My First Time: First Person Shooters

You may know me as a person who exclusively plays RPGs and owns way too many of them to ever possibly get through them all, but there is also a large portion of my collection that has gone virtually untouched for my entire life: first person shooters.  Though most of those types of games have made their way onto my shelves when I’ve purchased larger game lots, I’ve always been anti-FPS because I don’t particularly like excessive person vs. person violence and gore, or the glorification of war through gaming.  I was recently challenged by a friend on Twitch to try out GoldenEye 007 for the N64, and after a bit of teasing and egging on from other people, I hesitantly accepted the request.

(The other important part of this that I feel is important to mention is that not only had I never played an FPS prior to last night, I had also never seen any James Bond movies.  I actually thought that Mission Impossible and James Bond movies were the same thing, so that’s saying something horrible.  If you asked me, I still wouldn’t be able to definitively tell you the difference between the two, so it’s probably best you don’t ask!)

I read the manual and got a synopsis of James Bond lore from my boyfriend before starting the stream.  At first, the entire idea of learning a new-to-me game genre in front of other humans seemed really daunting and made me feel vulnerable and embarrassed every time I made a mistake, but I was soon propped up by positive comments and great advice from the people who joined me in my stream’s chat.  Though I kept shooting doors instead of opening them and have absolutely no stealth skills for this kind of gameplay, I was soon running and gunning my way through the world of James Bond with gusto, and I was honestly having a lot of fun.  I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard on stream, and feeling silly was the furthest thing from my mind by the end of it all.  I’m really glad that I had a friendly push outside of my comfort zone and had the opportunity to share it with people who were genuinely entertained by my shenanigans.

If you’re interested, you can see a highlight reel of sorts from my 3 hour stream.  I’ve cut and edited the video.

I think I didn’t mind this game’s violence too much because a) the graphics are really unrealistic, and b) there wasn’t a lot of blood.  I think I’ll definitely wrap this game up sometime in the near future.  Heck… I might even try something a little more modern just for kicks!

Do you guys have a default genre that you go to more than others?  Have you ever felt apprehensive about trying something new?  I’d also love to hear about your first time with this game if you’ve played it.

Thanks for reading!

-GG

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So Much Paper! Guides, Guides, Guides.

An update: Mega Man V for Game Boy is gone. I went into the thrift store the other day to check up on it, and the price had been reduced to $79.99 + tax down from $114.99.  It was still way too expensive for me to buy, even if it is rare and a cool game and was reduced to about half of what it’d normally go for on eBay.  A part of me knew I wouldn’t see it again when I left that day, but I hoped anyway.  On some level, I wish I had been bold enough to buy it for that price, but another part of me hates parting with my money for the sake of greedy companies.  I know I complain about this a lot lately, but as someone who really enjoys game hunting in a small town, it’s hard to see the hobby becoming more expensive than it already is.

Goodbye Mega Man V.  May I someday find another copy of you as beautiful as you were.

Anyway, on the bright side, I did find some game guides!  Like all the other prices at that store, the price of guides is also increasing.  I can remember in recent past when game guides were only $3.99.  They later selectively pushed up the price to $5.99 if they were for really “good” games (also known as anything Zelda/Mario).  $5.99 feels pretty steep for that sort of thing, and I was shocked (but not really surprised) to find that some of these game guides were now $7.99 a piece!  There were about 20 of them there, and about half of them I couldn’t bear to leave without.  I am, after all, a sucker for RPGs.

The first guides I picked out were for Tales of Symphonia and Wario World for GameCube.  I had to phone my boyfriend because I could’ve sworn I already had the Tales of Symphonia guide, but it turned out that my memory was serving me half-correctly: we had the Tales of Symphonia art book!  I think I regularly get Tales of Symphonia confused in my head with Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles which further complicates matters, but thankfully it all got straightened out.

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Next up were some great RPG guides for a few Playstation games: Grandia, and Dark Cloud 2.  Now some of you may know to what large extent I dislike the first Dark Cloud, but I’ve heard Dark Cloud 2’s praises sung all over the internet.  I found the game last year and was excited to see the guide pop up for the taking.  Grandia is another grandiose adventure I can’t wait to undertake some day if I ever finish Ultima IV…

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The next two guides were for Final Fantasy Anthology and Final Fantasy Origins for PS1.  I’ve owned these games since I was in my teens and rounded out my collection of other Final Fantasy PS1 remake books when I bought my friend’s game collection last year.  These two I actually went back for the next day after asking around to see if they were worth picking up, and in hindsight, it should’ve been a no-brainer, especially for FFII and FFV!  Thankfully they were still there when I arrived.  Of all the manuals I bought, these were in the worst shape of all.  The Anthology manual is missing a little bite out of its back cover and shows a lot of wear as well, but no pages are missing.  Final Fantasy V has been on my list for a long time, and I’m looking forward to the challenge.

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Last but not least, I stumbled upon some Suikoden manuals for Suikoden II, IV and V.  I don’t own the fifth game, but I do have the other two.  I’ve learned today that the Suikoden II manual is quite rare and valuable, and for the price I paid, I suppose it was a pretty good deal.  I was also told that the manual apparently runs players through the beta version of the game, but I wouldn’t know better one way or another since I haven’t played it yet.  Either way, I’m glad to have it!  These manuals were all in really good shape and had the previous owner’s notes still inside on loose papers.  You can see them sticking out of the Suikoden II and Suikoden V books.

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Though I don’t normally buy so much paper in one swoop, I can never say no to a good game guide!  Finding these books has reignited my excitement to play through these games.  Work will die down in the next little while and I’ll finally have more time to get back to doing what I love: game collecting, streaming, and LPing!  Since my last post, I’ve really been into Famicom games since picking up Duck Tales and Rockman 3.  Stay tuned for some stuff I ordered off of eBay to make its way here.  I’m trying to find some Japan exclusives that are easy on the English-speaking!

Hope you’re all having an excellent weekend.  Thanks for reading!

-GG

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The Springtime Shuffle

I can honestly say that this has been one of the slowest winters for game collecting I’ve ever experienced.  With the exception of a few things wiggling into my possession by chance, I’ve mostly been shopping online or at game stores.  In my downtime, I’ve had some time to work on other projects like Let’s Plays and other videos I’ve been wanting to put together over on my YouTube channel, but for the most part, things out my way have been pretty quiet.

The first thing I picked up was Sonic the Hedgehog for Game Gear.  Before buying this Sonic game, my boyfriend only owned the second one.  This was at the thrift store for $3, so it was not a tough sell.

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I also recently discovered some RPGs for the Game Gear, and according to some ancient forums I stumbled across, some are better than others to try out.  I picked up Defenders of Oasis and Crystal Warriors for a total of $50.  There are some other Game Gear games I’d like to pick up too, but the one I’d like most is Shining Force: The Sword of Hajya.  I’d also absolutely love to play Sylvan Tale, but it was a Japan exclusive.  After watching some gameplay I’ve been pining after that one pretty hard, I’m going to have to find a way to play a translated version.  It looks too cute and awesome to pass up.

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Another game I bought was Athena for NES.  I heard about the game in a video somewhere and was pleased with how much the game visually reminded me of Alex Kidd.  I haven’t made it too far yet, mostly because I have been having a difficult time getting the cartridge to work!  It is one of the finickiest games I own and will only start up once out of 30 tries or so.  I’ve cleaned it and opened it up to inspect it and everything looks fine, so I’m not too sure what the issue is.

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Staying on the NES track, I picked up a long-sought-after game.  Ghost Lion was available at a game store with its box, manual and poster.  I had first tried this game out years ago on the DS using an R4 card, and I played it for quite some time.  At some point I had stupidly overwritten my save state and gave up, but the game was stuck in my head.  I decided to bite the bullet at my friend’s store and I paid about $140 for the game in its pristine condition.  It might seem like a lot, but because I’ve barely bought anything all winter, I wasn’t too upset about paying it and supporting a friend.  This game is in the best condition of any boxed game I own for the NES.  I almost hate putting the cartridge into the console because the game’s sticker is literally perfect.  It’s a good thing I collect to play.  Games were meant to be played!

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Although I don’t run across Famicom games in the wild very often, I did find two in a thrift store recently and bought both for $20 total.  The games were Duck Tales and Rockman 3 (aka Mega Man 3).  I didn’t have a North American version of Duck Tales, so I was pretty happy to find that one.  Thankfully there’s not a lot of story and reading required to play, and some of the main assets on the game screen are in English!  I think I would’ve normally passed on Rockman 3 since I already own it for NES, but for $20 combined, who could really complain?

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This also encouraged my boyfriend to fix our game converter that allows us to play Famicom games on the NES.  We bought it a long while ago and it has never worked.  He took it apart and diagnosed it using a continuity test.  It turned out that there were 8 broken traces.  With his ever-improving soldering skills, he rigged up some jumpers and got it working without much trouble.  Needless to say, I can now enjoy these games!

Here’s a photo of some of the broken traces pre-fix.  My boyfriend removed the silk screening to repair them.  Though the breaks were not always explicitly visible (most obvious is the leftmost one), the continuity test revealed the issues.

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Moving into 16-bit territory now, I also picked up a copy of Equinox for the SNES.  This is the sequel to Solstice, a puzzle game for NES that I’ve played a bit with a friend.  To be quite honest, I had mistaken this game for an RPG based on its label sticker, but I am happy with the purchase regardless.  This game is highly praised for fun gameplay and great music.  It’ll be a nice break from RPGs when I get around to it.  This game also came from the game store for $25.

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Just a few days ago, I finally decided to answer a classifieds ad that had been up for about a month.  There was a person selling a bunch of random games and gaming-related items like the Intellivoice module, which we already have.  I did see a Pokemon Gold Game Boy in the mix along with a few Game Boy games, so I messaged the seller and we agreed on a time to meet.  With my boyfriend along for the ride as usual, we ended up getting the Game Boy, a GB game called Kwirk that I hadn’t heard of before and a Colecovision game called Miner 2049er.  At a quick glance, I couldn’t tell if Miner 2049er was for Atari or not, so I gambled and lost: turns out it’s for Colecovision, and we don’t have a Coleco console at the moment.  The Game Boy was also missing its battery back, but it’s in great working condition minus a few scratches on the screen. We got everything in the photo below for $10.

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Kwirk has also turned out to be a pleasant little puzzle game.  The music in it is pretty great and I’m constantly impressed by music I’m discovering for Game Boy games.  I uploaded some music from Faceball 2000 recently and I can’t quite get enough of that song.  I might have to add some Kwirk music to that playlist since there are currently only two songs in there.  There needs to be more!

The other thing I was hoping to get my hands on was a copy of Mega Man V for Game Boy.  I saw that pop up at the thrift store last week, but I was shocked and mostly appalled at the staggering price tag of $114.99 for the cartridge alone.  Where I live in Canada, there’s a 13% sales tax, so all in, the game would be close to $130 Canadian all said and done.  That’s ludicrous for a game being sold at a thrift store, especially since the store pays for their donations by weight.  I think we all know that a Game Boy game doesn’t come anywhere near that price because of its enormity.  People there have been getting greedier and greedier.

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A picture of the game being held captive in the showcase.

After whining to a few store employees about the skyrocketing prices on games, someone handed me a Friends and Family discount flyer which allows for discounts on store items.  Video games have a 50% discount so I’m going to try my luck and see how things pan out when the sale rolls around.  I’m still not sure I even want to buy it at half off if the greed is running so rampant in that store, but I’ll see how I feel at that point if it’s even still there.  I’d mostly be buying it to play it for myself and then maybe sell it or trade it for something else.  We’ll see!

Here’s hoping that more games will start finding their way into my hands soon!  There are a few swaps lined up for April and May, so I plan to get out to those.  Yard sale-ing should also start up as soon as the rest of this snow melts, but the defrosting has been slow-going this Spring.  Anyway, I hope you’ve all been having a pleasant weekend!

Thanks for reading!

-GG

 

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Secret Valentine: Elle from The Road to Elle

Firstly, thank you to Ian from Adventure Rules for initiating another wonderful community event, encouraging folks to come together and share and discuss common interests, or in this case, downright appreciate others openly!

Secondly, happy Valentine’s Day!  I hope that you’re all feeling loved today.  Now, onto my secret valentine!

I was pleased to broaden my horizons beyond gaming and take a look at the blog called The Road to Elle, and the wonderful person behind it: Elle.  Though I had never interacted with Elle’s writing previous to this endeavour, I was quickly swept into candid accounts of day-to-day activities and wonderful bits of poetry, interspersed with book reviews and a little bit of everything else.  She is also a book-reading machine, which is something I really admire and wish I had more time to do in my own life.  I’ve read a total of half a book this year (I’m actually cheating, I really started it last year in December).  There are certainly some interesting books she has mentioned and discussed that I’m adding to my list of books I’d eventually like to seek out.

What I loved about reading Elle’s blog is her clear passion to write.  She just recently finished up a novel five years in the making back in November, and her excitement in that post was palpable.  She seems to be constantly striving to reflect and expand in the work she is doing, and as a result, continues to improve along the way.  I especially loved reading poems written from different prompts, i.e. write a poem about an empty room or a lie.  These spontaneous challenges were interesting to read and gave me some perspective on topics and situations I would’ve taken an entirely different direction in if I was at all good at stringing ideas together in a prose-like fashion.

It’s also really obvious that Elle really cares about her family.  Her posts are dotted with references to her children, her husband and her talented artist mother.  It was fun reading about her daughter learning to cook some new things, as well as some chronicles of local events that she has attended with family.  It’s really refreshing to read about people simply being people!

Elle from The Road to Elle is a talented writer with an enthusiasm that extends beyond your average blogger.  I’m truly looking forward to keeping up with her adventures!

Thanks for reading!

-GG

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Some Humble Acquisitions

In my winter downtime from game hunting, I’ve been working on other projects like streaming, creating reviews for my YT channel, and getting back into the swing of making some Super Mario Maker music levels.  Here and there though, I’ve stumbled upon a few new games that I wanted to share with you all.  In some exciting news, there is word of a winter swap next month that we might try to get out to if the weather is good, but who can tell with these unpredictable Canadian winters?  Time will tell, but my little list of games I’m interested in is growing again and I’ve got an itch to scratch!

The first set of games I picked up were for the Wii, and I found those locally in a classifieds ad.  When I first saw the posting I probably smiled far too wide because Grey’s Anatomy was in the mix.  A number of months ago I was looking for some good Wii games and came across a review or a gameplay video from the Grey’s Anatomy game, and I was in tears laughing at how weirdly intriguing it all seemed to me.  I was really into Grey’s when it first debuted, so this was a game I had been waiting to find.  It was a steal at $5 since I got the whole pile of games for $30.  The other steal in the bunch was Rune Factory Frontier.  As some of you may recall, I recently played through Harvest Moon 64.  Rune Factory is supposed to be all of the things I love about Harvest Moon but with the addition of RPG elements.  Marrying two of my favourite things together can’t be a bad thing, right?  The only issue is that the disc seems pretty scratched, and I’ve been boycotting the hock shop that does disc resurfacing because they’re a bunch of greedy jerks, but it’s looking like I might need to saunter over there sometime.  I don’t know if it’ll play otherwise.

I feel like I got some shovelware with this purchase, but hopefully there’s something worthwhile in those other four titles.  I’ve always wanted a Wii Degree after all!

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I was also happy to receive two NES games I ordered in the mail: Ninja Kid and Dragon Spirit: The New Legend.  Though I’m really, really bad at shmups, I was interested in Dragon Spirit because of the story and the potential for it to be a new mash-up of great gameplay for me.  After finishing SpellCaster for the SMS last year, I’m trying to be more open-minded since that game was quite enjoyable despite being in large part genres I tend to stay away from.  Ninja Kid is also something I thought might be fun to try out.

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I also stumbled upon a few doubles of GBA games I already own at an okay price at the thrift store this week, and those are Golden Sun, Golden Sun: The Lost Age and Pokemon Ruby.  I often pick up cheaper games for the purposes of trading or to pass along to friends.  The thrift store has been barren for a long time now, so it was a nice surprise to find these.

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Also, I found something at the thrift store that I don’t see very often: some big box PC games.  My boyfriend has a pretty substantial PC game collection and these were two that I couldn’t pass up on.  Though I can’t see myself playing any of the Leisure Suit Larry games, the Collector’s Edition was in excellent shape and it looked pretty complete.  I couldn’t remember seeing it on the shelf in the house so I went for it, and my boyfriend was pretty excited when I brought it home.  The other PC game I ran across was Bioforge, a game I had previously never heard of but bit the bullet on because it was a good price.  After getting it home, I learned that it was reviewed very positively.  I can see myself trying out Bioforge.  The story sounds like it’s right up my alley!  Anyone play that one?

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There were a few things I passed up on lately and have regrets about.  Apart from a bunch of cheap doubles I could’ve snagged for $30, there was an ad online for Ghost Lion (with its manual), Toxic Crusaders, Gargoyle’s Quest 2 and Pirates! for NES, but the seller wanted $280 for everything.  I offered $220 and was shot down pretty hard and the ad disappeared a short time later.  All of those games are uncommon, so I feel like I missed out, but I keep reminding myself that they’ll come around again someday.  Hopefully.  I also really want to find copies of The Uninvited and Princess Tomato in the Salad Kingdom one of these days too.  There’s still so much I’d like to find for NES!

I am cautiously optimistic that we might find some more good stuff soon.  Since this blog goes a little quiet over the winter months, perhaps you’d like to check me out over on Youtube sometime.  I do the occasional Let’s Play or video review over there and have been pouring my heart out into making some good Super Mario Maker music levels which will be releasing on Thursdays for the next half a year or so at the rate I’m going.

I hope you’ve all been keeping warm this winter.  It’s been one of the coldest I can recall in recent years, so I’m anxious for Spring!

Thanks for reading!

-GG

 

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The Unique Blogger Award – An Honour

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I’m always so flattered to hear of someone appreciating me or the content I put out here on the blog, so I wanted to extend a big, heartfelt thank you to NekoJonez for the nomination for this award for being a Unique Blogger!  Though I’m sure most of you have been over to his blog by now, you should go there again!  There’s a wealth of great, informative content on games of all kinds, as well as some how-tos about collecting and keeping things organized.  Right up my alley!  You can read his wonderful Unique Blogger award post here.  His nominees are also excellent folks, so you should check them out as well.

On with the award!  Here are the rules:

  1. Display the award. (See above).
  2. Thank the individual(s) who have nominated you and include a link to their blog. A little promotion for their blog is also welcome.
  3. Answer the questions asked by the individual who has nominated you.
  4. Nominate an arbitrary number of bloggers and have them answer three questions you put forth to them.

Here are the questions that NekoJonez put forward to his nominees:

If you were able to erase all memories from one game to be able to fully experience it again, which game would it be and why?

This would definitely be Undertale.  I played that one a few years ago and felt things I’ve never felt before while playing a game.  Since I like story-driven RPGs quite a bit, I’ve always found myself gravitating and sympathizing with the protagonist first and foremost, but Undertale had me battling feelings of sadness, guilt and regret toward NPCs.  It was a big shift for me, and truly a unique gaming experience I haven’t replicated since.

If you were allowed to help in the production of a game, which role would you take on and why? The role of producer, voice actor, writer, designer…?

If I had to choose, I think I would like to be a voice actor.  I’m a pretty shy person in the flesh and am often left out in social situations since I hate being the center of attention, so to be able to lend a voice in an impersonal way would be a dream come true for me.  I don’t know if I have the voice for it, since along with the shyness comes a bit of soft-spokenness.

What is one of the earliest video game memories?

I have been gaming since I was 4 when my family brought home the NES.  I used to play a fair bit of Super Mario Bros., and the earliest memory I have is passing the controller to my dad and him walking into the first goomba in World 1-1, which was the first and last time we ever played a game together.  We also had a really old computer that used to have a pinball game on it, and I also used to fiddle around with a Sherlock Holmes text-based game way back as well.  I didn’t know what that game was for many years but finally found it last year.  It’s called Sherlock Holmes: Riddle of the Crown Jewels.  Our Vic20 also brought me a lot of great early gaming memories.  I used to really love playing Choplifter.

I suppose it’s time for me to nominate some great folks for this award.  I’m allowed to choose an arbitrary number, so I’ll highlight four here, though there are many others I’d like to choose!  I will open up my nominations to anyone I follow here.  If I follow you, you’re unique enough to entertain me and keep me interested, so if you find my questions interesting, please feel free to answer them yourself!

Jeff NinjaFox – a fellow collector and retrogamer, but someone who also has a love for new games (and foxes!)  I love reading about his collecting escapades.

Nostalgia Trigger – a gamer that has resolved to stop buying games for 2018, but has a tremendous backlog of games to play through and talk about (looking forward to this very much!)

Sega Dude – another fellow collector who has an impressive bunch of games, and often offers up some great opinions on games he has played.  He also has a YouTube page that I’ve just discovered… you should definitely check out his videos.

EsperDreams – a wonderful collector and gamer who has a review blog, but also streams some fun and unique games on Twitch (she just reached 100 followers there, a well-deserved milestone for an entertaining gamer)

Some questions for you fine folks:

  1. Which video game character do you most relate to, whether for their backstory or their personality?
  2. What’s one game that you own that you don’t think you want to play?  Why?
  3. What is one game that you wish you owned?  Why don’t you own it?

Before I go, a gigantic thank you again to NekoJonez for the nomination.  I’ve said it here many times before, but it’s truly an honour to be a part of such a wonderful and supportive community of like-minded individuals.  Thank you for letting me share my quirky adventures with you.

Thanks for reading!

-GG

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PSA: See stolen content from content creators? Content theft!

This is important to see! Let’s all look out for one another!

NekoJonez's Gaming Blog

Today, I had an unpleasant surprise this morning on the train to work. I found out that two websites actually stole my content! This was such a let down since the amount of content that was stolen from me is more than just one article. It’s almost all my articles from December. While I was working on contacting other sites and blogs that got content stolen, a good blogging friend of mine Drakulus wrote this article. And it’s actually a great lesson to learn. 

What do you if you come across stolen content? Do you ignore it? Or do you do something about it? What if the stolen content you come across is yours? 

WordPress is a great place to publish content of all sorts. Some people like to use it as a diary. While others, like myself, us it to express their love for gaming by reviewing games, writing…

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