The last month or so, I’ve been trying to focus on local classifieds ads for retro game hunting. In part, this is because many of my local stores have left me feeling disappointed or have gotten so greedy that I think I am going to take a step back from visiting them for a while. The next paragraph will detail some of that frustration, but feel free to skip it if you don’t want your dose of complaining for the day.
The thrift store in my city, alongside asking eBay prices for their retro games in many cases, is now starting to add other gaming-related merchandise to their showcase. The showcase is a locked area at the front of the store where they normally put rare or expensive items to prevent theft. The most recent additions to this trend are game guides. I saw a bunch of them behind the glass at the front of the store priced at over $15 each for some not-so-popular games. This might not seem heinous to most people reading, but these guides used to be available for $4-5 each a few months ago without question, and I’ve even managed to get some really great guides for $1 a piece if I was lucky. At what point does a store stop being a thrift store? It’s more like a weird consignment store that just steals your items and sells them at high prices for profit. I should also make clear that this franchise is not one of the close-to-heart charitable organizations that truly helps the needy like the Salvation Army or Goodwill. I would never complain about a store selling items at a high price if I knew the money was going to help the people the store was meant to help. This store I’m struggling with is a full-on beast of a franchise that donates only a small portion of their proceeds to charity, and the lines are quite blurred there about how those donations truly work. It’s disheartening to see these for-profit companies getting so greedy, but I digress.
Back to the games!
The person I met up with was selling an SNES along with a pile of games. I mentioned a while back on Twitter that it was becoming increasingly frustrating looking at game lots because I already own a lot of common games that are normally advertised, but this particular game lot had a lot of cartridges I didn’t yet own. It was a no-brainer to scoop this up. The person selling wanted $120 for 11 games and the console with a few controllers.
The console itself featured a yellow-grey gradient which is just barely visible in this photo. Maybe its nose was in the sun while the rest of it was tucked quietly away out of the sun’s reach for many years, but at least it doesn’t smell like cigarettes! I also got my hands on a Super Pad controller which is an aftermarket one. I do love the PAL-inspired colour scheme on it though!
The games were all in great shape with the exception of Primal Rage that had stickers stuck to the label, but I think I’ll be able to remove them with minimal damage. The most exciting new games to me were Cybernator and Ardy Lightfoot. I had heard of Ardy Lightfoot here and there, praised as one of the better platformers for the SNES given how many people tried to break out on that system with no-name mascots. Testing the game saw me through a lot of deaths, but I think I will have more fun with it after some practice with the controls. I especially love the tiny penguin you get to throw around. Cybernator looks like something I wouldn’t normally be interested in, but I have a love for mech and robots growing inside me constantly. I really love how destructive the little roboguy is in this game and I had a good time wandering around exploding everything in sight while testing it out. There is apparently an involved story for Cybernator, so I’m anxious to get into that one eventually.
I am a hit and miss puzzle game fan, so when Tetris & Dr. Mario and Tetris 2 appeared here, I was a little torn. I do love me some Dr. Mario on NES, but I don’t know what the hell they did the the music in the SNES version. It was so unpleasant to listen to that I didn’t spend much time fumbling my way through a few levels before turning it off and banishing to a dark corner of my SNES game shelf. Tetris 2 is not what I’m used to. I feel like my spatial perception skills are minimal at best and all these new shapes feel like torture to me. I still struggle with the original, so I am not too sure I will ever reach a level near mastery of this twist on the original’s gameplay.
If there is one game in the bunch here that I would like to light on fire and laugh at maniacally as it melts, it would be Eek! the Cat. I can just barely recall the television show it was based on and don’t remember liking it very much. When I popped the cartridge in, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Maybe something cute? Maybe something zany? After seeing the game in action, I realized that it’s just full of awfulness. Demons, even. I’ve never had so little fun playing a game in my entire life than I did playing this one for 10 minutes. I feel the same about other games I try out without reading a manual like Populous here, but I know that that game requires some reading and background. You don’t just dive into Populous expecting to know what to do and have fun right away. You should be able to dive into Eek! the Cat and maybe have a bit of fun while you’re at it. Not me!
This is all I have to report for the moment. I wish there was more in terms of hunting in the wild to show here, but alas… it is not yet time. There are some swap events on the way so I’ll be attending some of those and hopefully have some cool stuff to reveal in the short term. I’m also getting a post together about my gaming space. We’ve made some really great touches to the Nerd Room, so I thought it might be an idea to share that here. Things are incoming, so stay tuned!
Thanks for reading, as always.