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

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