The Kindness of Others and Other Things

I very recently opened up a PO Box, and a few people kindly asked to send a few packages my way.  I was thrilled to be the recipient of some new games and I wanted to showcase them here.  I’ve also been scouring some local stores and online sites for more stuff too, so buckle in for a wild ride!

First up is Lizard for NES. It’s a homebrew game from 2018, and the creator, who found me on Twitch and has been a regular viewer since, gifted a copy to me.  I recently played through it on stream, and it was a really fun little adventure that really got the wheels in my head spinning while trying to figure out some puzzles and mastering the landscapes.  I haven’t played a lot of homebrew games, but I can definitely vouch for the quality of this one.  Another thing I appreciated was that the cartridges are all brand new versus being made from destroying existing cartridges.  There’s more information on the game’s website if you are even remotely interested, and the game is also available digitally if you prefer that avenue.

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The same person was also kind enough to send me a reproduction copy of Sweet Home for NES.  This is a fairly well-known horror RPG from the 8-bit generation that was a Japan exclusive, but the fan translation has been repackaged into a cart and sold with a box for people that want that experience.  I was happy to take this off his hands since I don’t tend to emulate very often, nor do I own any kind of Everdrive-like device for the NES to play translation patched roms.  I hope to play this in the coming months!

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At the thrift store, I came across a copy of Pirates! for NES.  This is one I’ve been wanting to play for a long time, and it’s an open-world game where you go to different places and either pillage or team up with different people.  I would’ve loved to have found a manual too, but I’m hoping there’ll be a scan online to see what the details are all about.  I also love pirates and pirate media, so it’s right up my alley.

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A glorious purchase from eBay was made!  I finally own a Famicom copy of Faxanadu, my favourite game!  This version has the religious censorship removed and you’re able to name the hero, and although I think most of the main game is the same, these small changes might make my next playthrough a little bit more interesting.  I also love the cartridge colours and design.  It’s so different from the North American version’s art!

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I also picked up PAL Game Boy games, The Smurfs and Kirby’s Block Ball.  The Smurfs looks like a pretty competent platformer, and I was also really impressed by Kirby’s Block Ball.  It’s essentially a more advanced version of Arkanoid/Break Out with extra elements like a charge mode to break through different kinds of blocks.  I can’t wait to spend more time with both of these.

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A wonderful stream viewer sent me Wario Land II and Wario Land 3 for Game Boy and Game Boy Color!  I was really touched, and given that I just finished Virtual Boy Wario Land lately, I’m curious to see how the series evolved and changed with the latter installments.  Apparently these two games are quite different from the ones that came before them and really shuffled the formula up in a lot of ways.  I’m honoured to have these as part of my collection.

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Staying in the handheld realm, I picked up what I thought was a legitimate copy of Doom II for the Game Boy Advance, only to get it home and realize that it was a bootleg.  I think this game is very uncommon and it would’ve been pretty unlikely to find it at a thrift store, but luckily I got a refund for it and had an opportunity to educate the store on what to look for in fake games.  I asked to hang onto it since I can’t imagine ever finding a legitimate copy, but more importantly, I didn’t want them trying to sell the game to anyone else.  I also really liked the little protective case that came with it!

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In what is supposed to be part 1 of 2 of a shipment, a good online friend sent me a few things, the first of which is the manual for Out of This World for Super Nintendo.  The game is supposed to come whenever she can send out another shipment, but you all know how much I love my manuals! I’m really grateful to have this!

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After discovering the fantastic experience of Katamari Damacy, I was hoping I’d run into other games with a similar theme of casual collecting of environmental objects for a larger purpose.  Tornado Outbreak for the Wii captured my interest because not only is it exactly that, but there’s a totally different feel to this game that involves destruction.  You pull things up and away, but you also tear buildings apart piece by piece to flatten them.  It’s not as charming as Katamari by a long stretch, but I look forward to giving it a go!

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These were more gifts from the same person who sent me the Out of This World manual.  Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World, Bleach: Shattered Blade and Link’s Crossbow Training are all great additions to the collection, and everything came to me in great shape.  The top two games also had their manuals included, which is always a plus!  I didn’t even realize Tales of Symphonia had a sequel and know virtually nothing about Bleach, but that’s the beauty of this kind of gift!  They’re always full of surprises.

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I can’t have a new games post without including a little Master System, and this time I found myself a copy of Dynamite Duke.  This cover art has cracked me up more than it probably should, but it was a steal for a complete-in-box game.  It’s in pretty good shape overall!

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I don’t usually pick up too many Game Gear games, but these two I couldn’t pass up on.  The first is an action RPG for the system called Ax Battler that is either loved or hated depending on who you speak to, and the second is Revenge of Drancon.  Never heard of that one? Me either until I found out that it’s actually Wonder Boy!  It has a different name in some places and for some systems apparently(?) and I had no idea that they were the same game until I got it home and popped it in.  Here I thought I’d found some cool new RPG for sale, but nope!

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A dear friend sent me her Saturn stuff since she lost her console in a flood, and the first game she put in the mail for me was Shining Wisdom.  I do have a copy of this one already but the disc doesn’t run the greatest.  I’m hoping this copy might fare a bit better, and it’s always great to have a backup in case the worst happens when I finally get around to playing this one.

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Another Saturn game she sent my way was Virtua Fighter 2.  I wonder if this was a pack-in with a console since it’s a Not for Resale version or if there’s some other story here.  I’ve played a bit of the first game and it seemed like a pretty decent fighting game, so I’ll be curious to give this one a whirl as well.  They’re both in lovely shape too!

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Guardian Heroes for Sega Saturn also came from my friend and looks to be a really cool game! I hadn’t heard of it before it was on its way to me, but it’s apparently a beat-em-up with RPG elements, maybe in the same kind of vein as River City Ransom?  I’m not entirely sure, but what I’ve seen of the gameplay looks pretty different from what I’m used to playing. I’m excited for this one!  Unfortunately it didn’t come along with its manual, but the disc is in relatively good condition!

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One of the most anticipated things I had coming my way was Castlevania: Symphony of the Night for the Playstation 1.  This is a game I’ve only been able to dream of owning since finding out about it and finally delving into the Castlevania series late in 2018.  It is apparently the best of the best! I’m still missing quite a few Castlevania games to be able to call collecting for that series complete, but this definitely checks off a significant item on the list.

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I’m not too familiar with Naruto, but a friend sent me this Playstation 2 game praising its awesomeness and told me that I’d  enjoy it whether or not I’m into the show.  I’ll have to take her word for it!

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Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection for Playstation 3 also came in the mail, and I’m absolutely thrilled to own a copy of this game. I loooove Sonic and have played Sonic the Hedgehog 2 for the Genesis to death throughout my life. I just recently finished Sonic 1 again for the second time, and now more than ever I’m looking to get into latter games in the series.  I had a copy of this for another console (maybe PS2?) and it used to freeze on me constantly.  I never did figure out how to get that up and running, so I’m hoping this version works swimmingly!

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Last but not least is something near and dear to me: A King’s Quest V hint book.  I adore King’s Quest V so much.  It was my first saunter into Sierra games and I played it on the NES first.  I have yet to play the PC version, but anticipation of getting to that some day, a friend of mine was kind enough to send along a second copy of the hint book to me so that I could have it. I know that game pretty well so it’s a hint book I’d love to sit down and actually read through to see if there’s anything I’ve ever missed in the game.  I am so thrilled to have a copy of this, and it’s in perfect condition.  So lovely!

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And that just about does it for the moment.  I can’t say enough how grateful I am to have people in my life that want to share parts of their past with me in the form of pieces of their video game collection.  I’m honoured to be able to have the opportunity to play these games and appreciate them! Thanks to everyone that sent anything out my way.

As always, thanks for reading!

-GG

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The Internet Giveth

The classifieds in my area seem to be drier than a desert these days, and consequently many of my purchases have come from various online sources instead. Let’s go!

First up are some loose Sega Master System games.  Tom & Jerry: The Movie was something I took a bit of a gamble on knowing nothing about it before buying, but it does seem like an interesting game.  It’s a weird puzzle platformer where you have to keep Tom out of the way of terrible obstacles that Jerry can easily avoid.  I’m not sure if you’re trying to catch Jerry or what since I haven’t had a chance to track down and read the manual yet.  Arcade Smash Hits was intriguing, and it has Breakout and a few other arcade games on it!  It has what I’d consider a great soundtrack too… very club/techno vibes, which was surprising.  Breakout was one of my favourite games to play for the VIC 20 growing up, so it was really fun playing through a few levels when I was testing this game out.  Marble Madness is another game I don’t think I own for any other system, so it’s just about time I give it a whirl.  I’m pretty sure I died almost instantly testing it out.  Marble Madness was definitely in the worst shape of the three with a bit of label damage, but nothing too major.

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I also rolled the dice on this copy of the PAL-exclusive Sonic the Hedgehog 2 for the Sega Master System.  It was dirt cheap and in beautiful condition, but from what I understand, not all variants of this game will play on an NTSC system.  I was overwhelmed with relief trying this one out, and it also came with the manual too.  It’s in absolutely wonderful shape.  I’m very happy with it.  I’m pretty sure it’s the same as the Game Gear version.

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Rampart for the Master System was not something I ever thought I’d go out of my way to get.  I own a copy for the NES, and I wasn’t sure what drew me to this other version apart from it being available at a price I couldn’t pass up on, and now it lives in my house with me and all the other Master System games I’ve snatched up lately.  It was pristine in terms of its condition.  It looks like It’s never been played.

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After having luck getting my hands on a copy of Strider a post or two ago, Strider II magically came up complete in box not too long afterward.  The cover is way cooler than the first game’s and Strider II seems like an interesting adventure.  I played for about 20 minutes and found myself mostly jump-floating between battles in my leotard.  I’m sure it’ll make for a great time when I can give it some more attention.

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World Class Leader Board is one of my very favourite golf games.  I used to play the heck out of the DOS game when I was little, and seeing that they kept the draw-in of trees and other things on the courses for the Master System version made me grin from ear to ear.  What a delight it will be to play through this again after all these years, even if it’s in a different format.  I’m anxious to see if there are any voice clips too. I want to hear all about tree hitting and people saying “awwwww” when I miss a putt from less than 12 inches away.

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A friend was extremely generous and sent me two Master System manuals that I was missing!  I have Action Fighter with the box and game and just a loose copy of Space Harrier, so it was very nice to be able to make my collection slightly more complete through his generosity.  He mentioned he’s had these for over two decades, and I’m honoured he thought of me to give them both a good home.

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I was also able to make a fantastic Sega Genesis purchase through a friend I’ve met through streaming.  We made a really nice deal on Dynamite Headdy, Castlevania Bloodlines, Truxton, and Wings of Wor.  I never thought I’d own Truxton or Castlevania, and now here we are!  I was really excited to try them all out a little while back, and Wings of Wor, a horizontal shooter, was certainly a captivating surprise I wasn’t expecting.  I hope to sit down with it again soon!

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While sitting in on a stream of Wonder Boy in Monster World a few weeks ago, someone in chat casually mentioned Chiki Chiki Boy, a game that is aesthetically similar.  I had a look online to see if there were any copies available and ended up getting one for myself.  It looks really unique and quirky, but most of all, it’s a gorgeous game.  I can’t get over how bright and colourful the graphics are.  The cartridge itself isn’t in the best of shape, but at least it was well-loved.  I’m happy to give it a place on my shelf.

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When I was ordering a few games off of a website I’ve been frequenting, I saw a copy of Incoming for the Dreamcast for a few dollars.  I know absolutely nothing about this game but I’ve barely bought any Dreamcast stuff over the past few years except a handful of games and couldn’t pass up on a deal like this.

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I’ve also been rounding out more of my Game Boy collections.  Buffy the Vampire Slayer for Game Boy Color looked so funny when I watched some game footage.  Essentially you flip all over the place and beat up vampires with kicks and punches to wear them down, and then stake them to turn them into dust.  It’s also full of these cutscenes from the show, which make for some good comedy.  I’m not super familiar with the television series, but I know who the characters are at least.  Maya the Bee was also a welcome purchase.  It’s a platformer that was only a few dollars, so why not?  Monster House (which I’ve written out as Ghost House at least three times so far) is touted as being a great little hidden gem of sorts for the Game Boy Advance.  I’ve heard it mentioned by several people around the internet, and it was also dirt cheap. Tiny Toon Adventures: Montana’s Movie Madness was a sporadic buy for me.  I just picked up Looney Tunes for Game Boy not long ago and I hope this one’ll be at least as good as that.  And finally, Batman!  I’ve been waiting for ages to find it and snagged a great deal on eBay.  Batman is adorably small and this game is way less realistic than most of the other games for various consoles.  It’s very charming!

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I dove in and finally got myself a copy of black box NES Golf.  This seems like a pretty golf-centric post, but I swear I’m not a video golf convert yet… I’d rather stick to real life mini-putt, even though I’m bad at that as well!  Also, Cocoron finally arrived in the mail!  It’s a Mega Man-like game for Famicom that I’ve been wanting to buy for a long time.  It has always been really expensive, but I scooped it up for a pretty decent price.  I’m going to have to check into what the first few menus in the game mean, but apart from those, I don’t think there’s much that requires knowing English.

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Since I finally bought a new laptop through eBay recently, I had a little stash of eBay bucks hanging around to spend out.  I was strong-armed into picking up not one but two fairly expensive NES games, Kick Master and Gargoyle’s Quest II.  These were games I never dreamed of owning because of their price point, but when they came practically free to me, it was a really nice feeling.  Now I just have to buy more laptops so I can get more free games I guess.

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One more NES game here is Slalom, complete with the Ned Flanders “nothing at all” butt you get to stare at all the way through this game.  Its majesty is not even remotely captured in the label art here.  I actually watched a video about some NES winter sports games from a great channel called NES Friend, and this person is also responsible for making me aware of Kickle Cubicle which I also bought recently.  Slalom was definitely the best looking game of the bunch from that video.  Its condition is a bit rough with a really stuck-on-there sticker and writing in permanent marker on the front and back, but the label is very nice overall.

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I’m also finally the proud owner of Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams for the Wii U.  I had an Amazon order ready to go but needed to buy something more to get an add-on item, and this was the winner!  I’ve been wanting this game for a long time after hearing The Deviot talk all about it pretty endlessly over the past few years… it’s about time!  He did some wonderful streams of the game, so if you’re not following him on Twitch, you can do that here.

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Last but not least, I picked up a Street Fighter II manual for the PC version.  I had no idea this game existed on PC, but the manual was among a bunch of books at the thrift store and was priced at fifty cents.  Unfortunately they put the sticker right on the cover art and part of Blanka’s arm got torn away when I was trying to remove it, but the book is still in pretty great shape overall.  I’m glad I found it!  I haven’t found much locally in a long time so it was mildly thrilling.

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I’m really glad with how the Master System collection has been progressing, and I’m also quite happy with how I’ve been able to round out some more NES stuff too.  Hopefully I’ll be able to start getting a list together for the spring swap meets.  They’re already right around the corner!  I’m shocked at how fast time is flying, but in the meantime, stay warm out there.

Thanks very much for reading!

-GG

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Post-Christmas Mail

I am wishing you all the very happiest of new years.  I hope 2020 so far has been eventful in the best way possible and that you all had a lovely holiday season.  Of course, I ordered a bunch of things online before Christmas rolled in, but as you might expect, things were very late arriving.  I’ve just started receiving packages again within the last week or so, and I have a smattering of things to share with you.  For some reason, the local pickups have been very, very few and far between over the past month or two so I’ve more or less been buying exclusively online.

First up is a Game Boy game simply called Looney Tunes.  I saw someone streaming this and immediately wanted it for myself.  I was really impressed.  The game looks absolutely gorgeous and each level sees you playing as a different member of the Looney Tunes crew.  I actually ended up popping this one in over several days to play again and again and can’t wait to sit down with it and try to finish it.  I got stuck on the Road Runner level so far.

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Speaking of the Road Runner, I found a copy of that game for the Atari 2600.  This is one of the first 2600 purchases I’ve made in a long while, and it was inspired by revisiting the NES game again for a high score challenge across December of 2019 (I lost, by the way.)  This is a really plain version of the arcade game and is exactly how you might expect an Atari port to look.

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I kept hearing really great things about Bravely Default for the Nintendo 3DS, and although I don’t do a lot of portable gaming, I thought I’d try to snatch it up sooner than later.  I think there might be another game in this series in the works for the near future (maybe for the Switch?) that I’ll have to keep my ear to the ground for.  This copy came with the English and French manuals a la Canada, and a Club Nintendo card.  I wish Club Nintendo was still a thing.

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When I was looking for some Master System games on a site I’ve been frequenting lately, I happened to notice that they had a US version of Nightshade available.  Just when I think I’m done collecting for NES, these deals on games I’ve heard so little about keep coming up and I can’t help myself.  Nightshade does look interesting, like a point and click game mixed with some action, so I hope I like it.  The Quest of Ki is a unique puzzle platformer that uses special kind of jumping mechanic to get your character around the levels.  Everything looks very floaty and fun!  It looks like a great time waster with some interesting twists on tradition for the genre.  I also need more English-friendly Famicom in my life.

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And now into some Sega!  As usual, I found lots of games loose or with no manuals, so I’ll start with those.  First up is Strider for the Sega Master System, which looks quite interesting by the state of the cover art.  In terms of box art for the system overall, this is  the most realistic portrayal of a human being that I’ve seen.  Even still, there’s something really funny about it that I can’t quite put my finger on.  I was also disappointed by James Bond 007: The Duel.  It looked like such a cool game by what I found online prior to buying, but unfortunately it doesn’t work well in NTSC systems!  This is the second time I’ve made this kind of error lately, but there are so many lists out there that contradict one another that it’s never really clear whether it’ll work or not until you have it in your own hands.  What happens is that a lot of visual artifacts that show up in a matter of seconds once you get old Mr. Bond moving around… they crowd the screen and make it impossible to play.  I’m still feeling sad about it.

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Up next were two other games that came sans manual.  The first is Chuck Rock, a visual abomination of a game.  It’s a platformer with no music from what I can tell, but other iterations of the game are supposed to be decent.  I’m not too sure about this port, but I’ll give it a try nonetheless.  Aztec Adventure is supposed to be a maze/puzzle game with lots of different levels to try out, and I think you can hire other characters to fight alongside you.  It’s one of the first Master System games and is pretty plain visually, but there’s a good game in there somewhere.  I just know it.  Both of these games were in reasonably good condition on the front, but Chuck Rock has a big water stain on the back.  It was dirt cheap, so I didn’t mind. I’d like to find some replacement art for some of my more battered games one of these days.

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Cyborg Hunter is a port of a pretty neat-looking game that was also available on the Commodore 64.  It reminded me of something like Zillion that involves some exploration and some puzzle solving as well as action-platforming so hopefully it’s something like that.  Any game involving winged robots that are mildly irritated by laser fire are winners in my books!

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Kung Fu Kid is one of the three martial arts titles I’ve been trying to track down after accidentally purchasing The Ninja, and then Black Belt.  Kung Fu Kid is a side-scrolling kick ’em up and looks really charming, falling somewhere between the aforementioned games and something like Alex Kidd in Shinobi World.  The box art and manual are pretty beat up as you can see here, but the game seems to work just fine.  Of the Master System games I found this time, this is the one I think I’m most excited for just based on the aesthetic alone.

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Last but not least, I finally found a copy of Golden Axe.  Now, I know what you’re thinking.  Why on earth would I want a port of a game on an inferior system when there are more excellent Sega versions available?  Well, maybe I like a far slower framerate and downgraded graphics, hmmm?  Honestly, the price was right and I couldn’t pass up that tiny-faced man for my shelf.

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And that just about does it for this time around.  Lots more Master System and a little bit of everything else to fill in some gaps was the name of the game here, and that has been a great trend over the past few months.  I have more things coming in the mail and I have my eyes on the local classifieds like a hawk, so here’s hoping for some new discoveries soon!

Thank you very much for reading!

-GG

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2019 At a Glance

Somehow, 2019 has come and gone in a flash.  It’s astonishing to me that across these 365 days, I’ve managed to make my way through almost double the number of games I did last year, coming out to 46 games in total, with one filthy cheater win via password manipulation.  As I mentioned last year, the gaming hobby has shifted a lot more toward playing through games I’ve found rather than acquiring new ones, but that’s not to say I haven’t been picking up new games every chance I get!

Since I’ve had you all caught up on what’s made its way onto the shelves in 2019, I wanted to take a little time to talk about what I played, some brief thoughts each game, and a link or two to things I’ve been doing in other parts of the internet to assemble a lovely summary of a wonderful year in gaming.

Suikoden (PS1)

I started the year on the second half of Suikoden 1, a turn-based RPG that I felt was mediocre at best by the time I got to the end of it.  I didn’t fall in love with this game even a little, and despite it starting out strong, my expectations were far beyond where this particular game ended up meeting me.  I finished the game slightly outside of what would be considered 100%, and I can’t see myself revisiting it any time soon.  It was a slow start to the year.

King’s Quest V (NES)

Playing through this again was probably one of my fondest gaming memories from 2019.  The NES version of King’s Quest V is a game I purchased used when I was a kid but hadn’t had a chance to revisit it in any form since that time in my life.  Like many games on this list, I streamed this and was thrilled to be able to share this experience with so many other people who were only familiar with more modern portrayals of this adventure.  I loved it so much in fact that I played through it a second time to prepare a let’s play for YouTube.

Toki (NES)

This game was a one-night wonder on stream, and I do recall having a fun time playing it.  It took a lot of getting used to with its stiff controls, and I’m still surprised I ended up finishing it given how tough some of the boss fights were.  I can’t remember much, so I’d call it far from memorable.

Popful Mail (Sega CD)

This was hands down one of the most expensive games I’ve purchased while collecting games, and I was thrilled to be able to play the real deal on original hardware.  It compared so much to things like Faxanadu, Ys III: Wanderers from Ys and other sidescrolling adventure games that it felt natural to fall in love with it despite its staggering difficulty at times.  If you ever have a chance to play this game, please do!

Little Nemo Dream Master (NES)

This was another one of my fondest memories from this past year in gaming.  I have an amazing friend who adores this game that kept gently prodding me to try it out for myself, and after much convincing I finally dove in.  Believe it or not, this is the one game I actually rage quit in the past, and unsurprisingly, it was that train level that did it to me.  I let that game sit on the shelf for almost an entire decade before trying it again this year.  With patience of steel as my armour, over two separate sittings, I was finally triumphant and made it through to the end.

Psychic World (Sega Master System)

Psychic World is probably one of my favourite Master System games and one I came upon totally by chance while looking into new games for the system a few years ago.  It’s a really interesting action platformer that was a PAL exclusive for the SMS, but also came out in other iterations on the Game Gear and the MSX.  If you have a Master System hanging around, I can’t recommend this game enough as a quick, action-packed game!

The Legend of Zelda (NES) – Second Quest

Man oh man.  If you know much at all about me, you know that I love some Zelda 1 like it’s nobody’s business.  Although I never finished this game without the Game Genie until I was in my late 20s, the second quest was something that always eluded my interest because I had such a hard time with the first.  Finishing this relatively blind on stream was one of my proudest accomplishments this year.  I made my own video on the experience embedded below, but I was also invited to co-write and co-present two videos comparing and contrasting the first and second quests (Part 1 and Part 2) with Nefarious Wes.  It was a very fun project to work on and I was honoured to be a part of it.

Adventure Island IV

As a long-time lover of the Adventure Island series (except that first one… it can go back to hell from whence it came), finding out about a longer-winded action adventure game starring my favourite Higgins was music to my ears.  I loved every moment of this experience and was grateful to be able to play a translated copy of the game on real hardware since it was originally a Japan-only Famicom release.  I’d recommend this game to anyone for a fun thinkfest.

Ironsword: Wizards & Warriors II

Now full disclosure, I only finished this game by blatantly cheating.  After a certain point in the adventure, you’re no longer able to continue.  I lost all my lives and should’ve properly game over’d, but I’m counting it here because with a bit of password manipulation to give me extra lives, I was able to eventually reach an ending screen.  I’ll take it!  The music alone in this game makes it worthwhile to finish.

Aladdin (SNES)

I never grew up with an SNES, and until very recently I was not even aware that the SNES version was even different from the Sega Genesis game.  It diverges in so many key ways like not having weapon to attack with and relying a lot more heavily on platforming skills that it’s truly a unique experience.  Even though I found it really tough to get through at certain points, especially in the end game, I did manage to make it.  It was another single night win for me!

Aladdin (Sega Genesis)

Now THIS version of Aladdin is one I grew up with.  I never owned it as a kid but we did rent it a lot, and I don’t ever remember being able to beat it until last year.  It was nice to finally cross this one off the list of games I’ve always wanted finally finish.

Super Mario Bros. (NES) – Hammer Code (XYAGEP)

This was a feat of strength and skill that I never, ever want to have to go through again myself.  There’s a Game Genie code that gives all enemies hammers to throw, and not just the regular hammer brothers hammers.  It’s the ridiculous King Koopa hammer spew, and they also shoot straight up.  This was a nightmare to complete, and along with the infinite lives code (SXIOPO) I’m still the only person out there that has managed to make it through the entire game.  Here’s a short clip of me making it to the end after about 4.5 hours of trying, with most of that being 8-4.

https://www.twitch.tv/videos/446797735

The Magical Quest Starring Mickey Mouse (SNES)

This game was one I picked up randomly at a swap because the price was right, and in general, I’ve enjoyed Disney games from the 8- and 16-bit generations.  This game felt very difficult in places, and I’m not sure what I could’ve done differently to make things easier on myself other than practice it more.  There was one boss in particular in a wintry section of the game that made me want to scream, and that’s all I can remember about playing through this one.  I must’ve repressed the rest of it.

Secret of Mana (SNES)

Secret of Mana was the game that really got me interested in ramping up my video game collecting, period.  A friend had lent it to me but took it back before I had a chance to play it at all.  Looking into purchasing a copy for myself opened up my world to so many other RPGs that I never even knew existed, especially on the SNES, and I’m still down that rabbit hole almost 5 years later with no signs of stopping.  You can only imagine how great it was to finally cross this one off the list.  It was definitely a good game, albeit a bit grindy when it came to levelling up magic skills, but I enjoyed it on the whole.  It was one of those perfect games for streaming where I felt like I could still be productive in the game and keep up with a chat at the same time, but as usual, I got lost a lot.  The soundtrack was definitely a highlight for me.

Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest (NES)

Finally!  This entire series was one I’ve been wanting to get into forever, but after getting destroyed by the first NES Castlevania game back in October of 2018 I had been fearful to try out the second in the series.  I’m so, so thankful I did, and despite all the hubbub about a “bad translation”, I was able to finish Simon’s Quest with barely any help in one marathon 8 hour sitting!  The music, the action and the game as a whole was so Faxanadu-like that it was impossible for me not to love this one too.  If you haven’t played it, please do yourself a favour and play it!  It is very underrated!

Katamari Damacy (PS2)

I have so much praise for this game.  I went through some pretty stressful times at work in 2019, and the few weeks where I had this game to look forward to coming home to on Monday nights were like oases in the scorching desert of despair at the time.   The amazing soundtrack is probably the thing I took away most from this experience, but there’s also something about the game’s simple premise that had me playing and replaying levels to not only improve my performance, but to hear the hilarious screams of the people in the midst of the destruction I was causing.  It was so relaxing to terrorize everyone and destroy the world in the happiest way possible.  I can’t wait to play the other games in the series.

Streets of Rage (Sega Genesis)

This was a co-op effort for my boyfriend and I.  We played on easy mode and just barely squeaked by to beat this game together for the first time.  I’m not usually good at brawlers and this playthrough was no different.  He definitely carried me through!

World of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse (Sega Genesis)

Yet another game from my childhood that I have very fond memories of!  I never owned this game until I was an adult but used to rent it a lot, and I was able to finish this on stream one night for some people who wanted to see it played through.  I really enjoy the Donald Duck path!

Golvellius: Valley of Doom (Sega Master System)

Exploring Master System RPGs has become a bit of a pastime, if you hadn’t noticed.  Golvellius: Valley of Doom was something that really piqued my interest since I always heard it referred to as a Zelda-like.  That phrasing has lost a lot of meaning for me because everyone’s always calling every top-down perspective game where someone swings a sword a Zelda-like… this game just doesn’t quite fit that bill.  It’s a wonderful game with a great soundtrack, good puzzles, and an interesting mashup of genres that includes some vertical- and side-scrolling sections.  I’ll be curious to get into the other versions on the MSX, or its spiritual successor, Super Cooks!

Ghouls ‘n Ghosts (Sega Master System)

Did I mention I finally made it into the club for people who can beat a GnG game? I honestly feel like this game is a cheater’s paradise into that club since this game peels away a lot of the white-knuckle difficulty of others in the series.  With permanent upgrades to armour and weapons and magic that’s independent of which armour is equipped, it’s a great way for casual gamers to actually enjoy this series without ending up bald after the fact.

Vice: Project Doom (NES)

Beating this game was a hard-fought victory.  It was another one-night completion for me, but the lead up to the end of the game was a real slog.  The final boss encounter is probably one of the most difficult ones I’ve had this year, but the rest of the game’s interesting and challenging level design wiped all that frustration away.

Asterix (Sega Master System)

I’ve been familiar with the Asterix comics for as long as I can remember since I’ve lived in Canada all my life, and this game was one of the most pleasant discoveries I’ve had while getting into the PAL library of Master System games.  It’s a platformer that allows you to switch between two different characters, Asterix and Obelix, and every level is completely different depending on which of the characters you choose to play with.  It has a ton of replay value and although it fell a little flat at the end, I’m looking forward to playing it again sometime.  I’ve also recently purchased the other two Asterix games on the system and am excited to try those out as well.

Super Adventure Island (SNES)

I was really excited for Super Adventure Island when I first heard about it a long while ago, and I was familiar with the game’s amazing soundtrack long before I ever played it.  The game itself is a little bit mediocre and really, really difficult toward the end, so until this past year I had never been able to finish it.  It was so nice to finally send that final boss to the depths after so many missed attempts in the past.  Woohoo!

The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap (Game Boy Advance)

I had really high hopes for this game. It’s Zelda, so what could possibly go wrong?  It was decent overall, but the whole kinstone fusion thing being required for key items and plot progression really, really turned me off.  There was far too much of a focus on that and I found it really detracted from the main game objectives a little too often.  It also left me in the dark a lot about where to go next.  I’d say this is definitely at the bottom of my list of Zelda games in terms of preference, unfortunately.

Donkey Kong Country (SNES)

This was the first time I’d really sat down to play this, and it was a tremendous struggle to say the least.  The redeeming quality that made playing this game worthwhile was the very excited chat full of people who love this series and this particular game, and that sweet final boss fight music.  DKC was so tough, and if you’re wondering, yes: I fell for the fake ending and had to do it over again.

Shadowrun (SNES)

This game was AWESOME!  I bought this one on a whim at the request of a friend to play on stream, and am I ever glad I did!  This game fused sci-fi, fantasy, cyberpunk and so many genre types that it’s hands down one of the most unique gaming experiences I’ve ever had.  There are a lot of thoughts rolling around in my brain on this game and I have a review video planned, so hopefully I’ll be able to get it down on paper one of these days.  It comes highly recommended if you haven’t played it yourself!

Great Greed (Game Boy)

This is a game that’s been on my mind on and off since I finished it a few months ago. It’s a turn-based RPG that is both fast-paced and hilarious that set the bar very high for the games that will come after it.  The music in this game is beautifully composed for the most part, and I loved how sporadic the story felt at times.  It was definitely one of the more interesting games I’ve played this past year and again, something that comes highly recommended if you’re into oldschool RPGs.

Kid Icarus (NES)

Kid Icarus is one of those games that I only understood as a vertical platformer and nothing more because for the longest time, I couldn’t get out of the first few levels.  This game felt like a terrible grind when I picked it up this year again, but after some diligence and with the encouragement of many people hanging out with me while that death counter climbed higher and higher, I found a few upgrades and the game got a LOT more manageable.  It’s truly an experience that gets easier as you go, and I tell ya, busting into that second loop never felt so good.  Those eggplant wizards are the devil though.  Probably the worst enemy ever in the entire history of time, no question.  Getting turned into a defenseless vegetable never felt more offensive than it did here.

Bionic Commando (NES)

I don’t think I’ve ever felt more embarrassed streaming a game than I did playing through Bionic Commando. You know how usually when you play a game for a while that you get better at it in a timely fashion?  That didn’t happen here.  It was at least an hour of blunder after blunder before something finally clicked, and it was another marathon night of gaming that brought me to the end of this one.  Regardless of the struggle, finishing this is easily one of my proudest gaming experiences of 2019.

Super Metroid (SNES)

Ah yes, Super Metroid.  It’s a game beloved by so many, and now by me as well.  I do have to say that it was a lengthy run playing through without a guide and with a request for no spoilers, but finding a way forward or brute-forcing my way into areas I wasn’t supposed to be yet made for an interesting experience that I’ve rarely had with games outside of this franchise.  I only just played the first Metroid game last year for the first time and this was my second game in the series, and Super Metroid more or less fixed many of the issues I had with the first game.

Breath of Fire (SNES)

This was only one of a few turn-based RPGs I had the pleasure of playing through this year, and it fell awfully flat for me.  It did a lot of things right as a back-to-basics game, and I usually love these.  Unfortunately, the translation here was a big letdown and really held me back from loving the game since I couldn’t really keep track of the story and got lost a lot.  I was kindly asked to share my thoughts on Breath of Fire on the Mage Cast (Episode #37).  That conversation can be found here:

https://thewellredmage.com/2019/12/06/breath-of-fire-podcast/https://thewellredmage.com/2019/12/06/breath-of-fire-podcast/

Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse (NES)

After having some luck with Simon’s Quest, I gave Castlevania III a go.  It is by far the hardest game I finished in 2019 along with the Hammer Mario challenge, and it took a lot of patience and practice along with a little luck to make it through.  I’m still surprised I made it… I took Sypha along for the ride and will never forget the horrible, horrible sounds of that final level’s music.  As a dear friend of mine once said, that song sounds like a straw being pulled in and out of a fast food cup lid.  You’re welcome.

Castlevania (NES)

This game haunted me for just over an entire year before I was finally able to put it away for good.  I had gotten stalled at the reaper in October of 2018 with no hopes of making it through, but after beating Castlevania III earlier in the evening, this one came together quite well.  That final fight against Dracula was a real nail-biter over the long while it took me to obliterate him, but finishing two Castlevania games in one night is something I won’t soon forget.

Lord of the Sword (Sega Master System)

Ah yes. This is a game I put off playing for ages because I thought it was going to be horrendous.  Horrendous is a very strong descriptor and while I wouldn’t have called it an overwhelmingly positive experience, it was certainly far from the worst game I’ve ever played.  It was a lesson in patience which I seem to have in droves, and it’s still shocking to me that I got to the end of this one.  You have 10 continues/lives, you have to finish the whole adventure from start to finish, and not one bit of it is easy.  It’s definitely one of the more challenging things I’ve accomplished this year.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Sega Genesis)

Coming back to old favourites was a theme to round out the end of the year.  I’ll never get tired of crashing back down to earth after setting Dr. Robotnik ablaze.

River City Ransom (NES)

I was so pleasantly surprised by River City Ransom!  Having some stream help to figure out what to eat in the shops to level specific stats was just what I needed to make this playthrough enjoyable, and I’m now excited to try other games like River City Girls, or other Kunio Kun series games.  I don’t know why it took me so long to get around to this one.  I’d highly recommend it if you haven’t played it yet!

Danan the Jungle Fighter (Sega Master System)

At a first glance, I thought I had found a brand new action adventure RPG for the system, but it turned out that that Danan the Jungle Fighter was more a mix of an arcade-style sidescrolling platformer with a few RPG elements sprinkled in.  And it was the lightest possible sprinkling!  This game is fairly short, but like Lord of the Sword, it also required finishing it all in one sitting.  It’s moderately pricey and a PAL-region exclusive, and for what you get out of it, I wouldn’t recommend paying the going rate.  If you can get it for a deal, absolutely.  It’s a fun albeit small adventure.

Rambo (NES)

Rambo had just come in the mail the day I played it at someone’s request, and over two sessions I managed to make it through this strange, strange adventure.  The translation in this game was probably my favourite part, but having not seen the Rambo movies before playing this also brought me into it without any expectations of what a Rambo game should be.  The main theme is so quest-y and awesome too… contrary to popular opinion, I loved it.

Bubsy: Claws Encounters of the Furred Kind (Sega Genesis)

Beating Bubsy 1 for Sega Genesis felt like a true occasion for celebration.  I’ve had this game since childhood and used to play it alllll the time but never made it even remotely close to the end.  Playing it occasionally as an adult over the past few years saw me make it a bit further each time, and a few weeks ago I finally vowed to push through to the end no matter how many times we had to put in a password.  And I did it!  I had an amazing stream talking about one of my favourite games (yes, you read that right), laughing at Bubsy’s horrible rollercoaster face, and finally closing that chapter of my gaming life.  What a rush!

EGG: Elemental Gimmick Gear (Sega Dreamcast)

EGG queued up more negativity in me than I had hoped.  It was an action RPG I sought out for a long while and found it locally not too long ago.  My high hopes were dashed and this was probably one of my least favourite games I played through this year, with Suikoden and Breath of Fire being about even.  It needed a little more refinement to make it a great game, but I wouldn’t even really call it very good.  It was sub-standard at the core of what makes action RPGs what they are, and that’s why it all fell apart for me.

Bubble Bobble – Bad Ending (Sega Master System)

Did you know that there was a Bubble Bobble game for the Master System? And that it has 200 levels instead of 100?  Well, I’ll probably never see the other half of the game because I finished it with the bad ending.  There were some conditions to be met to open up the 100 level home stretch and I missed them playing through blind!  So much for that, but I was happy to seriously sit down with Bubble Bobble for the first time.  It was enjoyable, and even after 100 levels I was not tired of that song!

Virtual Boy Wario Land (Virtual Boy)

After my boyfriend kindly modded our Virtual Boy for AV out, first on my list to play was VB Wario Land.  I feel like this adventure was way harder than any Mario game I’ve ever played and I’m pretty sure I came away from it with the worst possible ending.  Nonetheless, it was a shining moment for me to play and finish something on a system I never dreamed of owning until a few years ago.

Super Mario Bros. 3 All-Stars Version (SNES)

SMB3 again, you say?  Yes!  Except for the very first time this year, I decided to play it on the SNES.  I can’t say I liked that experience more than the NES version though… the backgrounds were too busy, and I sincerely missed my familiar NES sound effects.  Soon I’ll have to torture myself with Super Mario Advance 4 to see what abominable voices they added to that game…

Ys IV: Mask of the Sun (Super Famicom)

I made a triumphant return to the Ys series as well this year after finishing Ys III: Wanderers from Ys (SNES) last year and Ys: Vanished Omens (SMS) back sometime in 2017.  I was able to apply a translation patch using the Super UFO 8, and thankfully the translation was exceptionally well done!  It was by far the best experience I’ve had playing a patched game so far and I have lots of great things to say about it that will likely trickle out in a video review in the coming weeks.

Faxanadu (NES)

You didn’t think I could let a year come and go without a return to the World Tree, did you?  I just squeezed this playthrough in a few days ago and finished it in just under five hours.  It’s always fantastic revisiting one of my very favourites.

The Lion King (Sega Genesis)

And with one last hurrah, launching back to yet another old favourite closed out my year for gaming.  I finished this one up on normal mode and saved the day yet again.  What a hero I am!

As you might expect if you made it all the way to the bottom of this post, that’s it!  I feel like I’ve expanded on my gaming hobby so much in the past year.  Collecting is continuing to wind down and I’m finding myself enjoying games more and more through streaming and creating video reviews.  In a million years, I would’ve never thought I’d be doing this kind of thing, yet here I am enjoying every moment.

Thank you to everyone who has stuck around through collecting, streaming and watching my content out there.  It means the world to me to be able to share this hobby with you all, which was the true goal when I started up this blog almost 4 years ago now.  I’m so grateful to have met so many wonderful people over the past few years.  I’ve been lucky to become surrounded with a really solid group of gaming enthusiasts, and I appreciate you all so much!  Thank you so much.

I hope 2019 has been a wonderful year for you all.  As always, I’m wishing you the best in your gaming endeavours and beyond for a fruitful year.  Be safe out there!

Thanks for reading!

-GG

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Getting Mail

Before we get to the goods, I wanted to mention I was a guest on TheWellRedMage’s wonderful podcast talking about the first Breath of Fire game for SNES.  If you want to hear more on our conversation, it’s here!

http://magecast.buzzsprout.com/199140/2229524-037-first-stage-halitosis-breath-of-fire

The local pickings out my way have been slim over the past few weeks, so I’ve been doing a lot of looking online for new games.  Thankfully there have been many deals to scoop up, so I’m bringing you a little bit of awesomeness thanks to the wonders of credit cards and door-to-door delivery!

First up are a few Game Boy games.  Ultima: Runes of Virtue is one of the RPGs I had left to collect for the system.  I fired up an old save file on this one and died within seconds, so it seems just about right for this kind of adventure!  I can’t wait to start my own game, find a manual online somewhere, and see what this (and its sequel, which I have already) are all about!  I’m not sure how the Runes of Virtue games are related to the others in the main series.  There seem to be a lot of Ultima spinoffs out there!

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Another game I bought is Pokemon Pinball.  I only had one other weirdly-shaped Game Boy game prior to this and it’s a Star Wars game I think, but anyway, I love pinball!  I played a lot of 3D Pinball Space Cadet when I was really young, and even though I haven’t played much real life pinball, video pin ball is where it’s at.  I’ve bought a few games over the past few years, most notably Pinball Quest for NES, but mixing Pokemon with anything fun is sure to make it even better.  I really want to sit down with a manual for this game since it looks a lot deeper than your typical paddle-flipping time.

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Wario games are plentiful, but I’ve only played the first one for the Game Boy ages ago.  I’ve been dabbling a bit in the Virtual Boy game recently and have been having a good time with it, so when I saw Wario Land II available, it was hard to resist.  I’ve heard these games touted as some of the best of the best on the Game Boy and Game Boy Advance, and I’ll be looking for the third and fourth games in this series to round things out.

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I also picked up two NES games, the first of which was Rambo.  I’ve been feeling moderately obsessed with finding more Faxanadu-like side-scrolling action adventure games over the past little while.  Rambo is something that fits the bill (believe it or not) and it was just what I was looking for to scratch that itch!  I ended up playing through the entire game over two streams, and while it was difficult, it was also very fulfilling to get to the end of this one.  The music in this was awesome too.  Very quest-y!

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Another game I found for NES was Conquest of the Crystal Palace.  I think I mentioned a few posts ago how I always used to get The Krion Conquest and Conquest of the Crystal Palace confused all the time, but now that I own both of them I hope I’ll stop making that mistake.  I doubt it though.  They’ll probably always just be The Krion Conquest of the Crystal Palace to me.  This game is a side-scrolling adventure game with shops and weapons, etc.  Maybe some RPG elements here?  I’ve been wanting to pick this up for a long while now and I’m glad I finally did.  It’s in great shape too!

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In an effort to find even more games with bone-in meatsticks to play for a themed stream night on Mondays, I purchased this Capcom Classics Mini Mix cartridge for the Game Boy Advance.  It comes with a few games that were repackaged from the NES: Strider, Bionic Commando, and the game of interest, Mighty Final Fight.  Mighty Final Fight is about a bajillion dollars to buy in its native NES state right now, so this was one of the cheaper and easier ways I’ll be able to play it.

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I found a whole bunch of Master System games for a relatively good price as well, the first of which is Black Belt.  A couple of posts ago I mentioned accidentally buying The Ninja when I meant to buy this game instead, so I’m officially calling things fixed.  This is the one where you run around and literally explode your enemies into several pieces when you kick or punch them.  It’s awesome!  I can’t say I’ve ever been good at these run-to-the-right-kicking-and-punching games, but I hope I’ll be able to finish it sometime!  And look at that wonderful box art.  It’s just beautiful (not really at all).  It’s too bad that the manual was taped up, but it’ll do.

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Battle Out Run is a pretty neat game that I’d never really heard much about until I found this game sale.  Apparently you run into other cars with your car to teach them a lesson!  Compared to Hang on and regular Out Run, I found this one to feel a lot smoother and nicer overall, but it’s obviously a bit more complicated than getting to the next finish line in time.  Unfortunately there were some scuffs on the box’s cover plastic that are noticible (even in the photo) and the label has clearly seen better days, but the price for a complete copy was too good to pass up.

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Rescue Mission is a light gun game that has been highly praised as one of the best on the system by sirhcman, who has his own blog that you should check out sometime if you haven’t already.  You have to protect a soldier that’s rescuing what I’m assuming are prisoners of war while the enemy is trying to kill him.  It looks like a blast.  I love light gun games.  I’m not particularly great at them, maybe except for Duck Hunt!

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Asterix and the Secret Mission was the last Asterix game I had left to pick up for the console.  These games are so delightful and fun that completing the trifecta was an absolute requirement for me.  It’s another platformer where you can play as either character, and once again doesn’t come with a manual.  I’m really curious about where all these manuals end up.

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Finally, I also scooped up a copy of Deep Duck Trouble Starring Donald Duck.  This was by far the most expensive of all the games I bought, but all things considered, it was still less than the going rate out there on the internet.  The box label has a little bit of damage, but overall the rest of it is in relatively good shape.  This game is absolutely adorable.  There’s something about the Disney games that is really charming on the Master System.  They’re all beautifully scored and animated.  I can’t wait to play through this, since I’ve heard it’s relatively short.

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And thar she blows, folks!  I’m really happy with where my collection is standing these days, but as usual, there’s always more around the next corner.  I hope you’re all keeping warm out there.  The weather here has already turned pretty cold, and the snow has come and gone a few times… it’s going to stick soon!  More time to stay in and play games, I guess!

Thanks for reading!

-GG

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I am a Game Magnet

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been very lucky in being able to find some wonderful games to add to my collection both locally and online.  Some of these things I’ve been looking for over a long while, and others are things I took a chance on without knowing what to expect!  Sometimes you just have to jump on a deal when it surfaces, and I was pleasantly surprised all around!

First up is the Mega Man Anniversary Collection for Playstation 2.  I do own the GameCube collection, but I heard that they did something weird to the controls.  Maybe they switched the buttons around?  I can’t quite recall now, but I was advised to pick up the PS2 version for a more approachable experience.  As someone who has never beaten a single Mega Man game, I’m glad to finally have them all in one place since my physical collection is sparse.  The disc isn’t in the greatest shape, but I’m sure it’ll spin up whenever I get around to testing it out.  Also, the manual here is completely in French!  Sometimes Canadian games came with two manuals for English and French readers, but here, the English one is missing altogether.  My French is terrible at best, so hopefully I can figure things out and won’t need to rely on it too much!

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Sticking with disc games for the moment, I found two for the Wii U, the first of which is Hyrule Warriors.  I think I’m incredibly late to the party on this one and have no idea whether or not it has a story mode for single player, but I’ve never seen this game so cheap and couldn’t resist picking it up.  The disc was in excellent shape overall, but the case itself had a bit of scuffing on the outer plastic and was also really dirty.  I cleaned it up the best I could.

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The second Wii U game is Pikmin 3! I have been looking for the third installment in this series for many months now, and I finally found it for a good price.  It came with all the inserts as well as a now-defunct Club Nintendo code, and like the disc for Hyrule Warriors, this one was in virtually perfect condition.  I still have yet to play any of the Pikmin games, but from what I’ve seen, they look fun and relaxing.  I’m hoping for a Katamari Damacy-like experience when I finally sit down with it.

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I was also really lucky to find two Game Boy games.  The first I bought online, and it’s Dinosaur’us for the Game Boy Color.  This was the turn-based RPG I would’ve never expected to exist in the slightest given how unconventional it is, and after I learned of its existence, I sought it out and finally have a copy of my own.  I didn’t get too far into it, but at a first glance, it involves some sidescrolling platformer action with turn-based battles against enemy dinos.  There’s a whole levelling system with skills involved, so it’s quite the endeavour.  Space Invaders was also a great find.  It’s one of a very small set of games that, when used with the Super Game Boy, gives you the option to play a separate, full game on the SNES.  This one lets you play the arcade version of Space Invaders, which took me straight back to my days of playing the Commodore Vic 20.  What a blast!

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Another game that pleasantly surprised me was an SNES game called Speedy Gonzales: Los Gatos Bandidos.  I took a chance on this one.  Prior to buying, I’d never heard a peep about it, but it is actually really good.  I played it for about 15 minutes to test it out, and everything feels really fluid and smooth, and the music is something else!  I’m very surprised at how good the first few levels felt, so I can’t wait to play it for a longer time and see more of it.  This is probably the worst game of the bunch aesthetically, with a worn label, especially at the top toward the end label portion.  It definitely looks like it was loved.

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On the opposite of the impressiveness spectrum is Disney’s The Little Mermaid: Magic in Two Kingdoms for the Game Boy Advance.  Now, I might be jumping the gun a little on my feelings for this game, but I was not pleased trying it out for a few minutes.  It feels like one of those hand-holders that tutorial-izes every moment, and all of the characters feel like they’re moving at a snail’s pace.  I’m not sure if anyone has played the Sega Genesis Little Mermaid game, but the controls are reminiscent of those in my mind.  Hopefully I’m wrong about the impending terribleness, but for a few dollars, I’m not complaining.  The title screen music was really great at least!

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I recently managed to fight my way through Castlevania and Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse for the NES, and Castlevania has definitely been on my mind more often than not over the past few weeks.  I already owned two other Castlevania games for the DS, but when I saw Order of Ecclesia, I had to jump on it.  It was not cheap, but it definitely wasn’t the going rate on eBay at the moment either, and I’m happy to have finally completed the DS Castlevania trilogy.  My better half has played a lot of this one and really enjoyed it, but he lost his copy a long while ago.  It’s nice for him to have that back again.  Other than a bit of brown gunk on the case, the rest of the contents were in great condition.

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I found quite a few games for the Sega Master system as well.  I have a huge fire under my butt to keep seeking out games for this amazing little console, and I’ve chanced upon some really excellent deals over the past little while.  For some reason, most of the games I’ve purchased haven’t come with their manuals… I wonder what happened to them all?

The first game I bought was Shadow Dancer: The Secret of Shinobi.  The game came to me with a wavy case art sheet as if it had been wet at some point, but it’s not damaged in any other noticeable way.  To be honest, I’m not really sure if this game is a good purchase for this particular console, but I’ve heard the Genesis version is pretty awesome and wanted to see what this port might be like in comparison.  I recently found the Master System port of Ghouls ‘n Ghosts to be surprisingly well done and different from the many other iterations out there, so one can only hope that this Shinobi game will follow suit. Here’s a review I did of the GnG game:

Getting back to Shadow Dancer though, there’s a longplay online that takes just over 10 minutes.  Maybe very easy for a seasoned player but a welcome challenge for a newcomer?  Only time will tell!  I need more Master System in my life!

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Next up is Impossible Mission, a port of a game originally released on the Commodore 64, the Atari 7800, and a variety of other early computers.  It’s not to be confused with Zillion, which I feel it strongly resembles.  It seems like an interesting and unique action game from what I’ve seen available for the SMS, and it was extremely cheap.  How could I say no to an adventure?  It does look tough and also seems to require a great deal of mapping, things I don’t shy away from in the games I play.

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Sigh.  One of the games I was most excited to see posted lately was Fantastic Dizzy.  This is a game made by Codemasters and was an unofficial release for the console, and it’s on the more uncommon side.  I immediately pounced on this purchase not realizing that it doesn’t work at all on NTSC systems, and unfortunately I’m now stuck with a game I can’t play at the moment.  I’m going to do a bit of research and see if I can get things working, specifically if there’s a model of the SMS in my region that that might be able to play it.  Otherwise, I might be looking to import a new system in the near-ish future.

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Asterix and the Great Rescue is something I’ve been on the lookout for since I finished up the first Asterix game for the system a few months ago.  Of those on the Master System, it’s quite a bit more expensive than the others.  There’s also a third game in the series that I have yet to find, but this one I got for a screamin’ deal, about $20 under the regular going rate online.  I really liked the first one I played, and this one looks to be in the same vein in terms of gameplay and graphics.  Now to find the last one to round out the trilogy!  Of all the games I ordered, this one was by far in the best shape of the bunch.  Everything looked nice and crispy!

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Last but not least, I found a copy of Ninja Gaiden! This game has been evading me for a very long time and is again one of the more uncommon games for the console from the PAL region.  It usually averages around $110, and I was able to buy it for about half price shipped!  This game is an exclusive on the Master System, and despite not having played very much of this series, I’ve been wanting to give this one a go.  It’s always nice when the price is right.  Woohoo!

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I have some other things on their way to me in the mail, but I thought this might be a good place to break up some of the recent purchases.  Hopefully there will be new games just around the corner.

Thanks for reading!

-GG

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Game Swap Adventures

A couple of weeks ago, we got out to a smaller swap event, and I tell ya, I found some really great things I’ve been looking for there.  Just in time for the cooler weather to settle in, too.  That just means a nice cold winter coming up with lots of great games on tap since I don’t usually partake in beers!

There were a few things I’ve been wanting for NES for a long while, and those were Journey to Silius and The Krion Conquest. I’ve seen a few people play through Journey to Silius in the last few months, and I’m especially in love with the soundtrack.  I think it’ll be a difficult game to master, but I hope to be able to beat it at some point.  And who doesn’t love something reminiscent of Mega Man?  I loved Little Nemo: The Dream Master, so I can’t wait to see what The Krion Conquest is like.

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I was inspired to pick up even more NES stuff since a familiar vendor was trying to part ways with some of his games for cheap.  He was mentioning there’s been a downturn in NES sales lately, so he was looking to offload a few things. The Immortal in particular has a great soundtrack that makes me laugh at how sneaky it is sometimes with all its traps.  There’s something about the battles in that game that crack me up every time I see them going down.  I also made a point to find Kickle Cubicle after I saw NES Friend’s review over on YouTube.  I don’t know what I initially thought this game was, but I didn’t think it was a cute puzzle game!  It looks great and like a nice fun way to unplug my brain which I’m needing more and more of these days.  And Jaws, well… I just wanted it.  It’s one of those games I always see and never pick up because I want other things more, and the price here was too good to pass up.

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I did manage to sneak in an uncommon Game Boy Color game from another vendor that was looking to move his stuff for a reasonable price.  Wendy Every Witch Way is something I’d seen around the internet as a great game that nobody seems to have, so naturally I picked it up.  I almost missed it since it was obscured by some other games in a case, but I’m glad I found it.  It was in very good condition and worked on the first try.  I love when that happens!

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I did pick up Hybrid Heaven for N64 after seeing a few people chatting about it in a livestream.  It was described to me as a Wrestling RPG (oh really?) which intrigued me for many reasons, but mostly because I want to see what the heck this game is and why I’d never heard of it before!  I thought I’d gotten the four total RPGs for the N64, but it seems like I’ve managed to add another to the mix.  There are never too many RPGs, even if they’re seemingly weird and unconventional.

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A nice find for me was Vanguard Bandits for the PS1.  The Demo CD was not in the greatest shape, but the game itself was pretty much pristine.  I don’t think I have too many more PS1 games I want to track down now that I’ve found it.  This, like many other games I’ve bought over the years, smells like laundry dryer sheets!  I’m not sure why people tend to store their stuff around their dryers or with dryer sheets inside their storage boxes, but it’s a weirdly comforting smell compared to something like cigarettes, I suppose.

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A swap wouldn’t be a swap without some Sega Master System things, and I was lucky enough to find a copy of Rambo III in great condition with its manual.  A long while ago my boyfriend bought a copy of a different Rambo game thinking it was this one, but alas… the wrong game didn’t even use the light gun like he was hoping.  We’ve finally remedied this after a long wait, and though it’s probably not going to be my favourite game by any means, I’m definitely willing to give it a try sometime.  My light guns don’t get nearly enough use.

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More Sega always makes me happy, and I did manage to reel in a few loose Sega Genesis games.  I stumbled upon a table that had so many things I never usually see out and about at these kinds of things, and High Seas Havoc was the first thing I picked up from that particular table.  It’s a platformer that people often compare to the Sonic games, and I can’t seem to stay away from things with pirates in them.  It felt like a pretty natural buy.  I also picked up Blaster Master 2, which I’ve heard is a bunch of junk, but it’s the first time I’d ever seen it in the wild.  It’s mine now!

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We also finally got a copy of Gunstar Heroes!  I can’t say how many times I’ve seen this around at a swap and it’s been waaaay more than I was willing to pay.  I’ve been patient, and I finally found a box and cartridge combination for a decent price.  This was much more my boyfriend’s pick than mine, and I think he’s happy to finally be able to cross that off his list.

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Last not but not least, I found a copy of Skeleton Krew for the Sega Genesis.  It’s an isometric adventure game that looks pretty great, and I rarely hear anyone even mention its existence out there in the world.  This is probably the most expensive game I picked up, but thankfully I had lots of stuff to trade to get it.  Apparently a lot of people were interested in it, and I was the lucky person who was able to take it home.  Hooray!

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I’m pretty sure this’ll be the last swap I make it out to for the year.  The weather has turned pretty cold already and there is snow coming up in the forecast, so travel to any remaining events might be unpredictably tricky… back to eBay and scouring the classifieds for another cold winter of collecting.

Thanks very much for reading!

-GG

 

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