Sunday, October 25, 2015

Retro Game stores really are everywhere...

So, I go looking for the local Verizon store this morning so I can pay my bill. And what do I see 2 doors down in the strip mall from this Verizon store? A retro game/used movie/music/old electronics store.

Retro game stores really are just about everywhere. I have got to get into that market someday...

I thought the prices were a little high and the selection from SEGA & Nintendo cartridge-based systems was relatively scant. There was also virtually no Atari stuff to speak of, just a few Flashback units and some old 2600 & 7800 stuff buried under mountains of consoles behind the counter. That is no way to treat the products of the company that created the game industry. There was even a boxed Oddyssey2 system. I haven't ever seen that before.

However much the place may have lacked in true retro goodness, they had made up for it with enough PS2, PS3, XBOX, XBOX 360 & Wii stuff to last to the apocalypse. There were also a fair number of games for later portables like GBA, DS, PSP & PS Vita. Even some stuff for Wii U, PS4 & XB1. There was at least one PSP title I want, Atari Classics Evolved, there as well for $10. Not bad...

However, what most impressed me was their GameCube section. They had at 3 of the 7 games on my want list for that system. Those titles were...

I-Ninja, which was a multi platform game on PS2 & XBOX as well. However, I wanted the GameCube version since platformers are usually better on a Nintendo system. I don't know why. They just are.

Tube Slider, a racing game that came highly recommended by YouTuber MetalJesus in one of his GameCube Hidden Gem videos.


Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem. Yes, that hard to find, VERY expensive, unique survival horror game that Nintendo made for the GameCube as a launch title.

I didn't buy any of these games today. I'm conserving my cash right now since business travel can get really expensive. Also, I wasn't sure if the price was fair. They all seemed high to me. So, I decided to do some checking via Video Game Price Charting first. Here's what I found in my research...

Atari Classics Evolved
Store price: $9.99
VGPC price: $11.50 (Complete)

Store price: $7.99
VGPC price: $14.47 (Complete)

Tube Slider
Store price: $19.99
VGPC price: $14.99 (Complete)

Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem
Store price: $39.99
VGPC price: $32.79 (Complete)

So, some were higher than VGPC and some are not. However, all of these prices are fairly reasonable. After I start collecting a few paychecks, I'm going to go back and get them. (Assuming they are still there.) It's funny, I didn't even go looking for this place. It was the furthest thing from my mind. However, this hobby of mine somehow finds a way to empty my wallet when I least suspect... Whatever. I'm about to (maybe) acquire 3 of the 7 games for GameCube that I want and don't yet have, and a sweet greatest hits collection for PSP. Awesome.

- Lord Publius

Friday, October 16, 2015

PS4 or XBOX One: Which should I choose?

Fellow gamers, I have a dilemma. I can't choose between getting a PS4 or the XBOX One for my next console. Whichever one I choose will end up being a Christmas or Birthday present to myself. (Unless a really nice relative with a few hundred dollars to spare doesn't mind getting me one...)

I'm not particularly worried about system specs. These days, every platform delivers a pretty amazing game experience. Especially when you compare them to what I had growing up. The NES, Super NES, Game Boy, SEGA Genesis, SEGA Game Gear and several old Atari consoles like the 2600, 7800 & Jaguar were the consoles of my youth. (And I still love them to this day.) HDD size won't matter, either. I'll only use them for save states, which are always backed up to portable media like SD cards and USB Thumbsticks, or small digital download games.

Even if I were going to worry about hardware specs, I doubt that I would agonize over it as much as Sheldon Cooper did on The Big Bang Theory...

I think it's safe to say that Sheldon is a major hardware geek. And you would think that he'd know better than to judge consoles only on console specs alone. History shows that sheer power alone does NOT guarantee a system will be dominant or successful. The Master System was more powerful than NES but, Nintendo still ruled that generation with an iron fist. Both the Colecovision and Intellivision were light years ahead of the Atari 2600 but, neither of them had as many sales or became the stuff of legend in the popular imagination. (Nor were they on the market as long.) The N64 & Atari Jaguar were both equal or superior to the PlayStation in almost every conceivable way but, PlayStation still outsold them too. The lesson you should all take away from that is that hardware abilities don't matter much to end-users. They never really did and never really will.

Anyway, like Sheldon, I'm having a hard time deciding between them. There's a LOT of overlap between the games that I want on these two consoles. Sony will eventually have some good 1st/2nd party games that I want (Ratchet & Clank, anyone?) but, for now, PS4 is all 3rd party titles and hype. XB1 has a lot of exclusives that make it more attractive to me at the moment. However, this next great console purchase won't be until Christmas or maybe my birthday in January. So, PS4 has some time to make a better software-related impression on me.

Anyway, here's the titles I want for each console. As you can see, there are a few I could get on either console since they're 3rd party. They'll also be virtually identical in every way, except that they'll be on different platforms and have different control schemes.

Titles I want for XB1

Batman: Arkham Knight*
Halo: The Master Chief Collection
Mortal Kombat X - Premium Edition*
Rare Replay

Sunset Overdrive

Titles I want for PS4

Axiom Verge (Also on PS Vita)
Batman: Arkham Knight*
Mortal Kombat X - Premium Edition*
Resogun (Digital Download game)

* = 3rd party game on both platforms, and sometimes a few others like the PC.

As you can see, 3 of the 5 titles that I want on PS4 are also available on XB1. And the other 3 XB1 games that I want are exclusives.  The console is also slightly cheaper and comes bundled with that HALO title that I want. Even worse for PS4 is that one of the games I want for the system is already on the PS Vita handheld, which I already own. PS4 does have a potential advantage with the fact that I can use the PS Vita to play my PS4 games through my home wi-fi network. That allows me to play in other rooms while someone else watches TV on that monitor. However, that advantage is useless to me. I would be setting up this console in my game room, which wouldn't interfere with someone watching TV in my living room. Nice try, Sony.

So, for now, the Evil Empire of Operating System software that is Microsoft is winning this fight. Based on software alone, XB1 is the better choice for me. That is the ONLY grading rubric I use when making decisions on consoles, unless there are some glaring hardware reliability issues. (Shoddy controllers for the Atari 5200, the RROD issues with the XBOX 360, et al.) I want PS4 to have a better chance, though. Sony is a safe bet when it comes to product reliability and entertainment value. Microsoft has plenty of great games on their platforms but, the hardware is often suspect. As much as I love the original XBOX, the XBOX 360 was so unreliable that I refused to purchase one. Your console has to be pretty damned shitty if I refuse to get one under any circumstances. With the enormous size of my collection, it's not like I discriminate against any particular manufacturer. As of this writing my collection includes:

- 85 Systems (including all the PC's and extra copies of certain consoles/portables)
- 1,237 Titles (including duplicates)

And since many of those titles are greatest hits compilations...

- 3,615 Games!!!

So, Microsoft, if I do get an XB1, you better impress the hell out of me.


- Lord Publius