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

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.