It’s been a rough month for me, folks. Admittedly the drive to write wasn’t quite there for most of the month until fairly recently, and I do have some actual posts prepared to be published in October.
But for now, I’m gonna write a fairly short post. This is about something I found unexpectedly at a Goodwill. A rare relic of a bygone era. Probably one of the goofiest video game controllers I own. In a sense, this is part “here’s something interesting I own,” part “I Bought Stuff!”
I know light guns aren’t supposed to resemble real firearms anymore, but this looks so goofy.
No, this isn’t a super soaker or Nerf gun, though I can’t blame you for thinking that. This is the Silent Scope Light Rifle, a light gun made for the original Xbox. I bought this for $7, and in hindsight it probably was one of the more impulse purchases I made that I have a small bit of regret. I’ll explain why in a bit.
I won’t go into a long history about the genre as there’s much better places for such things, but here goes. Light gun games were all the rage during the 8 and 16-bit eras. Duck Hunt, Wild Gunman, Lethal Enforcers, those American Laser Games that practically show up on every system like Doom or Resident Evil 4 does these days… They were fairly popular.
Then, oddly, it slowed down. At least, on home consoles. They still got light gun games, but at a much reduced rate. Some cases like Area 51 on the PlayStation didn’t even support a light gun, opting for PS Mouse support instead, which completely ruins the fun.
It was still thriving in arcades thanks to Time Crisis and later stuff by Raw Thrills like the infamous Target: Terror. But short of Namco bringing out the GunCon 2 for a Time Crisis II port and support for games like Capcom’s Resident Evil: Dead Aim, it was practically a ghost town for light gun games during the PS2/Xbox era. Until the Wii briefly brought the genre back into the spotlight for a brief moment.
I don’t go to thrift stores all that often anymore. I’ve bought too many things over the years that I should write about, but haven’t gotten the time to. It also doesn’t help that thrift store hunting is an adventure in and of itself, so I think I can’t just hit one. But I did just hit one, and it was good to me.
I’ve mentioned Deseret Industries down in Portland before. It’s where I found a bunch of old demo discs from the 90s and 2000s for real cheap. I’ve found PC games I’d never expect to find, even stuff like a cardboard long box copy of NFL Gameday fairly recently. For some reason, this store tends to give me the best luck in finding stuff I wouldn’t expect to find otherwise, whereas I could go to the same Goodwill and be lucky to find a single thing I want, let alone several.
But enough about that, what’d I get?
Mad Dog II: The Lost Gold (PC)
Okay, so Mad Dog II is the sequel to Mad Dog McCree, the fairly popular laserdisc-based light gun game. It’s probably American Laser Games’ most iconic game, next to maybe Crime Patrol or Who Shot Johnny Rock. The sequel is however mostly forgotten, however it didn’t stop American Laser Games from porting it to every system known to man after its arcade run had finished.
I honestly bought that more as a lark. These games are fairly simple, easy to memorize, and beatable within 10-30 minutes. It’s just a novelty, through and through. Continue reading…
Sometimes you get bored and lack motivation to do something. What do you do when you’re me, a guy who writes silly things on the internet and looking for dumb stuff to write about.
That’s right, time for some thrift store shopping~
I will admit that most of the items I found are random curiosities more than anything. There are some fairly common and interesting things in here, however, and may be something to write about in a future blog post. If all else fails, it’s a good document of all the junk I get and how I got it.
I roamed around the Oak Grove/Oregon City area for this, checking two chain thrift stores and a Goodwill, plus a special hobby shop on the edge of Oregon City. So let’s rock.
Four CDs (99 cents each)
There’s a post-it over Quake III Team Arena because the CD key would otherwise be visible. Granted, it probably doesn’t mean much these days…
My first hit was a local chain thrift store. I thought I was gonna strike out, but the CDs I got have some interest.
I had Quake Mission Pack 1: Scourge of Armagon, but not the second expansion, Dissolution of Eternity. Now I do. I remember not hearing too many great things, but hey, might as well get it to complete my Quake collection.
I also snagged Quake III Team Arena, aka the “holy shit Unreal Tournament is SUPER POPULAR let’s make this hasty expansion” game. Again, mostly to complete the collection. Nowadays Quake Live pretty much fills the Quake III/Team Arena void, so this are more for collection’s sake.
The third and final game is Shellshock Nam ’67, one of the many Vietnam War games that came out in the early to mid 2000s. This game is notable for being made by Guerrilla Games, the guys who’d be later known for the semi-popular Killzone series. This was the sole game they made independently before Sony bought them around 2004. I don’t know if this game’s any good, but it can’t be that bad, can it?
Then there’s the last one: A Cheetah Girls Karaoke CD. This is probably the weirdest of the lot, but I bought it because it’s a Karaoke CD that supports the CD+G format for Karaoke machines (and related devices, such as the Sega CD and 3DO). I wrote about it briefly a few years ago, you can check that out here.
Holy crap, when’s the last time I publicly documented my game finds on the blog? Seems like it was just last year when I wrote about find a “NOT FOR RESALE” copy of Streets of Rage 2, and a 20 minute video that about 3 of you watched. Let’s resurrect this old series, because I got some good stuff this time around.
Through most of 2014, I’ve found mostly cheap games, stuff like Eye Toy: Antigrav, licensed games based on The Great Escape and Starsky & Hutch, old PC games such as Mickey’s Word Adventures, even recent Game Informer issues for 50 cents each. If you’re following me on Twitter, you might’ve seen these already.
Funny enough, I found Mickey’s Word Adventures after taking advice from YouTuber Lazy Game Reviews. After mentioning him on Twitter, I found out one of my finds were in a viewer finds segment of his “LGR Thrifts” show. I was floored when I saw it too, I didn’t expect it to be featured in the slightest. (It’s at the end of this episode, if you’re wondering. Look for the magazines on green bedding.)
Back in June while I was job hunting, I went into my local Bi-Mart. I’ve mentioned Bi-Mart before when I wrote about Atari Hot Wheels, and it hasn’t changed one iota: It still feels like I stepped into a late ’80s supermarket. While perusing their games section, I found a whole bunch of these:
Man, remember when the Rabbids were a thing? I can’t say I miss them.
It’s Rayman Raving Rabbids for the Game Boy Advance, sealed, for $6. I’m finding sealed Game Boy Advance games. In 2014. Even the guy at the counter was surprised, mentioning a war fighting game and a World of Warcraft expansion also collecting dust. His words: “Somebody made the wrong call on this one.” At least this copy of Raving Rabbids has a home now. I bet there’s still plenty of copies, two months later.
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.
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
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.
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 Fire, 007: 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.
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!)