I Bought Stuff!: Portland Retro Gaming Expo 2015 edition.

Before, I wrote blogs about the stuff I bought under the relatively boring “Game finds” title. I wanted something more punchy, more entertaining. Then the name came to me. It’s sillier, but I like it more.

So, re-introducing a semi-regular feature on the blog: I bought stuff!


This one will be all the stuff I got at this year’s Portland Retro Gaming Expo. I could go into great lengths about the PGRE itself, but I don’t think it’s necessary. I did get to enjoy classics like Outrun and Crazy Taxi, I saw some pro-level Tetris being played, I saw people play multiplayer Star Wars Battlefront 2 over Xbox System Link, and I met the guys who made Game Sack. This was a good year as always, and I anticipate the next year being bigger and better.

I will publicly admit that all but 2 of the things I bought were recent 360/Wii/PS2 stuff, mostly shooters. You could call me a “fake retro gamer,” but I’ve gotten to the point where either I have everything I want, or the things I want are ridiculously expensive to me. Like I’d totally want the Spyro the Dragon trilogy, but I ain’t paying $20-25 for each game, especially when I bought the entire trilogy on the PlayStation Network for a buck a piece. I am not a man who can throw hundreds on Turbografx-16s, Steel Battallion controllers or even a complete copy of Panic Restaurant (though I give Chris Kohler guts for even offering $800 for it). So instead I go for the cheaper stuff, and that’s usually games from a generation or two back.

It’s probably the best time to start grabbing Wii, 360 and PS3 stuff. As people start gravitating towards the prettier PS4 and Xbox One, some games are gonna get harder and harder to get. So I got a fair share of stuff and junk. Let’s see what I bought.


A 5 for $10 deal of the following:

  • Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter (360)

  • Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 (360)

  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (360)

  • Gears of War 2 (360)

  • Call of Duty 3 (Wii)

So one booth, Another Castle, was doing a ridiculous fire sale on Sunday. One of the aisles had 2 games for $5, or 5 for $10. Most of them were shooters or sports games, and I thought I’d grab some of the few that I missed out on for a good bargain.

GRAW and GRAW2 were pretty solid third-person shooters for their time. I don’t expect them to have aged gracefully, but the first one was the big action game people were playing on their 360s ’til Gears of War came along. Since I had gotten Future Soldier earlier in the year, I thought I might as well grab all the Ghost Recon games on the 360.

I had beaten Modern Warfare 3 in the past, back when I had a Gamefly subscription. Hell, I even wrote a blog on the shoddy PC port after dabbling in it on a Steam free weekend. This was basically the fifth game of the set. It was either this or EA’s Medal of Honor reboot from 2010, and I decided to go with the ridiculously over-the-top shooter as opposed to the copycat.

I always wanted to try Wii versions of popular 360/PS3 games, like Call of Duty 3. It felt like it was built for the Wii first considering the ridiculous quick-time events involving fighting enemy soldiers. Here’s hoping I can get used to waggle motions, as I had difficulty playing through Medal of Honor Heroes II with it’s weird first-person shooter/light gun hybrid control scheme.

Funny enough, the only Gears of War game I owned was the first. Heard great things about 2, and good things about the later ones. I bet this would be fun in co-op.


$5 each:

  • Fable II (360)

  • Gears of War 3 (360)

I had picked up Fable III at a Goodwill earlier this year, and it seemed appropriate to grab the second one. Now I can experience Peter Molyneux’s overblown hype-filled trilogy all in one go. I grabbed Gears 3 because, hell, I just got the second, might as well finish the trilogy. Hell, if I found Gears of War Judgment for a pittance I would’ve grabbed it too. GET ALL THE DARK GRIM COVER SHOOTERS!

These were literally the last games I bought at the show, just as it was closing down. Had a nice chat with the guy too about how cool conventions are.


$6: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Reflex Edition (Wii)

Much like COD3 above, I got this just to see how Treyarch took a 2007 classic and put it on a system less powerful than the original Xbox. Also just to see if the game looked really as bad as this screenshot showed:

I remember this being the butt of many jokes on the internet. It looks okay. ...for the Wii.

I remember this being the butt of many jokes on the internet. It looks okay.
…for the Wii.


$1 each:

  • NRA Gun Club (PS2)

  • Jeopardy! Sports Edition (Genesis)

Huzzah, the only game that’s actually considered “retro” on this list!

I was always baffled by the Sports-themed Jeopardy! games. Did Gametek do a marketing study and found out their biggest audience were sports buffs or something? Maybe it’s because there was never a long-lasting sports-themed game show to adapt, but I never understood these. I could understand the “Deluxe Edition” since it’s new questions and tightening up the graphics. But nowadays this would just be an expansion pack to the base game.

(Funny enough, the ’90s Jeopardy! game published by Sony Imagesoft actually has expansion packs that add Sports-themed and TV/Movies-focused clues into the main game. At least they were progressive with that stuff even back then)

As for NRA Gun Club, this is literally an ironic novelty. I’m gonna get a bit personal and political here, but I don’t like the NRA blaming shootings on everything but themselves. From video games, to American History X (?!), the NRA loves using scapegoats for mass shootings besides firearms themselves. Now I like guns, I like shooting guns in games, but I’m all for gun control in the US so I can stop hearing aboutsome person go on a killing spree every week.

I also found it hilariously ironic that they forgot they endorsed a licensed NRA video game almost ten years ago in spite of the outrage. I don’t expect it to be good, hell, Gamespot gave it an abysmal 1.6 back in the day, so it’s more of a curious novelty.


$5: Red Steel (Wii)

Remember when the Wii was announced and Ubisoft pushed this game hard, complete with a hilariously bad trailer showing a guy moving around like a doofus?

This will never not crack me up.

Yeah, it likely hasn’t aged well at all, and was probably mediocre even by shooter standards at the time, but I want to play this game and see how bad it truly is. It’s a shame, considering there was a decent idea in here, just bad execution plus being a launch title for the system doomed it as well.

At least it’s probably better than Far Cry Vengeance, which looked like a slapped-together port of Far Cry Instincts Evolution except somehow looking worse.


$1: Defender (PS2)

I only remember this game because of goddamn G4. (Rest in peace.)

There was a show on G4 called Player$, and it was literally MTV Cribs but with video games instead of houses. There was some notable person on there playing this game, with him remarking that he played the original and was amazed they made a new one.

There’s very little info on this show – no episode guide or anything – so I have no idea who it was or when it aired. Though if you wanna fill me in, let me know in the comments or through the usual social media channels.

The only other Player$ moment I remember is some rapper playing Madden on a tour bus and the cameraman accidentally bumping into the reset button. That should tell you how memorable this show was.


$1: Sonic Super Digest 7 (Comic)

Oh hey, something not a video game! This is a digest of Sonic the Hedgehog comics by Archie. Some are parts of the story from the current era, others and reprintings of classic Sonic comics from the 90s. No Ken Penders and his weird Gary-Stu echidna characters here, just decent Sonic comics by Ian Flynn and his crew.

I admit the only reason I got it was for the really, really stupid-looking cover. Man, Sega just loves the whole “Sonic loves the hell out of chili dogs” schtick now, and it’s hilarious.

And the rest…

I did get some non-video game swag, including a Grey Fullbuster plush for my cousin in Vegas (he loves Fairy Tail, whereas I stopped paying attention to anime seriously after around Azumanga Daioh), and a PRGE 2015 T-shirt since their theme this year was Back to the Future. Since I’m a BTTF nut, I couldn’t resist getting the shirt.

There are some things I regret not getting: Tetris Plus for PlayStation, a few cheap Famicom and Super Famicom games (more for the novelty, I have no systems to play them on), and a sampler soundtrack of Putt-Putt Saves the Zoo signed by composer George Sanger. Oh well, it’s not the end of the world, there’s plenty of copies of those things going around, I’m bound to find them again eventually.

I’ll admit, my collection phase has slowed down considerably, and I’m okay with that, honestly. Doesn’t mean I’ll stop hunting, because I get a big thrill out of finding something cool for cheap at a thrift store. In the case of the PRGE, it’s like a bigger version of that. If you’re in the Pacific Northwest, you have no excuse not to head down and check it out next year.

(Personal wish: The Game Chasers coming back to PRGE next year. You goddamn chodes, get your asses back to PDX! It’s been too long!)


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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1 Response

  1. April 4, 2020

    […] this game through Gamefly, then eventually bought the game proper on an Xbox 360 for real cheap at the 2015 Portland Retro Gaming Expo, and all the problems I had with it were still there: Hackers, no proper sense of balance, terrible […]

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