I haven’t been able to make it out to many swaps all summer because of conflicting scheduling with other life things, but we finally got to make a weekend trip out of one this past weekend. I am really excited to say that we found some very excellent things, and of particular importance, some things I had been looking for for some time now.
Because we recently acquired a bunch of doubles (and in some cases, triples) while buying up my friend’s large game collection, it was a goal of ours to be able to do some trades at this swap rather than spending cash. Not only was this to save some money, but also because we have so many extras hanging around that it’s problematic storing everything. Though I wasn’t sure how successful we would be, I was pretty happy that people were interested in some of the trades I had to offer. Here’s a photo of what we went with (don’t worry, Hamtaro stayed put at home):
I finally managed to round out my Final Fantasy Legend collection by finding the second game in the series. I was graciously given the first game by a wonderful friend, and had found a bad label copy of the third game at a hock shop last year. Final Fantasy Legend II is in absolutely excellent shape, and we actually used it to test out something else coming up later in the post that I won’t spoil for the moment. I also found a copy of Conker’s Pocket Tales, a top-down collecting game that came before Conker’s Bad Fur Day. It looks cute and relaxing, so I’ll be intrigued to play it. Both games were without boxes or manuals, but they’re in absolutely fantastic condition. I’m quite happy to have them.
I’m sure you guys are getting tired of hearing me whine about wanting to find Skies of Arcadia (Legends), so I finally bit the bullet and picked up a copy for the Dreamcast. Though I’ve heard some good things about the GameCube port, I just couldn’t find a copy of it at the last few swaps that wasn’t horrendously overpriced. The copy I got came complete and was in excellent shape. I played through part of the introduction awhile ago and am looking forward to starting this game. I don’t have a ton of Dreamcast games that I’m itching to play, but between this and Grandia II, I’ll be sure to keep busy.
My Sega Master System collection grew by one game, and that’s Master of Darkness. I can’t even begin to describe how excited I was to find this one. I spotted it on lockdown in someone’s glass case at their table and recognized the iconic Dracula-themed game case art even though the title was covered up. Unfortunately the game didn’t come with its manual, but the cartridge itself is in excellent shape and fired up with no issue on the first try. For anyone that doesn’t know of the game, it’s very much like Castlevania but with a different backstory. It seems to have many of the same game mechanics and macabre atmospheric touches as the Nintendo game.
While we’re on the topic of Castlevania, I also found Castlevania for the NES. For the longest time now I’ve had a copy of Simon’s Quest and Dracula’s Curse, but despite my best efforts, I couldn’t seem to find the first game for a good price. After asking every vendor selling NES games for it, one of them finally had it. It’s in absolutely beautiful shape and looks brand new. The Castlevania trilogy for NES has been a dream of mine to have, and I’ll be quite happy to hear that phenomenal soundtrack blasting out of my Nerd Room stereo soon enough.
My boyfriend nearly threw down with an older lady at the swap who was going around and buying up random things she thought her grandchildren might like. As my better half was reaching for a copy of King of Monsters for Neo Geo MVS, the lady picked it up. She asked the vendor if MVS games could be played on the home console AES version of the Neo Geo, but even when she was told that it wasn’t possible and that it would cost about $600 for an adapter to make that happen, she still bought it anyway. It drove my boyfriend a little nuts to see a game he was after disappear into that lady’s bag to never return again, but he did have a second choice on the table that we did pick up: Metal Slug 2. We don’t currently have a working Neo Geo to try it out on, but hopefully it’s in good working condition. There aren’t a lot of cartridges I’ve met that don’t work.
For the Sega Genesis, we got two games. The first was Shining in the Darkness, the first game in the Shining Force series. The game came with its manual and had a saved game on it when I popped it into the Genesis to test it. I don’t know if I flubbed when trying to load the save file, but the game decided the save didn’t exist anymore and sent me into a new game instead. I’m not sure if the game needs a new battery or not, but it’s not too much trouble if it does. I absolutely love the game art here. It throws me back to old Disney.
The second game *drumroll please* is Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker (I’m sure one of our favourite retro game reviewers over at I Heart Old Games will be very pleased)! Some of you that follow me on Twitter might be familiar with my cries and howls about how every time a copy of the game comes up on the classifieds sites that it never seems to work out in my favour. I’ve had deals for game lots including Moonwalker fall apart on me twice in the past year, so when a guy at the swap was willing to shuffle through all my trades to find some things he liked instead of paying out the heinous asking price, I felt pretty good about that. I’ve still got Smooth Criminal stuck in my head and it has been hours since we tested the game out.
The last games I wanted to mention here were two boxed SNES games I picked up. The first is Brandish, an action RPG/dungeon crawler game that has generally gotten negative reviews because of its “controversial” movement mechanic that involves rotating the screen around your character rather than changing your character’s direction instead. I knew of the game, but it had been quite some time since I’d thought about it and was pretty hesitant to buy it at its steep price tag of $250. Conveniently, the bag of trades saw me through. The game box is practically brand new and came packed with a poster, registration card and game manual. The only downside is that the thing smells like cigarettes, and I’m not about to start adding soapy water to paper and cardboard to alleviate that scent. I’ll just have to let it air out I guess!
The second SNES game was Brain Lord (woohoo!). You can see from the photo below that the condition of the manual and the fold-out information poster are teetering on the verge of being pitiful. Even though they’re being held together with copious amounts of tape and smell like cigarettes and mustiness, at least they’re there. There’s also a tiny bit of label damage on the cartridge that I couldn’t care less about. If I had seen the cartridge on its own in that condition, I wouldn’t have hesitated to buy it up. Brain Lord is lesser-known and lesser-loved than many other RPGs that were released for the SNES in its heyday, but I was still really interested in giving it a go since it’s one of the last RPGs I have to find for the console. I make that statement a bit casually since I know that there are still a lot of games for the system that are probably great, but I just haven’t heard about them yet. I do have a lot of what I’ve set out to find for that console.
The last thing I wanted to talk about was probably the best deal we got all day. I alluded to it earlier when I was talking about Game Boy games, so allow me to elaborate here. We recently got a Framemeister, an upscaler that cleans up and improves video/audio quality from older games. I wanted one so that when I was creating videos or streaming that the quality would be as good if not better than the spectacular view I get to have on my professional video monitor. Anyway, the Framemeister has a Japanese D terminal for hooking things up to it. My boyfriend, with his hawk-like eyes, saw a Japanese GameCube component cable sitting on a table populated mostly by foreign games that would fit that D terminal connector, and we bought it for $80. This might seem steep for a cable, but for those of you that might not know, GameCube component cables are rare and expensive and can go for hundreds of dollars because they can’t be replicated by third parties. The cords have a chip in them that makes them completely proprietary. You might be thinking that we are fools since it’s possible to play GC games in high resolution using the Wii, but what we didn’t have was a way to play games using the Game Boy Player add-on in high quality. This component cable blew this opportunity wide open for us, and we did a test last night using Final Fantasy Legend II (I still have the battle music taking turns in my head with 16-bit Smooth Criminal.)
The quizzical thing about the cable is that it doesn’t seem to transfer audio along with video, so you need to have a secondary component cable plugged into the second port to get both signals. Despite this weirdness, it works beautifully and I’m so, so excited to eventually do some game capture using this method. The videos are going to be absolutely beautiful! I won’t show a picture of the cable here, but if anyone is interested in that setup, let me know. I’d be happy to write up a post about it and get some video comparisons made to showcase how different things look for Game Boy games with and without the GameCube component cable.
Looking back on everything, I can say without a doubt that this was a very successful swap. I crossed a few things off of my list and had some unexpected success in other ventures I didn’t even know I was going to be undertaking with the GameCube component cord. Here’s a little photo of everything together so you can see what I got here all in one swoop.
Believe it or not, we didn’t even trade everything away to get all this stuff. I think I spent out $180 in cash two of the games and the component cable, and the rest we got in trades. I still have that boxed Secret of Mana, the two GBA games, Dragon Quest VIII, Final Fantasy Chronicles and a Super Game Boy left from that original trades photo from the beginning of the post. All in all, I’d say we didn’t do too shabbily. Now for the endless updating of inventories… sigh.
Hope you’re all staying cool in the summer heat! Thanks for reading.