I've just gotten back a couple of days ago from a trip to visit my family in Iowa for Thanksgiving. I had a great time, but this isn't a blog about family, so let's talk games.
One of the things I like to stress here is that no matter where you are, you can hunt this stuff down. I've visited tons of thrift stores and have always, always been able to find some gems... or at least some cheap junk.
In the Cedar Rapids/Marion area, however, I hit up 5 different thrift stores and found almost nothing. One consignment store had an enormous selection of crappy sports games for at least 5 times their current value, but the rest were completely devoid of anything game-related.
Now, this may have been because I went thrifting shortly after Black Friday, but classic games aren't really a big ticket Christmas item... who knows.
So, thrift stores may not be the way to go, where you are.
So, of course, I visited my local Goodwill upon returning home to wash that bad taste out of my mouth. I left with a copy of Columns for the Game Gear, with a 1/2 off tag at $1.49. That made me feel better.
That's not to say that the trip was not profitable from a classic gaming standpoint. Firstly, my brother-in-law's mother found a stack of Genesis games in their storage. He no longer has a Genesis, so they gave me this:
Wings of Wor for the Sega Genesis. Next, I raided my parents' basement to retrieve the goodies within, as well as the games they had bought from me back when we needed the financial help. What follows is a significant portion of my childhood games.
Oh yeah, this is the good stuff, right here. The NES Action Set I was given for Christmas in one of the best Christmases ever, the badly yellowed SNES which was the first thing I ever bought with my own money, and the Game Boy Color/Camera/Printer I purchased in high school.
Shadowgate Classic and Tetris DX for the Game Boy Color, as well as Pokemon Blue, Castlevania Legends, Metroid II, Final Fantasy Legend III for the Game Boy.
NES games: Shinobi, Karate Champ, Friday The 13th, Demon Sword, The Empire Strikes Back, Kung Fu, Time Lord, Days of Thunder and Legacy of the Wizard.
Bigger ones in this group... Magician, StarTopics, Super Team Games, Dance Aerobics, Ghost Lion, Action 52, Dragon Warrior and Dragon Warrior II. Once upon a time, I had Dragon Warrior III and IV as well, but they seem to have vanished. Shame.
SNES games: Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts, Raiden Trad, Mario World, Zoop, The Adventures of Dr. Franken and Battle Blaze. Decent haul - but whatever happened to my better games? A Link To The Past, Donkey Kong Country, Super Metroid? They've disappeared.
A stack of manuals, mostly for the Game Boy stuff. Looks like I've got a StarTropics manual, too. No letter, of course. I doubt I'll ever find a copy with the letter intact.
Here's something I tend to forget when dealing with retro games - PC games! Here we have Avoid The Noid, the freeware game Sleuth, Captain Blood, Megaman, and Win, Lose or Draw. Also, a copy of Prowler that's a hybrid PC/Commodore 64 disk. Score!
Lastly, we have Drakkhen, Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego (a demo, I think), Gauntlet II, Ms. Pac-Man, Moraff's World, Pool of Radiance, The Dark Half, Populous and Populous: The Promised Lands.
With so many PC games, maybe we'll look at doing some DOSBox reviews. I've also got a nice stack of CD-ROM-era PC games I'd love to tear into again... we'll see.
FamiComplexTV's Video Reviews switches to a new format with Keith Courage in Alpha Zones! In HD for some reason! Is this Nova Suit a Force to be reckoned with, or is Nova actually just spanish for "no go"?
EDIT: Sorry, guys, blip.tv has been processing this video all night and it still isn't playable. In the meantime, watch it on YouTube here.
What's cooler than a console with a wood grain sticker on it?
A box for your games with a wood grain sticker on it!
Today's Goodwill finds actually come from of Goodwill's auction site, http://www.shopgoodwill.com. Goodwill's auctions can be another great source for bulk retro items - but there are a few caveats. First, it's become quite well known, so don't expect a super-rare game to go for a low price. Second, the shipping tends to be atrocious, so watch it carefully. The best course of action, in my opinion, is to watch for local auctions, because that means you can pick it up locally for a much smaller handling fee.
This is an Atari Game Center, a wood grained thing of beauty designed to store your Atari cartridges and peripherals, with a set of grooves on top which snugly fit your console. Included with the game center are all of the cartridges you see inside, as well as a stack of manuals and inserts!
I love this stuff.
The games are Battlezone, Air-Sea Battle, Ms. Pac-Man, Mario Bros., Asteroids, E.T., Combat, Pole Position, Yar's Revenge, Space Invaders, Vanguard, Jungle Hunt, Surround, 2 copies of Missile Command, 2 copies of Pac-Man, and 3 copies of Berzerk. There are manuals for most of the games... as well as a few manuals for games that aren't here. Odd, but cool. Oh, and there's a comic book for Yar's Revenge! ...maybe it'll help that game make some sense. This whole set was only $11, which was a really great deal for everything included.
The pickup location for this was the Goodwill Outlet in Hillsboro, so I stopped in to take a look. The Goodwill Outlet is affectionately known as "The Bins" because, well, that's exactly what it is. It's a large store that's simply filled with huge plastic bins. Your role is to tear through all of the junk (and really, a lot of it is junk) in order to find a gem or two to take home.
The great part about The Bins is that they don't charge per item, they charge per pound. It's the end of the line for this stuff, so they're less interested in profiting off the items themselves and more interested in getting rid of the bulk that the stores couldn't move. You will have to dig, but you're almost guaranteed to find something half decent, and at a per-pound price, there's never any reason to leave anything behind.
Bad joke in 3... 2... 1...
I found a copy of Steroids for the Atari 2600. I thought that game was banned?
For $1.59, I picked up the notoriously awful Dark Castle for the Sega Genesis, a N64 controller in much better shape than the last few I picked up there, and... oh, it's a copy of Asteroids. That makes much more sense.
Again, at that price, why leave anything behind? Of course, I hadn't realized there was a copy of Asteroids in the lot I'd just picked up, but oh well. Still a great day for deals.
Yard sale season is winding down, so hit those local thrifts, before someone else beats you to it. And, most of all, have fun!
Nope, these aren't 80's mix tapes, these are games.
I've been having fairly good luck with eBay lately where Commodore 64 games are concerned. Here we have a lot of ten datassette games for which I paid just under $15, counting the extra shipping I had to pay due to the seller underestimating the package's weight. Bad form, eBay seller.
Anyway, the games are On Field Football, Lazy Jones, Super Skramble!, Yie Ar Kung-fu, Pitstop II, Scalextric, Forbidden Forest, Mind Games American Football, Softaid: Feed The World (A charity compilation by the Band-Aid Trust), and Frank Bruno's Boxing.
I'm stoked about the whole set, but Forbidden Forest in particular, as it's another of the games I grew up with. Also, the 'Feed The World' tape is intriguing because of the history, if nothing else.
Now, I just hope these tapes are all still working.
The summer sale season may have come and gone here in the Northwest, but I've still got another great Craigslist haul to report tonight! For $50, I picked up Super Mario RPG, Ninja Warriors, The Jungle Book, Earthworm Jim, Mystical Ninja and Zombies Ate My Neighbors for the SNES.
The value of these games is almost twice what I paid, so I'm very happy about that, especially after paying full Amazon price for my review copy of Zombies Ate My Neighbors just a few weeks ago and winding up with a beat-up, rental sticker-covered monstrosity.
2600 games - most are true classics, too.
After driving all the way out to Salem, I figured it'd be a good idea to check the nearby Goodwill as I don't make it out there very often. They had a whole stack of Atari 2600 games, all labelled $3.99, but each and every one was half off due to the color tag sale. That's better than most retail stores, but I took a loss on the value of these cartridges. So, there was a small loss, but after the earlier victory, it all balances out to a pretty great day for my collection. The titles were Space Attack, Super Breakout, Asteroids, Yar's Revenge, Adventure, Centipede, Reactor and Atlantis.
While not as 'special' as originally planned due to illness, time constraints and a very late-arriving camera, enjoy the first FamiComplexTV Halloween special: Zombies Ate My Neighbors for the SNES. Is this classic run-and-gun a monster good time, or will it send you crying to mummy?
If you're a collector or fan of classic video games, you know the name Active Enterprises. If not, at the least you've heard of their legacy - an awful little collection of games called Action 52.
In addition, many of you probably know that a sequel to the Cheetahmen game contained with Action 52 was found in a warehouse in very small numbers, then packaged and released for a very large profit. Cheetahmen II is now among the most highly-valued cartridges on the NES.
Now, Active Enterprises is poised to strike again. Cheetahmen: The Creation is a game developed but never released back in the 1990s when Active Enterprises truly thought they had the next Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on their hands. It seems they've seen fit to produce them, packaging them up in multicolored cartridges and selling off just 2000 of them, effectively creating yet another collector's item in the NES library.
On one hand - it's fantastic to see old, unreleased titles being given new life in an official capacity. Reproductions are great and all, but we're collectors, we need the real thing.
On the other hand, there's the price - $500 for the special collector's edition and $200 for just the sealed game and comic book.
The price ensures this will only be picked up by completionists or collectors who have more money than sense. The game is sure to be awful - Active Enterprises didn't release a single thing on the NES that actually worked.
Does anyone else feel that they're just trying to recreate the Cheetahmen II effect, but claiming the profit for themselves this time around?
Ah, memories of shooting the food and pissing off my sister...
I'm not generally much for eBay shopping as a general rule - only as a last resort in most cases. However, this deal was too good to pass up. The auction had no bids, mine was the first. So, I won one of my favorite Commodore 64 games for just $4.95 shipped.
In other news, the Halloween video review is in progress - stay tuned!
This list of pickups is so big, I decided to do a video as requested!
I babbled on for over a half hour - though I managed to cut it down to just under four minutes. Put together quickly and unscripted, you'll notice my kittens yelling, microphone gain drops and more fun. I promise, the next video will be of better quality. Enjoy!
FamiComplex reviews Konami's RollerGames for the NES. Will this game make you want your rock, rock, rock & RollerGames, or will it send you rolling away in horror? As always, leave comments and questions below, and let me know if you have any review requests!
DuckTales is the first in Capcom's line of awesome Disney games, and is thought by many to be the best. I haven't played it as yet, so the jury's out on that one. Tetris Attack is, of course, another Americanization of a Panel de Pon game. Both are fine additions to the collection at $2.99 each. This may have been a bit much to spend on Tetris Attack, as it turns out, but the value of the DuckTales makes up for it.
Besides, my love for the Panel de Pon series of games has no price tag. Once I've gotten my hands on Pokemon Puzzle Challenge, I'll have 'caught them all' - all of the US-released classic Panel de Pon games. Then, on to the Japanese releases! Fairies and flowers and magic pixie dust, here we come!
...ahem... In other news, you may have noticed that I've slowed considerably on gaming purchases. Next weekend is the Portland Retro Gaming Expo, and I'm ready for it. I've been saving up money and practicing for the NWC tournament.
What is the Portland Retro Gaming Expo? After the jump, read their press release.
The footage is recorded, and my impressions are written. Once the new microphone arrives, Fami-Complex will kick off the video review series with ActRaiser!
As this is a video game collection blog, review scores will be geared a little bit differently than your average video review. Rather than rate a game just on it's merits, current market price will also be a factor. These reviews are for that rare breed: the classic game collector who actually intends to play their games.
After all, a super-rare game that's awful is still just that - an awful game.
Emulation will not and should not be used, except in situations where it is unavoidable. Sega's Game Gear, for example, has no reasonable means for recording from the original hardware.
There are two scales, and the final score will be determined using a weighted Harmonic Mean, rather than an average. Take that, every math teacher that ever said I don't apply myself! The reason for this complicated scale is that quality should really be a greater factor than price when considering a purchase, unless you're a completionist.
After a lot of thought and discussion, I've decided to simplify the review scale. Instead, I'll review the games based on their merits and then dock points for high prices, rather than combine the two scales.
The final scale, then, remains the same as it was, and still represents the game's value to a gamer:
5 - Must buy! It's fantastic and cheap!
4 - It's awesome! - Great game that won't put you into debt.
3 - It's a decent value. If the price is reasonable, go for it.
2 - It stinks! If its dirt cheap, pick it up.
1 - For completionists only. Don't bother at any price.
Feel free to leave a comment below with your thoughts on the review scale, or if you've got a review request, I'll try my best to acquire it!
Yesterday, I took a long drive through the countryside of Oregon, through insanely twisting roads with unnecessary hairpin curves, past berry farms and orchards. I saw places such as a stable with a sign featuring a frolicking horse, jumping over some flowers like, "Yay I'm a horse!" It was awesome. Also, an alpaca farm.
Alpacas: Never not funny.
Also, there was a sign that said:
I'd like to think there are better ways to get Timothy's attention.
Anyway, on to the sale. The first day, I had $40 in my pocket and wasn't expecting much. The ad had listed some SNES and NES games, as well as an SNES system. I went in expecting to find a bundled Super Nintendo and some games, likely outside of my price range. I always try to pick up an SNES bundle where I can, because I can sell the system and any games I already have, keep the new games and make back what I spent.
I wasn't really prepared for what they had. When I arrived, the games were the first thing I saw, I didn't even make it through the rest of the sale. The Super Nintendo was priced at $49, individually. My first reaction was to whine internally about how the SNES and games weren't bundled with a fixed price. For some reason, something in my brain balked and decided at that moment that this wasn't going to be a worthwhile sale.
Then, I noticed the games. Like, really noticed them.
This wasn't your average yard sale fare. This wasn't a bin of loose cartridges with random accessories thrown in. This was a box - alphabetized and orderly - of boxed and complete games. Not the kind of smashed up boxes you occasionally come by... many of them were absolutely mint.
My brains poured out of my ears as I started looking through the box. Soon, I'd made a stack, handed the nice lady $40, and walked back to my car in a daze. Thankfully, I did not drool on the games.
I made it home at around the time the estate sale was set to close, and told my wife all about the wonder and glory that I'd just experienced. She looked over the games, and said something I'll probably never hear again.
She told me to go back and buy more.
See, my wife is supportive of my collection. She knows it's important to me, but she's also the smart one in this relationship. I respect the budget, and she respects my need for shiny new cartridges. It's compromise.
So, the following day, I woke up at the crack of dawn. Not by choice, but because I was just so excited to get back there and pick through the games again. Armed with $150 and a list of games I intended to pick up, I returned to rural Oregon for round two.
The people running the sale asked, "Back for more?" as soon as I walked up. I smiled and agreed, going straight for the games. The list of games I'd wanted to buy dissolved in my mind as I again reverted to a 10 year-old kid who'd just mowed 15 lawns on a Mountain Dew high. The money was all mine, and I could have anything I wanted. I would be the coolest kid on the block. I would be the god of this sale.
The resulting pickup is one for the history books.
A thing of beauty, that.
I picked up the boxed SNES, sold with "the cleaning kit and an extra controller", which were both for the NES. The Super Nintendo is complete, down to the inserts - even the original twist ties are still in the box! It's yellowed, but we can reverse that.
So, I said goodbye to the alpacas, said "HAY" to Timothy and returned home triumphant. These games are just beautiful, I can't say it enough. Amazing condition and almost all are complete, down to the inserts.
Today, it's a day later and I'm still reeling. What an amazing find.