I Bought Stuff! 8/29/2012: Pre-PAX Edition.

So, the Penny Arcade Expo is coming up. That popular video game thing in Seattle that has all the cool video game and nerd-culture related things that’s right in my neck of the woods.

But instead of packing and getting ready to hop on a train tomorrow, I decided to go check some thrift stores and hope to find some interesting stuff. And I definitely found some of that. This will be a small, but interesting haul indeed.

Quite the bizarre combination on hand here.

  • Virtua Fighter (32X, $3)

  • Metal Head (32X, $3)

  • The LucasArts Archives Volume IV: The Star Wars Collection Volume II (PC, $5)

Over the years I’ve amassed a fairly small collection of 32X games, that ill-fated add-on for the Sega Genesis that was pretty much the Beginning of The End for Sega. I have a fair share of the ones people remember like Doom and Virtua Racing Deluxe, but a few other games elude me primarily because of how popular they are, like Knuckles Chaotix. In hindsight I should’ve grabbed it when they were $30 for a loose cartridge, because it’s definitely much higher these days.

Virtua Fighter really doesn’t need much explanation: A 3D fighting game in the infancy of 3D graphics in arcades. The 32X version is likely an acceptable version of that game, but probably not the most ideal version to play these days. I’m not even big on fighting games, but I consider this significant enough to own.

Metal Head is basically a first-person shooter in a mech. While not particularly new — stuff like MechWarrior existed for years before this — it’s something unexpected for the 32X, and had some surprisingly good 3D out of it. A shame it was put onto this dying system.

Both of the Goodwills I went to had a surprisingly influx of NES, SNES and Genesis games, but most of them were the common licensed schlock or sports games. I even saw the infamous Pit Fighter for the SNES, but I’d rather not waste my money on garbage I’d only own for the novelty value.

Now for the other item I got, one I consider the more significant of the bunch: Some Star Wars!

In the past few years, I’ve stumbled upon various Star Wars and Star Trek video games in thrift stores, but usually passed them all up because I’m not a fan of either sci-fi series. Sci-fi as a genre is a fickle beast with me, I usually think it’s quote boring and uninteresting unless it involves time travel, so I’ve only seen one or two of the Star Wars films and a bunch of various Trek series.

But when I spot a compilation of games, even for a series I’m not that invested in I can’t resist grabbing it. I never knew LucasArts did any sort of box compilations of their past titles, and having them all in one place seems pretty neat.

The six disc set comes with the following:

  • Star Wars: X-Wing Collector’s Series — A flight simulator where you play the titular X-Wing. This is the later version of X-Wing that uses the engine of the later X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter.
  • Star Wars: TIE Fighter Collector’s Series — same as X-Wing above.
  • Star Wars: Dark Forces — a really good FPS that was doing things many Doom clones weren’t.
  • Star Wars: Yoda Stories — a graphical adventure game featuring the titular Yoda. Not sure if this was any good, I remember reading this being somewhat maligned.
  • Star Wars: Behind the Magic: Vehicles Special Edition — An interactive encyclopedia of the series up to that point, presumably covering the original trilogy and the extended universe. This was made before the prequel trilogy, so this was probably really cool in the days before Wookieepedia existed.
  • Demos of Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II, Jedi Knight: Mysteries of the Sith, and Star Wars: X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter

Since I’m not big into Star Wars, I never played many of these games. I eventually did play Dark Forces and really enjoyed that game for what it tried to do in a post-Doom world, but space simulations sound too complicated for me to really sit down and enjoy, but I heard the X-Wing saga are some of the best.

It’s a bummer half the compilation is just demo discs rather than the full games, but I guess I can’t complain for $5. Granted, I could probably buy digital versions of these for about the same price, but I am a mild stickler for owning physical copies of things, and for the price in the late 90s, it’s a decent deal.

This was the last LucasArts compilation, as no other ones were made after this second Star Wars one. Past ones such as Volume I had classics like Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, Day of the Tentacle and Sam and Max Hit the Road, which sounds like a hell of a bargain back in those days.

Nowadays, LucasArts has all of these games available through other outlets like Steam, complete with DOSBox compatibility right out of the box, so it’s probably a better deal than trying to hunt down these games. Well, with the exception of Yoda Stories, but I think we’re okay skipping that one.

I love compilations like these, as it gives people a good crash course on certain game series without breaking the bank. We may live in a digital future nowadays, but that doesn’t mean compilations have to die. There’s a bit of a charm of owning physical boxes of these, and I’m glad some companies are keeping the spirit alive to this day.

Now I should get to packing. Hopefully I’ll find something cool there to blog about.

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B.J. Brown

B.J. Brown is the creator and sole writer on You Found a Secret Area. Casually writing since 2010, Fascinated by dumb things like game shows, music, and of course, video games. Also on Twitter. You can support their work on Ko-Fi or Patreon.

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