Category: I Bought Stuff!

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…

NOT FOR RESALE: The mystery of this weird message.

A few days ago, I had snagged this wonderful gem:

Streets of Rage 2, a Sega Genesis classic, for $5. Initially I passed on this, but then I realized it’s Streets of Rage 2, a freakin’ Genesis classic. That Yuzo Koshiro soundtrack! Who could pass that up? The dummy writing this. Thankfully, I was able to correct my mistake and grab it as a wonderful addition to my Genesis collection, along with a Sonic cartridge compilation called Sonic Classics.

Granted, it’s just a cartridge copy and it isn’t in the best of shape, but it’s nice to have. There’s something special about this cartridge: The giant “NOT FOR RESALE” label on it. Anyone who’s into collecting Sega Genesis stuff may have also seen the big “NOT FOR RESALE” stickers on copies of Sonic the Hedgehog. My Sonic the Hedgehog 2 came with my Sega Genesis long ago also with a “Not for Resale” sticker on it. Many pack-in games on the Genesis also came with the “not for resale” sticker on them. It made me wonder: Why is this ugly text on there, and what was its purpose?

Continue reading…

Game finds 02-07/2013: So much stuff, so little space and time.

Man, when’s the last time I did a game finds video? Back in January, to be exact. Well, after several months in the making, I finally got around to making the damn video a few days ago.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hHFniAUSbSo]

Boy oh boy, there’s a lot of stuff in there. A bunch of PlayStation games, cheap magazines, games from across the ocean, and undeniably my biggest game find yet. Give it a look and see what you guys think. Expect something more substantial later this week, maybe about that soundtrack I mentioned in the video.

One more thing: I will be at PAX Prime again this year. I might do a blog entry or two after the event, since I won’t be able to bring a computer with me to liveblog anything. It’ll be more fun this year since it’ll be four days long.

(If you’re viewing this from a place where you can’t watch videos, or you like handy dandy lists instead, there’s a list of everything I got under the “Read More” link below.)
Continue reading…

I Bought Stuff! 1/2013: Video Edition?

Yeah, it’s been a while since I’ve done a blog entry on game finds. I found a bunch of stuff, and decided to get with the times and actually make a video out of it.

I decided to get back into the groove of making YouTube videos. I used to make videos from around 2007-2010, but lost interest for reasons I can’t explain. Realizing that YouTube is a thing I shouldn’t ignore in 2013, I started a new YouTube channel dedicated to this blog. I’ll likely be making videos from time to time, including making the game finds entries more video-focused.

For those who can’t view YouTube,

(2019 edit: Oh hey. Around this time, I had the wise idea to do video blogs about the stuff I did. However, lack of motivation and frustration around making consistent video content caused me to give up this plan a few months later.

I’m a much different person now than I was then, and I’m not really proud of myself in these videos. Thus to minimize my own embarrassment, the video’s gone. The YouTube channel’s still there, just “cleaned up” with some videos removed. I’m not gonna remove this post, though. Instead, I’m replacing this with a picture taken in 2019.)

Here’s a quick summary of what I got over the course of January:

Largo Winch.// Commando SAR (PS1)

Wipeout XL/2097 soundtrack

Sonic Mega Collection Plus (Xbox)

DJ Hero 2 (360)

American McGee’s Alice (PC) with Strategy guide:

Largo Winch is a budget title by Ubisoft based on a French TV series, which in itself is based on a Belgian comic book. They’d keep up this trend by later taking the French XIII comic and making a mediocre cel-shaded first-person shooter that had some baffling design decisions. Why would you cast Adam West in a serious role after he’s been Mayor West on Family Guy for years at that point?!

Anyway. We never got Largo Winch in any form here in the States, so I figure this was a cheapo release in the same vein as VIP where they got the license for cheap and made the game for peanuts to be shoved in the bargain bins at Wal-Mart. I tried playing this, and it was a frustrating stealth-action game made before Splinter Cell, a more well-known and popular franchise by the same publisher.

Ubisoft would go to make one more Largo Winch game, though I bet it was exclusive to Europe as I’ve never seen it here. If there’s anything that needs to make a comeback, it’s Ubisoft making games based on obscure properties no one’s heard of outside of France.

Wipeout XL (known as 2097 outside the US) got a soundtrack featuring some of the artists who contributed tracks to the game, with a bunch of other electronic artists thrown in for good measure. There’s some pretty decent cuts in here: Pre-Homework Daft Punk, some Chemical Brothers and The Prodigy in there for good measure. A fair share of this stuff seems to be more like a Big Beat/Techno sampler more than a soundtrack. Makes sense, considering Wipeout XL/2097 is one of the few games that supports Red Book CD Audio.

When I finished the video originally, I stupidly dropped the CD, shattering parts of the case. CD still works fine, though. I need to find a plastic jewel case to replace it.

Sonic Mega Collection Plus is More Than Sonic Mega Collection. A simple compilation that added a fewq games not in the original. Better than the original Mega Collection since you don’t need to play Sonic 3 500 times to unlock Sonic 3 & Knuckles. Kinda redundant now considering I own the original games on the Genesis as well as this appearing in a litany of other re-releases over the years, but it’s a nice novelty.

Continuing the past trend of finding fairly recent games like Singularity and Blur at a Goodwill, I snagged DJ Hero 2, also shrinkwrapped. When I grabbed this, there were dozens of copies in one Goodwill. Clearly these were being cleared out from a Target or some other store. While I was more into the drums and guitar of the music game boom, DJ Hero was still pretty cool, and I heard the sequel’s much better. I should give it a try sometime.

Finally, American McGee’s Alice. This one was found at a different Goodwill, the one with the infamous bins. Thankfully, this was locked away in a case, so I didn’t contaminate my hands with whatever gunk is on the stuff in there. The game was not preserved well though: the box is mostly crushed, as somehow the cardboard liner that usually keeps the boxes firm was straight up gone.

There are some other cool things about this in spite of the crushed box. It’s the first pressing where Alice is holding a knife — later pressings would have her hold cards or an ice sword instead. Somebody paid $50 at launch at a Fry’s Electronics at launch, which is pretty neat to track where this game was bought originally. Finally, and I didn’t know this: It comes with the Prima Strategy Guide. I’ve been using that to keep the box from being completely crushed.

I’ll likely be making more video content in the coming weeks. I forgot how fun it is to make videos sometimes.

(One more note from 2019 me: Yeah, on second thought, let’s not.)

Atari-branded Hot Wheels!

Sometimes video games and toys make a bizarre combination. Who knew that Atari and Hot Wheels joined forces to make a nostalgic car collection that came out this year, of all things? I didn’t know until someone mentioned these to me.

I was tipped off to these from a friend at Hardcore Gaming 101, who found one of these at a Bi-Mart. Ah yes, Bi-Mart, that podunk little chain of discount club stores based in the Pacific Northwest. Bi-Mart gives me that folksy vibe that reminds me of a supermarket that’s stuck in 1987. I even remember the TV commercials which looked so low budget you’d think they were made for public access. But enough about Bi-Mart, let’s look at the cars.

These are a set of six Hot Wheels cars based on famed Atari franchises. It’s funny how the Atari of today has stopped making original games completely and is content with squeezing as much blood from the old-school Atari stone as it can. I can’t blame them, Atari was a significant name in the early heyday of video games, gotta keep that spirit alive. The cars are based on old cars, and have decals that resemble the game’s graphics or the game’s cover art, where available.

The cars are the following:

  • A ’55 Chevy Panel based on Tempest
  • A custom ’52 Chevy based on Pong
  • A car from the “Fast Gassin” line, based on Missile Command
  • A car from the “Cool-One” line, based on Centipede
  • A ’49 Ford C.O.E. based on Breakout
  • and finally a GMC Motorhome based on the Atari 2600.

The car choices are absolutely bizarre, either they’re based on vehicles from the ’50s or unusual branded Hot Wheels. More suitable choices would have been stuff like the AMC Pacer or the Chevy Impala, stuff from the same time period as the games being featured. I do love the choice for the 2600 it just screams 70s thanks to that faux wood paneling that was pretty popular back then.

I’ll be honest, I’m not a huge toy collector, and that includes toy cars. Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars were meant to be played with, not collected. I’d play with these cars in the backyard with the dirty, worn out car playset that a neighbor had. At least, that’s how it was for me when I was younger. I do have a tub full of unopened Hot Wheels from about ten years ago, but their resale value is pretty much next-to-nil, so I’m holding onto them in the hopes they’re worth something someday. This isn’t even the first time Hot Wheels has made video game cars, Sega joined forces with Hot Wheels back in 2003 to advertise then-recent Sega games. I’m missing two of those, and maybe I’ll talk about those sometime.

The best part is that I paid $2 for all six, giving me $12 for silly video game cars. Thanks Bi-Mart! You are useful when I want silly junk at rock-bottom prices.

Game finds 12/6: A hodgepodge of cheap stuff.

My god, it’s been two months since I’ve done one of these. To tell you the truth, I hadn’t had the urge to do some searching for a while. Then it hit me a few days ago, and decided to tackle some stuff today. It’s gonna be a bit short, but I snagged the following items over the course of yesterday and today:

Look at that cute tiny Genesis. :3

First, ABC Sports Presents: The Palm Springs Open (Philips CD-i). Whoa, a CD-i game. In a Goodwill no less! You don’t see that every day. The CD-i was Philips’ attempt to make a CD-based game system and it failed for a number of reasons. The most notable things it’s known for are the weird interactive CDs, game show adaptions like Jeopardy! and The Joker’s Wild Jr., and of course, those Nintendo-licensed games that have been talked about to death like Hotel Mario and Link: The Faces of Evil. I believe it’s the last thing that makes the system so pricey these days where CD-i systems go anywhere from $100-500 on eBay.  I also remember an infomercial for the CD-i where some repairman would replace some family’s busted computer with a CD-i while an actual repairman was lazy on the job. I kinda hope that infomercial crops up on the internet soon, it has to be seen to be believed.

Back to the game. The Palm Springs Open has never been opened. Which doesn’t mean much, really, but you don’t see unopened games often. Got it for $2.

Next, Parasite Eve (PlayStation). Just when I thought the CD-i game was a treat, I find this in the bottom of a CD rack at the front door of a local thrift store. I had heard good things about the Parasite Eve games — except for The 3rd Birthday, I heard that wasn’t very good so I decided to grab this one for posterity. This is an early print run where they packed a bonus disc with a playable demo to Xenogears and trailers for Bushido Blade 2, Brave Fencer Musashi and Final Fantasy VIII. I had a brainfart when I saw this game: The back of the case said “3 Discs,” which I didn’t realize meant “The game is two discs, the bonus disc makes it three total.” I was actually worried thinking this copy was missing a nonexistent disc three. This was also for $2. I believe the usual price for Parasite Eve is in the $10-15 range, but I’m probably gonna keep this one.

Third, El Matador (PC). Oh, this one’s a treat. There were a few PC games there at the local thrift store, but this one caught my attention the most. Made by Plastic Reality Technologies — a Czech studio — it’s a third-person shooter taking place in South America, where you play a DEA agent trying to stop a drug lord. I played the demo to this years ago, and realized that it’s a Max Payne clone. In fact, the game felt like Max Payne 3 before the actual Max Payne 3 existed. Any game that attempts bullet time and heavy action is okay in my book.

It gets even better: Hidden inside the box were receipts for this game from EB Games in downtown Portland. Apparently this guy bought the game one day for $40 new, and either he didn’t like the game or it blew up his PC or something, and took it back to EB for a refund the next day. The guy also bought Spyro: A Hero’s Tale, a Legend of Spyro game and Tak: The Great Juju Challenge if you’re curious on this guy’s taste in video games. I’m guessing this was during that transitional period when EB Games still existed, had already been assimilated by GameStop, but were still taking PC games. I wouldn’t be surprised if this was found in the GameStop back room and just dumped into this local thrift store since they don’t really sell retail PC games anymore. The price was $3 on the cover, but the guy at the counter marked it down 75%, thus only costing me 75¢! Oddly he wrote down the date I bought it just in case it didn’t work. Which is weird, because the usual policy for most games at thrift stores is “All Sales Final – No Returns.” Guess this game’s an exception?

After yesterday, I went through hell getting the final item today, after passing it up initially: Play TV Legends: Sega Genesis Volume 1. Released by Radica Games in 2003, this is one of many plug-n-play TV games that flooded the market in the early 2000s. I have a few of those plug-n-play games: One with Atari 2600 games by Activision, another with arcade games like Ms. Pac-Man, even a Commodore 64 plug-n-play. I honestly picked this up because I thought the little box the system in — resembling a model 2 Genesis — was kinda cute. It came with Sonic the Hedgehog, Altered Beast, Golden Axe, Flicky, Kid Chameleon and Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine. Because, hey, it ain’t a Genesis/Mega Drive compilation without Altered Beast and Golden Axe! It just needed Columns for the perfect trifecta.

I will say that I had hell getting it to work at first: the screw was stripped and we basically drilled it down to a point where we could pop the battery cover out, eventually finding out one of the contacts was corroded and had to be filed down to work. After an hour and a half of hell getting it to work, it sprang to life and worked perfectly fine.

This was one of those console-on-a-chip devices that were pretty common at the time, and according to the Sega Retro entry for this, there were further installments of the Play TV Legends series, including a Sonic the Hedgehog-focused compilation, one that came with Outrun 2019, and one that played Street Fighter II: Special Championship Edition and came with two controllers. Even Europe got a special edition that featured Sensible Soccer and Cannon Fodder! Man, I totally would get that one for kicks. After all the ordeal, $5 for this cute little device was worth it. I passed it up at first because of a similar brainfart moment like earlier: I noticed the 6V power jack, but missed the battery cover. I was thinking it required a power cable. Clearly my mind was off that day.

All in all, about $9.75 spent for all this silly gaming stuff. That’ll probably be the last things I’ll buy for myself this holiday season. Hope that you guys find some good finds yourself, wherever you are.

Game finds 10/2: Game expo edition.

It’s gonna be a double-header for game finds this time around. We’re gonna be covering not only the stuff I got from last weekend’s haul at the Portland Retro Gaming Expo, but also what I stumbled upon after PAX back in early September. It’s gonna be a fun one, indeed.

I got these three games after PAX finished in Seattle. I had some free time to kill before I had to get to the train station, so I had a donut at Top Pot Doughnuts — highly recommend you do so if you’re visiting Seattle — and found a Value Village several blocks away from where the main convention center was. After poking around the store, which was in an old building as it had freight elevators, I found these three gems.

Police Quest 2: The Vengeance and The Colonel’s Bequest are classic Sierra-published games. This was back in Sierra’s hey day, when they made a whole bunch of adventure game titles. Granted, most of them have not aged well, but having the complete box copies of both games is a treat. The Colonel’s Bequest was the first game in a mystery series starring Laura Bow, which she returned in another Sierra game a few years later, The Dagger of Amon Ra. I have no idea if this is any good. Police Quest 2 is probably the same silly stuff that most Sierra games did where you had to follow every step of police procedure to the absolute letter. The series had a few games, including a spinoff series, SWAT, which went from being a bad FMV game to a strategy game to a solid squad FPS that rivaled Rainbow Six in its day. Police Quest 2 had copied 5 1/4″ floppies of the game in the box, which is weird since the original disks are already inside. I guess somebody didn’t watch Don’t Copy That Floppy. Both games were $3 each.

Pat Sajak’s Lucky Letters, on the other hand, was more of a gimmick purchase. It had never been opened, and one copy there had a dozen price stickers on it, going from $20, to $10, to $5, and probably $1-2 by the end of it. Pat Sajak’s first foray into video games, it’s a hybrid of crossword puzzles with the game show “The Joker’s Wild.” Put into a sleek casual games package, it’s probably worth looking into later. This would also be Pat Sajak’s video game debut, despite being the host of Wheel of Fortune since 1982, he didn’t actually appear in a Wheel game until very recently, in the 2010 Wheel game for the Wii. I wonder why it took him so long before he finally caved in…

The rest of PAX swag was a shitload of buttons, energy drinks, cards and promo stuff, and Guitar Hero: Van Halen. I can thank One of Swords for the last one. Now onto the Portland Retro Gaming Expo stuff.

Oh dear, there’s a lot of stuff here. Let’s go through it from the upper-left forward:

  • Politicians 2009 trading cards: Somebody was giving these away as I left the expo on Sunday evening. Have no clue what they are, what they’re for, nor do I care. Free anyhow.
  • Pitfall! (2600): The 2600 classic. Signed by David Crane himself. I could’ve gotten a better copy of it, but I didn’t have time to look through the vendors to find a more pristine copy, so this will do. $2.
  • Super C (NES): The sequel to Contra. All of the major Contra games are kinda pricey these days due to high demand, including not-quite-a-Contra-game Contra Force. But I was able to get a good price on this one. $8.
  • Dragon Warrior (NES): Never was a JRPG guy, but I had to own the NES classic that started the famed Dragon Quest series, as well as being a common pack-in for Nintendo Power subscribers. Bought it from Chris Kohler’s little booth, which had a bunch of little interesting games here and there. $4.
  • Metal Gear and Snake’s Revenge (NES): Ah yes, the bastard childs of the Metal Gear franchise. A few friends of mine were talking about those games, and I decided to go hunt these down for kicks. I found Snake’s Revenge at one booth, and had a random convention goer find me Metal Gear at another booth. $5 for each one.
  • Aphids on the Lettuce: You know that circuit-bending system guy I mentioned in the last entry? Well, he was giving these away as well. His circuit-bending stuff is real interesting, I’d love to know more sometime. As for the CD, it’s some mashup CD of Beck tunes, and I’m not a big Beck fan. Can’t complain about free stuff, though.
  • Double Dragon (NES): The NES brawler classic. That one game Jimmy Woods got 50,000 points in 2 minutes on The Wizard. I owned Double Dragon II, but not the original. And I’m certainly not looking for Double Dragon III, even though I’d love to play as Bimmy and Jimmy. $6.
  • Jeopardy! (NES): Ah yes, a video game adaption of the game show classic. This is a funny story: I once bought a box of Jeopardy! for the NES several years back for $1. The box was beat up, the manual was in good shape, but there was one problem: The game inside was Jeopardy! 25th Anniversary Edition, which was released 3 years later. I still kept it in the original Jeopardy! box and had not realized I didn’t have the original game until very recently. Got this one for free along with Double Dragon above. It also had a metric fuckton of stickers, of which I still didn’t get rid of all of them.
  • John Madden Football ’92 (Genesis): The only Genesis game of the lot, I got this for two reasons: Because it’s a dirt cheap football game, and it’s the one Madden game that had the ambulance for injuries that they took out of Madden ’93. $1. Insert your Moonbase Alpha “john madden” joke here.
  • Star Raiders (2600): Some booth was giving this away for free on Sunday. No idea if it works. Probably does, I rarely hear of busted 2600 carts.

That’s it. Honestly, I could’ve gotten more, but what I got is good enough. I would’ve liked to check out the NES and SNES reproductions, but I ain’t paying $75 to play a translated Live a Live on my SNES. Especially since I could probably get those for half that online. These people need to not jack up the price so damn much on those, I bet they’d sell more if they were reasonably priced, like $30 or something.

Now I’m gonna go and dust off my NES and clean all these games and see if they work. or I’ll ignore them and play more Doom mods instead, which is the more likely result.

Game finds 8/29: Pre-PAX edition: 32X junk and loads of Star Wars.

So, the Penny Arcade Expo is coming up. That video game thing in Seattle, that’s two days away. I’m gonna be heading there on Thursday (that’s tomorrow as I write this!) so I may post a few blog entries during or after the event. Today, 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 stuff. And I definitely found stuff. This’ll be a small, but interesting haul indeed.

The two games on the left are Metal Head and Virtua Fighter, both for the Genesis 32X add-on. At $3 each, I couldn’t resist passing them up, just to build up my 32X collection. I wished one of the games was Knuckles’ Chaotix, that goes for about $30 now, and that’s for just the cartridge! Both of the Goodwills I went to had an unusual influx of NES, SNES and Genesis games, but most of them were licensed schlock, sports games or awful titles like Pit Fighter for the SNES, so I decided to save the $4-5 asking price for those games for something even better, such as the thing to the right of the 32X games.
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 those series. But the thing above was too good to pass up: The LucasArts Archives Volume IV: The Star Wars Collection Volume II. 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 games it comes with are:

  • Star Wars: TIE Fighter Collector’s Series — a version of TIE Fighter that uses the engine of one of the later games, X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter
  • Dark Forces
  • Star Wars: X-Wing Collector’s Series — same changes as TIE Fighter above
  • Star Wars: X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter – Flight School — A stripped down demo version of X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter
  • Star Wars: Yoda Stories
  • Star Wars: Behind the Magic: Vehicles Special Edition — An interactive encyclopedia of sorts.
  • Dark Forces II: Jedi Knight — Demo version
  • Jedi Knight: Mysteries of the Sith — Demo version

I’ve heard of a few of these, such as TIE Fighter and X-Wing being amazing flight games for their times, and Dark Forces being a first-person shooter that went against the infamous “Doom clone” moniker that plagued a lot of first-person shooter games of the 90s. Others such as Yoda Stories I had heard were amazingly bad. 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. I’d be amazed if any of this runs, it says it requires Pentium II processors and mentions they were unable to verify compatibility with Windows 98 at the time, so this is pretty ancient. I’m not gonna try to reconfigure these games with DOSBox. At least, not right away, anyway.

It seems 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 almost 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. But this was probably a great deal around the ’90s when you probably heard your friends talk about these games but didn’t wanna pay loads for the individual games. I love compilations like this, I wish everybody did this more. It’s great for the late-to-the-party folks who are just getting around to playing some of the greats.

Game finds 7/31: Video game… comic books?

So today I was gonna write something about a Doom conversion that I decided to replay recently, but got sidetracked on other things (including preparation for a camping trip in a few days). So I decided to head out and buy some stuff in preparation, but also check around for random game stuff. Let’s talk about some game buys, it’s been a while since I did so.

Alas, on the video game front it was kind of lackluster. While I did find Perfect Dark Zero for mad cheap at a GameStop ($2), Boom Blox was considerably less so ($13). I’m trying to burn off the excess store credit I have with GameStop so I don’t have to do much business with them anymore, especially with some of their dick practices over the years. Since I bought games on the Steam Summer sale from a few weeks back, I had games I didn’t need. Namely, a shrinkwrapped copy of Saints Row: The Third for Xbox 360, since I bought the PC version for $12.50. GameStop wanted $18 credit for it, so I hopped on the train and headed to Video Game Wizards, a local Portland game store I’ve gone to for years, just to do a price comparison. Since it was unopened, they were gonna sell it for $42 and offered me one third that value in cash or half the value in store credit. Naturally, I went with the store credit, which was more than GS was gonna give me. I then rebought 007: Agent Under Fire007: Everything or Nothing and 007: Nightfire all on the PlayStation 2 for a total of $8. I’m trying to replace my multiplatform released games from the GameCube with PS2 or Xbox equivalents, mainly because most of the multiplatform ports on the GC suck control-wise or for other reasons. Now, those buys were relatively uneventful. What I’m about to talk about next is more interesting.

Sometimes when I’m in downtown, I poke my head inside a couple thrift stores in the area, as I’ve gotten a few interesting things from them in the past, such as finding a Japanese copy of Hot Shots Golf 2 for the PlayStation at a Goodwill once. My usual thrift store haunts in downtown Portland were a bust, except in one store. This thrift store had a comic book I saw, which I decided to snatch up immediately. While I was there, I decided to thumb through their surprisingly vast comics section. I then walked out with about $2.40 of comic books. I’m no comic book nerd, the last comic I bought was Archie Comics’ Sonic the Hedgehog many years ago, but I couldn’t pass these up.

 

What I got follows:

  • Mass Effect: Redemption issue 1
  • Mass Effect: Invasion issue 3
  • Mass Effect: Evolution issue 4
  • Hellgate: London issue 0
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic – The Lost Suns issue 5
  • Timecop issues 1 and 2

It was the Mass Effect: Invasion issue that caught my eye and made me thumb through their comics. With the exception of Timecop — that’s based off the cornball Jean-Claude Van Damme film of the same name — they were all video game tie-ins. It also seems these were done as special editions, as my 5 minutes of Google searching revealed that every comic here was a 4-5 issue special edition. Two of the comics were a mere quarter, while the rest were 50 cents each. Coupled with the thrift store doing an end-of-month drawing where they cut a random percentage off the sale — mine was 20% — meant that I spent $2.40 for all seven.

Coincidentally all the comics are published by Dark Horse, about a good 95% of the comics there were Dark Horse-published. This is kinda funny as Dark Horse’s main offices are nearby where I live, in Milwaukie, Oregon, and my dad knew the founder, Mike Richardson, so I feel like I should give them the difference I paid as compensation. Except for Timecop, though. I’m okay with paying 75 cents for those.

I Bought Stuff! 4/25/12: Some ’90s PC nostalgia.

Before I started this blog, I used to document my thrift store hauls and finds on my more personal blog. Now with a more centralized place to write about my video game-related things, I’ll start writing about them here. The stuff I’m about to show you will show some insight into ’90s era PC gaming, as well as a bunch of demo discs with free games on it. Because, hey, who doesn’t like free games? As my experience with getting one from GameStop earlier this year proved…

More freebies than you can shake a stick at!

Four old PC demo discs: 25 cents each, and a shareware copy of Wolfenstein 3D: 25 cents.

One place I stumbled upon had a few demo discs. Did I say a few? I mean 50 demo discs. For 25 cents each. From the early days of PC Gamer and Computer Gaming World to lesser known ones like that PCGAMES.EXE disc up there, which I could find no information on who published these. I only grabbed a few of these since I really didn’t need every demo disc, just ones that seemed appealing. Hell, for 25 cents each, I had to resist from buying all of them. Somebody must have dumped their old PC gaming collection.

The first one on the upper left is from Computer Gaming World’s November 1999 issue. It has demos of games like Freespace 2 and Midtown Madness, but what really caught my eye was that it had a trailer for Halo. Yes, that Halo. Back before it was a first-person shooter title for the Xbox, it was once going to be a third-person shooter that was supposed to be a PC and Mac game before Microsoft snatched it up for the console’s 2001 launch. The trailer on the disc is almost identical to the one featured below, the only difference being a slight change in the intro. I thought it was an interesting piece of nostalgia, and it seemed even in 1999 that Halo theme was in full force.

 

The remaining three — PCGAMES.EXE’s July/August 1998 disc, PC Gamer’s July 2000 disc and CGW’s March 2001 disc — all boast having a bunch of free games on them. Each disc had a different collection of games, and some of the games overlapped. Since some of these games are either hard to find or ridiculously expensive, I think I’d made the biggest gaming haul of them all. Here’s a list of what was on each disc:

  • PCGAMES.EXE: Battlecruiser: 3000AD, Betrayal at Krondor, Descent, Red Baron, Star Control II, and the first three Zork games.
  • PC Gamer: Alone in the Dark, Descent, Duke Nukem II, King’s Quest, Links: The Challenge of Golf, Road & Track Presents: The Need for Speed, The Secret of Monkey Island, Terminal Velocity, Ultima I, Ultima Underworld, and X-COM: UFO Defense.
  • Computer Gaming World: Acheton, Alphaman, Alternate Reality: The City, B-17 Flying Fortress, Balance of Power, Betrayal at Krondor, Bunni-flip, Crusader: No Remorse, Elite, Elite Plus, Empire, Kampfgrup, Nethack, Mystery House, Pirates 2, Rogue, Super Dune 2, Tac Ops, X-COM: UFO Defense and Zelda Classic.
Other contents on the discs included the obligatory patches for those who were stuck with 14.4K dialup connections, a few custom levels here and there, including a bunch of Duke Nukem 3D levels and a Quake map by Richard “Levelord” Gray. Of course, being demo discs there’s a bunch of demos, including PC Gamer advertising the demo to John Romero’s Daikatana. Thankfully it’s shown as a footnote on the cover, with pixelated Duke Nukem being the focus instead. Even PC Gamer knew Daikatana wasn’t that great.

The Wolfenstein 3D disk is just a 3 1/2″ floppy of the game’s shareware version sold by some computer store and had the goofiest cover ever. This is how things looked in the 90s, folks: Gradients and average art that loosely resembled the game. $5 for the shareware version of Wolfenstein 3D even!
I bought this one just for the novelty cover, I already have a full copy of the original game thanks to Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Game of the Year Edition. But the discs are just the tip of the iceberg. What I found next was more amazing.

 Wheel of Fortune featuring Vanna White (PC DOS) and an unknown Interplay box: $2 each.

I found these two PC game boxes in that same thrift store. Wheel of Fortune featuring Vanna White is a 5 1/4″ floppy version of the PC game complete with a signed Vanna White poster. I almost didn’t grab this because I thought it was the NES version at first, which I already owned and has an identical cover. The left box is a non-descript Interplay box, but has more interesting stuff when I looked inside…
The first game is The Lost Vikings, a side-scrolling platformer released on a handful of systems. It was made by a company called Silicon & Synapse, which you know nowadays under a bigger, more popular name. This is presumably what was in the Interplay box originally, though I’m not sure for certain.
The other game is King’s Quest V, one of the games in the long-standing King’s Quest series by Sierra. Presumably the previous owner used the Interplay box as a good storage for other games they might’ve had, so I’ll thank them for that.
Oddly, it’s the Macintosh version of King’s Quest V, which is weird to see in a sea of PC games. Maybe the guy bought that one by accident or something. Even though I lack a floppy drive to even play these on, it’s still a blast from the past. It’s a funny coincidence for this game to pop up, as a few friends talked about Kings Quest V on a podcast after I posted this.

Everything in one convenient picture.

All of these discs for a nice sum of $5.25. I honestly think I cannot top this find, not for a long while at least. I like PC gaming, but I didn’t really get into it until I was in my teens, so I missed a lot of the 90s PC gaming greats. Primarily because I was content playing GoldenEye on my friend’s Nintendo 64 at the time.
One of these days I’ll give some of these games a shot and see what I missed out on. At least I have two discs that have Descent and Betrayal at Krondor on it in case one version doesn’t work. This local thrift store in Portland, Deseret Industries, has been pretty good to me for finding really interesting stuff over the years. A shame I didn’t grab more of the demo discs, now that I think about it.
(Updated June 21, 2012: Replaced ugly cameraphone pictures with better quality ones from an actual camera. You can actually read the text now!)