long time because of the pandemic, and it just so happened that they had gotten a lot of games in from another store that recently closed. I have quite a few new things to share with you from that, along with a few things I found for a good price online!

First up are some NES games, the first being The Legend of Kage. I’ve seen quite a few videos online showcasing this one, and while it certainly hasn’t swept me off my feet in any way, I do love an action-packed side-scroller once in a while. It was neat to see some decently-priced NES games out and about on a shelf that I could pick up and look at without having to talk to someone to open up a glass box instead.

Power Blade for NES is something I’ve been after for a very long while. It’s one of the games that has kept going up and up and up in price with no signs of stopping, but I was surprised to find a semi-beat up copy available for what I’d consider to be a decent price online. That section of the grip has that letter K melted into the plastic, and the writing further down on the label’s tear is a bit unsightly. All said and done though, aesthetics aren’t something that will make or break a purchase for me, and this was the cheapest I’ve seen this one available in many years. I’m very glad to have it.

I also picked up a North American copy of The Battle of Olympus and a copy of Rygar! It’s Rygtober after all, a fun casual speedrunning event that exists simply to bring attention to the game and encourage people to better their times or attempt a brand new speedrun game. For me, I’ll be trying it out casually on Friday afternoons starting on October 15th, so join me if you want to see a first-time playthrough of a game with one really great song!

I picked up all three of these SNES games at the thrift store I mentioned above, and while I’d heard of Gradius III and Drakkhen, Firepower 2000 was not on my radar at all. Most of my SNES collection consists of RPGs or bright and fun platformers, but it’s sparse in the top-down shooter department. Firepower 2000 is quite different from the usual space setting complete with ships and a million upgrades to work between (I see you there, Graduis III), and while shooters are far from my forte, I’m excited to take it out for a spin sometime. Drakkhen is one of the last SNES RPGs I’ve been meaning to track down, and it’s finally mine. I played through Dragon View (the spiritual successor of sorts) a while back and enjoyed it a lot, and while I hear Drakkhen’s a lot rougher around the edges than that experience, I’m hopeful there’s some fun to be had there as well.

It’s rare to find DS games in good condition or with their cases these days, but I somehow lucked into a copy of Rune Factory: A Fantasy Harvest Moon with its box. No manual was in sight, but the rest of the game was in great condition. I have the sequel on the DS that I haven’t gotten around to yet, as well as another Rune Factory game on the Wii. I absolutely adore Harvest Moon and RPGs, and I understand that these games are a marriage of those two things. I hope I fall madly in love with the series when I finally get around to playing these games.

Bomberman Land for the Wii showed up at a different thrift store than the one I alluded to earlier on in the post, and it was in pretty excellent condition other than a few light scratches on the disc’s surface. I loved Super Bomberman as a kid and used to bug one of my best friends in elementary school to play it every time I went to her house, but I haven’t played many of the games beyond that one. I am looking forward to playing the adventure mode for some of the later games in the series, this one included.

It’s incredibly rare to encounter Sega Master System games in the flesh where I live, and while there were a few other sports games around like Pro Wrestling in the box for the taking (I still love that box art the most just because of how silly it is!), we only ended up taking Great Baseball home. Funny enough, we already had a loose copy that I’d forgotten about completely, so now I have a second one! I try not to discount the fun factor in sports games since I was surprisingly taken aback at how fun World Soccer was. There’s fun to be had in all games if you can find it, so hopefully Great Baseball’s also in that realm of possibility.

Sega was hot and happening at this particular store, and I found quite a few games I didn’t have yet. Taz in Escape to Mars is rumoured to be considerably better than Taz-mania, one of my most-hated games for the Genesis. I was also excited to track down Shadow of the Beast in its 16-bit form since the Master System version that I own is not nearly as refined. Mystical Fighter was something I’d never even heard of but bought because of the slightly higher price tag in hopes I’d chanced upon a gem. Sure enough, it looks like a relatively solid beat-em-up. Socket and Phelios have both been on my list for a long while, and we had a friend looking for Forgotten Worlds to pass that one along to. All in all, this was a wonderful find! All the games in this bunch were certainly well-loved, but in relatively decent shape overall.

There were two games in their boxes I wanted: Jeopardy Deluxe Edition and Warrior of Rome. Neither came with their manuals and Warrior of Rome had a bunch of stickers on the label that seemed impossible to peel up, but as a fan of DOS Jeopardy, I hope to have some fun with this version of the game sometime. Warrior of Rome appears to be a strategy game that is just screaming for manual consultation, so hopefully that’s online somewhere when the time comes to finally play that one!

I know there are a lot of exciting things in this post to gush about, but my favourite new thing is a Commodore Vic20. I had one as a kid with the tape player, a bunch of cartridges and tapes etc. but gave it all away to a friend who was collecting a lot at the time. It turns out he sold it all without asking me if I wanted it back first. I have always really regretted that decision, but he happened to have my childhood Pole Position cartridge, which he returned to me. In the case of this new system, I found it in a heap in the back of the thrift store, and it had no price on it. The store owner said he’d let it go for $5 so we took it home. It was filthy with no hookups, but we took it all apart, cleaned up and sourced a new power cord online. My husband did up a makeshift AV cable just to see if it worked, and sure enough, it does! Here’s a photo of it playing my Pole Position cartridge. I’m so glad to have one again!

And there’s another post come and gone. It’s been a while between posts lately, but I appreciate anyone that still drops by to have a look at what I’ve been finding out there. I’m sure conventions will be back again soon enough, but in the meantime, the slower-paced collecting is just fine by me.

Thanks so much for reading, as always!


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Crossing Things Off the List…

I’ve always been the type of collector that has endless patience when it comes to buying games. I’m never really in a rush since I have a lot to play already, so if the price isn’t right or the game isn’t in the condition I want it in, waiting for another opportunity has generally paid off.

I was lucky enough to catch wind of a friend downsizing his absolutely gorgeous video game collection. He had some really interesting and hard to come by games that I’ve been looking for, and I finally pulled the trigger since I knew they were coming from a good home. This post will feature those games as well as a few stragglers from other online purchases I’ve made over the past few weeks.

To start out, this Trophy Figure from the Legend of Zelda was a gift from my friend that he included with my purchase. It’s the Link Fights the Head of Gleeok edition, one of six possible ones to collect from the time. If you know me even a little, you’ll know how meaningful the first Legend of Zelda game for NES is to me. It’s amazing to have this to add to the shelf.

I also picked up three NES games from him, and the first is Felix the Cat. This is a fun platformer with a medium amount of challenge that I have never, ever seen available for a good price at conventions back when they were happening. Sellers always told me that someone would pay the price they wanted if I wouldn’t, but I’m finally a proud owner of this delightful game! It’s in excellent condition as well (all of these are!) Next is Day Dreamin’ Davey, a game I only know from its corresponding Angry Video Game Nerd review, but something I’ve always been interested to try out. I grew up loving Nightmare on Elm street and the idea of media that takes you into dreams has always felt intriguing to me. This one might turn out to be great after all, and I’m ready to find out for myself. Lastly, I got Gremlins 2: The New Batch. I’ve seen a few people play through this over the years and have always thought it looked great, so here we are. Three more NES games to add to the shelves. I was out of room for NES a long time ago…

There aren’t a ton of games I’m still looking for when it comes to Virtual Boy, but Jack Bros. was one I was thrilled to procure. The English version of this one is astronomically priced, and while the Japanese release isn’t too far behind, my friend’s price for this was definitely reasonable compared to what I’ve seen over the years. The box has a few scuffs along the edges as you might expect from long-lived cardboard media, but the game and the other materials are pristine. I am so excited to finally be able to play this after searching for so long!

For the Sega CD, I picked up a game called Dark Wizard. It’s apparently a tactical strategy RPG, and even though I still haven’t played a single game in that genre to date, I’m happy to have it to look forward to. I’ve checked around a bit and it’s supposed to be a pretty good game, albeit not very well known or talked about very often. It has an incredibly thick manual and I’m curious to see how it’ll compare to other well-loved games like it.

Linkle Liver Story is a Sega Saturn action RPG with a translation patch available for it online. While I might not play this actual disc when the time comes, it’s nice to have this and the reading materials… and no, they’re not in English. It’s a rare opportunity to play a 2D game on a console that was filled with 3D ones, and I can never say no to that.

Pier Solar and the Great Architects is something that’s always been on my radar, but I had initially heard about it for the Genesis. It was released for that console sometime in the 2000s and finally saw a Dreamcast release a couple of years ago. The graphics are stunning and from what I’ve read, it’s been very well-received around the internet as far as I can tell. It’s a traditional turn-based RPG and I think this version offers the ability to play in higher quality graphics or the traditional 16-bit ones from the original release for the Genesis. I hope it meets my expectations when the time comes. It’s also nice to have another RPG for the Dreamcast to look forward to since there were so few initially released for the console.

The allure of the Sega Master System called me like a siren among the rocks… I ended up picking up Alf! The only time I’ve seen this game played was by someone who adores Master System games, and he spent his entire stream swinging at bats in a cave with a salami. I can’t wait to have that experience myself some day, and yes, I mean that. Rocky is also a fun addition to the collection. Deep down I secretly wish every boxing game ever made was like Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!, but there are always new gaming skills to hone and develop. I also think it’s funny seeing Sylvester Stallone on the front of this game when lots of other Master System Box art was far less… realistic?

The last thing I picked up from my friend was a copy of Zaxxon 3-D, a game that requires the use of the 3D glasses peripheral for the system. Well guess what? He also sent me a pair of 3D glasses! I am so excited to jump into the small 3D games library for the console. The glasses have one missing arm at the moment so I am looking for a replacement, but they still function beautifully from some brief testing I did the other day. Zaxxon 3-D is pretty fun. There’s a lot more depth than I was expecting from 8-bit 3D so connecting bullets with enemies is tricky, but they always seem to find me without too much trouble. I call shenanigans.

The rest of the items here were bought online from various places, and the first one is Space Gun for the Sega Master System. This has one of the most compelling backstories I’ve ever read for a first person shooter game, and as can be said for many PAL Master System releases, the box art is spot on. I always need more reasons to take the light phaser out for a spin, and this and the next game coming up will help to scratch that itch. I originally thought I’d been scammed since the manual’s ink is black rather than the usual purple you’d see for Master System games, but it feels legitimate? The paper’s definitely not out of someone’s printer. There’s also a smidgen of cartridge label peeling but nothing major. It’s otherwise in excellent shape.

Assault City is another light phaser-requiring title that came to me in worn condition. The manual’s obviously torn and the case art is fraying/damaged along some of its edges, but it’ll be fun to rain down some bullets on otherworldly invading jerks. I think I might now own all of the light phaser games for the system, but I can’t say that definitively yet… it’d be a cool milestone to hit though!

Randomly, I bought a game called Salmon King: The Big Catch for the Sega Genesis. This was completely an impulse buy since I was purchasing a bunch of Nintendo Game Pack card packs from the same site and decided to get this too. On the topic of the cards, I made a video showcasing opening and reviewing 49 packs of them if anyone is interested, but as for the game, I’ve heard it has some RPG elements! Fishing RPGs are a pretty random twist on that old formula so I’m curious to see what this one’s all about.

Last up is a first-person dungeon crawler called Towers: Lord Baniff’s Deceit for the Game Boy Color. I can’t recall where I first heard about it, but after completing Shining in the Darkness for the Sega Genesis over the past couple of months, I’ve been hungry for more of this kind of action in my life. From what I’ve been able to see of the gameplay online, it has some exceptional introductory sequence graphics and all the elements of a good game in principle. Now it’s just a matter of giving it a try sometime down the line. I’ll add it to my very long list.

I think that’s all I might have here for a little while. I don’t have anything else coming in the mail at the moment, and I’ve spent quite a bit on the contents of the last few updates. I’ll get back to scouring for more interesting things to buy in the coming weeks and hopefully have more for you here soon.

May your collecting endeavours be fruitful in the meantime!

Thanks for reading!


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Packages, Packages and More Packages

With the heat of spring and summer starting to settle in now and no game swaps/meets in sight for the foreseeable future, I’ve been back to hunting for games online. Between a brief moment or two of normalcy between lockdowns and finding a new website to peruse for games, I’ve picked up quite a few new things over the last couple of weeks.

The first bunch here are some Intellivision games. I usually try to find these complete in box or at least with their controller overlays, but I couldn’t resist taking these home loose. Pitfall, Beauty & the Beast and Atlantis are all new to me, and I blanked at the store and couldn’t remember if I had Space Spartans or not. Turns out I did already, but that’s just fine. I was particularly intrigued by Beauty & the Beast just for the ridiculousness of the label art and the fact that it has nothing to do with the beloved movie of my youth. Other than these being extremely dusty and smelling like someone’s basement, they were all in pretty good shape overall.

At the same store, I also picked up two other games: The Official Turbo for Colecovision, and Galaga for the Atari 7800. I don’t even own a Colecovision at the moment, but many months ago I purchased the steering wheel for the system from a local shop. It came with an extremely beat up box and the instructions, but the game was missing. I’m glad to be able to complete the package now. Galaga is something I have in various shapes and forms, but I appreciated that this copy was for the 7800. I only have a couple of games for that console kicking around and although it’s obviously not an exclusive or in very good shape, it’s nice to expand that collection however slightly.

For NES, I picked up Dynowarz: The Destruction of Spondylus (a subtitle I never knew existed until this very moment) and was gifted a copy of Krusty’s Fun House by my best friend from childhood. Dynowarz is something I watched a friend stream a long while ago and it looked interesting to me, with different modes of play… I think I recall seeing some parts as a super tiny vulnerable human character, and then other times you get to be a dinosaur? It’s a faint memory at this point, but the game was dirt cheap and I absolutely love the label art! You don’t see lasers going through dinosaur heads very often. Krusty’s Fun House is a game I played with my best friend all the time when we were younger. She recently sent me a care package and decided to include her cartridge as a surprise for me, which I was really appreciative of. I will treasure it always!

This next photo is something I’ve been wanting to reacquire for many years: a complete in box copy of Faxanadu. If this is your first time to this blog, you might not be aware that Faxanadu is one of my very favourite games. I still have my own childhood cartridge with its manual, but the box is long gone. At one point in my life I had a second copy in its box, pristine and beautiful, that I let a friend borrow so he could have all the materials and the full experience while trying out the adventure, but it never came back to me. I’ve spent many years without this on my shelf in boxed form, and while I usually don’t make a point to chase cardboard down, it’s really wonderful to have this. Granted, it’s not the Canadian version with the bilingual box text/manual, but it’ll do. The box itself is in reasonably good shape, but one of the edges is sun-bleached a little. The manual also has a few small tears along its edges but I thought it was in good enough condition to purchase. I love it and am proud to own it again.

My Game Boy and Game Boy Color collections grow ever-stronger with these two new additions. Microsoft: The Best of Entertainment Pack was a bit of a random thing I decided to buy when I found out it had SkiFree on it. If you were an early-ish Windows user, you may remember the skiing game where you were inevitably consumed by a snow yeti, with your bones used as a toothpick after the meal. I played that game relentlessly in my youth, trying to figure out how to avoid being devoured, but to no avail. It also has Free Cell on it, and I love that one. When I upgraded to Windows 10 and Free Cell was stuffed full of ads and became extremely loud compared to everything else on my system, I didn’t play it anymore. The music in the GBC game is so good. I can’t get enough of that jazzy little tune that plays while I try to figure out what move to try next. Kid Icarus of Myths and Monsters was an impulse buy from that new website I mentioned, and it’s something I’ve wanted for a few years. I played through the NES Kid Icarus game a while back and enjoyed it after I got out of the first few levels, and I’m excited to finally try the sequel.

Limited Run Games just recently released the Game Boy Color version of Shantae. The original game is extremely sought after and runs for many hundreds of dollars at this point, so I had no hope of ever being able to find one for myself. They’re quite rare, and this is one of the few circumstances where I’d consider purchasing a reproduction of a game that already has a physical incarnation on a system. I usually only buy games that don’t have any other options for physical cartridges from these companies, but I am happy to have this one.

Captain Commando is a beat ’em up for the SNES that I’ve had my eye on for a long while. I was actually really disappointed to see the condition that this game arrived in. On the website I purchased from, it was listed as “like new” condition, and it arrived with a huge sticker across the label that I haven’t tried to remove yet as well as a ripped end-label that took most of the title off. It’s disappointing and I’m considering reaching out to see if I can get a partial refund. I had ordered a few other things from them before and they came in the condition as described, so I didn’t think twice before biting the bullet on this one. Either way, even though I am horrible at staying alive in these kinds of titles, it’s a cool game that I’ve heard is excellent and I look forward to taking it for a spin.

Smart Ball is a cartoony, generic platformer for SNES that I was encouraged to pick up by several people. You play as a prince that has been transformed into a blob and you’re trying to get your human body back. It’s adorable and very bright (think Fantasy Zone), and it was relatively inexpensive. I also bought a copy of Captain Tsubasa III for the Super Famicom, a soccer RPG that recently got a fan translation. I don’t know much about it or even the series that it’s based on, but I thought I’d pick it up anyway. A good sports RPG is hard to come by and this one is rumoured to be great.

Boom Blox for the Wii was a pleasant surprise I stumbled upon while watching Twitch one night. It’s a complex multiplayer-optional Jenga-like puzzle game of sorts where you have different goals like knocking all blocks down or not letting blocks fall as you manipulate various blocky structures. It looked like a fun party game to play sometime, either alone (yes, I can have parties by myself) or with my husband. It was a great price too and looked practically unplayed from the disc’s minty condition.

Captain Toad Treasure Tracker for the Wii U became available for purchase recently, and I finally bit the bullet. While I can’t stand Toad in Super Mario Bros. 2 for his inability to jump or any iteration of his voice that exists in this universe, I can always play this one on mute and still enjoy the puzzles. The end.

And back to Sega! For the Master System, I found a few different games and the first is Missile Defense 3-D. I don’t yet have a pair of 3D glasses in my possession, but I have some coming my way in the mail. There’s a bit of “stuff” underneath the plastic on the box which thankfully isn’t on the paper label, and I was super excited to find a Game Catalog inside of the box along with the game and manual. I have a few of the fold-out advertisements for the Master System showing off the game’s library at the time, but I’ve never seen this little catalog booklet. It features some very early games too.

Wanted for the Master System is a pretty action-packed light gun game. Of the gameplay I’ve seen, you ride on horseback and pick off your enemies one by one with gunfire, but there might be more variety in store for me as well. This copy also came with a fold-out “new releases” poster, which showcases other titles for the system. I love this stuff, especially when it comes to me unexpectedly.

Shooting gallery for the Master System is also a light gun game, but this particular copy wasn’t in the greatest shape. You can’t really tell from the photo, but the plastic that usually holds the paper box art in place is broken completely along the spine (there’s a little piece on the floor there… it’s crumbling away for some reason), meaning that any time I pick up the game, I’m contending with two pieces of floppy plastic and a piece of paper trying to escape. The box was also crushed a bit so it tends to snap shut incorrectly, and the manual’s also stained and crumpled. It’s certainly not the most beautiful game, but let’s hope it works when I get around to testing it out.

I love Garfield with every fibre of my being, so I finally got a copy of Garfield: Caught in the Act for the Sega Genesis. I think it’s just a fun mascot platformer, and I can’t quite remember if it’s something I rented when I was a kid. I can’t imagine I wouldn’t have brought it home for the weekend if I saw it at the rental store, but we usually missed out on many of the good titles and had to pick through the leftovers. Psychic World for the Game Gear is another title I’ve been searching for. I adore the Master System version and it was only a matter of time before I took the Game Gear game out for a spin. I hate the label art though… it’s some man’s chin and his soul patch mostly covered up by the title… if I didn’t know what I was in for and was buying on label art alone, this one would have never been discovered.

Light Crusader for the Sega Genesis is another disappointing pickup for me in terms of condition not being accurately disclosed. The box is obviously sun bleached like crazy despite the game being listed in “like new” condition. It was clearly a rental that sat on a shelf for a very, very long time. That said, I’m really into Genesis RPGs and this game looks promising. I hope it’s good!

Last but not least, I bought Sega Marine Fishing for the Sega Dreamcast, and this photo features my arm! It came with the product registration card for the system that I have personally never seen before, so that was a cool surprise to find when I opened it up. I have Sega Bass Fishing already and found it very engaging and funny, and I just had to buy this sequel title. Now, I didn’t really look into this game before buying and I think, based on what I read in the materials, that you can catch dolphins and sting rays while fishing the oceans. That feels mean and wrong to me… hopefully I can pick and choose some missions and avoid catching those sweethearts.

And there’s another post in the bag! I have a few more things coming in the mail just in time for my birthday, so hopefully I’ll be able to update you all soon on what’s trekking north from the US for me. In the meantime, I hope you’re all catching some of this wonderful summer weather and enjoying some sun.

Thank you for reading!


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The Generosity of Friends

Over the past couple of years, I’ve been lucky to get to know quite a few people online that have similar interests in retro video games, and collecting especially. Once in a while, some folks have offered to send me things they had doubles of or have been amenable to selling to me when downsizing their collections. This post is going to highlight some of those pickups that have trickled in over the last while.

First up are a couple of NES games, Puzznic and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I have never played either of these much, though I have emulated some of the latter in the past. I think once I sit down and figure out how to play it with the instructions, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is going to be a fun time as much as anything else I’ve tried out for NES. Another thing included here was a dogbone controller, my very first! I’ve always played NES with the usual pack-in rectangular controller, but I’ve been told this one’s a lot more comfortable. Time will tell of course, but I’m not sold on the angle of the buttons… I might have to dig out an NES extension cable since the cord on this thing is so short!

Next is MagMax, a sidescrolling shooter from what I can tell from some video from the internet. I know next to nothing about this one, but I also enjoy a surprise once in a blue moon. The back of the box has a pretty significant tear that removed almost all of the story information, but the front and the cartridge itself is in decent condition. No manual unfortunately, but that’s okay. I don’t have a lot of boxed NES so this is a nice addition to that pile.

Ninja-Kun: Adventure of Devil Castle for the Famicom is an arcade port with levels focused on murdering a bunch of enemies as you ascend buildings and other structures. I think it looks pretty cute from a pixel art perspective! I am always interested in expanding my Famicom collection, especially given how great some of the cartridge colours are and how bright and fun the label art can be. I have a Famicom converter for my NES so I’ll be trying this one out soon enough.

Last year I played through the original Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! for NES for the first time, and shortly after I picked up a loose cartridge of the sequel on the SNES. My friend sent a copy of the Super Punch Out!! manual along for me, which is really cool! I’m a big fan of these resources in general and this book will come in handy when I’m inevitably trying to pick apart the idiosyncrasies of this one. It looks like all my favourite people to punch are here too… especially Macho Man. Unless that’s Macho Man’s brother or something. I’ll punch him as well.

I am always happy to add more Master System to my collection, and here we have Predator 2 and Mono… Poly? I don’t know why they decided to spell Monopoly like that on the cartridge label when they clearly knew what it was supposed to be since they got it right on the box, but here we are. Now, I don’t know if I’ve seen Predator 2. I’ve definitely experienced the first movie because it had Dutch’s jungle war cry that I knew from an Arnold Schwarzenegger soundboard I had on an old phone, but I digress. The game appears to be a top-down run-and-gun action game where you’re also saving hostages. Time will tell if it’s a fun one or not, but it looks like the gameplay is nice and varied to say the least. Monopoly is pretty much just video Monopoly, which I like better than the board game. Long ago I had Monopoly for DOS, so this will be a new upgrade to try out sometime.

I once made a statement about Taz-Mania on the Sega Genesis being one of the worst games I’d ever played. I rented it a few times as a kid and it never grew on me, but thankfully there have been a few other games starring the same character that are much better and worth spending time with. Taz for the Atari 2600 is a single-screen game where you’re trying to avoid picking up dynamite while trying to eat all the food items you can get your hands on. It’s exactly what you’d expect from a game about a perpetually hungry Tasmanian devil and I think it’ll be great to play on a variety night for stream sometime. The label is in wonderful condition as well.

I don’t believe that the GameCube broadband adapter can still be used for anything up and running today, but at one point it was used to give GameCube consoles online capabilities for games like Phantasy Star Online. It’s still a neat piece of hardware to have nonetheless, and it’ll be interesting to see if there are any communities hosting online stuff for GameCube these days. Who knows what’s out there? It’s not something I’ve spent much time thinking about. At the very least, if I ever find a bunch of friends that also have these and get them together, I think there is also LAN capability as well.

When this Game & Watch came out a while back I wasn’t sure if I was going to pick one up or not. I have no nostalgia for ones from the 80s and 90s but I was happy to see this surprise in the bottom of the package! It’s very cute and a lot smaller than I was thinking it would be too, but I’m still looking for a permanent home for it to be on display in the game room. It’s very cool to finally own one of these.

I was also lucky enough to receive an exclusive preview guide from when the Sega Dreamcast was first launched. I recently dove into Skies of Arcadia for the system and was featured in a Kotaku article after setting up a mic to capture my Dreamcast noises during the livestreams, and it prompted someone to send this along to me to dive deeper into the library and lore of the system. This was an excellent read and as someone who apparently lived under a rock with respect to gaming when the Dreamcast was brand new, it was awesome to look back at such an exciting time for Sega. It also has an article on the Castlevania Resurrection game that was never actually released but had a demo that was dumped online about a month or two ago.

I picked up a few games from a friend, and the first is Castlevania: Dracula X for SNES. Last summer I played through many of the 8- and 16-bit Castlevania games, and Dracula X is one I was hoping to eventually try my hand at if I could find a copy for a reasonable price. This person was downsizing their collection, so I was able to purchase this and the next two games coming up from him. I’m very happy to finally have a copy of this in great condition, and am looking forward to playing it. Castlevania: Rondo of Blood was a blast and I understand this one is supposed to be a port of that game with some changes that people generally dislike for some reason. I’ll be the judge of that!

Another thing that now belongs to me is the Phantasy Star Collection for the Game Boy Advance. This has Phantasy Star 1-3 but is sorely lacking the fourth game! I don’t know that there were a lot of changes made to the installments that are here except to get them sized properly to run on the GBA, but this copy is currently sealed. I might open this sometime and see what it’s all about. I didn’t realize it was still sealed when I initially struck the deal with my friend, but I am not the type to leave things in plastic wrap forever. I’ve never owned a brand new GBA game either, so it’ll be special to be able to open something like this when the time comes.

Finally, I bought a copy of Castlevania Chronicles for the Playstation. This wasn’t something that I knew much about before seeing the list of games for sale, but I have spent a bit of time with it and it’s got some really interesting music! It’s like regular Castlevania tunes but hyped up for a techno bar somewhere. The visuals remind me of what I experienced in Symphony of the Night and Rondo of Blood, so I don’t have to say much more than that they’re beautiful. I’m coming ever-closer to having a complete collection of Castlevania games. I’m still missing a few including the ones for the N64, but it’s great to keep making progress on these very loose collecting goals.

That, as they say, is that! Other than a few other things I’ve brought in from the internet over the past few months that I’m saving for another post, what I’ve shown here is all I’ve been able to get my hands on. I can’t wait for the day when I can actually go out and purchase games locally again, or even get out to some bigger swap events down the line. These purchases have been a lifeline of sorts to collecting in pandemic times, and I’m extremely grateful for the people that chosen to give or sell these things to me. Much obliged!

I hope you’re all enjoying the (hopefully!) nicer weather and are staying safe out there.

As always, thanks for reading.


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The Quiet of Winter

Most of winter has come and gone without too much action on the collecting front. In-person meetups are still not safe given the state of the world at the moment, and store availability has been touch and go over the past many months. As a result, about 85% of what I’ve purchased has come from the Great Internet. While I’m hopeful for some kind of game swap in the near future, I doubt it’s going to happen.

The first game I bought was Jackie Chan’s Action Kung Fu for the Famicom (which I think was just shortened to Jackie Chan in Japan). I first discovered this game on a multicart ages ago and was immediately smitten with the graphics. Your sprite is enormous and also very expressive, and even though some of the gameplay is a bit janky, I’m excited to finally be able to play it since no English is really required. The North American version of this cartridge is quite expensive so the Famicom version was the way to go.

I was tricked into buying Legendary Wings for NES after I finished up The Guardian Legend this past fall. I did a tag-team playthrough with a wonderful friend, TheRenesance, who insisted I should try out Legendary Wings if I enjoyed the shooter parts of TGL. Well, while I could certainly manage some of those sections, Legendary Wings completely destroyed me within about 5 seconds of playing. I haven’t tried again since just because of how difficult it felt, but maybe I’ll come back to it sometime and get in a bit more practice.

Ultima The False Prophet (also known as Ultima VI) had an SNES release that I was told would be good to try. There are so many Ultima console ports out there, some with worse reputations than others, but after falling in love with Ultima IV on the Master System, I hope to have a similar experience here some day. The game was in really great condition too, which is always a plus when things arrive as described.

I’m always looking out for new and exciting Game Boy games, and Zen Intergalactic Ninja looked promising. The NES title is totally out of reach in terms of price for me, so the Game Boy game was a nice fallback plan. I found out about this Who Framed Roger Rabbit game from a YouTube video by NES Friend and bought it right away after seeing what it’s all about. I still have yet to play the NES game, but I adored the movie growing up. The more ways to experience this world, the merrier!

The Jungle Book for Sega Genesis was an occasional rental for me when I was young, and unfortunately I had forgotten just how terrible I am at it until testing out this cartridge! It has all of the high points of other Disney games of the time like great graphics and music, but it’s far from my favourite of the bunch. I’d love to find a copy of Pocahontas one of these days… for now, this will have to do!

At one of the brief points when some local thrift stores were open, we checked in to see about any potential games and stumbled upon a few titles for the Playstation. For a few dollars each and with their nearly pristine condition calling to us, it wasn’t a hard choice to take these three home. I think the winner of the bunch from what I’ve been able to find out is Disney’s Atlantis: The Lost Empire. I’m admittedly very curious about Super Star Dance Club #1 Hits though…

I finally added another Sega Saturn game to my collection: Panzer Dragoon. Prices for the original came down quite a bit with the release of the recent remake, and that was just the break I’d been waiting for. This is just like a much prettier version of Star Fox… maybe I’ll finally sit down and play more Saturn!

That just about does it here. While it’s much less exciting buying things online than finding them in the flesh in some form, it’s still nice to have added a few things to the shelves. Hopefully things will get back to normal in the coming months. I hope you’re all keeping safe.

Thanks for reading!


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Few and Far Between…

As the days turn to weeks and beyond and time seems to be whipping on by, I’ve been able to find some more games by way of internet alone and have had some reasonably good success finding some interesting new things to add to the collection.

The first few things were for the Famicom. Saiyuki World 2 and Konami Wai Wai World 2 both looked like two excellent platformers that don’t require any English to play. I’m always happy to bolster my Famicom collection! Door Door is the game in the bottom right of the photo below, and I first ran into it on a plug and play system I received from a friend a few years ago. The game was so adorable, and you essentially have to let enemies run into open doors and then close the doors behind them. The only other games I really want for Famicom at this point are probably Bird Week or Sqoon, so I’ll have to keep an eye out for them as well.

Battle of Kingdom is a Game Boy game I ended up reading about on an online forum, and it was listed as an RPG that didn’t require any English to play. So far, apart from the menu right at the beginning of the game as well as the opening cinematic, this is entirely true. It’s a bit of a different game where you need to walk down a path and kill certain enemies along the way a la action RPG, and the more points you have, the more special moves you can do or the more/better party members you can recruit to join you. I haven’t quite gotten it all figured out yet, but I am pretty happy with what I’ve played so far.

I was thrilled to find out about Dragonborne, a Game Boy RPG that was just released about a month ago from a UK/German group called Spacebot Interactive. I’ve heard excellent things about it and after playing it for a little while, I’m really looking forward to seeing what the rest of the game is like. It has all the great aesthetic pieces of games like Rolan’s Curse or Final Fantasy Legend. So cute! I think they have another pre-order open right now that’s closing at the end of November, so if this sort of thing intrigues you, get on it!

In an effort to round out more of my Virtual Boy collection, I picked up the Japanese version of Red Alarm. I understand it shouldn’t be too much of an issue playing this version over the North American release, and the only reason I went for this one instead is because of the price point. Game prices seem to have already skyrocketed because of the pandemic in general, but this game was on for a deal that I couldn’t pass up.

Space Squash was a Japanese exclusive for the Virtual Boy that I only found out about recently. This library has to have the quirkiest titles and far too many sports games given how few games were released in total, but it’s something that looked fun by my standards. The mod that we have for our Virtual Boy that allows us to play it on a CRT only uses one eyepiece to create the image, so I hope that not having the “true 3D” of the visor won’t take away from this gameplay experience. Time will tell!

After finishing up Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! for NES a couple of months ago, there was a great deal of encouragement that came straight from my stream audience to pick up Super Punch Out for the SNES. Here it is! It’s not super pristine by any means in terms of condition as there’s some strange wear on the label, but it’ll do. It turns on and is legitimate, so there will be more punching action in my future! Mr. Dream and Macho Man have a date with Vengeance… my secret name is actually Vengeance, in case you lost that train of thought.

Valis III for the Sega Genesis is a game I’ve been wanting for a very long time. To date, the only game from this series I’ve played is Syd of Valis, a super-deformed version of the much more serious Valis II that was released on the Turbografx-CD, and I enjoyed that one. Valis III always felt unobtainable because of the price point, but I managed to find a copy of it that’s a little beat up that was available below the going rate. Now it is mine, and I can’t wait to play this sometime.

And what would one of these posts be without some Sega Master System stuff? To start out here, I picked up Master Games 1, which is a compilation cartridge with three games. Super Monaco GP feels, looks and sounds relatively awful at a first glance, and Columns is just the same old Genesis game with a slightly more ear-piercing version of that wonderful tune. In my opinion, the gem here is World Soccer. It’s such a competent little game and while I normally run screaming in the opposite direction from sports titles, I think I’ll have fun playing this. In addition, I also found a copy of Dick Tracy. I think it’s the same as the Genesis version of the game, which is very different from the NES game. It’s the EU version as well, so much cheaper than the North American variant. I need to see the movie some day.

I’m not quite sure what I was thinking when I bit the bullet on Shadow of the Beast for the Master System, but here we are. There are much better ports of this one, but given that I don’t own a copy of it for any other system, this was too good to pass up since it was in such beautiful condition. The music is probably the biggest draw for me to this particular title, and the Master System’s sound chip does a pretty decent job. I’ll be curious to see how far I can get here, or how it might be different from the other ports.

Streets of Rage for the Master System, you might be thinking? Why yes! This and Streets of Rage 2 were both ported to the console, and I was pleasantly surprised at how well it plays. The music’s even quite good. It’s not Genesis good, but it’s still really great. The only bummer is that you have to call for police back-up with the pause button on the console… that’s less than ideal, but from what I gathered watching my other half play through a bunch of it, the game’s easier than the Genesis game and maybe you don’t even need the police as often. That’s what I’m hoping, anyway. I dislike dismantling my game room every time I want to play a Master System game!

Well that just about does it for this time around. I’ve been buying up some more things lately and am waiting for them to arrive, so hopefully I’ll have another update in the near future for you all. In the meantime, stay safe out there!

Thanks for reading!


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Quarantine Collecting

As you might imagine, in the midst of COVID-19’s grasp, there is very little going on out there in the world for in-person video game conventions and swaps.  All the wonderful summer plans for travelling around the province in search of some elusive titles are cancelled, and that’s perfectly fine by me as long as people are safe and sound at home, where they should be.  These cancellations have left me with very few options for game collecting, but I’ve managed to find some good deals online and keep things rolling, albeit at a snail’s pace, compared to usual.

The first few games I picked up were for the Game Boy and Game Boy Colour.  The first is a Japanese copy of Rockman World 4, which for all intents and purposes is exactly the same as the English version of Mega Man IV, but significantly less expensive. The Mega Man games on Game Boy are typically mashups of the NES titles, with the exception of Mega Man V which is its own standalone game.  And if you know me even a little bit by now, you know I love Peanuts and the characters a ton… Snoopy Tennis for GBC was something I couldn’t resist.  It’s actually a very competent Tennis game, and while I haven’t played a lot of them, I could definitely win a few matches here.  That says something!


Continuing in the handhelds department, I finally (finally!!!) found a copy of Castlevania II: Belmont’s Revenge for the Game Boy.  I’ve been wanting to find it for so long and I got one for a really good price online with a bunch of other games.  I was surprised since it wasn’t a North American site I was buying from but it was the US cartridge, so I scooped it up.  I got most of the way through the game up to the second-to-last boss and got wrecked… I’ll have to try it again soon and get that sweet win.  Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles III: Radical Rescue was a game recommended to me by a friend that apparently plays like a Metroidvania game, and loving Game Boy and those kinds of adventures, I couldn’t stay away.  I haven’t played it too much yet, but it does seem like a great game that I’m interested in trying some more.


Bravely Second for the Nintendo 3DS was also suggested to me as a must-have by a friend.  I picked up the first game recently and the second one here came to me sealed from The Great Internets.  I don’t know when I’ll get around to playing it any time soon, but seeing that the series is touted as one of the best RPG series of all time, I might have to move them up the list.


I put out a video recently talking about how Life Force for NES is essentially a great model for the immune system, and in the comments section, lots of people were asking if I’d ever played Abadox since it’s apparently really similar.  I’m terrible at shooters and I’m sure that hell will freeze over before I get any better at them, but I decided to pick this up anyway.  It’s a little ugly and I have to give it a good cleaning.  That yellowing on the right side is some dried glue of sorts, and the label’s pretty grimy as well.  Otherwise though, it’s in great shape.


After playing Lizard for NES recently and loving it, I had a few other new NES homebrew games recommended to me to try.  I picked up Micro Mages and Twin Dragons, both of which are still wrapped up nicely since I haven’t had a chance to try them out yet.  They’re both able to be played on original hardware, so I’m looking forward to seeing what these are both all about.


Mickey Mania for SNES was a gift from a dear friend that I wasn’t particularly seeking out, but considering my deep love for Mickey Mouse games, I honestly can’t wait to give this one a spin.  I grew up with World of Illusion on Sega Genesis and have really enjoyed other games like Land of Illusion, as well as another Mickey Mouse SNES game with the tremendously long title that I can never remember.  It’s a great addition to the collection and was well-loved by the previous owner.  I’m honoured to have it!


I couldn’t get away with a collecting post without showing off some more Master System.  Robocop Versus the Terminator is pretty decent despite a bit of a choppier pace than its Sega Genesis counterpart, and Star Wars is probably the smoothest of the bunch.  Double Dragon is… well… interesting.  The NES port looks a lot more playable and the soundtrack is undeniably better there too.  The SMS version plays a little closer to the Atari 2600 one… I don’t have regrets buying it, but it’s an experience.  I’ll just leave it at that.


Ghostbusters for the Master System came to me in relatively good shape.  It’s a slightly better version of the same game that was released for the NES, mainly because of its superior stair-climbing section near the end that isn’t an abomination like its Nintendo brother.  It still plays the Ghostbusters theme nonstop though, and it doesn’t sound quite as good as the NES version… uh oh.


The Newzealand Story, also known as Kiwi Kraze for other releases, is another PAL-exclusive Master System game that I actually didn’t realize won’t run properly on an NTSC system.  I thankfully had a third party power base converter to try on my Sega Genesis on hand, and it works just fine that way.  Something in the NTSC Master System causes a few PAL games to be region-locked, and this is one of them.  Either way, this game is in gorgeous condition, especially the manual that’s still white rather than yellowish like some of the other ones I’ve come across lately.  I’ll probably play this one with the volume low because the frantic music here is quite distracting, but the cuteness shall always prevail.


I mentioned earlier how awful I am at shooters, and yet there were several of those purchased for the Master System that I’ve had my eye on for a while now.  The first is Scramble Spirits, which I was secretly hoping would be more in the vein of something like Avenging Spirit, but instead is just a neat little middle-of-the-road shooter game with a cool soundtrack.  The sound effects are a bit grating, but all in all, it looks rather promising.  I got destroyed in the first few stages, but hopefully I’ll be able to get somewhere with a bit of practice.  Despite being in relatively good shape, a manual was nowhere to be found.


Ah yes, more shooters!  Sagaia is a port of Darius II for the Master System, and it’s a tough, tough game.  I don’t think I got very far into stage two before I had to quietly turn it off and vow to come back to it another time with my obliterated pride reassembled, but it’s a very sought-after title that I’m glad I now own for the system.  I’m okay not owning the manual for this one, but it would’ve been nice to find it complete.


Sonic the Hedgehog Chaos is a PAL-exclusive game that is relatively difficult to come by for a good price, but I’ve often heard it touted as one of the best Sonic games on the Master System.  Grabbing this one with its manual was a real bright point for me in these new additions since I love Sonic, but have yet to experience many of the games on the SMS.  I’m really looking forward to trying this one out further than the first level.


Ah yes. The game with one of the most horrible soundtracks in the entire history of time, and some of the most confusing title screen music has finally weaseled its way into my collection.  Bram Stoker’s Dracula was released for other consoles as well, but the Master System version spoke to me when I was recently playing through many, many other Dracula-centric games like some from the Castlevania series.  It seems like a competent enough platformer with some interesting graphics, but it’s pretty unforgiving from what I’ve played of it so far.  The manual’s a little beat up, but it’s because it’s so thick and doesn’t fit well inside the case’s clips.  Those PAL manuals man… they’re beefy with the 8 or so languages they’re published in!


More shooters, you say?  Why yes.  R-Type’s release on the Master System came to me with a cool Sega for the 90s sticker stuck onto the label, and the game art glued to the box like some horrible monstrosity.  The outside plastic is missing altogether and there’s no way that art is coming back off again, so it’s an ugly little mess on the shelf (don’t even look at the right edge and corners to see how crooked it is…) but at least I can get myself exploded a little more.  As if I haven’t suffered enough already!


Last but not least is one of the disappointments of the lot, a Sega Card version of Bank Panic.  I didn’t own this game in cartridge form at all, and seeing the card option was something I thought would be a neat addition to the collection.  Unfortunately, no matter how hard I cleaned it up, it still won’t play.  I know the card slot is working because I have several other games that work first try, and I even tried it on a few different consoles.  I think it’s completely dead, and that makes me sad.  I don’t have the heart to give up yet, so I’ll hang onto it for now and continue to try to think of ways to bring it back to life.


And well, that’s just about that.  This is obviously several months of collecting, so I’m thinking these posts will continue to be fewer and further between with the state of things out there in the world.  Hopefully you’ve all been keeping well, staying safe, and playing some great games.

Thank you for reading, as always!


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