Category: Catalogs, Trinkets and other promotions

For promotional items and other things I find that I think are neat.

My e-Reader Card Collection: Nintendo’s Last Straw.

I have made a fair share of questionable purchases over the years. Back when I was still a Nintendo apologist, during the heydays of Gamecube puttering along way behind the PS2 and when the Game Boy Advance was king of all portable gaming, I had bought stuff that in hindsight wasn’t that useful. Such as the GBA-GC link cable that connected a GBA to a Gamecube to transfer data, or in the case of games like Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, have all the action take place on the GBA.

Nintendo-e-Reader

This looks neat at first glance, doesn’t it? Oh, if only.

But that isn’t nearly as much in terms of questionable purchasing decisions as me buying into Nintendo’s e-Reader. Not to be confused with an eBook reader, the e-Reader was a Game Boy Advance add-on where you could scan cards with codes printed on the side to get cool goodies. It sounds like a good idea on paper, but the execution was poor: Games sometimes needed 3-10 codes scanned to play something, you could only hold one thing on the e-Reader’s memory at a time, and you needed a GBA link cable if you wanted to transfer anything from an e-Reader to another system, or the Gamecube.

It was a mess. Needless to say, Nintendo of America wasn’t having more of this and discontinued the thing around 2004. Thus leaving me with a bunch of cards I had acquired that I didn’t really have much use for anymore.

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52 e-reader pickup (digital photography, 2018)

Over 15 years after the e-Reader came out, I still have the damn cards. And I’m gonna show some of them off here. Now, these aren’t the most rare, or the most valuable, these are just cards I find interesting, because they have a story to them. Note I’m only gonna list cards I personally own, as much as it would be interesting to write about Japanese exclusive e-Reader cards, I don’t have those.


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Props to Nintendo for using the original Famicom cover art, at least.

Donkey Kong Jr.-e

One of the two pack-in classic games – the other being Pinball – this was part of the “Classic NES Series” which featured almost nothing but early NES games, the ones you see crop up everywhere on Nintendo platforms: Donkey Kong, Balloon Fight, Ice Climber, even much-maligned brawler Urban Champion got the e-Reader treatment.

The first card shows how to play the game, with each subsequent card giving some important tips on how to play and eventually master the game. It’s nice considering people even of my generation never grew up on the older NES catalog, but them not being based on more “powerful” NES games like Super Mario Bros. really made this particular series only interesting to diehard Nintendo fans.

It also didn’t help it came on five cards, with one set of two dot codes each. That’s 10 codes I had to scan to play this thing. Worst off, if I wanted to play any other game, I had to remove the game from memory, thus requiring me to scan all ten codes again if I wanted to replay it.

Funny enough, some of these games later got treatment as part of a brief stint of a different “Classic NES Series,” which was on traditional cartridges. These featured more of the NES classics you’d be familiar with, like The Legend of Zelda and Metroid. Why scan 10 codes of Ice Climber when you could buy the same thing for a higher price on a traditional cartridge? Nintendo probably didn’t think that one through too well.

I’ve seen some of these Classic NES Series card packs on sale during the Portland Retro Gaming Expo, and I sometimes get the temptation to get another one of these. Then I realize I’d have to scan 10 codes, and I could play that game elsewhere with less hassle.

…Have I mentioned I hated having to scan 10 freakin’ codes yet?

Continue reading…

Random digital video game goodies, Volume 1.

video game closet collage

I am a master at image manipulation.

For the past several years, I’ve been collecting my fair share of random video game stuff. Some of which I’ve talked about on this blog, others of which I still need to get around to. But it hasn’t just been physical stuff I find at Goodwills and other places, oh no. It’s also been loads of digital stuff.

Many years ago, back when I had a crappy old HP Pavilion PC with Windows Vista, 2GB of RAM, and 250GB of hard drive space, I was hoarding lots of digital video game goodies. Wallpapers, soundtracks, press kits, the works. That practice continued when I got my current PC in 2013, where I let them lay in my cluttered downloads folder. It didn’t dawn on me until I started moving it to a unique folder on my hard drive that I thought these were worth sharing, just like everything else I do on this blog.

The downside is that I’m slowly rebuilding my collection. When I was on the old PC, there were times where I had to delete some files to save space. So for now, some of the things I had are lost to time, unless I find them again somewhere. If these are still available on the official website, I’ll happily link to where you can get them, otherwise I’ll slap them up on my Dropbox for those who want it.

So let’s clean out my digital closet with these goodies…


Payday 2 wallpapers and posters!

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Payday 2 has slowly become one of my favorite games in recent memory. While it’s flawed in many areas, it’s still a fun action-packed ride. For some of Payday 2‘s updates in 2014, Overkill was releasing free goodies to go along with the big Team Fortress 2-style update pages. This included wallpapers for the Shadow Raid mission featuring the Payday crew, a poster advertising the crossover between Payday 2 and Hotline Miami, and the Gage Assault Pack, featuring the smirk of weapons dealer Gage as he holds a FAMAS and carries an M79 on his back.

Thankfully Overkill is damn generous and put these wallpapers on their official website, however they’re only for 16:9 monitors on 1920×1080, so ones with other setups are left in the cold, which is a shame.

Here’s something I’m wondering: Does anyone still rock a 4:3 monitor in this day and age?

You can grab these and some of the wallpapers at Overkill’s fan service page. Some of the individual update pages have more, but not all of them do.


Shadowgate NES ringtones!

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I heard these games were notorious for being real dickish to you. I wonder how they got so popular, then…

I didn’t know about this until recently, but there was a reboot for Shadowgate a while back. As I never played any of the MacVenture series of games I can’t say much about it, but developer Zojoi didn’t want to forget the roots of the NES version. So they released a set of ringtones based from the NES soundtrack by composer Hiroyuki Masuno.* Now you can listen to some of those tracks without needing a pesky media player. Or you can pretend you’re the Gaming in the Clinton Years guy and have that Hall of Mirrors track as your ringtone. Either way, a nice treat considering how classic some of that music is.

You can snag those ringtones at the developer’s website here.

(*-Until very recently, no one knew who composed the special music for the NES MacVenture games. Thanks to the Video Game Music Preservation Foundation for solving the mystery of who composed those great tunes. Those guys do the heavy lifting not many others do, and it’s pretty great for a guy like me who loves nerding out about video game music.)

Continue reading…

Sega Hot Wheels, from 2003.

Back in late 2012, I wrote about Atari Hot Wheels. These were Hot Wheels cars based on old Atari games that had rather dubious car choices. At the end of the article, I had mentioned that I also had Sega Hot Wheels, and that I’d get around to writing about them someday. Well, now is the time, because I finally completed the whole set a few days ago.

So the Atari ones were not the first video game tie-in Hot Wheels cars. These Sega ones came considerably earlier, from 2003 to be exact. By this time Sega had already abandoned their console heritage and started publishing games for the other game systems like the PlayStation 2 and the Xbox. Each car is based off an existing Sega game from around that time period, and like the Atari Hot Wheels, a few of them are based on unique Hot Wheels lines than real cars. But enough about that, let’s look at the cars themselves:

  • A car from the “Fandango” series based on Space Channel 5
  • A car from the “Phaeton” series based on The House of the Dead III
  • A 2003 Lotus Esprit, based on the Shinobi reboot
  • A car from the “GT Racer” series based on Super Monkey Ball
  • and a custom 2003 Mercury Cougar based on Jet Set Radio Future.

These cars give a perfect snapshot of Sega from this period. This was back when they were experimenting with old series frequently and making sequels to games like Jet Set Radio. This was back when Sega actually cared and made cool new games, as opposed to today where they’re content with pumping out mediocre Sonic the Hedgehog games while making decent bank on the Total War and Football Manager series. But I digress.

The Sega Hot Wheels look considerably cooler than the Atari ones, as they’re based on car lines that would seem grounded in reality rather than the weird toy cars they made for the Atari ones. You could probably use these on those Hot Wheels racing tracks that were super popular twenty years ago. I think I still have mine kicking around somewhere…

As for how I got these, it’s a little more complicated than paying $12 at a Bi-Mart for them. I already had the Space Channel 5Shinobi and Super Monkey Ball cars as they were in a giant bin full of 2001-2004 era Hot Wheels cars that we have that probably have little to no value. I found the House of the Dead III car at a garage sale last year, and picked up the JSRF car at an antique store in Milwaukie, OR for the low low price of 50 cents. So now I have two complete Hot Wheels sets. This, along with having a Back to the Future DeLorean Hot Wheels, makes me have a pretty modest Hot Wheels collection now. Though, I probably won’t start collecting all of them, I do have my limits.

Now, I’m willing to bet that these aren’t all the video game Hot Wheels out there. Knowing Nintendo’s crazy marketing frenzy in the early ’90s, there might be a Mario car. There might’ve been other companies willing to make deals with Mattel for more Hot Wheels tie-ins. If there’s any more like these, let me know in the comments (or on Twitter, Facebook, et al) and maybe I’ll be back here again talking about other Hot Wheels cars based on video games.

What a way to start 2014, with more silly game trinkets…

Super Power Supplies: The Fall/Winter 1999 Nintendo Power Catalog.

I’ve been in a funk lately. I’ve had no drive to write any new entries or make new videos. Since I come from a packrat family, There’s bound to be something in my room that’s worth talking about.

While combing through my magazines, I had stumbled upon this catalog that had been buried among the stack, and I think it’s an interesting time capsule: Nintendo Power’s Super Power Supplies catalog. From 1999! Everybody loves old catalogs, right? Well, at least I do.

Pokemon! Donkey Kong! Yoshis! A combination only Nintendo could give you.

I honestly don’t know how I got this, but judging how it’s from Nintendo Power, I likely got it when I had a subscription to the magazine from 1998-2000. That was an interesting time: Pokemon was becoming a big thing, the Nintendo 64 was winding down, the Game Boy Color was a new and colorful way to play handheld games, and there were magazine covers dedicated to stuff like Tonic Trouble. This makes me realize we’ll never see anything cool like this again, now that Nintendo Power’s gone.

By this time in my gaming career, I was still a hardcore Nintendo nut, but my interest in the Big N started to fade, looking at the cool Sega Dreamcast, and later, the PlayStation 2. I still respect Nintendo, they make good stuff on occasion, even if my mom used the Wii more than I do. But enough waxing nostalgic about Nintendo, let’s crack open this catalog.

Pokemon: Starring a bunch of characters you don’t care about, and PIKACHU!

The catalog was released during the height of Pokemon fever. I played Pokemon Red in its heyday, but I later traded it with a classmate for The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, which was a better decision, especially after my friend borrowed my copy of Red and finished the game with my save, giving me less interest in playing it.

By the time this catalog was released, Pokemon Yellow: Special Pikachu Edition just hit the US, so Pikachu is featured prominently on a lot of the merchandise, such as the sweatshirt shown above. I like how it’s some of the well-known Pokemon like Charizard, Snorlax, Eevee, and Meowth in a group shot, but Pikachu’s in the corner, as if they’re saying “You don’t give a fuck about the rest of these guys, only Pikachu.” I was more into Charmander myself, but I guess with the popularity of the anime that they decided to capitalize on making Pikachu the face of Pokemon.

I wonder if someone who served in the military had Meowth dog tags in addition to their name and rank.

When I said there’s a lot of Pokemon stuff in the catalog, I wasn’t exaggerating. You could have such wonder Pokemon products like Pokemon hats! Pokemon watches! Pokemon card game holders! VHS tapes of the Pokemon anime! You could get freakin’ Pokemon DOG TAGS! I could understand T-shirts and hats, but dog tags? Really? I guess if you wanted to show off how much you love Blastoise, then I guess the dog tags would be cool.

This is the 1999 version of the controller condom. It’s like Nintendo never forgets their past!

The catalog does feature stuff besides Pokemon. One other hot ticket item in 1999 was Nintendo’s other big release that year: Donkey Kong 64. Featured are Donkey Kong 64 hats, T-shirts, wallets, plush toys, even Nintendo 64 controller gloves. If you wanna protect your controller from getting nasty germs or other things on them, I guess those would be an interesting purchase.

I’m surprised they didn’t sell actual gloves for your hands, considering Mario Party came out around this time and was causing issue with people’s hands due to people palming the analog stick on the more intense minigames. Pair them with the controller gloves for maximum protection.

If I had a Nintendo 64 carrying case, I could’ve been the cool kid on the block.

As I dip further into the catalog, I find some more cool accessories that I would want even now: Protective plastic cases for loose Nintendo 64 carts, or carrying cases for your game systems. I always found those pretty cool, because you could stash your system in a bag and take it with you to Grandma’s house.

I wish I ordered the magazine holders, it probably would’ve been a tidier way to stack my game magazines. At least I finally bothered to get plastic magazine sleeves to preserve some of those older Nintendo Power issues.

Of course, if you’re buying the games, you might want the strategy guides too, right? I still have a bunch of these “Player’s Guides,” and they’re nice when you wanted some game hints before everybody had the internet at their fingertips. Fun fact: That Donkey Kong 64 Player’s Guide cover got changed to one featuring the ensemble cast. I should know, I own two of them.

Nintendo Power was also selling the game soundtracks if you wanted to listen to those kickass tunes in the car, which was still sort of a novelty back then. Though, that Diddy Kong Racing soundtrack disc looks pretty creepy. Plus it’s not round, how the heck would it play in a CD player without shattering in the drive? I will have to find that soundtrack some day so I can find out how that magic works, as I usually don’t see very many non-round CDs.

This is an interesting little item for me to stumble upon. These are great time capsules, as they give me an outlook on some of the silly swag that Nintendo was selling even during that period where Sony was gaining dominance in the video game landscape.

Alas, I don’t have any more of these “Super Power Supplies” catalogs, so this will be it for now. However, I do have some old Nintendo and Sony catalogs, including a Nintendo DS catalog from 2005 which has a few unique things about it. I wonder if anyone has talked about those…

(Thanks to user fauwf of The Internet Archive for a clearer scan of these pages, which I used when updating this article.)