Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Found on the Internets: I Got 15 Problems

I've always said that living in the deep ghetto during my college years has given me a great appreciation for how far I've come. The same can be said for some of the "questionable" design decisions made in the early days of game consoles. It really makes niceties like ergonomic controllers and...color easy to appreciate. 

This article from tech blog Technologizer chronicles 15 such missteps across console history. Some, such as monochrome displays, can be chalked up to cost cutting or technological limitations, but others are just old fashioned, home grown bad design.

Check out the full story here:

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Console Cleanup: Crack House Gamecube Rescue!

There's always room at the Backward Compatible home for wayward game consoles.

This week, I cleared out a spot in the intensive care ward for a rough-around-the-edges Gamecube. The poor little silver lunchbox was picked up as part of a nicely priced bundle I scored from a meth head camped out in the deepest part of the Akron ghetto (clearly, Craigslist knows no boundaries). In his defense, he was nice enough and claimed to repair computers for a living, but his lack of teeth and excess of hair suggested otherwise.

Once I got the little guy home, it was apparent he'd lived a troubled existence; covered in scuffs and scratches, not to mention smelling like the spent diaper of a pack-a-day chimpanzee.

Today I'll show you how to take care of some of the physical scarring--as far as the mental scarring...and the smell...your guess is as good as mine.

Here's our brave little patient. Note the scuffs and scratches:

For abrasions, no amount of Windex Multi-Surface is going to help (although it did go a long way in cutting the "cigarette butt fished out of a urinal" scent). You're going to need something more persuasive, like this:

Being a huge pack rat, I had a bottle of Meguiars PlastX plastic polish in the garage from a headlight cleanup job I did a few years ago. Like any other polish, it's a mild abrasive that--with any luck--will smooth out the scratches on the surface of the Gamecube. 

The trick is to use just a dab, and polish with just enough pressure to get the job done. Pro tip: too much elbow grease and you'll end up polishing the shiny silver finish right off of the console. Ask me how I know.

Done correctly, you'll easily wipe away any light scratches on the system. See? Deep gouges, however, are there to stay.

The cleanup was so successful that, while I originally planned on reselling the Gamecube, I think I'll hold onto it for now. As for the rest of the haul, it's in the game room airing out. Keep an eye out for the games in an upcoming Recent Pickups post.

As a welcome home gift, I believe this little guy needs a Gameboy player and a Wavebird.

In the meantime, does anyone have any good  remedies for stinky plastic? Maybe Oxy Clean? Dog shampoo? I'm willing to try just about anything. 

Just for the fun of it, here's one last picture of my pair of lunch boxes frolicking carelessly through the gameroom.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Recent Pickups Episode 4: PS3 Games with Colons

Aaaaaand we're back! Heck of a Christmas haul this year and reporting on it about a month too late. Sorry. Blame Skyrim.

I have a bunch of Recent Pickup posts planned for the upcoming week or so, but way too many games for a single post, so here's the current-gen picks from the 50ish new additions to the collection. Enjoy! 

Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception
Console: PS3
Release Date: November 1, 2011
Developer: Naughty Dog
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Acquired From: Merry Christmas to me!
Condition: Still in plastic
Notes: The third installment to what could be my favorite series of this generation. Looking forward to digging into this one, but I'll be sad when it's over. Like Harry Potter.

...Shut up.

Transformers: War for Cybertron
Console: PS3
Release Date: June 22, 2010
Developer: High Moon Studios
Publisher: Activision
Acquired From: Target clearance rack. $11, son!
Condition: Still in plastic
Notes: Did you know that just about every Target store has an endcap full of games they're trying to unload? Can't wait to try what could be the only decent Transformers game ever made (how is that possible?). And hey, for $11, it's almost impossible not to be worth the money.

Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection
Console: PS3
Release Date: February 10, 2009
Developer: Backbone Entertainment
Publisher: Sega
Acquired From: Merry Christmas to me!
Condition: Still in plastic
Notes: Confession: I have an embarrassingly small Genesis collection. 8 games. That's it. If I add the 48 games in this collection, well, now we're getting somewhere! Any fan of classic games needs this in their collection--classic gaming goodness on your fancy new HDTV!

Batman: Arkham Asylum
Console: PS3
Release Date: August 25, 2009
Developer: Rocksteady Studios
Publisher: Eidos Interactive
Acquired From: Merry Christmas to me!
Condition: Still in plastic
Notes: I can't believe it took two years and a generous sister-in-law to acquire this game. All of the positive press surrounding the latest installment (Arkham City), puts this high on the priority list.

3D Dot Game Heroes
Console: PS3
Release Date: May 11, 2010
Developer: Silicon Studio
Publisher: Atlus
Acquired From: Merry Christmas to me!
Condition: New. Gutted. Damn you, for opening my Christmas gifts, Gamestop!
Notes: An awesome spoof on my childhood. The best part, though, is my parents bought me this game for Christmas. My parents. Clearly, I don't give them enough credit.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Console: PS3
Release Date: November 11, 2011
Developer: Bethesda
Publisher: Bethesda
Acquired From: Merry Christmas to me!
Condition: New, then thoroughly worked over. 
Notes: And here is the reason why none of these other games will ever be played. I had high expectations for Skyrim, and they were completely blown away. I could go on and on, but it's safe to say that this is--in my opinion--one of the best games I've played in a long time, possibly ever.