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 exciting. Then the name came to me. It’s sillier, but I like it better than the old one. So, re-introducing a semi-regular feature on the blog: I Bought Stuff!

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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” if you want, but I’ve gotten to the point where either I have everything I want, or the things I want are ridiculously expensive to me. For example, I 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 one 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 as any to start grabbing Wii, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 stuff. As people are now full steam ahead on the more newer PS4 and Xbox One, some older games are gonna get harder and harder to get. So I got a fair share of stuff and junk. Let’s see what stuff I bought.

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So much military stuff. What’s wrong with me?

$10:

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

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

  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (Xbox 360)

  • Gears of War 2 (Xbox 360)

  • Call of Duty 3 (Wii)

So one of the booths, Another Castle based out of Edmonds, WA, 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.

Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter and GRAW 2 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 later in 2006. Since I had gotten Future Soldier earlier in the year, I thought I might as well grab all the remaining Ghost Recon games on the 360.

Funny enough, the only Gears of War game I owned at this point was the first. Heard that Gears 2 was a superior sequel, and I even heard good things about the later ones. I bet this would be a blast to play in co-op.

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.

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. I only got this because it the fifth game of the “5 for $10” deal. 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. (Update: In 2018, I would later play that Medal of Honor reboot from 2010 on the PC, and it turns out to be just as bad as I was expecting! You can read about that here.)

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Lots of 2s and 3s. Needs more 4s.

  • Fable II (Xbox 360, $5)

  • Gears of War 3 (Xbox 360, $5)

I snagged these at another booth of which I sadly don’t remember. Likely was another booth featuring a store from out of state.

I had picked up Fable III at a Goodwill earlier this year, and I already owned Fable: The Lost Chapters for a long time. It seemed appropriate to grab the second one to complete the set. Now I can experience Peter Molyneux’s overblown, hype-filled RPG trilogy all in one go. Okay, I might be a bit harsh but I’m not expecting these games to be outstanding.

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. Might as well get all the grim dark brown 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 these kind of conventions are.

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Why the heck was it called “reflex edition”? A Wii remote is just a pointer, it’s not that hi octane here.

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

Much like Call of Duty 3 earlier, I got this on the cheap 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 promotional 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 by Wii standards.

At this point, I realized I own Call of Duty 4 on at least 3 platforms, including the PlayStation 3 and PC. I mean, the game is a classic, surely, but sometimes one version is enough, you know?

I’ll take gun sports for $500, Alex.

  • NRA Gun Club (PS2, $1)

  • Jeopardy! Sports Edition (Genesis, $1)

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 the existence of these. I could understand the “Deluxe Edition” releases, since they’re new questions and perhaps tightening up the graphics. But nowadays, this would just be an expansion pack to the base game, not a separate product.

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. Seems they were ahead of the curve when it comes to additional game content.

As for NRA Gun Club, this is literally an ironic novelty. I’m gonna get a bit 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 shooting guns in games, but I’m all for gun control in the US, so I can stop hearing about someone going on a killing spree every other week.

I also found it hilariously ironic that they forgot they endorsed a licensed NRA video game almost ten years ago in spite of blaming video games. 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. (Update: I wrote about this a year later in 2016, and turns out that the 1.6 GameSpot gave it is spot on. It’s pretty bad! You can read more about NRA Gun Club here.)

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Ah yes, the infamous Wii “killer app”.

Red Steel (Wii, $5)

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

Yeah, the game 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, there’s a decent idea in this game, it was just plagued by bad execution plus having to come out near a system’s launch.

At least it’s probably better than Far Cry Vengeance, the other Ubisoft FPS on the Wii that came out at the same time, which looked like a slapped-together port of Far Cry Instincts Evolution except somehow looking worse.

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Ah, that time when Midway bounced between milking Mortal Kombat and acknowledging their other, older franchises with these forgettable relics.

Defender (PS2, $1)

I only remember this game because of goddamn G4. There was a show on that network called Player$, and it was literally MTV Cribs but instead of celebrities showing off their cribs, it was with video games instead. There was some notable C-list celebrity on there playing this game, with him remarking that he played the original and was amazed they made a new one.

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

There’s very little info on this show – no available episode guides or anything – so I have no idea who it was or when that show aired. Here’s hoping one day that episode will surface online just so I can prove to y’all I wasn’t crazy.

 

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Sonic about to go HAM on those chili dogs.

Sonic Super Digest 7 (Comic book, $1)

Oh hey, something that’s not a video game! This is a digest of Sonic the Hedgehog comics by Archie comics. Some are these are excerpts of the story from the current era, with the rest being reprints of classic Sonic comics from the 90s. Thankfully there’s no Ken Penders and his weird mary sue echidna characters here, just the decent Sonic comics by Ian Flynn and his crew.

I’ll 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 whenever it comes around. Naturally I’ll probably be there to buy more cheap 360 and Wii games to pad out my library and for future blog fodder.

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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