Category: I Bought Some Stuff!

Sometimes while roaming about, I check thrift stores and document my purchases and finds there. Usually I find cool things. Formerly known as “Game finds.”

Some Stuff I Bought: First half of 2023 Edition.

Damn, half the year has already gone, hasn’t it? Since we’re now in the back half of 2023, it’s time to give my twice-yearly update of some stuff I bought for the first half of the year.

Admittedly, my purchasing habits slowed considerably. The beginning of the year was a rough time for me, which lead to a lot of impulse purchases. Not anything here worth blogging about, but those purchases certainly made a dent in my funds. I’ve gone out more frequently than before, but most of the time I went and checked out a few places and hung out with some folks on the weekends instead of actively seeking out stuff.

However, that doesn’t mean I didn’t buy stuff that could potentially be article material. For instance, Who Wants to be a Millionaire: The Album, an article I wrote about back in April, was a random eBay purchase. But the hunt only works when it’s more spur-of-the-moment, not done on a computer. And of course, I did buy a few things that I think are interesting to me, at least.


$10 at FanExpo Portland:

– Baseball Kids (Game Boy, Japan)

– Power Mission (Game Boy, Japanese version)

Back around February, I went to FanExpo Portland. A catch-all nerd convention, but of the old-school Comic Con kind, where there’s a lot of local artists and lesser-known comic book artists alongside the headliners, which were most of the cast of Back to the Future – Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Claudia Wells and Thomas F. Wilson – but they were asking a bit too much to see them, plus the lines were too long, so instead I settled with selfies with acclaimed voice actor Nolan North instead.

I wasn’t really intending to shop much, but I did find a booth that had some Japanese Game Boy games, of which were $5 each. Downside is that I overpaid, as both games go for less than a few bucks each loose. Oh well.

Power Mission did come to the States under the same name, but I figure owning the Japanese release would be amusing. A strategy game where one controls ships and planes on a grid, it probably plays similarly to the Advance Wars series of games. I honestly thought it was gonna be a Battleship knockoff, but it is far from it. And might be a bit more challenging than I can possibly play. Well, at least it has the writing of somebody’s name in Japanese, which is a nice souvenir.

The other, Baseball Kids, is a Jaleco baseball game with a cartoony cover: A baseball player sliding into home plate, with the onomatopoeic word “SPLURP!!” drawn on it. I’m gonna be honest, I only bought it because of the cover. Baseball games of this era were fairly simple and while the game featured looked at least somewhat fun, it probably isn’t gonna be my favorite sports game.

But I will always remember “SPLURP!!”. It’s so silly.

SPLURP!!

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I Bought Some Stuff! The Rest of 2022 Edition.

Well, it’s the end of the year. When I wrote about visiting The Last Blockbuster back in August, I had promised a regular post as well as another I Bought Some Stuff article at some point. I’ve since fulfilled the former, and now it’s time for me to fulfill the latter.

Since the last I Bought Some Stuff, I’ve… kinda slowed down on buying things. That combined with my fluctuating mental health gave me little incentive to go out and shop. Though, when I did head out, I found some really neat things. This will cover May to December of this year, and mostly rides the gamut of music and video games. Let’s wrap up this year with some oddball stuff.

I will forewarn you like before that I will nerd out about music in this one, like I did in the last one. There are games in here, don’t worry!


Not long after the previous entry, I ended up checking a Goodwill around my neck of the woods right at the end of May. It’s not one of the usual places I visit, I was doing something that required me to be around that neighborhood and I figured since there was a Goodwill nearby I might as well poke inside. Well, I’m glad I did.

Ooh, a new stand! This is my bookshelf that I intend to get rid of next year.

$2 each:

  • Back in the High Life by Steve Winwood
  • El Oso by Soul Coughing
  • The Futureheads’ self-titled debut album
  • Mission: Impossible and Other Movie Hits by The American Film Orchestra.

Already I’m starting with some rather eclectic choices. Hey, I never said my purchases make sense!

Back in the High Life is one of those albums that we already have but was in terrible condition, so this is one of those “replacement” discs. Much like a lot of ’60s-era musicians, Winwood mounted a brief comeback thanks to “Higher Love,” which was a Billboard Hot 100 number-one hit. The title track is alright, but otherwise the whole album is inoffensive yuppie pop music. Stereogum’s Tom Briehan in his article covering Billboard number one hits, called “Higher Love” white man’s overbite music, and I agree with him.

El Oso may not be an album you’re familiar with, but if you’re a Person of a Certain Generation and watched a fair share of Cartoon Network in the mid-to-late ’90s, you’re probably familiar with their song “Circles” being used as a montage for Hanna-Barbera cartoons, almost in a proto-Anime Music Video sort of way:

Another song from this album, “Rolling,” was also used the same way as a music video, set to a Betty Boop cartoon. I honestly grabbed this album because I remember those songs, and thought it might be an interesting listen.

The Futureheads are one of those 2000s indie rock bands that populated the landscape around that time. I’m familiar with them because one of their songs, “Decent Days and Nights,” made it into the Burnout 3: Takedown soundtrack courtesy of EA Trax. (Remember EA Trax? That was definitely A Thing.) I basically grabbed it only for that, and also because they covered Kate Bush’s “Hounds of Love,” and considering how “Running Up That Hill” was gaining traction thanks to Stranger Things, I figure it was nice timing to get this.

Finally, one of my go to YouTube channels is Oddity Archive, where Ben Minnotte covers the pop culture and technology obscura. One of my favorite series from him is Record Ripoffs, where he’ll cover the myriad of knockoff albums “performed by The Original Artists*” and how they stack up to the original article. That album was basically me being curious how a composer made an album to capitalize on a big Hollywood hit at the time — in this case, 1996’s Mission: Impossible. And according to the album, this is literally one guy, Lee Johnson on keyboards. It’s… an interesting listen.

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I Bought Some Stuff: Winter 2021-2022 Edition.

Wow, it’s been… about two and a half years since I’ve done a blog post on the things I’ve bought. For the most part, motivation was the main reason I didn’t make any, but then there was this thing called the COVID-19 pandemic which made me pretty afraid to really go shop and risk getting a life-threatening illness in the process. Thankfully masking up, vaccinations and a general change in my perspective made me a bit more confident to head out again starting in 2021.

I kinda like doing these posts – previously under the boring, uninspired “Game finds” and the unfortunate initialism of “I Bought Stuff!” – and in spite still of buying things here and there during the pandemic times, I never really compiled enough to make a new post during that time. But I figured with such a hiatus that it would get me the inspiration to write, as well as document some of my hobbies and interests.

For this article, I chronicled all the times I bought something physical throughout last Winter: December 2021 to March 2022. Of which I’ll talk about my reasons for the purchase and any sort of information I could gleam off the internet or remember from the recesses of my mind.

While there is some video game talk in this article, they are definitely not the forefront of this article. So if you decide to tune out of me nerding out about old bands and board games from 50+ years ago, I understand, but I do plead for you to stick around regardless.

But before we get to the nitty-gritty, there’s a handful of things I skipped upon that in hindsight I should’ve grabbed instead:

  • A box copy of The 7th Guest (DOS). The CDs were missing, floppy disks for a bootleg copy of SimCity 2000 were in there instead. Tried to see if the CDs were in the CD section, to no avail. I probably could’ve just bought the box and found a loose CD copy to replace it, which is what I might do from now on if something like this comes up again.
  • Vietcong (PC), a clunky budget shooter made to cash in on the Vietnam War in the early-to-mid 2000s. I was considering this, but then I put it aside and someone else had snagged it not long after me. A shame, I probably would’ve added it to the pile here otherwise.
  • A copy of a VideoNow XP disc featuring The Batman. Youtuber Techmoan had recently covered the VideoNow, a defunct video disc format made by Tiger Electronics, and the XP was the last model Hasbro released before killing the entire product line around 2007. In addition to having viewable TV episodes, XP discs also had interactive Q&A elements. I passed this up because I don’t have any of those players, and finding one in the wild without having to resort to eBay seemed unlikely, so I passed it up for now. (I may buy it again in the near future if it’s still there, so I’m not ruling it out.)
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I Bought Stuff! 11/22/2019: Portland Retro Gaming Expo 2019 Edition (and more!)

Another year, another Portland Retro Gaming Expo. The con’s been getting bigger year after year, with it starting to significantly fill up the space given at the Oregon Convention Center. The consequence is there being a few things I didn’t see, a couple typos I saw on a few signs, and a bit of confusion of where everything was. At least them introducing a quiet room to recharge and relax was a godsend on one of the days.

I tagged along most of it with friend of the site and playing card aficionado Weasel, who now tweets about his daily decks of cards on Twitter, alongside occasionally posting them on his blog Turn of a Friendly Card. Hell, as a goodwill gesture I had given him a deck of cards that had the wheel from Wheel of Fortune on the back that I had gotten from a game show convention many years back.

At this stage, I have most of what I want, and anything else available is a bit too much out of my price range. However, PRGE is more than just a bunch of vendors selling their wares. I saw some cool people, got to check out a panel or two, even played some classic video games.

I’m still proud I was able to crash Sonic the Hedgehog in a public place, the loud piercing note blaring through the convention hall.

This is probably the least I’ve spent at PRGE to date. Nothing over $5. Most of my purchases were on Sunday, which I always figured is the “fire sale” days since some of the booths are based outside of Portland and the less they have to take back with them, the better. It helped I also checked many stores in their bargain sections where the most forgotten games are there for a buck.

But there was also a general goal I was going for this year, which I’ll explain momentarily. So let’s get into it.


 

I seem to like those war and military games. What does that say about me?

 

$2:

      • Call of Duty 2: Big Red One (Xbox)

      • SWAT: Global Strike Team (Xbox)

One thing I’ve been slowly doing is trying to get what is considered the “best” version of a certain game. When it comes to stuff from the early to mid 2000s, 9 times out of 10 that’s on the original Xbox. The Xbox versions of multiplatform games often looked nicer, ran smoother, and came with features not available on any other platform. So these cheapo purchases were the start of this game plan.

Big Red One is a game I got way way back on the PS2 around 2005-06, and it was a decent little title in the Call of Duty series. They basically tried to be more like Band of Brothers, though with it coming out the same year as Gearbox’s Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30, it came off as a mediocre copycat.

Big Red One is Treyarch’s debut to the Call of Duty franchise. Technically, it’s also Grey Matter’s last, as the studio would be dissolved and have members shifted over to Treyarch after both companies had games canceled on them by Activision in 2005 – Treyarch’s Dead Rush and Grey Matter’s Trinity: The Shatter Effect. Since the actual Call of Duty 2 was a PC and Xbox 360 exclusive, there were still lots of people with PS2s and Xboxes. Not wanting to leave those platforms out, Activision pushed development of this game out in less than a year. Treyarch would be forced to do that again with Call of Duty 3 the following year. While both of those are not high-tier games in the series, they’re not as awful as other installments.

SWAT: Global Strike Team was Sierra trying to make some of their dormant franchises relevant in the then-new console space. The game is a mix between a tactical shooter and a more traditional action game. It was made by Argonaut Software, the company best known for using Nintendo’s Super FX chip to bring us Starfox and Stunt Race FX. They also did a lot of licensed junk afterwards, which this came out around that time. It’s been mostly forgotten by everyone, but it’s probably a decent little time-waster.

Wreckless: The Yakuza Missions (Gamecube, $5)

This game is the most expensive game I’d paid for at the whole con. Which is saying something, really.

While my car combat game experience begins and ends at Twisted Metal, I had heard about this lesser-known gem from various websites and gamers, saying it was a fun, yet oddball kind of game. It’s the kind of game that doesn’t exist much these days except maybe as a Steam Early Access title.

It came to all three platforms – the Xbox got it first, followed by Gamecube and PS2 a year later – but I had heard that the GC version was the “best” version of the three, so I opted to grab that as opposed to the original Xbox version. This happens sometimes: Dead to Rights ended up getting a “balance” update when it got ported to the Gamecube and PS2 after the Xbox original was considered too tough by some.

Since the “best version” of a game is rarely on the Gamecube, this means my collection on that system will consist mostly of Nintendo first-party games and whatever exclusive games there are, barring some exceptions. Unless they were utilizing the hardware to its fullest, like Capcom’s Killer7 and Resident Evil 4, it was barely better than the PS2 version in some cases. It’s a shame, but Nintendo was basically the oft-forgotten middle child during the GC/PS2/Xbox era.

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I Bought Stuff! 11/7/2018: Portland Retro Gaming Expo 2018 (and more!)

Alright, finally got to this. A few weeks late, but I was never known to be prompt on things like these.

So a while back, the Portland Retro Gaming Expo happened. On its twelfth year, it’s a convention that has retro arcade games, pinball machines, loads of booths to buy merchandise of various kinds, and panels about retro video games in some fashion.

Regrettably the past few years I’ve missed out on a handful of panels, but I’m grateful for at least checking out the Nintendo History Museum by the cool peeps at the Video Game History Foundation. I also bumped into my friends Weasel and Cass while during my roaming of the show floor, while also spotting a fair share of notable personalities here and there. (Weasel told me I was “right next to The Gaming Historian” at one point and I didn’t even notice.)

I’m at that point where I don’t really need many video games at this point, considering my burgeoning backlog. Yet against my better judgment, I did buy games for super cheap, trying to fill up my original Xbox collection and snagging a few cheap deals. But I also grabbed a few tech-based things during and after the expo, so let’s get to recapping.


$15:

  • – A component video cable for an original Xbox ($10)

  • – Xbox: Medal of Honor: European Assault ($5)

Okay, these were after the expo. On Sunday I had put a goal to find some video cables for some of my consoles because I felt they needed an upgrade. I didn’t find one of them, so I had eventually went to Video Game Wizards (the closest mom’n’pop game shop to me) and snagged some cables, as well as an Xbox game for good measure.

At this point, now I am able to play all of the early-to-mid 2000s game consoles in component video quality. I have component cables for the PS2 and Xbox, and I have a Wii with Gamecube backwards compatibility, which I also run through component.

I know there’s solutions now to get those systems to output in HDMI, but I feel that’s a bit excessive. Though, EON had a booth for an HDMI adapter for the Gamecube, which might be cheaper than trying to get the very expensive component cables for the system. If you’re going that route, check them out here, perhaps that’s a better option for those who have more recent TVs where it’s HDMI only with no other video inputs.

As for Medal of Honor: European Assault? Well, we’ll get back to that one in a bit.

UPDATE 11/8/2018: The cables in question refused to show any video on my television regardless of resolution, so I exchanged them for different cables. While those actually showed video in component, the signal occasionally flickers out and doesn’t work in 720p. Sadly, I think my TV is slowly dying, which I’m not surprise, considering it’s a Toshiba TV I got about several years ago. I should probably get a new TV at some point.

$10: Xbox: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2x

Now to cover stuff I actually got at the expo, starting with probably the most expensive thing I bought.

The Tony Hawk games were a franchise that passed me by. I played the first two, but tapped out not long after. I snagged Pro Skater 3 on disc for PS2 a long while back, and I thought now’s the time to start getting into the series proper while they’re still easy to get.

A launch title for the original Xbox, this was a spit-shine “HD” version of Pro Skater 2 by Treyarch, before they became 1/3rd of the Call of Duty Cerberus. In addition to prettifying the original game’s levels, there’s a few levels exclusive to this port as well as the original Pro Skater stuff in there.

In my head, this is probably a better way to start playing the franchise in order than hunting down fairly pricey copies of Pro Skater and Pro Skater 2 for older systems. Though, I wouldn’t mind finding any of the Pro Skater games for the Nintendo 64, as those are interesting technical marvels. Well, that and the N64 version of Pro Skater is how I got introduced to the franchise back in the day.

Surprisingly, I enjoyed the chopped up music loops they used because of cartridge space limitations, and Pro Skater 3‘s soundtrack pretty much makes them outright remixes.

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