Category: Videos

I Bought Some Stuff! 8/3/2013: Time for some catch up.

Man, when’s the last time I did an entry on the stuff I bought? Back in January, to be exact. I thought a video would be an interesting way to document them, but then I lost motivation and it took me months to finally sit down and make said video. I’m more of a writer, and making those videos, even for something like these, felt like a lot of work, so this will be the second and final one.

There’s a lot of stuff I’ve gotten in the months in-between. A bunch of PlayStation games, cheap magazines, games from across the ocean, and undeniably some of the most interesting stuff I’ve found yet.

2021 Note: I eventually went back through the video and transcribed most of the video to make this post here in text form. You can see the original video here if you’re curious, but I don’t think it’s really worth watching.

Free! – Katamari Damacy (PS2)

One of the rare things I didn’t buy but felt like highlighting here. An old friend, Veronica, who draws the cool webcomic Bittersweet Candy Bowl, was doing a bit of a spring cleaning and was offering some games to give away, and I requested for this, since I had heard of the Katamari series of games, but never played any of them.

It even came in a fancy packaging envelope showing Veronica’s absolutely awesome art. As for the game itself, maybe I’ll get around to playing it someday and seeing what all the fuss is about.

You should check out Bittersweet Candy Bowl alongside the Sonic the Hedgehog fancomic series Not Enough Rings, as they’re really good art. Just wanted to give a shoutout.

The disc was initially in pretty bad shape, I had to go to my usual mom’n’pop game shop Video Game Wizards to get it resurfaced, and it works good as new.

$20: God of War Saga (PS3)

$10: Injustice: Gods Among Us (PS3)

$5: Band Hero (360)

$5: Guitar Hero II (360)

$7: Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros’ Treasure (Wii)

A bunch of fairly current-gen stuff that I got for deep discount. With the exception of Guitar Hero II, all of these were snagged at various GameStops, which is surprising considering how many horror stories I’ve heard from others.

I couldn’t pass up five God of War titles on PS3 for $20. Unfortunately two of them — Chains of Olympus and Ghosts of Sparta — were digital download only codes that I found out only when I removed the plastic wrap, and the code had expired. Thus I have three God of War games instead of five. Oh well, God of War: Origins Collection, which is the PS3 remasters of those PSP titles, is probably worth the $10 or so asking price.

I may not be into DC Comics or fighting games, but a fighting game by the Mortal Kombat people at $10 was a pretty good steal. (2021 note: They eventually gave this game away for free on Steam. While the PC port has poorer netcode, I realized I no longer need this game on the PS3. I probably will get less than half of what I paid for it if I trade it in anywhere, but that’s the way game trading goes sometimes.)

With Band Hero and Guitar Hero II, I now own every game in the Guitar Hero franchise that was released on the Xbox 360. When it comes to rival Rock Band, I still got a ways to go. Plus I’m still asking myself: do I really need stuff like Green Day: Rock Band? At least Lego Rock Band has bangers on it like “Ghostbusters.”

Zack and Wiki is one of those Capcom games on the Wii that I’ve heard is one of those underrated gems. Seeing as how I barely use my Wii, I’d love to try something that’s not a schlocky shooter like Red Steel or The Conduit.

Continue reading…

I Bought Some Stuff! January 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 on 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 Prima 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. Such as casting 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 Wipeout 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 clear plastic jewel case to replace it.

Sonic Mega Collection Plus is More Sonic Mega Collection. A simple compilation that added a few 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 in the shrinkwrap. 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 those infamous junk bins. Thankfully, this was locked away in a case, so I didn’t contaminate my hands with whatever strange gunk that might be left in the bins. 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 as a result, and it works pretty well.

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.)

Found: A 1997 Prototype of Half-Life!

Half-Life is one of my most favorite games of all time. It blended action, platforming and story perfectly to be one of the awesome shooters of 1998. But it wasn’t always that way.

Valve, back then a small development studio, made a press demo version of Half-Life that showed a drastically different version of the game: While the story and certain game elements was similar, almost all the levels and designs were different from what we got. In a sense, it felt a bit more like in line with Quake than the Half-Life we know and love.

I always liked Half-Life’s dithering effects in the software render. Can’t really explain why.

This version was originally slated for November 1997, but it missed the release date, causing Valve to delay the game and release it a year later with many significant changes to the final product, all for the better.

Getting a chance to play the Half-Life that never was is really a treat, which has many unfinished levels — some early versions of levels in the final game — as well as tech demos such as skeletal animation. You can shoot a robot and make it do that dancing baby animation that was popular in the late ’90s! Not only that, it has documentation about the game and Valve itself, a walkthrough of all the levels, even copies of Paint Shop Pro and WinZip for some reason…

Here’s me playing through one of the levels, The Security Complex. It’s one of the more complete levels of the game. I go through the stage area at least once, then show the solution as given in the walkthrough.

Thanks to reddit user jackaljayzer for uncovering this gem, who got it from a friend in Bellevue, Washington; and to Valve Time (now defunct) for revealing the leak. Further information about this prototype build can be found on The Cutting Room Floor, and it’s a nice amount of stuff there that compares this prototype to the final released game.

If somehow you are one of the few who have never played Half-Life, go buy the game on Steam already. There’s a reason I say it’s the best game of all time.

(Featured image courtesy of the Combine Overwiki.)