Over a year ago, I was one of the many people who remember hearing about and seeing gameplay footage of Xenoblade Chronicles and thinking, "holy crap, this game needs to be brought to North America!" I hung on every bit of info having to do with Xenoblade Chronicles, during which I found a movement that seemed to want this game brought to North America just as bad as I did, and that was the folks at Operation Rainfall. Beyond filling me in on the latest localization news regarding Xenoblade, they also opened my eyes to two other fantastic looking games that were being released, The Last Story and Pandaora's Tower. Combined with Xenoblade, these games made up the original Operation Rainfall mission of having the three games localized in the United States and Canada.
I remember many ups and downs leading up to the localization announcement of each game, particularly Xenoblade since it was the title out of the original three games that I wanted the most. After various false starts and announcements from Nintendo that there was no interest in this game, as well as the other two games in North America, Xenoblade and soon after that, The Last Story were announced for release in the NTSC region. I was estatic and bought my copies of Xenoblade and The Last Story the day they came out. However, there was one very important piece missing; of course, I am referring to Pandora's Tower.
Similar to my anticipation, doubts of it ever being localized, and severe desire to play Xenoblade and The Last Story, I wanted nothing more than to have Panora's Tower sitting next to the other two games that Operation Rainfall brought to North America through their commitment and efforts. Myself and everyone else who felt this way, finally got their wish last Tuesday with the official North American release of Pandora's Tower on the Wii. Unlike Xenoblade and The Last Story, I was unable to pick up Pandora's Tower on day one, but tonight my dreams became a reality when I finally bought the last of the original three games that Project Rainfall worked so hard to have localized. I purchased Pandora's Tower from a local video game store tonight (along with some Sega Genesis shmups) and could not wait to bring it home. As soon as I did, I grabbed my copy of Xenoblade Chronicles and The Last Story and placed them right next to Pandora's Tower, together in North American region for the first time. Staring at them together brought me great joy and it made me think how long waited for this moment, thinking about how awesome it would be. Well, the reality is better than the dream and now the only thing left to do is to pop Pandora's Tower in the ol'Wii and play this phenominal vidoe game
Like any obsessive video game collector would, I decided to go game hunting on my lunch break at work and hope to get lucky in my searches. I hit up a local "hotspot" of video game deals that I have been going to for about two-years now; among my many exploits from this place include $2 Ogre Battle 64, $5 Conker's Bad Fur Day, and $5 Fire Emblem Path of Radiance. If you are aware of what these games typically sell for, you are now completely aware why this place is so desirable for video game hunting. But anyhow, I was blessed with extreme fortune today when I stumbled upon a bunch of recently acquired Gamecube games, of them was the fairly uncommon Resident Evil 2 port for the system.
My eyes shot wide open and I snatched the copy up on almost pure instinct. Even compared to the probably more rare Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine for the N64 that I found on that same trip, the Gamecube RE2 seemed way more special and I was far more excited about it. When my brain started easing off giddy mode I remembered that while I was holding a version of RE2 I didn't own, I did in fact already own the game, three other versions of it to be exact. Yes, I already owned the PS1, N64 and Dreamcast releases of RE2, and having played all of these ports at least once I have come to the conclusion that RE2 kicks complete and total ass!
The Gamecube version's value and rarity aside, I debated a little as to whether I needed a fourth port of RE2, a game essentially the same as the other three versions I already had. However paying $5 on an otherwise $30 game I essentially couldn't go wrong. I bought RE2 along with the Indiana Jones game and a very cheap copy of Metroid Prime 3 on the Wii, and once I returned home that evening I popped my newly acquired gem of survival horror into my Gamecube and could not stop playing. I was instantly reminded why I got so excited when I saw RE2 stuffed in with those other Gamecube games and why I didn't mind buying a fourth copy of the game; RE2 is one of those timeless masterpieces of video game achievement that cannot be enjoyed enough. I am proud to own four different versions of RE2, and while I won't be hunting down the PC or games.com ports anytime soon or . . . ever (not saying the PC port is bad, PC gaming just hasn't been my thing since about 2001, but yeah, the games.com port is just awful) I am very happy and very content with having my four different ports of RE2
Today I received my Ni No Kuni player's guide off Amazon which I was very happy about. My girlfriend has already started the game and is probably 20-hours in already. With the guide came a free DLC code for the Gold Hurly familiar. While Gold Hurly is pretty cool, I thought I'd much rather see how much the DLC codes for him are selling on Ebay, possibly sell the code, and redeem the money I make for a DLC familiar I want more, Griffy.
I first started by seeing how much people were selling the Gold Hurly code for and to my utter surprise, people were actually selling it, a DLC code for ONE familair, for $15 to $20! I was like, "Good God, what is wrong with people?!" Despite my objections to paying for DLC all together, I could somewhat understand a pack of 5+ familiars selling for that much, but just one. People in this world have truly lost their minds. However, I had absolutely no clue how insane people have become until I looked up how much the Griffy DLC code was going for.
I typed in "Ni No Kuni Griffy" into the Ebay search bar, clicked on the completed listings button and HOLY F#$&ING SH!T, the f***ing code is selling for around $50 consistently; $50. . . FVCKING. . .DOLLARS . . . for one, just one, DLC character. This is digital insanity at its worst and just shows that people can be outragiously stupid when swept up in the hype of a new popular game. Whether it was going for $5 or $50, DLC and any form of digital distribution is legal theft on the devs part seeing how you are paying them real money and getting nothing of value in return, however just the shear insanity of how much people are willing to waste for a single character absolutely astounds me beyond belief. I've just decided to keep my Gold Hurly DLC code, I'm not going to contribute to this utter BS on Ebay.
Tonight after a fairly busy day at home, my girlfriend and I decided to go out for a little bit and do some shopping. One of our stops was a local Target store where he had to pick up some drinks, food, and browse their clearance toy section (my girlfriend is an action figure and toy nut lol). Of course, one necessary stop is the video game section where I look carefully for any good deals on clearance games or games that have good sales on them. While I didn't find either, I did find something better, way better.
Two days prior to its official US release, the Target store I found myself at had copies of Level 5's new JRPG Ni No Kuni already on the self. This game is currently on the top of my "To Get" list, and I have been looking forward to finally being able to play this game since I heard about it almost a year ago. Of course I grabbed the nearest sales person and asked to get a copy. As the Target employee was opening the locked display case and walking me up to the register, I was so, so excited that I was finally going to be able to sink my teeth into this amazing, beatiful RPG. I also couldn't help but think of a similar situation that happened to me years ago, funny enough at a Target store.
Back during the fall of 2001, I was browsing the electronics section at another local Target when I nearly crapped my pants after seeing several copies of Final Fantasy X behind the glass video game display, two weeks before its official release. Although I didn't have any spending money, I begged and pleaded with my mom who was with me to buy it (I was 14 at the time, give me a break). She eventually caved to my begging and bought it for me. It was an incredible feeling being able to play one of the greatest RPGs released weeks before my friends and just about every one else was able to play it. With the impending purchase of Ni No Kuni, I was about to relive that amazing, unique feeling that I hadn't felt in over a decade.
My girlfriend and I were standing at the register in the electronics section as the employee rang our purchase up. As he scanned it, a look of concern and confusion appeared on his face. That's when my excitement died. "Sorry, but I can't sell this game to you, it's now supposed to be out yet." He said to my girlfriend and I. I felt anger and frustration build in me and didn't know how to direct it. My better nature took over and decided that the employee nor Target deserved to get their asses chewed out, especially over a video game, regardless of how much I wanted it. I decided to express my unhappiness to the employee simply by saying "that sucks" or something like that, making a point not to get mad at him.
As I walked through the store and grabbed my groceries, I calmed down and tried putting things into perspective. It was only a video game after all, and I'd only have to wait pretty much one more day before I could buy it without issue. I do feel better about the situation now, but I still cannot believe how close I was to being able to play what I believe will be one of the best RPGs to be released in years, two days early. Ni No Kuni, I will see you this Tuesday!
Tonight marked an important event in my life as a gamer; while running running around this evening, I decided to stop by a local Barnes and Noble to find this month's Nintendo Power issue. Hunting down NP issues is not something I normally do, however, like many of you know, this was the final issue of Nintendo Power that the world will ever see.
Nintendo Power holds a very special place in my heart. Being on off and on subscriber over the years (subscribed from 1995 - 1996, and again from 1998 - 2004) I used to greatly look forward to getting each issue in the mail, and reading them from front to cover, sometimes several times over again. I also used to go back to them all the time to look at pictures, guides, cheats, reviews, and the countless other bits of great info this magazine provided during its lifespan. NP was also a huge benefit to own during my second subscription period because it shared my excitement, enthusiasm and addiction to games like Ocarina of Time, Pokemon Red and Blue, and Banjoe Kazooie, to name a few. In a way, they made these games even better than they would be, I think because it was like sharing the excitment with a friend. *below was my first issue of NP ever*
While I will admit that part of the reason why I discontinued my sibscription to NP was in part because I wasn't happy with the directon the magazine was going around 2005, I still thought the magazine enjoyable and entertaining mostly, and have picked up about a dozen issues since discontinuing my subscription in 04. Sadly, I no longer have any of the original NP magazines I used to receive as part of my subscription, but had the extreme fortune of finding nearly every NP issue from late 1996 to early 2001 for free at a local game store that was giving them as a donation. It has definitely spured my interest in collecting every issue at some point, but that will have to wait considering how expensive some of the older issues can be.Luckily the Barnes and Noble I decided to go to had many issues left of NP's final issue. Without thinking, I decided to buy two sealed copies, one to read and admire for the rest of my life, and one to put away, forever preserved in new, mint condition. I bought both and returned home with my beloved magazine. After eating diner, I opened one of the copies up and upon opening just the first page, was flooded with excitment as I was about to read the final issue of Nintendo Power, but I was also filled with feelings of sadness from knowing this would be the final new issue of NP I'd ever be able to buy new. As I read each letter, each review, each commentary on NP's rich history, I was overwhelmed with feelings of nostalgia and fond memories of each issue I had read as well as the great Nintendo games I was playing at the time of reading those issues. It was an incredible experience. But anyhow, back to me getting the final issue and reading it.
Now this is where things get really sappy; there were two points when I almost started crying while reading tonight. The first was NP's pick for the greatest Nintendo game of all time. I wont spoil what they decided it was, but I could not thnk of a more deserving game to earn such an honor. It filled me with pride and the sense of extreme fortune that I own that game and have played it many times, each time loving it more than the last. The other part that almost made me cry was the Nester and Maxwell(Max) comic on the very last page. It was so heartfelt and definitely personified my feeling about NP, as well as how badly I'll miss this incredible magazine. Thank you Nintendo Power for years of excellent video gae journalism, and more than that, thank you for countless fond memories and experiences that will forever be priceless to me
Having the weekends off, I typically use that time to go game hunting at various places around town and today was no different, well kind of. One pleace on my route of places to look for great deals on video games led me to one of my favorite video game store, Gameforce in Boulder. In addition to having probably the best video game selection in Colorado, they are pretty reasoanably priced on most of their stuff with a few exception. However today, they had several excellent deals including $30 on Paper Mario and $25 on it's sequel for the Gamecube; I would have picked one or both of them up however at the moment even $25 for one game is a bit out of my price range. The game deal that stole the show for me was not Paper Mario, but rather Castlevania Dracula X for the SNES for $75.
While $75 is a great deal of money for one game, especially a retro title, it is an excellent deal compared to what it typically goes for on Ebay ($90 to $120 on average). I have wanted this game for a very long time, and it took me about 20-minutes of pacing around the store and debating internally before I decided that if I can't drop $25 for Paper Mario and the Thousand Year Door, there is no way in hell it would be possible or practical to drop $75 on another game, regardless of how great a deal that is. I walked out of Gameforce a little discouraged, knowing that by the time I did have enough money to buy it, it would surely be gone. My only comfort was knowing that I made the right choice financially, and that there have been many valuable games I've passed on and later found them at an even better deal (I'm looking at you MUSHA).
Although I didn't get anything for Gameforce, about 2 hours later I found myself at another location that has been good to me many times in terms of finding great gaming deals. Low and behold I found the XBOX ports of Silent Hill 2 and Silent Hill 4 for $5 each. While neither were spectacular deals, I've wanted both for a while and was very happy to get my hands on them. I also picked up Resident Evil 4 on the Gamecube for my little brother who recently started getting back into retro games. I paid $3 for that so that was a way better deal. I'll be heading back out on the hunt tomorrow and hopefully I end up finding something that would even outshine a $75 Dracula X; it's happened before
Tonight I finally took the time to compile a list of the remaining PS2 games I have a desire to own. While I'm sure these won't the the last 57 PS2 games I buy, these are the games that I have my heart set on that I still do not own. On a side note, I would also like to eventually start collecting some of the import PS2 games. For those of you who are familiar with my forum posts, I am a huge PS2 fan; it's my favorite console ever and by far is the largest collection I have (currently 168 games). So without further delay, here are the remaining PS2 games I want:
1.Arc the Lad End of Darkness
2.Armored Core 3
3.Armored Core Nexus
4.Armored Core Nine Breaker
5.Art of Fighting Anthology
6.Battle Assault 3: Gundam SEED
7.Blood Will Tell
8.Breath of Fire Dragon Quarter
9.Burnout 3 Take Down
10.Capcom Classic Collection
11.Capcom Classics Vol 2
12.Castle Shikigami II
13.Clock Tower 3
14.Contra Shattered Soldier
15.Dawn of Mana
16.Digimon Rumble Arena 2
17.Digimon World 4
19.Dragon Ball Infinite World
20.Fatal Frame 3
22.God of War
23.God of War 2
24.Grand Theft Auto San Andreas Special Edition
30.Mega Man X7
31.Mega Man X8
32.Mega Man Anniversary Collection
33.Musashi Samurai Legend
35.Need For Speed Most Wanted 2
36.Okage Shadow King
41.Red Dead Revolver
43.Sakura Wars: So long my Love
44.Silent Hill 3
45.Star Wars Battlefront
46.Star Wars Battlefront 2
48.Street Fighter Alpha Anthology
52.Tenchu Fatal Shadows
54.Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3
55.Twisted Metal Black
56.Xtreme G Racing Association
Last night while I was making my runs on Craigslist for any good deals on video games (there wasn't any by the way) I stumbled upon an ad titled "Play n Trade going out of business sale." When I read this my first reaction was, "there's no Play N' Trades in Colorado." Apparantly I was mistaken because just 25-miles north of me there was, however I had discovered it almost too late since they were going out of business soon.
The reason I'm blogging about Play N' Trade is because I had always wanted to visit one given how many people online speak so highly of them in terms of selection and price. Watching videos of Play N' Trade pick-ups or just people visiting stores near them was enough to make me really want to visit one. In fact several months ago I remember going to Play N' Trades Website to see if there were any locations near me, and for whatever reason (probably my crappy browser) no result came up within a 50-mile radius of where I live. I had written off ever being able to go to a Play N' Trade store until last night.
Because I had the day off due to the Memorial Day holiday, I decided to make the best of it and drive up to Longmont CO where the Play N' Trade store was located and see what kind of deals I could find since the whole store was going under. The ad on Craigslist specified that all used games were 25% off and new were 10% off. While the new game clearance wasn't too appealing, the 25% off used video games certainly was. Arriving this afternoon, I scoured the stores remaining selection for the best deals I could find, and surprisingly found some pretty sweet deals on games that I have wanted for a while. For the most part though, the store was clearly picked over pretty badly, with most big titles like Mario, Zelda, Final Fantasy and Castlevania being cleared out long before I arrived. However here is what I did find at my first, and probably last visit to this Play N' Trade store:
Xtreme G (N64) - $0.75
Xtreme G2 (N64) - $0.75
Pokemon Pinball: Ruby and Saffire (GBA) - $3.00
Omega Boost (PS) - $3.00
Mic and Mac: Global Gladiators (Genesis) - $1.25
Overall I was pretty happy about what I found, however I felt sad that I had discovered this once great store in its dying hours. Perhaps someday I'll visit a place with a nearby Play N' Trade, or possibly if I move, I'll have one conveniently by me. Either way, it was a fun trip, and one I'll remember as my first visit to Play N' Trade.
I just added a bunch of games I have purchased over the weekend at a variety of flea markets, thrift stores, and garage sales, and holy crap.....according to Gamespot's estimated collection value feature, my collection is worth a little over $9100! I know this estimate is very, very rough (goes up $20 every time you add a game, regardless of it's actual value), but in reality, the actual value of my collection including games, consoles, accessories, paraphernalia, guides and the tons of other gaming crap I've accumulated is probably within $500 of this estimate. Not only that, but I currently have over 450 games, which is definitely not the biggest collection out there, but is crazy when I think about it. Especially when I think about how many of these games I have obtained in the past year, it's seriously mind boggling! With the weather getting nicer, garage sales in full swing, and the flea markets ripe with deals, I hope to surpass 500-games by the end of the summer. Gotta love this hobby
Today was a good day; after waiting months and at several points doubting that I'd ever be able to play it without importing it, I finally bought my own copy of Xenoblade Chronicles for the Wii. However, part of the reason why I'm basking in the bliss of this purchase is because I feel like I obtained my copy the right way. When I say "the right way" I don't mean I found a copy at a thrift store or garage sale for less than $10 (what I typically write about), but rather I paid the full retail price of $50, something I rarely ever do. I bought Xenoblade the right way because I didn't purchase it at Gamestop, the company that has swindled consumers and other businesses alike, and sadly also had exclusive rights to sell and distribute this game when it was released yesterday.
For those of you who aren't aware of this, Gamestop obtained "exclusive" rights from Nintendo to sell Xenoblade Chronicle, meaning that to get what many are calling the greatest JRPG of this gen, you have to mozy on over to your local Gamestop to pick it up. While I desperately wanted to play Xenoblade, I refused to comprimise my stance of never supporting Gamestop no matter what. Yes, I do very much so dispise Gamestop for many, many reasons. To sum it up, I refuse to give a cent to Gamestop in anyway because of Gamestop's unethical, dishonest and predatory business practices which have hurt the industry substantially in many ways. But this isn't about my reasons for boycotting Gamestop, but rather my joy in being able to find Xenoblade new someplace else.
A few days ago while visiting one of my favorite Indi video game shops, Gameforce, I learned that they were getting in a small shipment of Xenoblade Chronicles on launch day. Baffled, I asked them how they were able to do this considering Gamestop and Nintendo's website had exclusive rights for selling and distributing the game. The friendly employee at Gameforce informed me that Nintendo shipped limited quantities of the game to various Indi and smaller chain video game stores in order to help promote the game to a greater audiance. Thinking I would never be able to play Xenoblade, at least until I stumbled upon a used copy someplace other than Gamestop, I was thrilled to hear that I could buy Xenoblade and not support the scum that is Gamestop. I placed my copy on reserve that day and this morning I was finally able to pick it up. Even though I paid full retail for this game, I could not be happier with being able to pick up a video game I've been very excited about for a very long time, and I didn't have to compromise my values in order to purchase this so-called Gamestop exclusive title. I will forever charish my specific copy of Xenoblade because it was bought the right way.
For those of you who read my previous blog, I obtained a special edition Pikachu Nintendo 64 console over the weekend at a flea market for $30. Aside from having wanted one of these things for years now, I also wanted one so I may finally retire my original Nintendo 64, the most reliable, amazing, and played system I have ever owned.
I received my Nintendo 64 as a gift on Christmas Eve 1996 from my Aunt Linda, along with a game that I owe a huge part of my devotion to video games to, Super Mario 64. When I received it I could not have been happier or more excited, as it was something I wanted so badly and almost didn't expect getting seeing how the N64 was the hot new console to have during the 1996 holiday season. Luckily I got one, and little did I know then that it would become one of my most beloved possessions over 15-years later.
My originally N64 has seen many TVs, been to many houses, and has played probably 75% of the N64 library at one point or another, resulting in thousands of hours of video game bliss. And up until yesterday it sat on my entertainment console, playing all my N64 games without issue or delay, just like it did the first time I popped Super Mario 64 in it.This morning, my N64 saw its last use as it became official when I took out the expansion pack in it, and swapped it with the jumper pack that came with the Pikachu N64. Like retiring a championship horse I placed my old N64 amongst my N64 games as a proper place for my N64 to be appreciated and commended forever.
On a less sentimental (and cheesy) note, I also retired my partially working Sega Dreamcast for one without disk reading problems; a local game store I regularly frequent allowed me to trade in my old Dreamcast for a used one with only a $15 charge for the swap. Don't worry, they were fully aware of its issues, in fact that's why they gave me the deal in the first place. I took it home and christened it with some SNK fighting awesomeness by playing several rounds of King of Fighters 99 Dream Match and Last Blade 2 with my girlfriend. The new dreamcast works like a charm and hopefully it will be the last Dreamcast I ever have to buy; this is my fourth Dreamcast system I've bought, the first I traded in for games back in the day, and the others that follow broke and needed to be replaced. Here's hoping that this one is the last one I'll have to buy...
It's Saturday, the weather is awesome, and I didn't have to work; it was the perfect formula to head out to the local flea market after a long winter hiatus! I have been dying to hunt for incredible deals on video games at the flea market for months, and it was a no brainer as to what I'd be doing this weekend when I saw the forecast of sunny with a high of 70-degrees. So my girlfriend and I headed out to the flea market late this morning, and little did we know at the time it would be the best flea market trip to date. After 3-hours of searching for gaming bargains this is what I ended up coming home with:
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker (Gamecube)- $10
Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords (XBOX)- $4
Goldeneye 007 (N64)- $2
PS1 Memory Card (official)- $1
Zombie Revenge (Dreamcast)- $2.50
Guilty Gear X2: #RELOAD (XBOX)- $2.50
Chaos Legion (PS2)- $4
Drakengard (PS2)- $5 [by far the worst deal of the day, but it was part of a bundle to get several other valuable games]
.Hack Mutation (PS2)- $5
Jurassic Park (Genesis)- $1
Shining Force Neo (PS2)- $2.50
Alien 3 (Genesis)- $2
The Lion King (Genesis)- $1
Jak II (PS2)- $2
Jak III (PS2)- $2
Mortal Kombat (Genesis)- $1
While everything above was a good deal (with the exception of Drakengard...what was I thinking!), they all paled in comparison to the two best finds of the day. One of which was the last thing I found before heading home, and finding it could not have made me happier considering how long I have wanted it. But first, the runner up for the best find I found all day was....
Skies of Arcadia (Dreamcast)- $2.50
Yes, you are probably thinking how the hell can you beat that, did you find a boxed copy of Earthbound or something? While I wish I had found a boxed copy of Earthbound (I'd settle for an unboxed one too), the best thing I found all day may seem not as cool as Skies of Arcadia, but for me personally it was waayyyy cooler. And here it is, my best find of the day:
Pikachu Nintendo 64 console- $30
I have wanted one of these things for years, but they are very hard to find, unless you buy one on Ebay for 50 to 80 bucks, just for the console. I ended up getting all the hook ups, a controller and rumble pack with it as well. Even if it was just the console and nothing else, I would have still bought it at that price. And in addition to this, it is in mint condition.
So there you have it, those are the great flea market finds that made this the best trip I've ever had to the flea market. But who knows, maybe in a week or two when I go again, I'll end up outdoing myself; here's hoping that there is an Earthbound out there somewhere with a $2 price tag and my name on it.
Tonight was a special night, especially in terms of hunting down cool video games for dirt cheap, a hobby I enjoy almost as much as playing the games I buy. It all began with an arrangement on Craigslist I made last night with a 13-year old kid selling his N64 with some games. I already own a N64 (in fact, it's my original from 1996), but what interested me most were the games he was selling; aside from some throw away games I could care less about, the two main games that interested me were a gold collectors cart of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and a copy of everyone's favorite 64-bit fighting game.....Kasumi Ninja!!! Just kidding, the kid was also selling Super Smash Bros. as well. For all this I made him the offer of $20, which he eagerly accepted. While everything was fine and dandy, there was one small problem that threatened to undermine the whole amazing deal I had just made; this kid lived about 50-miles away from where I live. The gas alone would have turned this great find sour, however I made the most of this excursion by hitting up several bargain gaming hotspots around the area I was to get my N64 and games. And with that, my Thursday night of game hunting was planned.
As mentioned, my first stop was meeting this kid who'd made the deal with me over Craigslist regarding his N64, two controllers, two awesome games, and two other not so awesome games (just in case you're curious, they were Lego Racer and Top Gear Rally). After getting off work, i collected my girlfriend and two dogs, and the four of us made our way south to seal this great deal. I arrived at the arranged rendezvous point, shortly after, this kid and his mother pulled up. The kid came out of the car with a large brown box which held the prize I sought. After thoroughly inspecting the contents of the box, and determining that everything was in good shape and playable, I paid the kid is deserved $20 and was now the owner of two highly sought after N64 games and another N64 (which I plan on reselling for a profit or moding so I can play Japanese games). With a smile on my face, I made my way to my next panned destination.
This next destination was a new and used media store owned by GoHastings (you may have bought something from them on amazon, or perhaps visited one of their stores at one point or another) known as Tradesmart. The last time I had been there, they didn't really have anything worth while, at least that was affordable, but this time I was able to pull out two gems. The first gem was discovered amongst a hoard of XBOX games, and funny enough it wasn't even an XBOX game, not even a disk-based game. My discovered treasure was none other than the infamously hard, and lessor loved of the franchise, Zelda II: The Adventures of Link on the NES. And would you know it, I only paid a dollar for it! The other discovery I found was less interesting, but still a decent deal; I picked up a copy of SSX Tricky for $2. While SSX tricky on the PS2 is about as common as they come (although, ironically this is the first copy of this game I've seen in a while for some strange reason), and Zelda II isn't terribly rare, I have been trying to get these games for really cheap for a long, long time, and tonight my wish finally came true.
My final stop before heading home and effectively ending my game hunting journey was a local game store that doesn't always have the best selection, but does often have some of the best prices. As a browsed the store, I did find two games I really wanted, but inevitably just bought one because the other was a little too expensive at he moment (again, fyi, the game I passed on was Atelier Rorona for $20). And the lucky game I chose to purchase was Ferrari Challenge on the PS3 for $2! It may not be Forza or GT, but again, I have wanted this game for a while and now it's finally mine.
Exhausted and hungry, I decided to grab some Chinese on my way home. As I ate my delicious steamed dumplings I couldn't help but feel satisfied over my pretty successful game hunting journey that ended up in my finding around $100 in gaming awesomeness for just $25 and about $20 in gas. No complaints here
Call it part public service announcement and rant, but I cannot keep my silence about possibly the most extortionist thrift store chain on the planet, that my friends is ARC Thrift Stores Inc.
This pseudo thrift store was not always bad, in fact, just over this last summer and earlier in the fall I found some great deals on games there including Suikoden on the PS for $4 and TMNT: Hyperstone Heist on the Genesis for just $3. However, those days are long, long gone. Since probably October, every trip I've had to ARC has been nothing short of one WTF moment after the other; Madden 04 on the XBOX $9, Super Mario Bros/Duck Hunt on the NES $10, freakin Metal Gear Solid $10! However today was the last straw; we're talking $15 for Sonic the Hedgehog on the Genesis and a whopping $15 for Batman Returns on the Genesis as well......are you f$%#ing kidding me!? These aren't thrift store prices, hell, these aren't even game store prices, this is just pure extortion!
I was so overwhelmed with outrage I actually asked the woman why the prices have taken such a dramatic climb north, and her response was, "new management." While this would explain the climb in prices, I only wish I could speak face to face with the greedy bastards who have the audacity to overcharge $10+ for a game that was donated to them! While they don't exist outside Colorado (at least I think so) stay away from ARC thrift stores! I know most of you who read this would be smart enough not to think $15 is a good price on Sonic, but the fact remains that they are ripping people off. And it's not just the specific store I visited today, but every ARC thrift store. I went to another one of their stores earlier in the week and once again, ridiculous prices on virtually every game they were selling. I know personally I won't be shopping there anymore, at least not until they lower their prices again to something a lot more reasonable than $15 for a game worth about $3 tops.
As promised here is the rest of my top ten favorite video games of all time, number 5 through 1! In all the 20-years I've been playing video games, these are the best of the best in my opinion and have had the biggest impact on me of any game, and in many ways the biggest impact that any media-based form of entertainment, has had on me. Not only are these top 5 games the best games I've ever played, but they happen to be the most fun, the most memorable, and the most definitive gaming experiences I have ever for me. So here they are, my top 5 video games of all time!!!
5. Super Mario 64 (Nintendo 64)
Christmas 1996 was possibly the most memorable Christmas of my life, mostly because that year I received both a brand-new Nintendo 64 console and also one of the best games I have ever played, and the game I attribute my metamorphosis from casual gamer to hardcore, game addict to: Super Mario 64. At the time, Super Mario 64 was the most amazing thing I had ever seen on a television, not to mention the most fun, entertaining thing I'd ever seen and played on a television. For many years it remained my favorite video game, and I would end up playing it over and over again throughout the years; I've never succumbed to boredome from collecting all 120 stars in the game and being able to blast myself on the roof of the castle in order to say hello to Yoshi. Not only that, but a huge reason why the Nintendo 64 is my second favorite console of all time is because of this game. To this day it remains my favorite platformer game, and it'll take a game of legendary achievement to dethrone this amazing 64-bit adventure.
4. Half-Life 2 (Microsoft XBOX)
While many would prefer the PC version, I have never been that much of a PC gamer, and have always preferred a controller to a keyboard, that is why Half-Life 2 for the XBOX is my pick for the fourth best video game I have ever played. Half-Life 2 is the only game that I beat, and had so much fun that I decided right after beating it to start over and play it from start to finish, again! While its episodic chapters were amazing, I felt that the original was something truly special, and definitely made a lasting impression with me. It is one of the most immersive and well paced games I have ever played, and I did not feel bored or dissatisfied with one second of this game. Not only that, but it has one of the best stories and some of the best characters I have come across in any video game, FPS, RPG, or any other genre considered. I am anxiously awaiting Half-Life 3 and hope that it is able to fill the shoes of this epic game.
3. Final Fantasy VII (Sony Playstation)
I hopped aboard the RPG train pretty late in the game; prior to FF7, the closest I had come to an RPG was Pokemon Red on the gameboy, and when I played FF7, I was introduced to one of my favorite video game genres ever! Suggested by one of my little brothers friends when I was about 12, he sold me on the promises of amazing gameplay and an even more amazing story when he used to tell me about how awesome FF7 was. Finally, October 26, 2000, the day the Playstation 2 was launched in North America, I went a my local game store and bought a PS1 console to the confusion of the store employees, along with a brand new copy of Final Fantasy VII. When I got home at around 6:30pm that night I played FF7 until I was forced to go to bed around 11pm; the words of my brother's friend could have never done justice to FF7 and how truly incredible of a game it was when I first played it. Everyday after school and every weekend for the next month or so I spent playing through the incredible story of FF7, and poring over my players guide for the game in order to find every secret, final weapon, and side quest I could. I simply could not get enough of this game, and I did not stop playing FF7 until I had racked up over 120+ hours of play time, and had completed nearly every possible thing you could do in the game (never did or have beat Ruby Weapon though...). Now, having played almost every main Final Fantasy game, and having replayed FF7 three or four times, it still remains not only my favorite game in the FF-series, but my favorite RPG ever, and the soul reason why I love RPGs so much to this day. Like a first kiss, I compare all RPGs that follow to this timeless game, and while there have been some incredible experiences along the way, no other RPGs have comes close to touching the specialness that is Final Fantasy VII.
2. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (Nintendo 64)
Some of you may have read a blog I posted several months ago called The One that almost got away; in it, I describe how one of my favorite games ever, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time almost slipped through my fingers and I almost gave up on this game after not being very impressed with it when I first played it. Giving this game a second chance ranks as one of the best decisions I have ever made, period! More than any other game I have ever played, I have played through Ocarina of Time probably over ten times and every time it still puts a huge smile on my face. There are those rare games where everything is perfect; the music, the gameplay, the controls, the levels, the bosses, everything, and Ocarina of Time is certainly one of those games in my opinion. This game has no flaws because not once during the entire time I've played it have I ever encountered something I was not happy with or that I did not find ridiculously entertaining and enjoyable. In fact, I can't imagine another game ever being made that will ever be as enjoyable and satisfying as The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. . .ever. Having just read this, you are probably scratching your head thinking, "so why isn't this your favorite game ever?" Well my friends, you are about to find out...
1. Shenmue and Shenmue 2 (Dreamcast and Microsoft XBOX [respectively])
The Shenmue series is something that transcends being fun and entertaining, and can only be described as an almost spiritual experience, at least that's how I felt when playing these games. Never has a game resonated so deeply within me or made so many emotions boil to the surface as Shenmue and Shenmue 2 each time I play through each. I am completed captivated and at the mercy of such an incredibly crafted story and game, and never has what I'm doing in a video game mattered so much to me. Shenmue literally transcends being just a video game and is nothing less than a pure masterpiece of art and beauty. Sappy stuff aside, Shenmue is also one of the most enjoyable and immersive games I have ever played, and also is one of the most diverse gaming experiences I have ever had. While I cannot claim it is a perfectly made game, as with Ocarina of Time, it makes up for everything it lacks by making all the things that work in this game 100x more riveting and meaningful than any other game ever has and probably ever will. Shenmue is such an amazing game (get ready for the super-sappiness) that I genuinely feel like my life will never be complete unless Yu Suzuki makes Shenmue 3, and wraps up a story that has tormented me with its lack of conclusion for nearly 8-years since I first beat Shenmue 2. I love Shenmue, and I am pretty confident that no other game I will ever play for the rest of my life will even come within being half as good, memorable, and fulfilling as Shenmue and Shenmue 2; they will always be my number one favorite games of all time.
If any of you have tracked my forum threads I've created over the years, you know I am a huge fan of lists (maybe the only thing I have in common with middle school girls). My favorite list to share and create is my favorite games of all time. While I have played many awesome games throughout the years, I feel like the following 10 require the most admiration and recognition. To make this top 10 list, the games had to have a lasting impact on me, transcend being just a "fun" game, and be one of those games I frequently replay because of how enjoyable it is. So here it is, my top 10 games of all time! Enjoy :p
10. Marvel vs. Capcom 2 (Sega Dreamcast)
The first fighting game I ever fell in love with, this game was and still is one of the most addictive fighting games I have ever played. Very rarely has there been any game that I have deliberately deleted my save file, just so I can go back and re-earn every character in the game again! And for those of you who've played it, Marvel vs. Capcom has a huge roster of characters, levels, and costumes to be unlocked. It is also one of the only fighting games I have played where single player is just as enjoyable as local multiplayer. And finally, for those of you who are curious, my Dream-team in this game typically consists of Cable, Sentinel and Mega Man (Projectile types all the way!).
9. Perfect Dark (Nintendo 64)
Don't get me wrong, I was a huge Goldeneye 007 fan, however this game took everything I loved about that game and multiplied it by a million! I have very fond memories of renting this game over and over again for months from an old Blockbuster Video that used to be by my mom's house growing up; I must have rented it at least six or seven times in a row until my mom finally just bought me my own copy. Aside from having great memories associated with Perfect Dark, it was and still is a paragon on FPS's and was one of the coolest, most original, most entertaining FPS games to date. I also loved how you were able to make a bunch of drones to play against in pseudo-multiplayer if you didn't have any friends to play against. Also, the single player missions were very cool (well, except maybe for the Elvis missions), as was the specific gun challenges. I've played a lot of FPS games over the years, and while not being a huge fan of the genre, Rare's Perfect Dark still stands the test of time as being one of the best made FPS games of all time.
8. Resident Evil (Nintendo Gamecube)
The very well made remake of Resident Evil on the Gamecube was not the first RE game I ever played. That honor goes to Resident Evil: Code Veronica on the Dreamcast. While I thought Code Veronica was cool, I felt like I didn't actually become a huge fan of this amazing survival horror series until I played the remake of the original Resident Evil. In fact, Resident Evil was the primary reason why I bought a Gamecube! Never has a game genuinely scared me, and with this game it took me months to beat because I was always hesitating to go through that new door, or because I was staring at the mansion map trying to find an alternative route around a room or hallway where a crimson head was waiting to chase me down and bash my face in. But my God, I loved every second of that game and have replayed it several times over the years. In addition to this, it probably has some of the best graphics for any game released during the 6th console generation. After playing almost every main RE title released to date (sorry RE5...) Resident Evil on the Gamecube is still my absolute favorite.
7. The King of Fighters 98: Ultimate Match (Sony Playstation 2)
While growing up I remember seeing King of Fighter games inside NEO GEO MVS machines in arcades and Pizza Huts, but I never really ever played any of the amazing fighting games until about 3-years ago. My introduction to the KOF series began when I purchased KOF Collection on the PS2. Playing through each of the five KOF games on there I gradually fell deeper and deeper in love with this series, as it seemed to have all the things I loved about other 2D fighting franchises without most of the drawbacks of those other fighters. Being a big fan of the series, I picked up King of Fighters 98: Ultimate Match from a local game store about a year later and wow, talk about incredible. Whether it was the enormous roster of fighters, the array of fighting modes, and preferences, or the incredible gameplay, this game defines what I think a fighting game should be. I have never played a more balanced, enjoyable and well crafted fighter in all my life, and King of Fighters 98: Ultimate Match has turned me into a diehard NEO GEO and SNK fan! In fact, what game could cause a sane person of modest financial means to actually buy a NEO GEO AES and there $50 game carts?
6. Zone of of the Enders (Sony Playstation 2)
Zone of the Enders possesses many things I love dearly: anime, japanese music, techno music, fast paced, action packed gameplay, and most of all MECHS!!!! I first played ZOE at a friends house when I was still in middle school and loved it so much I convinced him to let me borrow it. After my reluctance to give him his game back nearly destroyed our friendship, I felt it more than necessary to buy my own copy so I could play this amazing action game without interruption. There was a period where I literally would play and replay ZOE over and over again, back to back until I was just burnt out on video games, an for a while I would have called it my favorite video game, if not my favorite video game of all time. I must have replayed the ending battle with Viola and Anubus 50+ times, and listed to the J-pop ending themes Flowing Destiny and A Light with the name of Hopehundreds of times. Still to this day, it is the best action game I have ever played, and might always be, well that is until the 3rd title in the series is released, if it ever is...
So there you have it, the first five games in my top ten games of all time! I will be posting the top 5 games in this list in the coming days so stay tuned to my page
My love affair with the Dreamcast began back on Thanksgiving 1999; my little brother's birthday is November 30, so naturally every year my family celebrates his birthday on Thanksgiving. That year, my brother received his Dreamcast with Sonic Adventure, however that weekend you would have never known it was his because I wouldn't stop playing it. The first time I went through those massive loops in Sonic Adventure and witnessed graphics I had never seen in my life up until then, I was completely hooked on what would sadly be Sega's last console.
Since then, I have owned three Dreamcast systems (first one my brother traded in for a Gamecube, my second one broke, and my current one has been kicking for about 6-years) and I have bought, re-bought and traded countless Dreamcast games, however over the past 3-years I have taken a stance not to sell games I find at least partially appealing. Unfortunately this revelation came several years too late; I have been recently hunting down many different Dreamcast, many of which I have owned at one point or another and am currently re-buying. It is unfortunate that that I am having to re-buy many of these because when I bought some of them, especially the rarer ones, they were dirt cheap, but now games like Power Stone 2 which I bought for $10 back in 2003ish are now worth $50+. I have heard stories of people finding very valuable Dreamcast games like Fatal Fury: Mark of the Wolves and Project Justice in Walmart clearance bins back in 2002 for $5 new, now these games go for $25 to $50 USED! I bought Fatal Fury for the first time last week on Ebay for about $25. . .don't I feel jealous.
What's done is done, and now here I am, scrounging thrift stores, flea markets, craigslist and ebay for any good deals on my long list of Dreamcast games I wish to add to my collection. I have been able to get several good deals recently (found Sega Bass Fishing for $3, and Chuchu Rocket and Psychic Force 2012 for $4 each), but I have been struggling to find anything below $30 for the rarer titles. It has been hard not following one of my rules for collecting: Patience is the difference between paying $50 or $5. I guess the biggest reason it has been hard is because I know how many Dreamcast games have gone up in value steadily over the years, and I don't see any reason why this trend will stop; as much as I want another copy of Power Stone 2, I will have a hard time paying $90 for this game on Ebay in 5-years from now.
I will continue my hunt, and if I run into any spectacular deals (fingers crossed that I'll find Project Justice at Goodwill for $3) you will hear about it in future blogs. Wish me luck!
Back in the day I was far less picky when it came to the condition of my games. Given the financial constraints that my part-time job as a grocery store employee confined me to, I was willing to pick up games in sub-par conditions because they were far cheaper than paying top dollar for copies in good condition.
One place that I commonly used to find such games was a local Hollywood video rental store (R.I.P.) who used to sell copies of their former rentals that were on their last legs. I picked up many games this way for several years, some noteworthy titles were Resident Evil: Code Veronica and Powerstone 2, both on the Dreamcast. Another title that I was very happy to find was a little known game made by Squaresoft called Tobal No.1. When I bought Tobal, it was just a disk in a generic CD jewel case, however this didn't bother me because it was a game I wanted for a long time, but could never find at any store; I think I bought it for $3. The only problem was that when I took it home to play it, the disk was so scratched from years of being rented out and from being handled like it was cat's scratch post, that it skipped constantly, being almost unplayable. I did end up getting it buffered eventually, improving its playability considerably, but it always bothered me to own such a great game in such poor. incomplete condition.
Since buying my barely functional ex-rental copy of Tobal No. 1, I have searched consistently for this game at every thrift store, flea market, and game store for a complete copy in at least good condition. Today, my search finally ended. This morning I had several uneventful errands to run, and of course no mindless errand run is complete without the distraction of looking for good deals on video games! After several unsuccessful trips to a few thrift stores, I decided to hit up a local game store that is known more for its great prices rather than it's mediocre selection. My initial purpose in going there was to see if they had any great deals of Dreamcast games I'm currently looking for. After seeing that all but one of their 4 or 5 Dreamcast games were 2K sports games (blah!) I started to browse their other games. And there, mixed in with their other Playstation games was a complete copy of Tobal No.1 in very good condition, it even had the Final Fantasy VII demo in it! At $7 it was too good to pass up. Along with a copy of Rogue Galaxy (also bought for $7) for PS2, I happily returned home to play a Tobal No.1 with no graphical, sound, or gameplay hick-ups due to copious scratches, and wow. . .was it great! If you've never played Tobal No.1 it is definitely worth playing, especially if you're a fan of early 3D fighting games, and also if you're a fan of Akira Toriyama's art (he has done other games like Dragon Quest, and he is also the mastermind behind Dragon Ball Z!). Most of all though, it felt good to replace the beat up copy of Tobal No.1 I've had for many years with a complete copy in great condition. These are the moments people. . .these are the moments
So it has been a while since I last blogged on here, however I have been very active in other parts of this site. I have also been meaning to write several reviews on some great games I've been playing recently, but have not had the time between work, looking for a different job, applying to go back to school, and selling my car (yes, things have been busy). However in the coming weeks (I hope) I intend on posting a new review, probably for either Virtua Fighter on the Saturn, or my favorite game series of all, Shenmue. If I do decide to do a Shenmue review I will be reviewing both the first and second together.
Also, with Spring coming in several months, I will be hopefully heading back out to flea markets and garage sales on my never ending quest to find retro games at dirt cheap prices. Look out for more blogs about the sweet deals I find at these places in the coming months.
Now, with business aside, here are some of the great gifts I received for Xmas this year, well the video game related ones:
Ar Tonelico: Melody of Elemia (Collector's Edition)-PS2
Ar Tonelico II: Melody of Metefalica (Collector's Edition)-PS2
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow (REALLY, REALLY, REALLY wanted this game!)-PS3
Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga-PS2
Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga 2-PS2
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword-Wii
Magna Carta: Tears of Blood (Limited Edition)-PS2
Today was a beautiful day to head over to my local flea market and keep an eye out for some awesome deals, and awesome deals I found! I was conducting a bit of an experiment today as well; I was trying to see if me coming to the flea market later in the day would have any impact on the amount of quality games I could find. My intuition had prepared me to find less awesome games then I typical do, just because I expected all the rare, valuable and desired games would be bought up by other bargain gamers or the resellers earlier that morning. Was I surprised! Here is what I picked up this afternoon:
Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island (SNES)- $3
Resident Evil: Code Veronica (Dreamcast- I already have this game, but my copy is a barely acceptable former rental copy. Finding a mint copy for $5 was too good to pass up)
Pokemon Yellow Version- $5
Pokemon Red Version-$5
Pokemon Gold Version-$5 (bummed though because the save battery needs to be replaced)
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (N64)-$4
Mariokart 64 (N64)-$3
Valkyrie Profile 2 (PS2)-$10
And my best deal of the day. . .
Legend of Mana (PS)-$15!
Yes, it was a great day at the flea market, and hopefully with the weather here in Denver still being very pleasant for the most part there will be many more flea market visits before it starts getting cold.