The Single Button Joystick

Sixth Generation

No Indie Cred.

by on Aug.16, 2012, under 16-bit, Amiga, Fifth Generation, Retro, Sixth Generation

I’ve often found myself wanting to join the video game underground, but betraying them at the last-minute.

They seem all be friends now…

Late primary school I always wanted something Sega and a Mega Drive was top on my list. Yet when it came to getting a console a few years later, Mr SNES was my choice (and ruining my fingers on Killer Instinct). Both Sonic the Hedgehog and Wonderboy were left without me. I never considered a Sega Saturn or an Atari Jaguar, those were fringe consoles that never were properly promoted in Australia (that I noticed anyway). Since my friend had an N64 I thought I’d compliment that with a PlayStation. It was a good move, since I didn’t end up some Goldeneye expert who sucked at every game after.

The Dreamcast was something else that I considered, since my furious amounts of Penny Arcade reading did a lot to convince me of its merits. In this instance I didn’t even buy its more popular contemporary, the PS2 and a Gamecube until some six years later. From say, 1999-2005 I peaced out of the console scene. My PC was so much more capable.

Finally, I bought a Wii on launch day, but since that ended up a bit of a trash heap, I thought I’d delve into getting a PS3. Nahh, changed my mind and got a 360 instead, stuck with what was safe again I guess? You might even say I did the same thing in replacing my Android and getting an iPhone 4S. Blah that HTC  Legend sucked.

I summation, if it wasn’t for my adherence to the Amiga for so long, I’d have very little so-called ‘indie’ cred. I came to every console except the Wii very late and until recently didn’t really buy much for them before returning to some open-ended PC game. Read this article for more info.

I learned a lot about Sonic from these two young men. Felt like I was catching up on a little that I lost.

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Look. Don’t touch.

by on Jul.17, 2012, under 16-bit, Hobbies, Retro, Sixth Generation

I think most of you long time readers know I’m a collector. Since I’m an only child, it’s been very easy for myself to amass far too many toys, games and books than I could ever hope to make full use of. I’m sure it’s the same with many people, although my housemates (and long-term friends) travel very light. When we all moved into this house, all of their things came in one car. When it came to myself, it took nearly 4 full carloads and six months later I’m still bringing in the occasional box or bag of stuff.

I have been known to buy games, SOLELY for their covers. Pretty ridiculous right? I don’t often bend to the collectors urge anymore. I find artificial ‘collectors editions’ to be very uninspiring, offering very little in anything really collectible. There are a few exceptions, but generally art books and figurines are good, anything else is usually not worth your time. The games that I bought for their covers weren’t special editions of any sort, their only ‘special’ quality was that they were Japanese.

The covers of Japanese games are generally better than those of their US or European and it has been the case since Japan came into the game making scene. There are plenty of famous examples, of excellent Japanese covers and… lesser artwork for the rest of the world.

The first of this little indulgence was Zero Mission, the Gameboy Advance remake of the original Metroid. It has a very dark, heavily stylised and classic rule of thirds cover. This also shows how out-of-the-way the branding is for this game, you can hardly see it is a GBA game. Good art but maybe it isn’t the best for marketing.

The American cover below uses much clearer Gameboy Advance branding, taking up a full 5th of the cover. While the artwork is good, it doesn’t look like a front cover of a game.

I played and finished my Japanese Zero mission with few issues. Surprisingly, the game was almost all in English, with only some Japanese menus and subtitles during the cut-scenes.

The other two games I bought were ones I barely played. F-Zero was really hard (and I can’t read Japanese) and Mega Man Zero 2 had a REALLY long unskippable opening scene and was also really hard. I got sick of watching the intro over and over when I died right near the start, so I gave up.

I think these both look great. The American version of the F-Zero box has the Gameboy Advance branding covering up the character on the left. I guess America and Europe didn’t think they were that important. Megaman Zero 2’s cover is a bit messier but I think is a nice piece of art. The American version of this cover, only features Megaman in front of a blue background… very generic.

I’m glad that at least for a while, game covers were worth collecting for their own sake. Japanese Super Nintendo (Super Famicom) had excellent art work as well. The US/European always featured much more obvious branding/logos. Japanese Gameboy Advance boxes are essentially smaller versions of the Super Nintendo ones, so it really is trying to get back to something I missed.  I managed to find these on Play-Asia for less than $20 all together. I mean I love this stuff, but I’m not going to go into debt for it.

Unlike certain Kubrick collectors I know.

If only the GBA intro was this elaborate!

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Dreamcast homecoming

by on Jul.15, 2012, under Short updates, Sixth Generation

I brought my Dreamcast home!

Home, at long last!

It had languished in my parent’s spare room for the last three years or so, gathering dust. I’ve owned it for around five years, going through a big Sega binge in 2007-08. I played a lot of Crazy Taxi, Resident Evil: Code Veronica and most of all Jet Set Radio. Jet Set Radio is easily my favourite Dreamcast game, although I’m pretty hopeless at it. I never bought any Sonic games for the system, thinking Sonic Adventure to be more than a little cheesy.

I like the system a lot, but it suffers from a few too many Arcade conversions and games that rely on Co-Op multiplayer. Co-op is a problem because you can’t always have a friend over. It was a pioneer in online multiplayer, but fast internet had not yet found its way into many houses and Sega communicated the Dreamcast’s potential rather poorly.

It may have lost out to the PS2, but it’ll always have a home with me.

Also I think it was $70 2nd hand, good value!

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