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Thirty Pixels

Thoughts from a Geek in Canberra

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Retro Gaming 101 – Ponchos, Wrenches and Tea Cosies

Yes I know – It’s been a few weeks since my last post. Apologies, but time has just gotten away from me. That’s how life works though, right?

So let’s recap, last time I told you about how, through the power of You Tube, I have started to develop an interest in building a game collection, whether that would be SNES, N64, Dreamcast, etc. In the end I decided to begin with collecting Sony games, which includes the extensive PS1 library, all the way up to the current PS3 system (still giving the PS4 a year or so to get started.) Although I may start on Nintendo at some point (I do have a building Gamecube and Wii library) but, for now, my main focus will be on Sony.

So that’s what I’ve started on, and boy let me tell you, I’ve learnt something over the last few weeks, and that would be that seeing a bunch of guys doing something on the internet, as opposed to doing that same activity in your own backyard, are two VERY different things.

Case in point – below Billy and Jay, known to the Retro Gaming universe as the Game Chasers, head to their local Flea Market to see what great pickups they can find.

This, along with other cool you tube channels, such as Retro Liberty, Metal Jesus and Pat the NES Punk, is what inspired me, along with possibly other Gaming fans, to head out to their own local Flea Market to try and find their own super-cool pickups.

This is where my first hurdle came up.

The thing is, here in Australia, we don’t exactly haveĀ what America would call ‘Flea Markets’ (or at the very least, not in the Sydney/NSW area.) Even the word ‘Market’ is a very grey description, as especially here in Australia, there are multiple types of markets. Obviously I wasn’t going to find a Zelda game floating amongst potatoes and spinach at the local farmers or growers market. However, most other ‘markets’ can vary in their definition, as I found out the hard way.

In order to get started with the Market raiding, I felt a little homework was in order – with a little googling, I compiled a list of possible Markets to try out, spreading from Central Coast areas like Davistown, to the Western Sydney suburb of Liverpool. I figured the easiest thing to do would be to just go and try my luck at each market and see what happens. Seeing as Garage Sales seemed to also be potential Retro hotspots, I also thought to screen the local paper for Garage Sale listings, and began one Saturday morning hitting up my local area.

 

A ‘Market’ out in Davistown was a bust, I found myself in a rather run down community hall, for what was obviously a ‘Art and Craft’ market, and the strange looks from seniors had me back in my car and back on the road in a heartbeat. Another weekend I tried the Glebe market, and found nothing but jewellery, patchwork, and hipster stalls involving hemp bags and tribal drums. The other extreme was a market out at Liverpool, which consisted mostly of cheap jewellery and luggage. Sometimes what you find that even comes close to what can be described as ‘Video Games’ are mostly pirated Nintendo DS cards, or cheap Wii accessories. My ‘Market list’ has over time started to be narrowed down quite a bit.

Garage Sales are only slightly better, it can be very much hit and miss. Some places can feel very morbid, as they come in the form of deceased estates, which personally I feel awkward rummaging some poor old ladys belongings. On the brightside, I did manage to have a few hits, picking up GTA3, Destroy All Humans, and Dynasty Warriors 5 for only 5 dollars each. Those finds, while only small, were enough to spur me along, keen to see what other Retro finds I could pick up.

This is where I discovered the beauty and pleasure of the Car Boot Sale. My first one was a journey out to Woy Woy one early sunday morning, I was slightly skeptical, thinking it would be mostly clothes and kids toys. I was pleasantly surprised – amongst the old board games, crafts, and old electrical products, I found a few stalls housing not just PS2 games, but Game Boy games, Xbox games, and even though I didn’t pick it up at the time, a Sega Mega Drive. I found that I could get further success with subsequent visits to Car Boot Sales in other surrounding areas, picking up various PS1 and PS2 games.

The beauty of the Car Boot Sale is meant to be that every one is different, with different people each time lining up to sell their old goods, which potentially means different outcomes for Retro Game Hunting each one I visit. Plus there’s a sausage sizzle. You can’t go wrong with a Sausage Sizzle. Just ask Bunnings.

So that’s my result. Like I said, Australia has a very different market system to what America does. But I think with regular visits to Garage Sales, Car Boot Sales, plus some visits to other places like Pawn shops, Op Shops, and of course Ebay, I think Retro Game collecting will be a very enjoyable hobby indeed. And that’s before I’ve even played anything.

I’ll have more on Retro collecting in the future. Happy Hunting!

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Retro Game collecting 101 – Getting The Bug and taking the plunge

You Tube can be a really addictive thing. Hours can be magically zapped away by watching Cats tripping on Catnip….

…making your own 90’s flashback (radio joke, sorry)…

…finding your (sort of) current favorites…

…sourcing witty comebacks for arguments on forums…

…or learning how to cook japanese food from a canine…

(Seriously, how do they keep the dog from eating the food?)

Of course, it goes without saying that You Tube has a massive place within the gaming world. From parodies to play-throughs. News wraps, interviews, trailers, even user reviews. You Tube has given the average gamer a voice, enabling them to both criticize and create. Even I’m thinking of starting up my own channel (that will come soon.)

Of particular interest to me as of late has been the retro gaming scene. What started as watching a few videos of ‘game room tours’…

…has slowly progressed into finding a rich, vibrant community of Retro Game enthusiasts (granted mostly in America.) There are dozens of channels from Game collectors, covering everything from showing off their massive collections, game collecting tips, reviews of games gone by (which I have previously had a taste of via the Angry Video Game Nerd) and, something that has become somewhat my personal favorite, some great field trips to flea markets, game stores, and garage sales.

If I may, let me take though a few of my favorite channels so far…

From the city that’s pretty high on my ‘to visit’ list, Seattle, there’s avid games collector and vinyl fan, MetalJesusRocks.

Another collector from around the Washington State area, a Mr Pete Dorr.

(These two guys also run a podcast, All Gen Gamers.)

I also found some great channels featuring field trips to flea markets and game stores. The Game Chasers, a show that wouldn’t look out of place on the discovery channel…

…and from what I understand, these guys are somewhat the pioneers of the ‘Retro Field Trip’ video, although sadly they’re now defunct, The Retro Hunters.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. there’s a whole great community of Retro game enthusiasts in North America, most of which are connected through the power of youtube. Offline they hold Retro Gaming conventions, such as Too Many Games and the Portland Retro Gaming Expo, coming together to share their rare finds and all knowledgeable things about Retro.

So of course, with all this viewing of game collections and Flea Market field trips, it was only eventual that I would get the itch to start a collection of my own. Luckily there are plenty of collecting tips as well, such as those from lithium017. Most suggest starting out by picking just a one or two retro systems to collect for. I also wonder if, with the upcoming release of the two big new consoles, whether or not the PS3 and X360 can start to be counted into the retro banner. In which case I have a good head start with the 360. I do however believe I still have a retro system buried in a shed interstate – the good old Mega Drive, coupled with a japanese import of the Mega CD.

MegaCD small

I remember when I first got that package when I was a kid, bundled with a bunch of Mega CD’s in japanese, as only japanese versions could be played on the Mega CD. However, the Mega Drive was local, so I was able to pick up a copy of Sonic the Hedgehog 3. Countless weekends would be spent on that system. In fact, I credit the Mega CD (in particular Earnest Evans) with getting me into Anime.

earnestevansj

  Two of my favorites from my old Mega CD collection.
Two of my favorites from my old Mega CD collection.

That wasn’t the first gaming system I had though. Although my grandparents had an NES that I would occupy my visits with Super Mario 2, Zelda, and a large number of rental games over my childhood, my first system was back around 1990, in the form of the Amiga 500.

amiga500

I think I played an abundance of games overĀ  the 10 year period I had this system. From Indiana Jones, Giana Sisters (the first horror game in my opinion – that scream when you died was just brutal) to Defender of the Crown, King Of Chicago and Chase HQ. And thats before you get to the demo disks – man did I have plenty of those!

defender_of_the_crown_01

So what happened to my Amiga? To be honest – I can’t for the life of me remember. I think we just threw it out – something that, upon a quick visit to ebay, makes me slightly regretful of such an act.

But I digress, in the end I’ve decided my collection will start with Sony, in which I mean the PSX, PS2, PS3 and Vita. If I end up picking up an N64 so be it, although I do own a Gamecube and a Wii, but that will all come in time.

That’s it for this week! I did manage to check out a local car boot sale last weekend, where I was able to nab a few gaming bargains. However, I might check out a few more and do a part two on markets around the Sydney and Central Coast area.

So next week – Retro Gaming 101: To Market, To Market! Thanks for reading!

New Pikmin 3 commercial (Japanese Version)

I’m in the process of rebuilding my blog, so while I’m doing that I thought I would share a recent find – this is one from a new series of commercials to promote Pikmin 3 to the Japanese audience.
The american/western version is a lot more kid-centric, and as such tends to be a lot noisier, whereas the Japan version opts for a ‘less is more’ approach.

Enjoy, and stay tuned for a few special things in the future.

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