Monday, May 14, 2012

Moving On...

Thank you, friends and followers, for a great run here at  FamiComplex is moving on to greener pastures - or at least fancier domain names. is live! Every existing post has been imported and is ready to go. This blog will be closed before too long, so update any bookmarks you may have! Thanks, everyone!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Cowlitz Gamers For Kids 2012 Pickups!

Today, I visited the 3rd annual Cowlitz Gamers For Kids show. It's like a miniature Retro Game Expo put on for a good cause. Admission comes in the form of a donation of your choice to the Childrens Justice and Advocacy Center, devoted to children who are victims of sexual or physical abuse. The recommended donation is five dollars; I gave ten. I mean, look at what it's for. I can't just give the minimum.

I'd wanted to give a full report on the event with pictures and videos, but I just didn't have time. It's my brother-in-law's birthday.

But, there were arcade machines and a free-play console game setup just like the one at the Retro Game Expo, as well as a DJ spinning some hilarious and awesome mashups. Also, there was an R.C. Pro Am tournament - again, there was no time to participate.

I walked in with $200 (well, $190 after the donation) and after some serious thought, I decided this time I'd go for rarity/quality over quantity. I picked up some smaller items, mostly for haggle fodder, but it's all good stuff. My collection's getting big enough that there's no reason not to jump on the big games when I've got the chance, so here we go.

Finally, I can review Game Boy Color games.

First, I picked up a Game Boy Player for the Gamecube. While neither the Gamecube or the Game Boy Advance are particularly retro in my opinion, this device is the only way for me to record footage of Game Boy Color games, so yeah, it was important for me to track one down.

These two things have little to do with one another.

Next, Conker's Bad Fur Day and an NES Max controller, I've been needing one. It was dirt cheap anyway. Conker, however, was not dirt cheap.


More Nintendo stuff - Famicom games! Dracula-kun, Mother (Earthbound Zero), Dragon Buster and Macross.

More SMS games!

Master System stuff - Double Dragon and Shinobi. No manual in Shinobi, but Double Dragon is complete.


Lastly, what may well be my favorite of these pickups, Splatterhouse and Raiden for the Turbografx 16!

I'm stoked to pop some of this stuff in and give it a shot. It may not look like much when laid out like this, but many of these aren't exactly the kind of games you'd find in a Goodwill hunt, unless you're really, really lucky. Happy hunting!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

FamiComplex Video Reviews - The Legend of the Mystical Ninja

Spoiler Alert: just go buy it right now. Seriously.

FamiComplex reviews The Legend of the Mystical Ninja for the SNES. Was the Ganbare Goemon series worth the wait, or should this have stayed in Japan?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Seven Tips For Finding Classic Games At Goodwill

So, you wanna be a Goodwill hunter? There are a great many treasures to be had a Goodwill stores across the country, though it can be a challenge finding them. Every store is different, and that means the prices and locations of stock vary wildly from one to the next.

Here are a few tips for making the most of your trip based on my own shopping experiences.

1) The Case

As soon as you walk into most Goodwill stores, you'll find a glass case filled with what they consider to be their high value merchandise. In some cases, that's where you'll find the games, and oftentimes the systems as well. You'll probably need to have an employee take them out in order to find out what they are. 

2) Behind the Case

In many stores, boxed systems and accessories will be kept behind the counter in order to avoid theft. If there's a stack of boxes, ask if you can look through them. You never know what's in there.

I've also seen baskets filled with cartridges hiding in this area, too. Have a look around before you move on.

3) The Bookshelves

The bookshelves occasionally house boxed games and cartridges. It's worth a quick scan.

4) The CD Section

This section can take a while to browse, but is occasionally worth it. Some stores split games and software CDs into their own section, but many do not. Even in the ones that do, things will be missed. Always browse through all of the music CDs, because you'll almost definitely find a Playstation, Dreamcast or PC game hiding in there.

5) The Electronics Section

This is the most obvious place to look, and tends to be your best bet in any store. Sometimes, they'll stack the cartridges here, but you'll almost always find accessories here - controllers and AC adapters and the like. Unless something is taped to a system, the employees won't match them up and will usually price them separately.

Another thing to keep in mind while browsing this section is that not every consumer electronics device is as it seems. Inside that stack of CD changers may be a Laserdisc player, which could even be a LaserActive. That bunch of DVD players may hide a Nuon-capable DVD or a CD-i. Always scan this section for things out of the ordinary.

6) The Aisle Next To The Toy Aisle

Okay, this one might sound a bit odd, but hear me out. In my local store, this aisle is the sporting goods section, and I've come across a number of controllers and light guns. My theory is that kids pick them up and play with them while their parents browse the other sections, then drop them in the nearest aisle in a mad dash for the toy section. I've seen this in multiple stores, so it isn't an isolated incident.

7) Tag Sales

Most Goodwill stores have tag sales, in which a price tag of a specific color is half off for the week. These change every Sunday. If you've found something you want with a price that's just too high, come back on Sunday and it may be half off, provided it hasn't sold in the meantime.

Keeping these things in mind will help foster a more efficient and lucrative shopping experience. Got any tips of your own? Leave them in the comments section!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

FamiComplex's First April Fools' Gag... Kind Of A Success.

FamiComplex's first April Fools' gag is a relative success, in that with every dumb article posted, my view count dropped exponentially.  I'm proud that my readers are intelligent enough to avoid that sort of drivel.

On the other hand, though, it was an extreme challenge to continue writing like that. At least it was fun.

Sorry, guys. I'll try to come up with something better next year.

battlefeild is stupid

battelfeild is a stupid game because they try to be like modern warefare they cant be like modern warefare because it is waaaay better and battlefeild is dum.

mw has better vizuals nd online is beter too. mw has better guns and everybody knos that bf is a game for peeple who cant play mw good.

bf, more like bs amirite?

mass affect is dum

peeple keep talking about mass affect but mass affect is stupid and dum. u shoot aliens liek in resistance and resistnce is on the ps3 so it is bad.

and everybody has feelings and talks all the time. if i wanted to have feelings and talk all the time id get a girlfriend. feelings come from ur vagna and i dont have one of those. so mass affect is stupid.

Vega is pretty cool tho hes a badass space marine like in all the good games that have badass space marines in them.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

super famicall of duty is awsum

i made this site way more cool cuz i think old games are stupid and old. the ps3 is stupid too. xbox rulz.

who plays mario and stuff that stuff is for babys and old peeple. real men play cod on xbox cuz its cool and my mom has to buy it for me cuz the guy at the store is a dick. Maybe i cn get her to buy sum beers too and then we can have a party and kick her out and get girls.

me and my friend talked to a girl once and she was like o ur so hot and i was like ok cool ur hot too lets do it and she was like ok and then my friend left and we did it while i was playing xbox.

i even play xbox while im hving sex cuz sex is awsum and so is xbox and i do them at the same time cuz im awesum.

like with ur mom that one time. she was like o baby and i was like move ur head i cant see the tv and she was like ok.

this site isent for treyarch cuz their bad at makeing games. infinity word is waaaaay better then them at life and u suck at life if you dont like them.

me and my bros are gonna play tonight and own u n00bz cuz were awsum and u suck and your not good and were awesum. look for SuperFamiCallOfDuty on xbox live so i can shut ur ass down with a bullet in ur nuts.


--Note: This is the single most difficult thing I've ever had to write. Happy April Fools' Day, if you didn't pick up on the obvious.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Repairing The Power Glove - Part 1

The Power Glove. Everything else is child's play.

Mattel's NES accessory, the Power Glove, probably needs no introduction, but I'm going to give you one, anyway.

The Power Glove, originally released in 1989, was the first attempt at motion control available to the average consumer.  Sporting bands of plastic with carbon ink in each finger, The Power Glove would track finger movements by measuring the amount of resistance in each band.  In addition, two small speakers in the front would send ultrasonic pulses, and the receivers, positioned around the television, would determine the glove's position based on these sounds.

In theory, it was a great idea. In practice, well... the Power Glove is nearly universally panned for having imprecise and confusing control.

But, that's enough history, let's get down to it. This Power Glove was purchased from someone on Craigslist. He said that the glove was registering random button presses, and I bought it for $30.

The victim... err, patient.

This Power Glove is in awful shape. First, the fabric is frayed almost everywhere.


Second, some of the finger sensors are disconnected from both the fabric and plastic top portion of the glove.

That shouldn't be visible.

So, of course, when you make a fist, the top part of the glove stays put, and the finger sensors flap about, explaining the odd button presses.

I'm not flipping you the bird, I swear. It's just stuck that way.

So, immediate course of action? Fix those finger sensors.

To do this, I straightened out the sensors and made sure they were seated correctly, then applied super glue around the edge of the plastic piece. I aligned the cloth portion - a faux leather bit - with the plastic top and held it together until it bonded.

Next, using a pair of scissors, I trimmed as much of the frayed cloth as I was comfortable doing, in order to make it look less like I stole it from a homeless man.

That's a bit better.

And with that, I went to test it. Now, the finger triggers work exactly as they should. Great! But what about the motion tracking?

Well, not so much. Control drifts off to the right and rarely recognizes any moves to the left. But, the pulses can be heard coming from both of the speakers, so it isn't the glove.

I love the Power Glove. It's so... no, no, I'm not going to say it.

I guess next time, we'll tear into the receivers!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

FamiComplex Video Reviews - The NES PowerPak

FamiComplex puts the NES PowerPak through its paces! Does your favorite NES mapper work? Find out!

The NES PowerPak is a new flash cartridge for the NES. If you've ever used the R4 for the DS or any similar products, you're familiar with the concept. You place the system software on a Compact Flash card like this one along with any NES ROM images you want to run, stick it in, start it up, and play.

The whole thing is extremely simple, and it works just the way you'd expect it to.

Now, this may be a bit different from my normal reviews and filled with nerdy details. If that isn't your cup of tea, you may want to go back and watch one of my older reviews.

Okay, still with me?


Let's talk about memory management controllers.

The Famicom - and by extension, the NES - was built to be extensible.  The system could only do so much on its own, so Nintendo employed memory management controllers to add additional RAM, allow for more sprites on screen, and eventually allowed for the battery save we all know and love.

I'll spare you the technical details on how these worked and what was different across different cartridges, but there is plenty of technical detail around the internet for the curious.

In the US, Nintendo had a death grip on the market, so only their own in-house chips were used - third parties were not allowed to make their own cartridges.

The only exceptions were the unlicensed carts by Tengen, Active Enterprises and Color Dreams.

In Japan, however, every company had their own set of chips.

While this was great for the consumer at the time, when NES emulation came along this became a real compatibility issue. New code needed to be written to support each and every individual chip.

The pieces of code written to emulate these chips were called mappers.

Why is all of this relevant?  Well, obviously, a card of this nature can't have every one of these chips included.  The solution, then, is to simulate these in software.

So, mapper files are included with the PowerPak software in order to handle this task. A chart is available on their website as well displaying which mappers work, which are buggy, and which are unavailable.

Well, RetroUSB aren't the only ones making mapper files for the device.  Loopy's mappers, available here, extend the capabilities of the PowerPak even further.

Between the two sets of installed mappers, just about everything works, including the extra audio hardware available on Famicom games like Akumajou Densetsu, the Japanese version of Castlevania 3. Save batteries work as well, which is more or less required.

Even Famicom Disk System games and NSF music files are supported!

Nintendo Vs. arcade games, however, are not supported, and I didn't really expect them to be. The colors are way off, and there's no way to insert coins.

I haven't personally tested them, but there are also a set of mappers that actually allow you to use saved states, like the ones you'd get in an emulator! Sure, I can see how that'd be useful - but if you use them, you're officially not a bad enough dude to rescue the president.  Just saying.

One major issue with this device is Compact Flash card compatibility.  I went through 3 different cards before finding one which fully works with the device.

Rather than buying and returning tons of cards, try to find a Dane-Elec card like this one. Trust me, you'll save plenty of time and money buying one you know will work up front.  This is the brand that RetroUSB sells along with their devices, and they always seem to work, but again, your mileage may vary.

So, in conclusion, the PowerPak does a fantastic job supporting nearly everything out there, which is a great feat. In addition, RetroUSB and Loopy continue to work on these mappers, so expect support to improve as development goes on. One day, it may well support every NES and Famicom game ever made!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Birthday Gift Card - Amazon Expeditions

Among my birthday gifts this year was a gift card for $50 at  Since my birthday was primarily filled with modern stuff, I decided I'd go retro with it, and this is what I came up with.

One of my most wanted.

First order of business - I needed a true classic for my new Sega Master System, and no, ALF wasn't going to cut it.  It may have been pricey, but a complete in case Phantasy Star is just what this collection needed. This accounted for more than half of the money spent.

That is more like it!

Next, some new NES games.  Rad Racer, Gradius, Wizards & Warriors, R.C. Pro-AM, Marble Madness and Kung Fu Heroes.

You may have noticed a small difference between these games and my normal acquisitions - these are all really good games.  When setting out to purchase games of my own accord (when not out deal hunting) I choose my games much, much more carefully.  Sure, I could have found these at a thrift or flea market for considerably less, but you know what? Sometimes it doesn't matter. Just go for it.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a handful of awesome games that demand my attention.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

How To Get Extra Sound Channels From The NES PowerPak On Your Famicom

Nintendo's Famicom was a superior design to the NES in a number of ways, though inferior in others.  The biggest difference between the two is the disappearance of two pins in the cartridge connector which allowed the cartridge to carry additional audio hardware. This meant that developers could extend the existing sound with additional channels or even - in the case of Lagrange Point - add FM sound synthesis on par with the sound hardware in the Genesis.

For someone who grew up with the NES, the sound is mind-blowing. After all, our games couldn't do that - just look at the American version of Castlevania 3. The music was remixed as well as it could be for the hardware available in the NES, but it doesn't hold a candle to the Japanese release.

So, you've got a Famicom, and an NES PowerPak  Well, you'll be happy to know that the PowerPak is able to reproduce those additional sound channels, but it'll take a small amount of work on your part.

Credit where credit is due: This is Drakon's method from this forum post, and it works beautifully.

First, you'll need one of these cheap NES to Famicom adapters. This is the one I use, at $10. Don't get ripped off.  Also, you'll need two 10k, 1/8 watt resistors.  You can get these at Radio Shack fairly cheaply.

Cheap enough to risk destroying, but be careful anyway.

You'll want to flip the adapter over to the back, as shown.  Do you see the two sets of pins that are bridged? You'll want to cut the bridge between the set on the right.

Sorry, that's hard to see.

Use a multimeter to verify there's no continuity between the two pins. You'll want to be sure.

From here, you'll want to solder a resistor between the left pin that you just cut free, and the NES pin directly above it. Then, below the resistor, solder another resistor leading to the pin on the right, as shown below.


I apologize for both the crappy picture and the terrible solder job.  Tip: Don't be in a hurry.

EDIT:  I forgot to mention, as well, even with this mod, your other NES games will still work as normal in your Famicom.

That's all you need to do! Try out any supported game with extra sound channels and enjoy!

Goodwill Hunting - Pitfall 3D and Game & Watch Gallery

Eh, why not?

Planted firmly in the "it was on sale, so why not?" territory are these two pickups from 2 days ago.  Pitfall 3D was half off at around $1.50, Game & Watch Gallery at it's regular price of $4. Neither have very much value, so this isn't a pickup for the record books.

In other news, It looks like I'll be needing a bit more time on my current game review, so I'll be bumping up the review of the PowerPak to this week.  Look for it soonish!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

How To Repair A Sega Master System - Assuming You Did The Obvious

So, your Sega Master System won't turn on. It worked last time you tried it, but now it just stares blankly when you press the power button.

I know what you did. You know what you did.

You plugged in a Nintendo AC adapter, didn't you? Don't worry about it. Everyone has done it - not necessarily with this system, but with something.

But the important thing is, yes, you've fried your SMS. And now, we're going to fix it.

First things first though, a bit of boring technical info. The reason it's broken is pretty simple, really. AC adapters are appropriately named - they're meant to convert AC power into DC power that your device can use. In most cases, such as Sega's adapters, that's exactly what they do.

Not so, in Nintendo's case. Nintendo's wall warts actually feed the system AC power which wreaks havoc on your poor DC device. Generally, the first and last thing to get fried in the Master System is the voltage regulator.

So, in order to fix it, you're going to need a soldering iron, solder, a desoldering braid, and a phillips screwdriver.  Also, you'll need to buy a new voltage regulator, a +5V Fixed-Voltage Regulator 7805, which is available at Radio Shack. Who knew Radio Shack still sells components? I thought they only sold cellular phones these days.

Six easy screws.

Remove the six screws holding the case together, highlighted above. No hidden screws, these are all you'll need.

More screws on the RF shielding.

Now the RF shielding - six more screws here.  Three in front, one on top, and two in the back. Again, they're all pretty easy to find.

Now to get that board off.

Here's some more. Two around the power switch, one dead in the middle of the board, and two around each cartridge slot. The board should now lift away from the bottom of the case.

This screw is the bane of my existence.

This photograph was almost as hard to get as that screw was to get out. As you can see, there's a piece of metal screwed to the board - this is the heat sink for the voltage regulator. See that screw? You'll need to squeeze your screwdriver around the components on the board to take that screw out from inside the heat sink. Go ahead, I'll wait.

Now that you're thoroughly irritated, remove the heat sink by taking out the two screws under the board.

Finally. Ugh.

Now, your voltage regulator is free!

Fuzzy, but you get the idea.

As you can see, the original voltage regulator is bent slightly so it can be attached to the heat sink.  Bend yours in the same way. It doesn't have to be perfect, but it should bend easily.

Sorry, I have no pictures of the next steps as I don't have enough hands to hold the camera while holding a soldering iron.  There are a million soldering tutorials on YouTube and across the internet, so if you need assistance, please refer to one of them.

Using the desoldering wick and iron, remove the existing solder from the voltage regulator and pop it out.  You can now slide the new one in - but wait! It is much, much easier to screw the voltage regulator to the heat sink now.  Screw the new one in to the heat sink and slide the pins through the holes. Now solder it in.

You don't want to do it the other way.  Think of what a pain it was getting it out - imagine that in reverse.

So, get the heat sink back on and hook it up.

Green light! Green light!

The power LED should light up, and you're back in business!

Poor city. But at least my Master System is working!

Follow the steps in reverse, as always, to reassemble the system.  This may not work on every system, so if you're still having trouble, use a multimeter to check where the issue might be.  If it did work, have fun! I know I will.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Famicom Games, A Sega Master System And The Weakest Thrift Trip Yet

So, in response to a Craigslist ad, I took a trip out a bit farther out of the way than I usually go, and picked up an awesome deal.  I'll come back to that.

While I was out, I also took a run to my usual day-trip thrift shops.

I've had a sort of unspoken superstition for a while. In every playlist I make before I head out, I sneak in Sievert's Party Dog, the song I use as the theme for my videos. If the song plays at random during the trip, it'll be a good trip.  Well, today I proved there's some merit to that - the song didn't play before I reached my first shop.

No matter how many stores I went to, it was the same. Common games or no games at all. Every single place, nothing. No consoles, no accessories, and no games.

I even stopped at The Bins (the Goodwill Outlet store) and picked through everything they had.  Nothing.  Nothing at all.  Finally, just as I was about to leave and call the whole trip a bust, I found this hiding in the display case.

My favorite Game Boy game, when I was very young. Also I didn't have a Game Boy.

Yes, it generally goes for about 50 cents less than I paid, but damn it, I conquered the stores tonight. I found something, and therefore I won. So there.

I'm kidding, of course. I love taking these trips, even if I find nothing at all. There's a thrill in the hunt; digging through the trash and finding the hidden treasures.

Next, I received an awesome package from Japan.  4 Famicom games for $26 shipped, from Sean at  None of the markup you usually get on these games... seriously, check eBay.  Anyway:

My first 4 Famicom games - pretty good choices so far.

The games are Final Fantasy II, Final Fantasy III, Tower of Druaga and The Goonies. You can't beat $26 for these games, when you figure how much you're usually charged just for shipping from Japan.

So, on to the big Craigslist score, and the reason for the trip out today.  The listing was for a Sega Master System, several controllers, and some games.  He said he couldn't get it to start up but didn't have the correct AC adapter, so I figured I'd give it a shot, since I've got two of them.  Fired it up when I got it home... and it does not start up.

Looks like I've got a new repair project.

EDIT: A small update - I've found out the original owner tried to start it up with an NES AC adapter, which is a very, very bad idea. The NES adapter puts out AC and is converted internally, whereas the SMS adapter converts to DC. Plugging in an NES adapter will fry your Master System. Just don't do it. I know it fits, but that doesn't mean it works. If you have a Sega Genesis Model 1 AC adapter, that'll work just fine.

Now, we buy a replacement voltage regulator.

One of the controllers is an Epyx joystick, which makes me smile.

The games are the reason I went for it, though.  Well, one, in particular:

Global Defense, Monopoly, Golvellius, Rescue Mission, Missile Defense 3-D and Alf.  Believe it or not, Alf is a very rare and difficult to find game, netting around $40 boxed.

How much did I pay for the whole set?  $25. Even with a non-working Master System, I still win the day.

Yard sale season starts up again soon, though. Get ready, I've got a feeling this year's going to be a great one.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Can't Win Em All - Today's Thrift Run

Today's haul is not great.  Not at all.  But, I really wanted to grab some new games, so here we are.

Harvest Moon!

First stop was Salvation Army, which is always hit or miss where retro games are concerned.  Today was a pretty big hit.  Nine Game Boy games in a plastic bag, marked at $10.99 for the lot.  I'd have passed, but then I saw that Mary-Kate and Ashley game...

...actually, it was the Harvest Moon that pushed me over the edge.

The games are Sports Illustrated Golf Classic (valued at about $1), Buzz Lightyear of Star Command ($1), Harvest Moon GBC ($9), The New Adventures of Mary-Kate and Ashley ($1), Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers ($4), Centipede ($1), Top Rank Tennis ($1), Ultra Golf ($2), and Space Invaders ($4).  So at around $24, this set is the star, regardless of quality. But hey, I love Harvest Moon games.

And the "meh" collection.

Next, a Goodwill.  Sometimes you're out at a store and just think, "Y'know what? Damnit, I need some N64 games."  Then you grab them all up and overpay like crazy.

Or maybe that's just me.

Anyway, the games are WCW vs NWO World Tour ($1), Hey You, Pikachu ($2) and Rayman 2 ($6).  I paid almost $13.  Yes, yes, I'm ashamed, but you know what?  I don't care at all abut pro wrestling, and normally dislike pro wrestling games as a result.  Wrestling games developed by AKI, though, are in a class of their own.  I don't mind overpaying for that.

Besides, I'm still up around $10 in final value.  So there!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Yes, the game it certainly ain't.

FamiComplex takes another break from game reviews to review one of the controversial films in human history.

But, but... only one video this month?  Well, it's almost twenty minutes long, so there!  Block out some time in your schedule, sit back and enjoy!

EDIT:  This review got the attention of the Super Mario Bros. The Movie Archive, who've sent a response clearing some things up.


Nice to hear from you. We appreciate you being so forthright in responding to us in regards to the film. Considering how controversial the film is within both the gaming and film communities it's always a relief when people are open-minded to discussion on it.

While we enjoyed the review and felt it to be fairly extensive, there were still several points you raised that were not entirely accurate or fair. Those points don't particularly contribute towards either enjoying or disliking the film, but they're still worth commenting on if only to make things more clear.

Firstly, Mario and Luigi are brothers. While the double-date scene may seem to indicate that Mario adopted Luigi or that Luigi was adopted into Mario's family that really wasn't the implication. According to writer Parker Bennett in an interview we conducted, Luigi was simply a much younger brother who Mario had to raise once their parents died in an accident. He said:

"[...]what we decided is, “Okay, Mario has a big chip on his shoulder about being a plumber. He’s inherited his dad’s business [and] it’s not what he wants to do;” it’s sort of a “It’s A Wonderful Life” thing with Jimmy Stewart at the bank when he wants to be traveling the world.
[Mario’s] dad and mom died and then he’s forced to look after Luigi and so he’s stuck with all this responsibility that he never asked for."

This was, of course, much more clear in the early scripts, particularly their initial draft which focused on their relationship much more.

Secondly, the dino-humans actually do have "cave drawings" depicting the split of the dimensions, so it is entirely feasible that they would know this as part of their history. For the most part it is largely considered as more of a legend or even a creation myth, people like Toad are more aware of the truth behind it.

The rationale behind this is that a sect of people heavily mutated by the meteorite's radiation guarded the portal between worlds as well as studied ours to better preserve their own. This group of "Portal-Keepers" ruled the dino society, but were overthrown by Koopa. Only Daisy's mother and Daisy survived. This was all left unstated in the film, of course, but was very much a subplot within the early scripts that explained just why Daisy was capable of withstanding the power of the dimensions.

The King being de-evolved into fungus was not meant to imply that dinosaurs evolved into fungus so much as that fungus is a baser stage in life. The scripts state that it is not so much fungus as a sort of sentient primordial "slime." The scripts also make a point that the de-evolution technology is not truly "de-evolving" organisms; rather, it is mutating them into creatures reminiscent of their genetic ancestry. Hence, why Koopa doesn't turn into a true T. rex.

Finally, the sequel  will happen at some point... just not as a film. After nearly 20 years and growing cult status, the adventure is planned to be continued in a series of comics. Should be cool.

Anyways, glad to see you so open to this response. Hopefully this rather long message clarifies several of your points and helps you understand what they were doing with the story a little more, even if you still won't fully enjoy it. I look forward to hearing back from you.
- Sincerely,

Steven Applebaum

The site, at, has a ton of videos, images and information about the production of this movie that shine a light on why it came out the way it did, and is an excellent counterbalance to my highly negative review.  Getting such a polite and well-written response makes me regret not having given the movie a fair shake - after all, I set out to tear it apart, and that's exactly what I did.

So, enjoy my review for the comedic value, then go check out the archive for more information!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

At Last, I Finally Have A Famicom.

Sometimes, I don't save my pennies and jump on the best deal available. Sometimes, I want something, and I want it right now.  Sometimes, you name your site after something and don't actually own it.

All this overtime I've been working at my day job - coupled with the research I did for an article on the subject - led me to decide that it was finally time for me to have a Famicom.

So, rather than grab a cheap, beat up console with no AC adapter and a third-party RF switch, I decided to go all out for the real deal.

Hello there, you beautiful piece of history.

A boxed Family Computer, missing only the manuals and inserts.  The box is in fairly great condition when you consider that it's probably from 1983-1985.  It is nearing its thirties, you'd think it'd be in as bad of shape as I am.

This is the most exciting thing I've seen all year. No, really.

The box contains the system and an original RF switch and AC adapter.  I haven't been seriously looking for very long, but nearly every one I've found has one or both of these replaced with a Hori third-party equivalent.

Old, but still gorgeous.

It'll need some cleaning to get that white look back - it's old and quite dirty.  The original protective film is still over the front label, but as you can see, it's starting to peel off.

I'm sure she'll clean up beautifully.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Why I Collect Old Games

My parents were never this excited about it.  Well, maybe my dad.

Warning: This is going to get depressing.

When someone asks me why I'd collect something as strange as old video games, I usually ask them, "well, did you ever have a Nintendo?"  Their response is almost always a "Yes".  When asked about their favorite game, they can never seem to hold back the smile as they describe taking out Bowser, defeating Ganon, or finishing Contra without the Konami code.

In conversation, sparking that feeling of nostalgia is generally all it takes for someone to understand why I'd spend so much time and money on this stuff.  But, as with most things that compel us, there's a lot more to it than that.

I was practically born in front of a computer.  I don't personally recall, of course, but there are photos of me as early as 2 years old playing with a Commodore 64.  My parents had an Atari 2600 that I have vague memories of, as well, but I have no idea what happened to it.  My dad is a programmer, so there was always a computer in the house.  I'd ask him questions incessantly about how things work, what they do, etc.  If he didn't know, we'd look it up together.

Computers were always there, but it was the NES that would captivate me the most.

Christmas morning, 1988, I woke to find an NES Action Set under the tree.  It was everything I'd imagined it would be.  The games were so far beyond anything on the Commodore 64 or the CGA 8086 PC - it was the most amazing thing I'd ever seen.

As much as I loved it, I didn't truly bond to gaming until much later.

I was always a pretty friendly and outgoing kid, until around the fifth grade, when my school days became a nightmare.

There's always a hierarchy in public schools, and there's usually some weird kids and nerds on the bottom.  The abuse trickles down, with those on the top making fun of those below them, et cetera on down the totem pole.

Somehow, at that time, I discovered an entirely new sub-basement of this hierarchy, and I was alone there.  Even the weird kids and the nerds would mock me to make themselves feel better.  It didn't stop there, of course.  I'd get spit on by the girls at recess, I'd be kicked, punched and attacked for no reason without provocation.  Once, at an assembly, I was punched in the nose by a kid who, I swear, was no higher than my waist.  I was kicked between the legs at least 3 times for no reason, a girl even threw my glasses in the garbage when I left them on my desk at recess.

Any time I'd make friends, they'd call any group I was in "The Nerd Herd".  Keep in mind, back then being a "nerd" was not a socially acceptable thing.  Computers were unpopular, and enjoying computers was social suicide.  I didn't mind the name so much, until all the "friends" ditched me.  One of them would come up to me one day and say, "Oh look, if it isn't The Nerd Herd".  Holding back tears, I replied under my breath, "It can't be a herd if it's just one person."

Of course, my family was there for me, but I didn't retreat there when I needed to get away.  I'd rush off to my room, turn on the Commodore monitor, blow on a cartridge and slam it into my NES.  I'd forget the kids and their verbal and physical attacks.  It was just me and my friends - Link, Mario, the Belmonts.

It was an escape.  I wasn't a scared child; I wasn't running away anymore.  I was a hero.  I was rescuing princesses, saving the world, stopping the bad guys, and all before dinner.  I could choose any game, and be anything I wanted to be.  Anything but me.

Now, whenever I pick up that familiar 2-button controller, whenever I see a cluster of pixels on screen that vaguely resembles a person, I become that kid again.  Not the scared, confused, hurt child; the gaming god, the story's hero.  The good times always flow back in - the 2-player games with my sisters or my dad, my personal victories - but the pain never comes back with it.  My wife tells me I get a look on my face when playing old video games - the kind of honest smile that comes from deep inside you.

I never let go of all those old games - they'd sit in a bin in the closet, occasionally coming out to be played.  I wasn't an active collector, I just simply couldn't let go of all that old stuff.  It actually wasn't until the release of the Wii that the collector's bug bit me.  I hooked up my brand new Wii and jumped on the store, and just had to buy Super Mario Bros.  Then I had to buy Castlevania IV.  Then Solomon's Key.

It was then that I realized that this was silly.  I already had a copy of Super Mario Bros. in the closet!  I had a Super Nintendo, why couldn't I just buy a Castlevania IV cartridge and play it on the real thing?

Right then and there, it clicked into place.  Now I had a mission - one which, after a reboot, continues in this blog today.

Why do I collect old games?  Well, why aren't you collecting the things that make you smile?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

GameStop's New Incentive Program: Retro Game Vault

Try harder, GameStop.

If you haven't heard, the generally anti-retro game retailer GameStop is now trying their best to steal their own little piece of the nostalgia pie.

Through GameStop's PowerUp Rewards program, you earn points for each purchase, which can then be exchanged for rewards, similar to Best Buy's Reward Zone membership.  But what's this?  You can now use these points towards classic games through GameStop's "Retro Game Vault".

Sounds great, doesn't it?  Well, yeah, until you check the values.

Super Mario Bros., a pretty common cartridge, has a current value of around $4 (the SMB/Duck Hunt cartridges are easier to find and much cheaper).  Through the GameStop Rewards program, the game is 43,250 points!

Here's the point breakdown for the program, per their website:
  • 10 points per dollar spent on all new games and consoles 
  • 20 points per dollar spent on pre-owned games, accessories and consoles 
  • 20 points per dollar on traded-in games or consoles
Assuming you're smart enough to stay away from trading in games for less than a quarter of their value, and also assuming you avoid buying "new" (It's not used if GameStop removes the seal and plays it, only if you do) copies, you'll get 20 points per dollar on used games.  Okay, cool.

So, 43250 / 20 = 2162.5.

Spend $2,162.50 on used games, and you'll take home a game that was free with the NES.  One that you can find at any given garage sale or flea market for 25 cents.

What a deal!  Clearly you've changed your stance on retro games, GameStop.  The retro community salutes you!

Only a single finger in the salute, though.  The rest of them just weren't feeling it.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Another Trip, More Goodies

I figured that, since I've still got my car this weekend, I'd take a trip to Salem for another tour of the numerous thrift stores down there.

As with most of my long thrifting day trips, I wasn't disappointed.

That's some serious hardware.

At the very first Goodwill I checked on the way down, I ran into this: A boxed Super Scope 6.  The box was hiding under a stack of other random boxes next to the register - seriously, guys, check every inch of your thrift stores, you really never know.

All parts for the gun are included as well as the sensor, but the Super Scope 6 cartridge isn't... but I've actually seen people giving the cartridge away, so it shouldn't be hard to track one down.  $24.99, and they go for around $30-40.  Also purchased here but not pictured: a new N64 memory card (or controller pak) for $4.99.  Off to a good start!

Can never have too many of these.  Why?  Bomberman, that's why.

At a Value Village, I picked up another Sega Saturn controller for $2.99.  This is a version one controller, and you can usually pick these up for $10 or so.

Where do these keep coming from?

Lastly, at the same Goodwill where I bought a bunch of 2600 games a few months ago, I found yet another stack.  Where are these coming from?  Is there an infinitely renewing fountain of Atari 2600 games nearby?  If so, where can I find this fountain?

The games are Space Invaders, Cosmic Ark, Demons to Diamonds, Warlords (finally!), Breakaway IV, and Riddle of the Sphinx.  These were $2.99 each, so yes, I grossly overpaid for almost all of them.  Breakaway IV, however, is worth around $5, so there was one decent deal.  I have no problem overpaying for a stack of 2600 games when, on the same trip, I massively underpaid for something else.  It all balances out, you see.

As it turns out, I already had a copy of Space Invaders.  I love overpaying for something I already own.  I can't wait until my Verizon service contract ends so I can activate this Virgin Mobile smartphone.  It'd be so nice to have access to my RF Generation collection list on the go.  There is actually an app for that.

Also, in this same trip, I picked up a Gamecube for $9.99... but that's a discussion for a few years in the future.  Happy hunting, everyone!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Finally, a good hunt.

It was bound to happen eventually, right?  Today I finally took the chance to go out and hit up my favorite thrifting haunts, and while it's not all top-shelf stuff, I feel pretty good getting back in the game.

Too expensive?  Yep.  Do I care?  Nope.

First off, two complete Genesis games, NBA Jam and Eternal Champions for $2.99 each.  I overpaid by quite a lot on both of these super-common titles, but y'know what?  That's fine, sometimes.  Especially when you've been out of the game for a while.

My N64 collection's starting to get somewhere.

Next, three N64 titles at $2.99 each - Blast Corps, Star Fox 64 and Mario Party.  Blast Corps is worth just slightly more than I paid, but with Star Fox 64 worth around $10 and Mario Party at around $19, they really made this trip.  See that Mario Party label, though?  It's covered by the single most vile, horrible and evil thing ever conceived by man - Blockbuster's security stickers.

These stickers are designed so that if you try to remove them, they will literally rip the game's label right off the cartridge.  There's no way to remove them without destroying the label, and this one's got permanent marker all over it.   It just had to be on the biggest prize of the day, didn't it?

There's one of these on my Pokemon Puzzle League, too.  If I ever meet the person who invented these, I'll... have strong words for him.

I'm unashamed to say I love these old Capcom Disney games.

Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers for the NES, $4.99 at Value Village.  This one's also just under the estimated value, but that's okay.  It's Chip 'n Dale.

If you're not excited by this, you're clearly not a part of my generation.

Another good, cheap-ish game.

Vectorman 2 for the Genesis for $1.99 at my local Goodwill.  It's worth about what I paid for it, but if I remember correctly, these were pretty good games.  Now I just need to find the first.

There is no way to look cool in 3D glasses.

So, where have I been?  Aside from the the fact that I don't have access to my car as often as I'd like, I've also dropped around $1300 on building a new killer gaming PC, with a Playstation 3D Display as the monitor.  It's a thing of great beauty, and has kept me occupied for a few days now.

Yeah, the real-world Jerry does play modern games.  Not that guy in the videos, though.  He's been stuck in a time loop since 1999.

Talk to him about the Playstation 3, and he'll tell you, "Yeah, I DO have three Playstations."