Welcome to Retro Game On!

Everything retro - big and small! Live from Perth, Australia!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Video: Red Faction for PC Review

Today with my second ever retro PC review, we're jet-setting off to Mars. I hear it's lovely this time of year! What isn't so lovely, though is the evil Ultor Corporation. They suck! Time to liberate Mars with the Red Faction!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Retro Scan: c1995 Harvey Norman PC Advert

I found one of those family PC magazines under my bed a few weeks ago, dating to somewhere within 1995. It's one of those "finally a computer magazine you can understand" type deals. While the writing and articles are not entertaining in the slightest, since it was a free edition it's full of so many adverts. This is quite okay with me since I have a Retro Scan section to uphold. I didn't add a quick access button under the RGO logo for nothing, you know. 

For those not in Australia or (so I found out on holiday) Singapore (or according to Wikipedia also New Zealand, Slovenia, Ireland, North Ireland, Malaysia AND Croatia) Harvey Norman is one of those places you go to buy furniture, white goods and computers/electronics if you don't like holding onto your money.
Okay, I'll try my best to keep my bias aside about the company for the sake of looking at mid-1990's computers, but hot damn. Every time I'm buying something I price check across all the local stores, and Harvey Norman comes dead last every single time. But that's enough ridicule - let's look at these computers.

Clickey to look closer...
Not much under two grand and that's how Gerry likes it (I'll stop now, I swear). 
While there is the range of computers you'd expect from brands such as Apple, IBM and Compaq before HP guttered them, there are a few brands I'd honestly never heard of. AST were acquired by Samsung in 1996, Olivetti stopped manufacturing computers in 1997 and supposedly Bondwell also stopped in 1993 - so I guess that Notebook is a few years out of date if Wikipedia is to be trusted. Probably explains why it's $800 off, though.

It's a nice glimpse into what the Australian dollar could buy in 1995 none the less. $3895 would pay for a Compaq Presario 833 with a 486, a 270MB hard drive, 8MB of RAM along with the monitor, speakers, keyboard and mouse as well as a ton of software. Whether this was a good deal or not at the time I have no idea, since my life with likely revolving around Lego at that point.

I really want that five grand colour media Texas Instruments notebook, though. It's nice.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Video Catch-Up: Sonic R / Buck Bumble / Heart of Darkness / Vortex / Game Room Tour

Holy Hell. I haven't posted any of my videos here since Micro Machines on the Mega Drive/Genesis. I released that back in July! What's going on? Isn't YouTube half of the Retro Game On's conglomerate machine?
Whoops, well anyway; let's have a catch-up post, ordered from oldest to newest.

Sonic R for PC Review

I'm especially surprised I forgot this - since it was the first of my PC reviews that I said I was going to do probably over a year ago now. I have no idea why I choose Sonic R of all games, but here it is none the less.

Buck Bumble for N64 Review

In Buck Bumble, I play as a cyborg bumble bee who's saving the world from a group of evil and radiated insects. Hot damn, I love retro games.

Heart of Darkness for PSone Review

After swooning over it and the cheap price I paid for it - I then went and reviewed it. Reminded me of Limbo in many ways. I thought it was brilliant.

Vortex for SNES Review

An interesting 3D mech shooter that utilised the Super FX chip. This was bought from the Retro Levels store in Perth.

Game Room Tour 2015

After a request from a viewer, I made this updated tour of my retro games room. It's been two years since I last did this, so a reasonable amount has changed.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

The Games I Bought While Being Dead to the World

As alluded to at the end of my most recent review, Vortex for the SNES, I mentioned Retro Game On had died a little during the exam period:

An ACTUAL Snapchat from the period
All that is behind me now, as study is finished for few a months with nothing to do in the meantime except make videos and write about video games on the internet. I'm basically going to try and treat it like a full-time job, except without the stress, responsibility and well... money. I would love to do this as my job if it was ever feasible, but for now I'll just keep creating and treating it like the involved hobby it is.
Because of the exams, assessments and just general study though, I wasn't able to buy much during that period. I did buy a few things though, and I actually went op-shopping the other day which felt great. This is what I bought.

First off, I cleared out the Salvation Army store in the Perth CBD actually during exams. I had a two or three-hour gap between exams, so I trained into the city and wasted some time.
Should I have been studying during that period? Probably. But it's yet to be seen since I don't have all my results yet. Anyway, the Salvo's in the city is a bit of a golden egg. It probably gets quite a few interesting bits of stock flowing through its doors thanks to its location, but on top of that also plenty of customers all likely wanting to nab up 15-year-old games at a bargain price before I do.
That visit was my lucky day though, as I exited with all this:

PC gaming galore right there. Probably my favourite purchase out of the bunch is the big-boxed copy of Red Faction. I've always loved the Red Faction series, and even though I already own it on PS2 I had to grab that box, especially when it's only $8.25.
I was quite happy to find The Movies too, since I remember wanting that game when I was younger. That was only $3.25, along with Sim City 3000, Sim City 2000 and Half-Life Opposing Force.
Do not ask me why I bought Sim City 2000 when I already own it in a big ole' box, but for whatever reason I now own it twice. Sim City 3000 is nice to have though, and will likely withdraw hours of my life like 2000 did.
Sadly it seems I cannot play Opposing Force since I don't own the original Half-Life on PC, but I'm sure I'll come across it sooner or later.

A few days ago I actually went proper op-shopping, and god did it just feel so right. I only visited two stores, so the haul was smaller than what I've come home with in the past but it was nice none the less.

First stop was a Salvos where I bought those three PSone games for $3.25 each. What is it with Salvo's ending every price in 25? It's eerie.
Anyway, Everybody's Golf is a true PlayStation classic so that was welcomed into my collection with wide-open arms (even though I suck at golf games). Austin Powers is groovy as all heck, and seemed surprisingly fun for what it is. Who knows though, it might just be charming me too much with all the catchphrases thrown in as you play. You're a tiiiiiger! 
I was surprised by the Xevious compilation (at least, that's what I think it is) since it's labelled as a NTSC-J region disc. What surprised me even more though when I got home was when I discovered it was a pirated copy (the horror!). I don't know what my Japanese PlayStation was trying to tell me when I played the disc, but it was likely saying it wasn't compatible. I really should have noticed it was pirated since the printing job of the disc inserts are a bit shoddy. Oh well.
Lastly, I went into a Good Sammy's and came out with a big-boxed copy of Ghost Recon. That was $5.
I played this game quite a bit when I was younger, since my Dad bought a stupidly cheap Big Bytes version (remember those!?) from EB Games back in the day. It's going to be great to play it again.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Heart of Darkness for $12? Yes Pls

In a win for collectors (well, me anyway) and a loss for resellers everywhere who can suck a big fat one; I've successfully bought Heart of Darkness for $12.
Yep. I win again, resellers. Har Har. Looks like I've snagged a **RARE** one on the cheap.

And by "rare" I mean it sold 1.5 million copies.
So, how did I snag this for $12.57? Well, I'm not entirely sure. I found it on eBay, much like that appalling listing above, but this was cheap and I can't for the life of me figure out why.
It's a black label, it's complete with an instruction manual, and both disks are in spectacular condition. It was listed by a chap in the Netherlands so obviously I was worried it would be in Dutch, but a quick email later confirmed it was in English. Even though the case and instruction manual are in Dutch, I've played it since it arrived definitely confirming that the game is in my dialect.

How about that, eh? I really have no explanation as to why it's so cheap, as going through the eBayers other listing showed he was (probably) a reselller too, and even though he's prices were incredibly reasonable for the most part - none were as comparatively marked-down as Heart of Darkness. Either they honestly didn't know its worth (which I find unlikely in this day and age where everything is a quick search away) or it had just been sitting there so long that it was offloaded on the cheap. Regardless, I consider myself very lucky. There will be an extra offering to the retro gaming gods this evening.

So, what's all the ruckus? Why's Heart of Darkness so special?
Developed by √Čric Chahi (of Another World fame), Heart of Darkness spent six years in development hell - cycling through various release announcements for the 3DO and the SEGA Saturn until finally launching on the PSone and PC in 1998.
The plot follows a boy named Andy, who's searching for his dog named Whiskey in the Darklands. The Darklands is a portion of the Heart of Darkness, which is inhabited by many creatures that can kill the player quickly and unexpectedly. It very much reminds me of Limbo in a way, as there are plenty of cheapish deaths but also lots of checkpoints and unlimited redos.
It's all supported by a ballsy art style for the time, utilizing pre-rendered graphics (much like Abe's Oddessy) and about a half hour of cutscenes.

It doesn't list for a high price because it's **RARE**, but because it's a darn good platformer. I for one, can't wait to give it an in-depth play and review.


If you want to see my video review for this fantastic game, click here.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Video: Micro Machines for Genesis/Mega Drive Review

You may have been a Hot Wheels kid growing up, but Micro Machines sure had their time and place in the sun along with its own video game.
Played from a top-down perspective, this somewhat cartoonish game went on to spawn multiple sequels over a number of years, and probably ruined hundreds of friendship in that timespan too with its multiplayer mode.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Big Boxed PC Games are Cool (and so are Mega Drive Games)

I've mentioned Lazy Game Reviews a few times before as being one of my favourite YouTube channels and a personal inspiration - and I can assure you that this has not changed.
Since watching his channel, which is mostly based around vintage PC gaming, my game collection for computer systems of the good 'ole days has certainly gone from nothing to something.
However, what's even cooler about PC collecting are the titles you can find in the big, shiny boxes. Sure, you'll get the same game even if you only find it in a disc case - but the big boxes just make them so much more collectable. It's kind of like collecting vinyl records compared to CD's in a way.

Clint from LGR is a fanatic about big boxed games; just check out his lair in this Facebook album. It's so freaking insane, and I'm completely and utterly disgusted at how jealous I am.
So, it's for that reason that I'm proud to have found some more big boxed games for my own collection. My stack of PC games just in plastic cases is a fairly impressive size for sure - if it fell on you, you'd probably be slightly disgruntled. A sharp edge of one might even uncomfortably poke into your arm - but expanding my big boxed collection is just so much more satisfying. They look so much better for one, and they make me feel like I'm playing in the big boys club. What's even better is how stupidly cheap I keep finding them too:

After finding Sim City 2000 in immaculate condition and Carmageddon in, well... for $5 each last September, I've been keeping a boxed shaped eye out. A weekend ago or so (who has the time to exactly remember things these days?) I was doing some light grocery shopping. It was a Saturday morning, slowly turning into afternoon, so I was put into the mood for checking out the op-shops super close to my house; all two of them.
The Salvo's was a bust, but there is a church that operates as an op-shop too. What I keep forgetting, though, is that this op-shop closes at noon. While that's a little hardcore for my tastes as op-shopping has always been a mid-afternoon affair for me (for some reason) I walked in anyway not realising they were closing up. That was my (accidental) dick move number one.
I went straight to the games shelf and found actually quite a bit of stuff, but what really caught my eye was Syndicate Wars, M1 Tank Platoon II and the one and only, Deus Ex. All were boxed and looking as great as ever.
None were listed with prices, which leads to my (accidental) dick move number two. The lady seemed a bit shocked I was there as she didn't see me walk in, but since I had the items in-hand she let me buy them. Being a non-for-profit op-shop attached to a church, though, they did not have Eftpos. She deemed the games to be worth $5 each which is super reasonable, obviously, but I only had $13.40 in cash. She accepted, since it was too late to (even) sprint to an ATM, on the promise that I come back soon and pay back the rest. I guess I must have looked fairly pathetic, as the next time the op-shop was going to be open was the following Saturday when I would have been working.

Thank you, kind volunteer. I will be back with the money I owe soon.

I'm going to list and explain these purchases from eh, to da' best. I hope that rhymed to you as you read it.
I'm going to start with M1 Tank Platoon II. The box is in a fantastic condition (which has an embossed logo and opens up at the front) and still has the cardboard holders within, a wire binded instruction manual (I kid you not) and even a fold-out keyboard quick reference chart that is printed on plastic. Why have I listed this as 'eh' you may wonder? Because it's missing the disk. Yes, it's missing the actual game.
Having said that, though, the serial for the game is still stuck on the box. I'm not saying I would download it and burn it to a disk and then use that serial - but I totally could.  
Next up (in-between eh and da' best) is Syndicate Wars. This comes with several instruction manuals, quite a few inserts and luckily the disk. The box is a bit worn, though, but oh well.
Last but not least, Deus Ex takes the much sort after title of da' best. It does only come with an instruction manual and the disk, so it might be missing some inserts AND that box is as worn as Syndicate Wars - but c'mon. It's Deus fucking Ex.
I actually already own this on PC and played it many years ago, but that was in some gross greatest hits like DVD case. This is way cooler. I like this one more.

And hey, did I mention Mega Drive games in the title of the post? Yes, I believe I did:

Micro Machines, Altered Beast and Afterburner II all for, uh, cheap. I can't actually remember how much I paid for these, but I assume they were cheap or I guess I wouldn't have bought them.
I purchased these from a pawn store I don't really like that much to be honest, but these were actually listed on Gumtree for cheap as they had so many. The store literally had a few hundred cartridges for sale. It was a cool sight.
A few have stickers from a video store, so I guess they were ex-rentals bought cheaply from someone's storage locker. Either way, I now have a few more of the 'essential' Mega Drive games in my collection and buying them cheaply makes it all the better.
Expect a video review of Micro Machines shortly.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Video: Super Game Boy for SNES Review

I don't think I've ever done a peripheral review before - soooo here's one!
Released in 1994 for the SNES (or Super Famicom), the Super Game Boy was a fantastic piece of plastic that let's you play Game Boy games on your TV. In this video I check out how to use it, how it works and most importantly, what is and what isn't specifically compatible with it.  

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Video: Wario Land II for Game Boy Review

It's time to give the Game Boy some sweet loving today, as we take a look at this fairly easy (but absolutely fun) platformer. I don't think Wario gets the love he deserves, so it's time to do my part!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Perth's Newest Retro Gaming Store, Retro Levels (and free shit from McDonald's)

Unrelated of course, but there is in fact a new retro gaming store on the block and McDonald's are giving away free cups. What a wonderful time to be alive.
I mean, seriously though - $6.50 for a large cheese burger meal from Mackey D's is wonderful value on its lonesome and is easily the cheapest route to obesity. But when the nice man gave me that cup in the drive-through, I was over the moon.
I won't let that distract from what I actually want to write about here though. Yes, the title is correct; Perth has yet another retro gaming store. Can you believe it? I certainly would of flipped my shit if you told me this three years ago.

Hot on the tails of Player [1] opening its doors in North Perth about a year ago, Retro Levels has opened a small storefront in the Gosnells Railway Markets. Here's a photo I stole from their Facebook page as I forgot to take my own:

The retro store-displays out front are a super nice touch, and seemed to do a great job of drawing customers in. There were plenty of people walking in and out during my fifteen minute or so visit, and it honestly seemed like the busiest stall in the markets.
They have a super extensive range, covering all the consoles you'd expect plus a few more. Among N64 and PlayStation games were also oddities like the Famicom Disk System (just games though, unfortunately no systems) and items that are hard to come by in Perth like the Sega Saturn (but again, only games).
The prices weren't too bad, but I feel that Player [1] is still priced better. This would likely have to do with how the stores are run, as Player [1] also offers music lessons (which is the main business bringing the cost of the games down) while Retro Levels only sells games and consoles. So for this instance, I totally understand the higher prices as they do have a business to maintain and keep financially stable.

Having said that though, it wasn't as if the prices were ridiculous. I mean, I do find the common online prices of games to be god-awful compared to a few years ago, but Retro Levels does keep its prices in-line with those. So, if there was a game you really wanted, you could buy it here for roughly the same price as online but play it the same day instead.
There are other perks when buying from an actual shopfront too. For example, I was issued with a receipt (fat luck getting one of those on eBay or Gumtree) and upon checking the games out in my car later on (while slowly killing myself with junk food) I opened the shopping bag they were placed in to be greeted with a strong whiff of rubbing alcohol. They had already been cleaned, and I mostly had no trouble getting the games I bought to play first go.

I ventured into Retro Levels with the soul purpose of expanding my SNES and Game Boy collections, but found very few SNES games under $20 and the Game Boy cartridges were hard to sort through.
Most SNES games under $20 were sports games, which are gross, but I did manage to find some interesting looking games on the cheap. Not hugely known titles of course, but I think they will end up as interesting enough reviews.
Super Dropzone was $15 and is a port of the 1984 Atari 400/800 and C64 release (simply titled 'Dropzone') by Archer Maclean. It's much like Defender in the way it plays, and you play a scientist who's defending his research base on Jupiter from aliens.
Vortex cost $14 and is an interesting Super FX enabled release that has you controlling a mech. I haven't played too much of it yet to really give a comprehensive description, but it's a 3D mech shooter on the SNES, so of course I have high hopes.
Lastly I bought Mole Mania for the Game Boy, and that cost $11. They really need to fix how they sort some of their handheld games, as loose carts for the Game Boy Colour, original Game Boy and Sega Game Gear are all just chucked into a large container. It took me quite a while to sort through that and find anything of interest, but the good news is that most cartridges in there were under $10.
I first picked up Mole Mania because it reminded me of Monty Mole (honestly!) but on further inspection I found it to be a puzzle game partly developed by Nintendo EAD and it's one of the least known titles by Shigeru Miyamoto! I say, what a surprise. I haven't played it beyond shoving it into my GBC to see if it works, but I'm certainly looking forward to giving it a review.

So, final thoughts about Retro Levels? For the most part, I'm quite impressed. The major downfall I can see at the moment is that there are no Eftpos facilities - which is a bummer. Luckily there are ATM's scattered around the markets, but for dudes who hate-on cash like myself, adding Eftpos is needed. I certainly think they could support it, as they seem to be doing great business.
While I'm not totally digging the prices, I do understand why they're at the level they are, and they're definitely at a range that people would be willing to pay.
Unfortunately I doubt I'll be going back too frequently though, but this mostly has to do with its location (which is absolutely nowhere near where I live). I'm sure it will become a local haunt for any collector who lives on the Armadale side of the city though, and I can imagine it will stay in business for a while yet.

Retro Levels is open from from 9am-5pm Thursday to Sunday (and public holidays), and by appointment 9am-5pm Monday to Wednesday.
It can be found at the Gosnells Railway Markets (
1 Fremantle Rd, Gosnells).

For more information:
Website: www.retrolevels.com.au

Facebook: www.facebook.com/retrolevels

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Video: Mischief Makers for N64 Review

I've finally gotten around to releasing a new review, and I hope this trend will continue for like, forever.
Today I'm checking out Mischief Makers for the N64, which is a lesser known side-platformer released early in the N64's life. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Video: Darklight Conflict for PSone Review

And now back to something a bit weird and (kind of) wonderful; Darklight Conflict.
About as vast in contrast to my previous review (Super Mario 64) as you can get in regards to obscurity, Darklight Conflict is an interesting space combat simulation on the PlayStation that was release in the late 90's.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Blog Update: 27/04/15 [New Forum, New Buttons]

It's been a while since I fiddled with the ye 'ole HTML of this blog, so I thought I would create some additions. Personally, I was all for a ten person jacuzzi, an extra level on the house and maybe a SEGA Saturn but the finance department said no. A man can dream, I guess.

Pictured: said finance department.
Item 1: Buttons

Ah, glorious buttons. If it's just one thing I want to wakeup and look at every morning, it's some really nice buttons. I've been dreaming about some nice buttons for a while now, and the time has finally come. Next to where the 'Home' and 'About' buttons usually reside, are three new residents. The first two aren't actually that special at all, but in-fact handy links to all posts based around the only two consistent categories this blog as ever known. Clicking on 'Reviews' will show all the reviews, and clicking 'Retro Scans' will of course show all the retro scans. Quite self-explanatory really. The third one, labelled 'Forum' however, brings us to our next item...

Item 2: Forum

Yes, Retro Game On now has a forum... sorta. I've always liked the idea of running a forum based around retro gaming using the Retro Game On moniker, but that of course would never really take off considering my current size. I think it would likely be a very lonely forum.

There use to be a Australian based retro forum called RetroConsole, but alas, the admins did not care and the place was under-maintained (while still being fairly busy because of its regular members). One day, all the posts on RetroConsole disappeared. Since this was close to April Fools Day, everyone thought this might of been some sort of lame prank. But after a week or so none of the posts re-emerged, and it was agreed that a new forum should be started. One of the original members created and now admins a forum called RetroAus, and would you believe it? He gave me my own forum. What a legend.
That button will of course take you to my own sub-forum, but I recommend you check out the rest and register as it's a quite a fast growing community. I've made a short video detailing it, so check it out below:

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Video: Super Mario 64 for N64 Review

EVERYONE has made a video about this game, and now I have to. The greasy cogs of YouTube continue to turn.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Additions to the Film Set: The Rode VideoMic

It's been a while since I've upgraded my equipment that's used for my YouTube channel, with the last update being a Blue Yeti Microphone. It's not like I need to change the equipment that much though; I wrote a post about what I use all the way back in the August of 2013, and it's more or less still the same stuff.
The lowest common denominator however, was the microphone I used with my camera. I use a Canon EOS 7D, which while a bit older (missing newer features you'll find on DSLR's these days like in-built WiFi and a flip-out, touch screen) still boasts exceptional photo (and most importantly) video quality. The in-built microphone is rubbish though, and after a while I bought a cheap boom-mic from China for something like $20. This was better than the in-built mic by miles, but suffered from a lot of background noise that causes pops when you cut from one clip to another during editing. This wasn't a huge issue though, since majority of the video's audio is sourced from my Blue Yeti and that's why it took me so long to upgrade.
After Christmas though, I found myself with a bit of excess money and was able to finally splurge on something quite a bit better. Without whining too much, the student life is an expensive one and stupid adult things like petrol and student fees (three fucking grand a semester!) has pushed purchases like this and even additional games further down the list. Luckily, my gaming backlog is massive, so I won't have to worry about running out of games for a while, but it was nice to finally buy something that could be classed in the 'want' category instead of the 'need' category.

Initially, I wanted to go with the cheaper VideoMic Go as I thought it would be more suitable for my needs, but unfortunately another missing feature in my ageing 7D is a powered microphone port (which the Go requires since it doesn't run on batteries). Side note: it was way too hard to figure out if the 7D even had a powered mic port in the first place. Information online clashed, and I had to email both Rode and Canon to get a straight response, but whatever.
I didn't want to spend too much so the more advanced VideoMic Pro was out of the question, but the standard Rode VideoMic hits a comfortable middle ground. While not including the quality of the Pro model, the standard VideoMic runs on a 9V battery so it is still stronger than the Go regardless. It's on shock mounts, which I thought was nice, and there are switches which I don't quite understand yet that can tweak the quality.
So far, I've only used it for my Road Rash II review using the standard settings. The lack of background fizz certainly stands out to me, but I can't help but feel that my voice sounds more echoey that usual. It might just be me, and that's actually how I really do sound, but I'll be messing around with the settings in future videos to achieve the perfect balance.

So, what's next? For now, I don't really feel like I need anything else. Upgrading that cheap boom-mic was really the only thing that's been bothering for me roughly the last year in a half; it was only ever suppose to be temporary.
The next big step in the world of video is of course 4K and 60fps, but while the cameras themselves are getting cheaper and cheaper, the main issue is my internet connection which I sadly have no control over whatsoever. As it stands, it currently takes over an hour and a half to upload a 1080p video that runs for six or seven minutes. Imagine that in 4K? It makes me shudder.
Hopefully you're okay with full HD for now, because as it stands my internet connection won't be getting faster in the foreseeable future. That's just because of politics though.
I won't bore readers in other countries with the specifics but ultimately Australian YouTubers are going to get left behind in the next couple of years, but hey, I'm getting off-track. Maybe that's an article for another day.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Video: Road Rash II for Genesis/Mega Drive Review

Road Rash is the most reviewed series on this channel, and for good reason. There are not many other bike racing games that let you rage on your opponents in the 16-bit era like Road Rash does, and it's a crying shame that there hasn't been a new release in years.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Video: Wipeout 2097 for PSone Review

After recently buying this for a dollar, I couldn't help myself and reviewed the sucker.
It's probably the fasted period from purchase to video-review in recent memory, and for good reason. This game is bloody hard, but once you get use to the interesting controls, you're laughing.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Video: Lemmings of SNES Review

Ah, Lemmings. Need I say any more? A timeless classic, even went ported from the PC to the SNES!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

$1 PSone Games Makes Myself a Happy Camper

Funnily enough, a couple of days ago (after work) I went driving around to find a protractor. Long story short though, I returned home with eight PSone games and one PS2 game. I did not find the protractor I was after.
I haven’t really bought many games recently at all thanks to my new found poor student status, and now that I still don’t have a suitable protractor I'm closer to having the status of a poor student that’s also failing. None the less, I came across some bargains that day which I would like to share, as they were too cheap not to brag about.

First stop was a Cash Converters, which I can’t say have been in my good books recently. This is not on a store to store basis either, but instead because of a (seemingly) corporate decision. Recently Cashies have been plastering adverts all over the web stating themselves as the go-to shop for retro games. Because of this, in my circumstance their prices have literally tripled. I use to go to that particular shop all the time for $5 PSone games, and I should add these were decent titles too. I particularly remember one time about three years ago, the manager there was trying to sell me additional titles for a dollar each after buying one for five. I didn't take up the offer as there was nothing worth buying, but it goes to show just how much their attitude has changed over the years. As soon as I walked in a few days ago, I went straight to the cabinet where all the retro games are kept and the very same manager approached me. He must have picked me for a collector, as he was pointing out everything they had retro-wise and even mentioned they research their prices now.
There were plenty of great titles there, but unfortunately majority were $15 up. Anyone who’s read this blog for 5 minutes will know that’s not a price I’ll accept, so I thanked the manager for showing me what was available and browsed instead.
Ultimately, I got a bit lucky as buried under some controllers and cables were a few ex-rentals going for cheap. Tunnel B1 and Pitball were $4 each, and even though the cases have been modified, the disks work well (which is the biggest risk with ex-rentals) and the instruction manuals are in acceptable condition for under $5 each.
Pitball seems quite shit really; a sort of one-screen fighting game infused with gameplay elements of basketball. I didn't quite get the hang of the controls in my short testing session, but I'm sure it will make a fun review.
Tunnel B1 is a bit more known thanks to it Ocean Software namesake, and seems fairly original. Set in the first person, you control a hovercraft flying through tunnels and passageways firing at obstacles and enemies. I had a quite a fun time with Tunnel B1, and look forward to reviewing it also.

The next stop was a Salvation Army where there were slim-pickings apart for another bloody fishing game. I have no idea why I bought Reel Fishing when I hated Saltwater Sportsfishing so much, but hey, what can I say? I'm a sucker for PSone games with $3.25 price tags on them no matter how bad they smell.

After that I went to a independent pawn shop and bought Micro Machines for $3, but no one will care about that. The next part was the highlight of my day.
Just down the road from this pawn store is a Good Sammys op-shop. I parked up, and at the front of the door was a $1 bin. Within, I scored complete copies of Wipeout 2097, Wip3out, Lifeforce Tenka and Tomb Raider II. Everything is in fantastic condition, and the disks are spotless. I did have a look around the inside of the store, but it was clear the score was caught. Upon purchase the lady alluded that they might have been in the wrong bin, but since they weren't labelled with anything else the price was honoured. I did feel a bit bad about it though so I gave her a $5 note and said she could keep the change. I guess an extra dollar doesn't prevent me from being a monster, but hey, I tried.

I've always been a huge fan of the Wipeout games, so to score them both for a dollar together has indeed made me a happy camper. I’d never heard of Lifeforce Tenka before, but it was actually developed by Psygnosis too, like both the Wipeout games. I'm not sure if the previous owner was a Psygnosis fan or if it’s just coincidence, but it seems to be a mark of quality regardless. I only played it for half an hour, but again, I quite enjoyed it. It’s a pre-dualshock FPS which would usually send myself running and screaming into the bushes, but it actually felt quite balanced. I had no problem aiming even though I was just using the back triggers and diagonal buttons.

That day I got home and bought the protractor I needed on eBay. I never thought that would be an item I would buy on eBay of all places, but a man has got to think about his study as well as his hobbies.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Video: Vib-Ribbon for PSone Review

I've been wanting this game for maaaany years, and now it's finally in my hot little hands :D

Monday, February 9, 2015

Re-reaching Childhood Interests

It's the funny thing about being an adult. You have the ability to drive a one-tonne metal death machine unsupervised, you can drink, you can smoke and you can (within reason) do whatever the flip you want. One thing that you mostly have access to as an adult that was out of reach as a child is money, and even though I've been employed continuously for over three years now, it's still a concept I'm yet to grasp. No matter what you're suppose to spend it on however, doesn't fall away from what you sometimes actually do.
There were many games and consoles in my childhood that I wanted, but since I was well below the legal working age and my salary (ie, pocket money) was somewhere in the region of eight to ten dollars a week, they were out of reach. One such game is what you see above and below: Vib Ribbon.

I always had this on demo disks and played the one included level over and over, but never got a chance to purchase the full game. In my defence it wasn't because of poorness, most games could be attained after months of vigilant saving, but in PAL-land this game is rarer than a RPG review on my YouTube channel. Okay, maybe not that rare. But rare. Rare enough that a kid with no internet connection had no chance.

For those unsure, Vib Ribbon has you playing as a small, happy character named Vibri. The concept is quite simple; the levels are presented on simple colourless 2D vector plains. You control Vibri as she traverses various shapes, with each shape corresponding to a certain button on the PS1's controller. Sounds simple right? Well, the shapes are generated by music. The crazier the music gets, the faster the shapes come flying across the screen. Eventually the shapes will merge meaning that the two relevant buttons have to be pushed at the same time, and over that the vector plains will start vibrating making it hard to see while the gameplay camera pans and rotates all over the place.
I know it may sound easy-peasy on paper, but trust me, this games gets hectic. The main selling point is that you can load up your own CD (as the game can reside in the PS1's RAM) meaning that there is an endless amount of levels possible (as long as you have a decent CD collection). Personally, I loaded up KoRn's Take a Look in the Mirror and basically gave up after three songs.  

I'm not too sure why the PAL copy of Vib Ribbon is so rare (it wasn't even released in America), but expect a price close to $60 on eBay. That sort of money for a PS1 game in my mind simply will not fly (no matter how much I want it) so luckily my Japanese PlayStation has yet again come to save the day. I pay'd something like $25 for my complete Japanese copy, as the game was a lot more common in Japan. Still too steep for me really, but better than the only alternative.
There's heaps of cool shit in the box like promotional pamphlets and posters, but most importantly a little booklet that explains which shape corresponds to what button push. This is mandatory to have next to you when you first start playing.
Over those, the actual game case is weirder than the game its self. Everything seems to be upside down and back to front. It's kind of hard to explain, but I'll give a demonstration in my upcoming review of the game.
I know I'll actually release that video since I've said it here now too, as I've already written a page of notes and recorded a whole heap of game footage. I know I usually don't if I say that, but I'll be damned it will happen again like it's the worlds lamest curse.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Video: Wave Race 64 for N64 Review

Back to the N64 today and back to a racing game with a twist. This is one of the first 3D games I know of that involves jet skies, but probably the only I know of that involves elements of slalom skiing.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Video: Paperboy for Genesis/Mega Drive Review

Today we check out an interesting arcade release on the Mega Drive/Genesis that involves... you guessed it: being a paperboy. Who would of known that such a mundane childhood job could evolve into such an addictive video game.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Fear & Loathing in Geraldton [Part II]

Ah Christmas. A time of giving, spending time with family but most importantly, buying cheap Xbox's.
It wasn't that long ago that I went to Geraldton for Easter, but in Australia it was another month, so it was time for another public holiday. This time it was for Christmas, where in-between eating cray fish and then throwing it up over the side of a boat (there comes a time in life where you truly become a man, and other times where you learn you can get sea-sick) I managed to make it to one of my favourite op-shops in the state.

The Cogman Recycling facility hasn't changed too much since last April. Just check the image in the above linked post; I'm sure that funky 80's oven is still there, but sadly the great wall of VHS's and mid 2000's DVD players has diminished somewhat. What hasn't changed however, are the bargains. Last time I visited I scored a semi-working PS2, two PS2 games and an Xbox controller for the partly sum of $12. Hoping to match that absolutely ridiculous deal, I somewhat beat it by purchasing two Xbox's for $5 each, and a couple of PC games for $1 each. Later on, my cousin gave me an additional Halo Edition Xbox. They're fun to stack.

Still cheaper than Lego
The question on everyone's lips might be: how well does a $5 Xbox work? The answer turns out to be "quite well", actually. One of them works flawlessly, with not a problem in sight. It even has all the previous owners crappy music still on it.
The other Xbox boots up, and appears to have a fully functioning hard drive but the disk drive is a bit dicky. It wouldn't open-up on its own (it did try to though, I'll give it that) so I cracked it open and chucked a disk inside to find that the laser is still thankfully functional. The weird thing though, is that the disk drive would then function (and open) once the disk was inside, but would no longer open once the disk was removed. The disk seems to set something in place to get it working, but a lot of staring later on my behalf and it's still a mystery.

The Halo edition, or most of what I have of one, is a special case. As you can see in the photo, its missing its disk drive, but also the HDD. The cool thing about this unit though (apart from the exterior case) is that the motherboard and PSU are still alive and kicking, but the MOBO has a modchip soldered to it. I can confirm that the unit boots up, so sometime in the future I'm thinking of transplanting the HDD and disk drive from my usual unit and have the Halo Edition plus its modchip as my daily driver. Spare time is at a premium lately though, so expect it done sometime during my retirement (where I'll also probably finally play Skyrim).  

An op-shop visit wouldn't be complete without myself purchasing a rally game however, and this trip was no different. Also bought was Microsoft World of Flight. On purchase I assumed it was a plane game, maybe similar to the recently reviewed Wings 2: Aces High. But nope, it's an educational thingy. Eugh. Learning.
From what I can gather, Microsoft brought out a few like these varying in subject, and this ones all about planes. In a Windows 95 world, the internet as we know it was still in its infancy and apparently lacking in websites about planes. This was the disk to fix that temporary problem.
No doubt I'll still review it one day though.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Video: Wings 2: Aces High/Blazing Skies for SNES Review

I don't really give the SNES as much love on this channel as it deserves, so let's check out a WW1 dogfight game!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Video: Steel Reign for PSone Review

Retro Game On is back for 2015! Today for the first video of the year, we take a look at the relatively unknown (and early) title for the PSone: Steel Reign. This tank game does have its problems, but once you flesh out those, there's quite an enjoyable game here to be played.