Thursday, March 29, 2012

Recent Pickups Episode 6, Part 3: Insert CD

Welcome back to recent pickups, episode 6! Part 3 is all about the random disc-based games  I've picked up all around town. Not a stinker in the bunch. Of course, I do my best to avoid (or sell) games I have no intention of playing. Here's what made the cut:

Rhythm Heaven Fever
Console: Nintendo Wii
Release Date: February 13, 2012
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo
Acquired From: Target
Condition: Bought new!
Notes: If you buy this knowing what the Rhythm Heaven series is all about, you're going to get exactly what you expect. Short version: lots of fun. Long version: watch my review!

Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge
Console: Xbox
Release Date: October 21, 2003
Developer: FASA Interactive
Publisher: Microsoft
Acquired From: Goodwill
Condition:, great!
Notes: Heard a lot of good things about this game from a coworker, and according to the cover, it's the best Xbox live game. For a couple of bucks, how could I resist?

Sega GT 2002/Jet Set Radio Future Combo Disc
Console: Xbox
Release Date:  October 15, 2002Developer: Sega
Publisher: Microsoft
Acquired From: Half Price Books
Condition: Sealed...until I unsealed it.
Notes: For $5, how could anyone with an Xbox and thumbs pass this up? I've never played wither of these games, but I have played their predecessors. Based on that, I can safely assume that I'm in for a treat. Two treats, in fact.

Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life
Console: Game Cube
Release Date:  October 15, 2002Developer: Victor Interactive
Publisher: Natsume
Acquired From: Half Price Books
Condition: Not half bad!
Notes: How am I going to explain this to my wife? "Yeah, honey, I'll mow the lawn in a little bit. Just let me finish what I'm doing here in this yard work simulator."

Gotcha Force
Console: Game Cube
Release Date:  December 3, 2003
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Acquired From: Gamestop
Condition: Hey, at least they didn't try to tell me it was new. It ain't.
Notes: Picked this up after reading an interesting post over on the forums. Some believe that this game is going to be worth a buttload of money (for reference, I paid $12 and it sells for $20-$50 on ebay right now). Regardless of all of that, It's Pokemon with robots, so who cares what it's worth? 

Modnation Racers
Console: Playstation 3
Release Date:  May 25, 2010
Developer: United Front Games
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Acquired From: Goodwill
Condition: Was once possibly in a dog's mouth.
Notes: Dudes. Seriously. If this isn't the world's best advertisement for shopping at Goodwill, I don't know what is. I bought Modnation Racers for one dollar. One. And there's probably only a little hepatitis on it.

Child of Eden
Console: Playstation 3
Release Date:  June 14, 2011
Developer: Q Entertainment
Publisher: Ubisoft
Acquired From: Target
Condition: New (gasp!)
Notes: Usually I like to clean up and peel the stickers off of my recent pickups. This, however, is a special case. I bought Child of Eden at Target on clearance for $12 and I want you to know about it. Go! Get yours now! Go!

That's it for tonight! I hope you guys like Dreamcast, because it's going to get shot all in your eyeballs for part 4. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Recent Pickups Episode 6, Part 2: Eu-N64-ia!

Once up a time, I had an extra Dreamcast. My brother sent me a super minty console a little while back, leaving me with my old and busted example as trade bait. Here's a portion of what I got for it as part of a deal I struck on

Extreme-G 2
Console: Nintendo 64
Release Date: October 7, 1998
Developer: Probe Entertainment (heh.)
Publisher: Acclaim
Acquired From: trade
Condition: Extremely Good (clever, right?)...until my vigorous scrubbing took part of the label with it. Damn you, extra strength Goo Gone! Damn you!
Notes: The sequel to what I thought was a pretty competent N64 racer. And hey, you can break the sound barrier in this one. SONIC BOOOOOOOM!

Perfect Dark
Console: Nintendo 64
Release Date: May 22, 2000
Developer: Rare
Publisher: Rare
Acquired From: trade
Condition: Perfecto!
Notes: Believe it or not, I've never played Perfect Dark. By the time it was released, I had moved onto the Dreamcast. That said, I can't wait to give it a whirl. According to many, it's one of the diffinitive N64 shooters, and with its Goldeneye pedigree, I believe it!

Wayne Gretzky's 3D Hockey
Console: Nintendo 64
Release Date: October 31, 1996
Developer: William's Entertainment
Publisher: Midway
Acquired From: trade
Condition: Goooooooooooooal!
Notes: It's NFL Blitz...with sticks! Don't let the full-on Canadian title fool you, this game is ridiculously fun and addictive. Big head mode, anyone?

Automobili Lamborghini
Console: Nintendo 64
Release Date: November 30, 1997
Developer: Titus Software
Publisher: Titus Software
Acquired From: trade
Condition: Bull shittyish
Notes: I remember having a lot of fun with this game back in the day. Strangely, Automobili Lamborghini doesn't feature any actual Lamborghinis. Regardless, I'm looking forward to giving it another play. Hopefully this game about old Italian cars doesn't disappoint me like an old Italian car.

Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire
Console: Nintendo 64
Release Date: December 3, 1996
Developer: LucasArts
Publisher: Nintendo
Acquired From: trade
Condition: Grrrwarrrh warrrrh garh (wookie for "ew.")
Notes: This was the first game I owned for the N64. It starts with an excellent snowspeeder level, then goes straight to the garbage smasher. But hey, it's still more entertaining than Episode 1.

Turok 2: Seeds of Evil
Console: Nintendo 64
Release Date: December, 1998
Developer: Iguana Entertainment
Publisher: Acclaim
Acquired From: trade
Condition: All N64 cartridges should be black. They stay so much cleaner.
Notes: Cerebral bore. That's all you need to know...until it drills into your brain and explodes. Then you're on your own.

Winback: Covert Operations

Console: Nintendo 64
Release Date: October 20, 1999
Developer: Omega Force
Publisher: Koei
Acquired From: trade
Condition: That'll do, pig.
Notes: Was always curious about this game, but never got around to play it. If Wikipedia is to be believed, Winback is the great grand daddy of the now ubiquitous 3rd person cover-based shooter. That's enough to get me interested again.

Turok 3: Shadow of Oblivion
Console: Nintendo 64
Release Date: August 30, 2000
Developer: Acclaim
Publisher: Acclaim
Acquired From: trade
Condition: Amazingly good
Notes: 100% honest? I didn't even know that Turok 3 was a thing before I got it as part of this mega trade. For the price (essentially zero), how could I resist? I'm sure Turok 3 will answer all of my nagging questions surrounding the original trilogy's rich plot points. (roll eyes.)

Cruis'n USA
Console: Nintendo 64
Release Date: December 3, 1996
Developer: Midway
Publisher: Nintendo
Acquired From: Goodwill
Condition: Foine, girl.
Notes: Take your pick: Cruis'n USA or Killer Instinct. If you bought an N64 on launch day, there's a pretty good chance that one or the other sold you on the system. Happy to have Cruis'n in the box--since N64 games are conspicuously lacking top labels, boxed is the best way to keep them organized...just not the cheapest.

Weirdly, I'm getting a pretty nice N64 collection going without much effort on my part. Unfortunately, most N64 games haven't stood up well against the test of time, but it's still a blast having these gems in my collection.

Next up, a nice smattering of disc-based games. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Recent Pickups Episode 6, Part 1: Sega do what Ninten-do, too.

For this installment of Recent Pickups, I'll be using the term "recent" pretty loosely. With the whole YouTube thing picking up steam, my light box being in pieces, and any number of other poor excuses, it's been quite a while since we've seen a new episode. In that time, I've added another 40 or so games to the collection, and These date back the furthest of them all:

Console: NES
Release Date: July, 1989
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Acquired From: trade
Condition: I'll take it!
Notes: A must-have for any NES collection! I could go on and on about how great Strider is, but all you need to know is that Hiryu swings his sword so hard and fast that all you see is speed lines. And if you hear that telltale "SHING SHING" sound, you're already dead. ...SHING SHING!

Air Fortress
Console: NES
Release Date: September, 1989
Developer: HAL Laboratory
Publisher: HAL Laboratory
Acquired From: Donation from my nephew!
Condition: Astro-nomical (see what I did there?)
Notes: I remember renting this game from my local Diamond Video way back in the day. Clearly it left an impression on me. Of course, this means that I'm terrified to actually play it again. What if it's not as awesome as I remember? On the other hand, what if it is? ...oh damn.

Knight Rider
Console: NES
Release Date: December, 1989
Developer: Pack-In-Video
Publisher: Acclaim
Acquired From: Donation from my nephew!
Condition: Good enough, Michael
Notes: You don't own Knight Rider on the NES because it's a good game. You own Knight Rider on the NES because Knight Rider is awesome.

Console: NES
Release Date: December 30, 1993
Developer: Namco
Publisher: Namco
Acquired From: Goodwill
Condition: Great! And it came with the box...which is not it great condition. But hey, it's a boxed NES game, so there's that.
Notes: It's Pac-Man! Awok-awok-awok-awok-awok-awok-awok.....Awok-awok-awok-awok-awok...

Console: NES
Release Date: June, 1992
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo
Acquired From: Goodwill
Condition: Ask Pac-Man.
Notes: Honestly, I've never played Yoshi, but it was sitting next to Pac-Man, and I knew it was a relatively late release for the NES, in good condition, and came with the box. Sold!

Virtua Racing
Console: Sega Saturn
Release Date: March 14, 1994
Developer: Sega AMD/Time Warner
Publisher: Sega
Acquired From: James Games & More
Condition: Funny thing about Saturn game cases: they seem to disintegrate around the disc in noble effort to protect it. Not unlike a decent race car. 
Notes: My Saturn collection is pretty sad. So while I didn't find Virtua Racing out in the wild, I was willing to pay the convenience charge to add an iconic racer to the shelf.

Fighting Vipers
Console: Sega Saturn
Release Date: November 30, 1996
Developer: Sega AMD
Publisher: Sega
Acquired From: James Games & More
Condition: Ehhhh. The Fighting Vipers have armor, so why doesn't Fighting Vipers?
Notes: There's never anything wrong with adding a fighter to your Saturn collection--that's sorta the reason you buy one in the first place. This is especially true when the game encourages you to beat the tar out of a dude using a Gibson Flying-V.

That'll do it for Part 1. Stay tuned for Part 2. I hope you like N64!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Video Review: Rhythm Heaven Fever

My Rhythm Heaven Fever video review is finished and loaded onto YouTube! I had a lot of fun putting this one together, and I'm getting the feeling that I'm starting to find my niche. Enjoy!

Learned a couple new tricks along the way, like adjusting the audio volume (notice how it gets quieter during the voiceovers?), separating audio and video (I can play sound from one piece of footage and video from another), and some fancy transitions between clips. Even learned how to do picture-in-picture, but it didn't make the final cut.

I've got plenty of ideas floating around for the next one, but I think I'd really like to do a   plain old "Recent Pickups" post before I worry about that.

Feedback is always appreciated!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Metal Slug 3 Review: Behind the Screams

Hey guys!

I know, I know. It's been way too long since I've posted a proper blog entry. The reason behind that is two-fold:

First of all, my light box sort of fell apart somewhere between the last "Recent Pickups" post and moving it out of the way for the most recent game room tour. Clearly it wasn't built to withstand the awesome force of a no-holds-barred SNEStravaganza. But fear not! It's salvageable, and when I get around to it, I've got a mountain of new stuff to photograph and share with you.

Second, and much more interesting, I've been dedicating my daily budgeted blogging time to getting my YouTube channel up and running. If you haven't seen it yet, here's my first effort: a video review of Metal Slug 3. If you have seen it, watch it again. I do a little jig every time the view count goes up.

Overall, I'm pretty satisfied with the results. Of course, I wouldn't have uploaded it if I wasn't. As a bit of a perfectionist and someone who watches a lot of game reviews, I can count a hundred things I'd like to change, but eventually you just have to call it a day and move on, right?

Vegas Pro HD 10 in action.
Only slightly less confusing than it looks.
As my first foray into video production, there was a lot of fumbling and poking at random buttons until something like I imagined in my head appeared on the screen. Heck, when I started, I wasn't even sure whether I was supposed to record the video or the voiceover first. (The correct answer was gameplay, voiceover, then edit, edit, edit.) All told, it probably took eight hours to record everything and then figure out how the hell to put it together. I'd like to think that I could cut that time in half for the next one. We'll see soon enough.

After a lot of wrestling with my capture device (Hauppauge HD PVR), I'm very happy with how the video turned out. A few filters courtesy of Sony Vegas HD 10 really helped to bring out the color and smooth the footage.

That smooth voice you hear comes courtesy
this Samson C01U USB microphone.
But more than the video, I've actually gotten quite a bit of positive feedback regarding the voiceover audio. All credit goes to having a half-way decent microphone. I used my brandy new Samson C01U USB condenser microphone to record it. To be honest, I have no idea what a condenser microphone even is, but it sounds nice. And it also smells pretty good, too, sort of like robotic strawberries. (You notice these things when you've had your face all up in it for a couple hours.) Also, I fudged together a homemade pop filter to tone done my popperiffic P's.

Audio recording software is free-and-easy Audacity--the Cakewalk Studio software that came with the mic with is way over my head. That said, I would really like to take some time and learn a few audio editing tricks. There are a few things I'd like to try in some upcoming videos and as of right now, I have no idea how to make them happen.

Well that's all for now! I'd like to get a new video started (and maybe even posted) this weekend, and I have ideas rattling around in my head for several more. If you have any critiques or advice you'd like to share, please drop me a note in the comment box!