Thursday, December 31, 2015

Japan Retro Direct


When it comes to collecting retro video games these days there are no shortages of options, heck even GameStop got into the retro game again by offering a older games for a selection of systems on their website. There are plenty of other retailers online located all over the world and while I've found a few deals here and there, it seems the one place I find myself checking out often is Japan Retro Direct.

What? You've never heard of them? Yeah, that's what I've gathered so I thought I'd take a second to share my thoughts and experiences in my little corner of the web. Sometimes when you find something so good you want to hoard it and keep it for yourself. However with more and more people getting into collecting and selling retro video games, prices keep going up and up and up. This is one of the reasons I frequent JRD - fair prices.

Japan Retro Direct is the brainchild of one person, Kevin Tamburino, but you may know him as Vinnk. Part of the successful Famicom Dojo and contributor at sites such 4 Color Rebellion and RETRO Magazine, Vinnk decided to start offering up Japanese games to those of us that live outside of Japan. I've bought games from others that live in Japan, but Vinnk always seems to offer up his finds at very reasonable prices and because he is an American I don't have to worry about dealing with the language barrier.

Now you may be wondering by now, where do I find this Japan Retro Direct? Well first and foremost you can make sure to Like and follow his official Facebook page to make sure you are getting the latest updates. His store is a part of the awesome video game auction site, Game Gavel. If you aren't familiar w/ Game Gavel then you should, but that is a post for another time. In his store you'll find Japanese games ranging from the Nintendo Famicom to the NEC PC Engine to the Sony Playstation formats and everything in between.

Why should you follow my advice and buy from Japan Retro Direct? Well other than the few reasons I mentioned above, you can trust Vinnk. He tests and cleans all the games before he makes them available in his store. Pricing - better than eBay, better than most places you'll find the games offered. Shipping - reasonable shipping rates and well packaged for the trip across the Pacific. Knowledge and Trust - it seems more and more reproduction cartridges and bootlegs are starting to hit the market and I know that I'll never be misled by what I'm buying. I can even trust the game on the Famicom Disk I'm buying is the actual game on the disk. Lastly Selection - some of the categories may get thin at times, but that's because he's selling through the games so quickly! However he is great at keeping his store full of great offerings. There isn't many times I haven't been able to find 4-5 items I want each and every time I stop by.

I've been shopping from Japan Retro Direct for several years now and I can't recommend them enough. If the above reasons weren't enough to sway you from giving him your business, then I've got one more reason. He takes requests. I don't remember how it even came up, but one day last year I shot him a message asking what the likelihood of him finding me a NEC PC-FX console would be and if he could help suggest a few games to start with. It wasn't long before he responded with some information which led to a complete loose console w/ two games he recommended, Battle Heat and Team Innocent. He made me an offer that I simply could not refuse and still today I categorize as one of the best video game deals I've ever had. He even was nice enough to give me the link to a great English walkthu for Team Innocent so I could get the most entertainment out of my new purchase.

One of the next requests I had for him was for a boxed copy of the Sega game Quartet, but only forthe Sega Mark III (known as Double Target in Japan). Sure enough he was able to come through again for me.

I don't work for Japan Retro Direct and I wasn't asked or paid to do this. I simply wanted to share my positive experiences in the hopes that other fellow gamers and collectors could benefit from this awesome service that Vinnk operates. Yes, you do have a lot of options as to where you get your games from. For me Japan Retro Direct is a proud option for me. Make sure you stop by his store and see what he's got to offer. Selection is always changing so bookmark the site and stop by at a later date if nothing catches your eye on your first visit.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

How do you protect your game collection?

** This article was originally posted on my other blog, Random Toy Reviews

One of my growing hobbies is video games. Namely retro games. While I have certain criteria when it comes to what I look for when buying a game for a select platforms, others I'm OK with owning just the loose cartridge.

Take the old 8-bit Nintendo (NES) games for example. While many of the games featured really nice box art, I just don't care to own the cardboard boxes the games came in. So I'm OK with just buying a loose cart. 

One thing about collecting retro games is you have to keep them clean, otherwise every time you insert them into the game system you are just making the connection pins dirtier. I takes a little time to properly clean an NES game or an NES console so my goal is to keep the games as clean as possible. This includes keeping dust off the games. The games originally came with a black dust sleeve and while those work OK, I wanted something better. Stoneagegamer.com came up with some really nice VHS style clamshell cases recently, but being on a tight budget I couldn't afford to house all my NES games in those. Thankfully I found a cheaper solution that works for me. Enter Videogameboxprotectors.com


These cases are made of PET (Polyethylene Terepthalate) which is a better plastic than PVC. They are acid free and ligind free, making them perfect for long term storage. They are 12 mil / 0.3 mm thick and are shipped to you unfolded. Simply fold them together and insert your game!

I had a few of these type cases that I acquired online years ago, but was unable to find them again until recently. These guys offer a variety of sizes to fit just about any retro cartridge. They also offer cases that fit your boxed games too!

Prices are more than reasonable in my opinion. The cases are sold individually or in packs of 10, 25, 50, 75 and on. NES cases for instance are $.80 each, 10 for $7.10 ($.71 ea) or 25 for $15.00 ($.60 ea).

I wanted to case my NES, SNES, Famicom and Super Famicom loose carts, since I don't care to own the boxes (in most cases) for those platforms. My first order recently arrived and I've got to say I love the product. I will be back for more, especially to finish off my NES collection and start off casing my loose Famicom carts as well.

One of the things I like about these cases, especially for SNES and Super Famicom is that it allows me to finally stack my games. With the natural shape of the cartridges they don't stack very well, or stand up on their side. Now that they are encased I can display and organize them on my bookshelf however I see fit.




The standard NES cases also fit Camerica, Color Dreams, Tengen and Wisdom Tree carts.







As you can see the Super Famicom cases are slightly smaller than the SNES cases.



I picked up a few Genesis cases as well hoping they would fit a few loose Mega Drive carts I have...and they fit perfectly!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Neutopia (TurboGrafx-16)


Neutopia
Hudson
HuCard, 1989

Even though I've owned several TurboGrafx systems in the past, I never gave games outside the shooter genre much love. I didn't know anything about Neutopia until a few months back until I saw the game featured on someone's YouTube channel. I thought it looked like a fun game so off I went searching for a copy. Unfortunately I didn't like what I found - the prices!


Normally I don't even consider buying loose TurboGrafx games (or PC Engine), but luckily I ran across a guy in a Facebook group I'm a part of that was making custom cases with artwork. These great little hard plastic snap cases were originally made for gift cards. I have no idea where he gets these, but they are awesome. I had him make me up a Neutopia case and I proceeded to buy my first loose HuCard.

   

The case is a little smaller than a PlayStation Vita case. It's the same height as the original TurboGrafx cases so these look great up on the shelf.


I was told the game was a blatant Legend of Zelda rip-off and it is, however it's a fun game and isn't that what matters? The one thing going for Neutopia over Zelda is you don't have to worry about your battery dying on you. Instead the game uses a password feature to save your progress.


The game plays from a top down perspective and you navigate from screen to screen just like that other game. You start off equipped with a small shield and sword. You are on a quest to search out 8 medallions that have been scattered after Princess Aurora has been captured by the evil demon Dirth. Medallions are usually hidden in underground labyrinths where you must find a crystal ball to mark the map. A large key must also be found in order to unlock the final door leading to the boss fight. Sound familiar?


As you progress through the game you can upgrade your armor and your sword as well as find new weapons such as bombs and a wand that shoots fire (burns bushes too). The similarities to Zelda are definitely there, but I'm ok with that as Zelda was a great game and o equally enjoy Neutopia. The visuals are a tad nicer, but the soundtrack, while good isn't as epic as its NES cousin.

Overall this is a fantastic game and one that I'm glad I decided to pick up. A complete version can run you $60+ on the secondary market so be prepared if you are looking to add this game to your collection.

Friday, December 11, 2015

DinoCity (Super Nintendo)


DinoCity
Irem / Smart Egg Software

I have no idea where I first learned of this game or when or where I even bought it. I know you aren't supposed to judge a game by it's box art or in this case label art, but man does this game have horrible North American artwork!


I watch a lot of YouTube retro video game shows and I've yet to see this game featured on any of those channels. Kind of half thought it show up on one of Metal Jesus' Hidden Gems videos. Anyhow the game thankfully is much better than this horrible label art. Based loosely on the film Adventures in Dinosaur City, this game was first release in Japan and then later in the U.S..


The game is a side scrolling action type platformer. You can take control of two different small kids, Timmy or his friend, Jamie. Each ride on the back of a different dinosaur and have their own attack and abilities. As you progress through the level you'll eventually come to the end and there will be two doors you can enter. Once you go through enough doors you'll fight a boss before moving onto the next area. 

What I can't figure out is that there are two doors, usually one yellow and one red. I don't know if either color is better than the other. It seems you are randomly transported to an ice cave, jungle or grasslands. There are a total of 6 areas to work through, ultimately chasing Mr. Big which has stolen an important component of a machine that will send Timmy and Jamie back to their home.


Timmy attacks with a close up melee type punch while Jamie can attack with a mid-range dart attack. Each can jump on the head of the enemies a la Super Mario Bros.. You can also dismount from your dinosaur to help solve puzzles to advance through the level. The game does support 2 player simultaneous play which is a nice addition.

The game looks great. It's very colorful and well animated. The music was mostly forgettable. Gameplay wise it's challenging. Honestly I wasn't expecting that much of a challenge. The more I played the better I got, especially using Jamie. The longer range attack was really helpful. This is one of those type of games that once you learn the level layout and enemy patterns it gets easier.

Overall this is an above average game. A quick search on eBay gave plenty of listings for the game and most sellers were asking anywhere from $15 to $20. I'm still looking to pick up the instructions for my copy. If you can find it cheap I'd say give it a try.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Final Fight CD (Sega Mega CD)


Final Fight
Capcom / Sega (1993)

The beat 'em genre has been around for a long time. For me there are two games that immediately come to my mind when I think about beat 'ems...Double Dragon and Final Fight. Just like Double Dragon and how it took time for an arcade quality home port to happen, Final Fight has had it's hardships when it comes to home console versions of the game.

The Super Nintendo version of the game was one of the first home versions I played and while it was fun, it was far from arcade perfect. One of the playable characters, Guy, was missing from the game and there were other changes made to the game. Years later I found out that the game was released for the Sega CD and was arcade perfect...or so I thought. To get a true arcade perfect port you have to look overseas to the Sega Mega CD version.




Sega's Mega CD platform is region locked so don't expect to just pop this in your U.S. Sega CD console and hope to have hours of fun. For this very reason this game wasn't added to my personal collection until about a month ago. After securing a Mega CD 2 to add to my Mega Drive console, I knew this was one of the first games I wanted to pick up.


I sat down over the weekend to enjoy the game and I just couldn't put it down. Playing solo I've still yet to beat the game. I can usually start off really well, but there are just a few bosses (Sodom, Edi E.) that hand me my butt no matter what strategy I try to use! However that didn't stop me from several play throughs and getting a decent high score of 1,271,364.


The opening scenes in the Sega CD version has the same "animated" scenes, however when Hagger is informed that they've (Mad Gear) has kidnapped his daughter, Jessica, she is shown in a red dress. 


However in the Mega CD versionx the same scene has Jessica exposed. Why I don't have a clue. When the actual game starts and you see Jessica in the hands of the Mad Gear, she is shown wearing a red dress. So that would mean that in the Japanese version of the game her dress was obviously removed, yet they fully dressed her before they moved her to another location. How nice of the gang!


The SNES version of the game completely replaced the two female characters, Poison and Roxy, with generic male figures. Nintendo was also very strict w/ their games so it doesn't surprise me that they didn't want players beating up women.

The Sega CD version included Poison and Roxy, yet their appearance was still altered. They basically are wearing a little bit more clothing. Compare the above Sega CD image with the Mega CD image below.


Their top and pants are much shorter in the Japanese version and when punched, both Poison and Roxy do show off a little cleavage. Personally I could care less, but at least in Japan Sega was able to keep it arcade perfect.

In addition to these graphical changes, the first bonus stage was unchanged in the Mega CD version. Beat up the car and score perfect and you'll see the Mad Gear guy walk out and fall to his knees crying "Oh God!", original voice and all.

If you are looking to play the best version of this game, obviously the Mega CD game is the way to go. However I understand that this version isn't the easiest to play. The Sega CD is a great port and the route most gamers will end up taking. The Xbox Live version is also a great alternative if you don't have a way to play either of the CD versions.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Pick Ups - December 4, 2015

What a way to start off a weekend! Its really not that often that I find really good games or deals in my area, but every once in awhile luck is on my side. Before I get to the goodies I find locally, the mail man delivered two reproductions that I had been waiting on.


I grabbed Ninja Gaiden for the Sega Genesis from a Etsy seller. I believe it was from FanBrewGames. The game was placed in an actual Genesis cart and not a Mega Drive cart like a lot of the other reproduction games I own are. The label sticker looks quite professional, but the case is nothing more than a Universal Game Case. While the insert has a nice layout and captures that retro Genesis feel, it's printed on really thin paper. Normally if I'm buying a Genesis/Mega Drive repro game, I just settle for the cart only. This particular seller was running a Black Friday sale when I ordered the game so I got the case essentially for free. The game itself...well that's for another post.

Insanity for the PC Engine / TurboGrafx CD is from a company called a company called Aetherbyte. Released in 2009, this homebrew game is a clone of the Atari 2600 came, Berserk. I had forgotten about this game entirely until I saw someone post a eBay link of the game a week or so ago. I got for less than what it sells from Aetherbyte. Packaging is quite nice and looks good spine out amongst my other PC Engine Super CD-Rom games. I may give the game it's own post at a later date.


When it comes to video games stores in my area, I actually have a few options outside of GameStop. While I'm not a GameStop hater per se, it's always nice to be able to walk into a store and find retro games. The area I live has two G2K game stores. I decided to drop by the one that is a little further out from me after work on Friday and I was glad I did. There was a lot of "new" things since my last visit. While I grabbed more than I initially planned, I feel as if I still got some good deals.

Starting on the top row, I grabbed The Suffering for the Xbox because I thought I needed the manual. Got home and turned out my copy had the manual so now I have a complete copy for trade fodder. Most of G2K's Xbox games run $5. Missile Defense 3-D was one of the few $5 Sega Master System games out on the shelves that was complete. While I don't have the 3-D glasses or even the Light Phaser at this time, I have a hard time passing up complete retro Sega games when I find them. Psycho Fox was in their glass case up front and I barely noticed it before leaving. At $35 it was more than I wanted to spend, but from the completed eBay auctions I could find it seemed like a good price. Plus I've always wanted the game so why not?

Finding Atari 2600 games w/ good labels intact in the wild can be tough, or at least in my experience. At only $.99 each I'll grab whatever I can find that looks interesting. Still looking for a copy of Pigs in Space. Anyhow, I remember having Dark Cavern growing up and how could I resist a cheap Donkey Kong game?

The two DS games came by chance. I never look at DS or 3DS games while I'm there, but I went to pick up a DS case that had fallen on the floor and I noticed it had been marked down. That got me looking and I saw many of their complete DS games were discounted. Being the Transformers fan and collector that I am, I grabbed the Animated Game for $4. I don't know much about Classic Action Devilish, but it was only $2 and it looked cool. Turns out its kind of like an Arkanoid clone. Look forward to spending more time with this one.

Lastly I found two SNES games I wanted. Super R-Type and U.N. Squadron. I'm a big fan of the shmup genre so I'll grab just about anything that I don't have. R-Type was only $5 while the Capcom shooter was $10. Not too shabby in my opinion.

Being a frequent shopper of G2K, I also get 10% off all my purchases. All in all not a bad little haul for a Friday. What do you think?

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Exclusive Pokemon available at McDonald's

Over this past weekend my mom brought my oldest daughter home from church and they had made their usual stop at McDonald's. I knew there was a promotion going on in the Happy Meal's for the new Peanuts movie, but I didn't know a new promo had kicked in...Pokemon.


If you choose a Happy Meal for a boy, you are treated with a small figurine and a collectible trading card game card. Both of my daughters like Pokemon, so for it to be designated as the boy toy kinda sucked (she ended up w/ a small Build-A-Bear stuffed animal). Anyhow in addition to the toys in the actual Happy Meal, I spotted on the side of the box that there was an exclusive Pokemon available via McDonald's free Wi-Fi!


This new Pokemon available via the Mystery Gift option at McDonald's is called Hoopla. An exclusive Psychic / Ghost breed. This Pokemon is compatible with Alpha Sapphire, Omega Ruby, X and Y.


My daughter's love for Pokemon kinda got me back into playing the Pokemon games. I previously owned all the previous Game Boy, Color, Advance and DS versions, but sold them off when I saw they were commanding decent money on eBay. However I bought Pokemon X needing a new game for my 3DS XL. This past Father's Day my kids gave me Omega Sapphire! 

On the way to taking my youngest daughter to school this morning, I grabbed the 3DS and decided to swing by McDonald's on the way back home to my office. I've only used the Mystery Gift option once or twice, but I was able to figure it out and now I've got a level 50 Hoopla in my group.


The base stats for Hoopla don't look to shabby. I haven't played Pokemon X or Omega Sapphire much lately so this gives me a new reason to grab the handheld and play for a little bit each evening in bed before I turn out the lights. 

This promotion appears to have just begun and I don't know how long it'll last, but you may want to grab your 3DS and head on down to your nearest McDonald's to grab this exclusive Pokemon. I may just have to pull into Mickey D's parking lot and see if I can also download Hoopla to my Pokemon X game too.

Monday, November 30, 2015

A Tour of the Game Room

Like many of you, my game room has seen a lot of changes over the years. Before I was married I had everything in the living room, but that quickly changed after I said "I do". When my wife and I were looking to buy our first home and get out of the town home I owned before I met my wife, we found a nice sized home that we thought would be perfect to grow into. What I mean by that is the house was far larger than what we needed, but we knew we would want to start a family some day and didn't want to have to move to a larger home after having kids.

That said the house we ended up buying had two living rooms on the main floor. My wife was gracious enough to give me one of the living rooms to set up my games, arcade machine and stereo. It would stay this way for many years, however after having two little girls and my wife needing to supplement my income as a stay at home mom, I had to give up the dream and turn the room over to her. For the better part of 6 years this room downstairs would basically be a large play room for my girls and the children my wife would watch. All my stuff, including the heavy arcade cabinet had to be moved upstairs and crammed into my toy room. A few months ago my wife and I were talking about making some changes and low and behold she offered me the room downstairs once again. Obviously I didn't hesitate to jump and accept her offer. Her only requirement this time around is that I keep the room clean, organized and clutter free.


The first order of business in setting up this new game room would be to follow my wife's orders and keep it organized and clutter free. This meant I needed to come up with a new way to organize all of the game consoles, after all I have a lot going on at one time. The modular furniture commonly found at the likes of Target and Walmart just didn't cut it any longer for me. From the thin particle board to the narrow cubes, I had to find something better. Ironically enough the wife and I were at the local IKEA store a few months back and I noticed the new Kallax series of shelving and thought that would be perfect for what I had envisioned. I purchased one set of shelving that consisted of 8 cubes for my then setup in my toy room. Now that I was downstairs again, I had far more room to work with so without wasting any more time I made a trip back to IKEA and was lucky enough to find another Kallax shelf already assembled and on clearance! I also grabbed a Trofast cabinet and 3 plastic bins to store the controllers and accessories to help keep the room clutter free.

The nice thing about these Kallax shelves is that they are wide enough to accommodate some of the larger home consoles, such as the TurboGrafx-16, original Xbox or the Neo Geo AES. No longer did I have to stack consoles as now I would have room to give each cube it's own console. I did have to cheat a little as my Sega Mega Drive set up had to go up on top beside the CRT television and the Xbox 360 would end up on the other end beside the HDTV. The other nice thing about these shelves is that they are sturdy and I had no issues with the shelving unit support the mammoth weight of the Sony CRT television.


The last piece of the puzzle if you will was transporting my arcade cabinet back downstairs. Luckily for me I was able to borrow a U-Haul appliance dolly to assist with the daunting task of moving the machine down the stairs...by myself. Now I could have waited for my wife's help or called over my older brother, but I'm an impatient man. I so wanted to put the proverbial cherry on the top and get this machine in place. Thankfully I was able to get it downstairs without any problems that a few Advil couldn't resolve. 

I've owned several arcade cabinets over the years, however this one will always be a permanent fixture in my game room setup. Rewind 10 + years ago to when I was still dating my wife, I had always told her owning a cabinet was a dream of mine. I can still remember her saying that I had better put a ring on her finger before I bought an arcade machine. Well as luck would turn out my fiance would call me at work and tell me to look up this eBay auction she found for a arcade machine. She told me if this was something I was interested in it would be her wedding gift to me. The seller was located near the coast of North Carolina (my wife and I were living in Charlotte, NC at the time), but the seller had the game listed wrong. I don't remember how he messed up the listing title, but it was wrong and his pictures didn't help much either. I had already been doing some research on cabinets using the KLOV website so I started looking carefully at the marquees for several vertically scrolling shmup games. After a little searching I was able to figure out that the game listed on eBay was none other than Raiden Fighters II: Operation Hell Dive. My my wife's approval I placed a bid and ended up being the only bidder. I was now the proud owner of my first arcade cabinet for a mere $100.

Since bring this machine home, I've bought one additional game for the cabinet that I switch out every so often. I grabbed the PCB for Thunder Dragon for a steal.


Working the way, left to right, top to bottom across the shelving units we'll start with the Sega Mega Drive set up. To date this is my latest addition. Even though I was able to play most of my Mega Drive games on my JVC X'Eye, I so wanted to play my Sega Mark III games again (I sold my MIB Mark III earlier in the year due to space restrictions I was facing at the time). I also wanted to dive into the world of Mega CD games and there was no real adapter that would allow me to play so why not just buy a Mega Drive and Mega CD add-on? Both the console and the CD add-on would come from a Yahoo! Japan auction. I chose to go w/ the model one Mega Drive due to the better sound chip and the model 2 Mega CD due to the better design. I would then track down the Mega Adapter (aka the Power Base Converter) so I could play both card and cartridge Mark III games again. This console is hooked up to the Sony Trinitron television.


Growing up a Nintendo guy, I often ignored Sega until I got my hands on a Dreamcast. I started to work my way backwards with Sega and fell in love with everything that I previously missed. Not sure I was wanting to deal with the Sega CD due to the reputation that I thought was the case, I came across this JVC X'Eye console at my local G2K game shop. After some store credit and a discount, I walked out w/ this complete unit for around $70. I've got the JVC branded 3 button controller and even the sought after official JVC AC adapter. This quickly became one of my favorite consoles. I also grabbed the Powerbase Mini from Stone Age Gamer as I knew I didn't have room for an official Sega Master System. This console is hooked up to the Sony Trinitron television.


Ah, the Sega Saturn. While it may have lacked some great titles in the US this is the system that basically introduced me to importing games from Japan. Using the Action Replay Plus I was able to import all sorts of games from Japan. While this console served as my gateway to imports for many, many years, I've recently picked up a white Japanese Saturn for my import gaming. The US Saturn is now predominately used for playing light gun games as this one is hooked up to the Sony Trinitron while the Japanese Saturn is hooked up to the HDTV. Silly? Maybe. I call it dedicated.


The Saturn really opened my eyes to all the great games that were left in Japan. Wanting to try as many of them as I could, I started looking for ways to play import games. After awhile I gave up on converters and modding my systems and just looked at purchasing a Japanese system. In this case I grabbed a boxed Famicom A/V from a Japanese online retailer and then grabbed a loose Famicom Disk System. One of the main reasons I wanted the Disk System is to play the Transformers Headmasters game that was only released for the FDS. This console is also hooked up to the Sony Trinitron.


The Atari 7800 was purchased mainly for nostalgic reasons. If I'm being honest it doesn't get a lot of playing time right now, but as my daughters continue to show interest in games I can see them discovering some of the games I first played in the early 80's. With the Atari being the only console I own that lacks at least an A/V connection, I bought one of those gold plated RCA plugs to hook it up to the Sony Trinitron. The display quality isn't the best, but it's the best I could do w/ the older technology. Not shown (because I'm trying to conform to my wife wishes and keep everything clean looking) are two of the two button control pads that Atari strangely only released to parts of Europe and Australia. In fact I grabbed the controllers from a lady in Australia for a very decent price a year or so ago.


Before I moved my game room back downstairs, I had been using a old Hyperkin bootleg NES as my source for playing NES games. When I had posted some of the first pictures of my set up at the time in some Facebook gaming groups, I was heckled over the fact I wasn't using a real NES. A bit later I made a deal with a guy to bring in the old "toaster" model. Even though the seller installed a new 72-pin connector and I was disassembling all my games and cleaning them before playing them, I can't get this dang monstrosity to work. You guessed it, I get the blink blue screen no matter what I try. Currently I'm still waiting on Arcade Works to ship me the Blinking Light Win product I purchased several months ago. Hopefully that contraption works like it's advertised because my daughters are really missing playing the Little Mermaid! This console is hooked up to the Sony Trinitron.


Believe it or not I never owned the original model 1 Super Nintendo. My little brother had one, but I don't know what became of that console once he lost interest. I went the route of the model 2 SNES for a few reasons. 1) It was the cheaper of the two at the time of purchase, 2) It didn't suffer the discoloration that you normally find one model 1 units, 3) the smaller design was more friendly in my crowded setup and 4) It was easy to modify to allow Super Famicom games to be played. One of these days I vow to purchase an actual Super Famicom, but for now this mini SNES will have to fill that void. This is console is hooked up to the Sony Trinitron.


Up next is a favorite of mine, the PC Engine. Years and years ago I owned a PC Engine Duo RX, but ended up selling it when I needed some cash for something else. Most Duo units, whether they be TurboDuos or PCE Duos have the same problem of the capacitors leaking and needing replacement. Wanting to avoid that dilemma I opted for the Core Grafx II and separate Super CD-ROM 2 add-on. I was able to buy both of these units, boxed and complete via Yahoo! Japan auctions about 10 years ago for super cheap. I may have $150 invested in both. Other than the annoying design where the power and video cords are plugged into the sides, I love the combined look. You may gave guessed this console is also hooked up to the Sony Trinitron.


As much as I love the PC Engine, I have a love/hate relationship w/ the US version, the TurboGrafx-16. I've owned so many TG16 consoles over the years that I've lost count. My first came when Toys 'R Us stores had their entire stock on clearance. If only I had a time machine today! Outside of a few games, I never cared for the TG16 that much. Maybe it was the horrible box art or that I never had the CD add-on. Or maybe it was because I could pick up the Japanese versions of many of the games for cheaper. Whatever the reason I went many years without a TG16 in my collection. Eventually I came to my senses and tracked one down again along with the Turbo Booster so I could avoid the nasty RF connection. Like the PC Engine, this is also hooked up to the Sony Trinitron.


Wanting to continue to expand on my knowledge of NEC and the PC Engine brand, I eventually crossed paths with the PC-FX. NEC's last home console, this system is often regarded as the hentai machine. A system filled with digital comics, dating simulations, JRPGs and well, hentai. Look it up if you don't know what that is. Outside some of the risque stuff, there are a few good games in the console's game library. The question is does one want to pay all that money to play just a handful of games. For a few years my answer was no, but then Kevin from Famicom Dojo (aka Vinnk) told me he could grab me a loose PC-FX and a few of the more common games for just over $50. I figured why not since the investment was rather low. While the console doesn't get played as often as say my PC Engine, I'm glad I own it. Since I acquired it I did win a Yahoo! Japan auction for Chip Chan Kick (a Parasol Stars type game) and I found some good walk throughs for some JRPGs. With today's crazy high asking prices for many of the games that don't require much or any Japanese language knowledge, I don't see my PC-FX game library expanding much in the future. This is the last console that is currently hooked up to the Sony Trinitron.


The mother of all home consoles, the Neo Geo AES. Never would I have thought that I'd own a Neo Geo. The price tag along is enough to scare most gamers off. However I found what I thought was a good deal on a loose Japanese model so I made the Neo Geo plunge. Since buying the AES, I only have purchased two games. I did pick up a new converter from the Neo Geo store so I could take advantage of the more price friendly MVS games...of which I know have a decent little library. I debated which television to hook up the Neo Geo to. Ultimately I went w/ the Olevia HDTV.


The beast know as the original Xbox. I picked up this from another local G2K game store in the last 6 months as I was tired of the 360 not supporting all the original Xbox games I owned. Since I now had more space to work with, I figured $30 for the console wasn't a bad move. This console is hooked up to the Olevia HDTV.


The only cube that houses more than one console, my two Sony Playstation 2 consoles. The fat model is my original and is currently hooked up to the Olevia HDTV. So why then the slim model you ask? Well simple, I can't play Time Crisis on the HDTV! Just like the Saturn, I have one hooked up to the older CRT for light gun games while the other is hooked up to the HDTV. Now if only I could find a reasonably priced Japanese PS2 Slim...


The Nintendo GameCube is one of the few consoles that I still own that I bought new. It was the first new Nintendo console I owned since the days of my NES Action Set. Today its probably used more for the Game Boy Advance Player attached to the bottom. I also grabbed a Pro Action Replay disc to play Japanese GC games with the hopes of finally buying that remake of Bonk. The GC is hooked up to the Olevia HDTV.


My least favorite Nintendo console, the N64. I loved it when it was new and still remember that feeling of euphoria when I got the call a few days early from Toys 'R Us that my pre-order was available for pick up. However to me many of the games just have aged that well and I just don't find them fun anymore. There are still a few exceptions, but for the most part the N64 is neglected. It is hooked up to the Olevia HDTV as well, but I've often debated moving it over to the Sony Trinitron CRT.


The Sega Dreamcast is the Sega system that made me realize what a fool I was to ignore Sega all those years before in favor of Nintendo. My first DC I bought for $50 when Best Buy was basically selling off their stock. I later won another DC via a Bubble Yum contest. Both of these consoles would be donated to my youth pastor at the church I was attending for a youth outreach program they were running at the time. When I started to compile my game room set up again I opted for the black Sports model just for the look. I haven't played the DC as much lately as I would like, but it's still one of my favorite systems. Too bad it had a short (official) life span. The DC is hooked up to the Olevia HDTV.


The Japanese Saturn was acquired via a guy on Facebook earlier this year, however the AV cables weren't included. Before I expanded my set up, I didn't hook up the white model as I didn't have a real need to. Now that I have more room to work with I decided to split the two Saturns, one on the CRT (US) and one on the HDTV (JPN).


Needing another Netflix solution for the kids downstairs, I recently moved my Xbox 360 Elite from the main living room over to the game room. It's one of the few systems that is hooked directly to the television itself via component cables and not through a AV selector box. Over to the right is the seldom used, but glad I own HD DVD drive.

The Olevia television may be a little dated and not the best, but I scored it for a great price back when Circuit City was pulling the plug on their retail stores. One of the things I like about it versus most modern HDTVs is that the speakers are mounted on the side and face forward. Most modern TVs have the speakers on the back or on the bottom and need a sound bar to really take advantage of the better sound.


To the left of the Olevia TV is the Sony Trinitron CRT. I recently upgraded my CRT with this model thanks in part to a neighbor wanting to get rid of this heavy beast. Earlier I mentioned one of the things I liked about these IKEA Kallax shelving units is it can easily support the weight of this Trinitron TV. I don't know what the set weighs, but I'm guessing around 200 lbs? Great picture for the old school retro games and of course it's light gun compatible!


Between the two televisions are 3 AV selector boxes. The two on the left go to the Sony while the one on the right goes to the Olevia. I've always thought if I'm going to have multiple game consoles hooked up the last thing I want to do before playing one is to switch the cords around. Currently everything is playable with the push of a button. The little white sheet of paper you see there is my little cheat sheet. I need to type up a more formal page now that I believe I'm set. (That is until my Japanese Playstation arrives from Amazon)


One the far end of the setup is a IKEA Trofast cabinet w/ three containers. I use these to store all of the controllers and accessories so I can keep that clean, organized look my wife asked for. Works well actually and maybe cost me $30 total?


Situated right in the middle of the room is my dad's old love seat that has been in the family for years. Surprisingly in good condition and very comfortable, I've got this position so you can sit on either cushion and be right in front of either television.

Located behind the love seat on the back wall are all the games for these consoles. The wood colored racks at made by Atlantic, however the one on the right is the newer version that has thinner and shallower shelves. Not a deal breaker, but I prefer the older version on the left. The black shelf is just a little Walmart CD/DVD shelf. I'd like to upgrade it at some point in the near future.


The black shelf houses mostly handheld games like Nintendo Game Boy and DS, but you may also spot some Atari Lynx and Bandai Wonderswan. What little Atari stuff I own is on the bottom.


The Atlantic rack on the left houses pretty much everything not Sega. Nintendo, Famicom, Super Nintendo, Super Famicom, N64, GameCube, TurboGrafx-16, PC Engine, PC-FX, Playstation, Playstation 2 and Neo Geo. Take note that all of the loose carts are housed in some very nice protector cases I buy from Video Game Box Protectors.


The Atlantic shelf on the right houses all my Sega games. Master System, Mark III, Genesis, Mega Drive, Sega CD, Mega CD, Saturn, Saturn imports, Dreamcast, Dreamcast imports and original Xbox games. To save space I don't use the tall, fragile jewel cases the Sega CD and Saturn games came packaged in, opting to print custom covers from The Cover Project and insert them into white DVD cases. I like the look and it saves me some space. Because I enjoyed this so much I also gave the US Dreamcast games the same treatment. Don't worry though, I didn't toss out the original cases or instructions like many have asked in the past!

I do own some of the more modern consoles, but those are hooked up to the Smart 3D HDTV in the main living room. The PS3 doubles has my 3D Bluray player, the Wii U for the kids and the Xbox One for my own guilty gaming pleasure.

And with that we are done. The room is still a work in progress as I'm looking for some tasteful video game related art to adorn the walls with. I'm not looking to add anymore consoles to the room as the current set up is pretty much maxed out, but at least the game shelves have some room to grow. If I make any substantial updates to the room you can rest assure I'll put an update post out there, but for now it's time to give my fingers some rest and get ready to start focusing on the games.