Monday, November 12, 2012

Moving to my own website

The site has moved! Check out the new site at:


UPDATE: Just FYI I'll be using this blog again since i can't seem to keep my other domain active <_<

The Guardian Legend - Best NES game ever?

So I picked this game up for a couple bucks a few weeks ago.  After putting it in and hearing the title screen music, I had a feeling I was about to experience something epic, awesome, and apparently, extremely underrated...
There's also an amazing guitar cover of this theme on the youtube.

The Guardian Legend was released close to the end of the life of the NES, but it also must have had absolutely no advertising. I never heard about it, and even now, not many enthusiasts are aware of it. Well I'm here to make you aware of it. If you are a fan of Metroid , The Legend of Zelda , and top-down shoot'em ups (like Galaga ) I think you'll really enjoy it, as it combines gameplay of them all into one amazing package. Considering the average price for it is $4 at the most, there's really no reason not to own this game if you still have an NES.

In the game, you play as The Guardian: a female cyborg soldier who can transform into a spaceship. She sets out to destroy a space station/planet full of evil alien lifeforms that is hurtling toward Earth. How could a premise like that not be full of win?

Like Metroid and Zelda, there's alot of exploration requiring weapon and item upgrades to access new areas. Each area has a unique feel and theme, as well, such as a forest area and ice cave area. If the title screen theme is any indication, this is all accompanied by one of the best soundtracks I've ever heard in an NES game.

While most NES games like this were pretty unforgiving at making you figure out where to go, the map had a bit of a hint system highlighting where you needed to go next. Kinda like Super Metroid 's map.

It's just really too bad the box art didn't really represent the concept well. Here's the American box art:

Meanwhile, Europe had this box art...

Now that perfectly captures the premise and feeling of the game. I think if more folks saw that on the store shelves, the game may have sold better.

And of course, in Japan...
What can I say? It's Japan. They know exactly what to do when you say "female cyborg."

At first, I can't help but think this is the kind of game that really deserves a sequel or remake, but after seeing what 20 years of being bled dry has done to some of my favorite game franchies, maybe it's better to just enjoy the shiny gem we've discovered rather than try to reinvent it and turn it into something really horrible .

One of the best things about retro collecting can be discovering amazing games you never played and sometimes never even heard of. It can transport you to an age when ideas were new and fresh and everything you loved hadn't been rehashed to hell and back. Also, it can make you forget how old and bitter you've become.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A Tour of the Retro Room

This project actually started a few months ago, so I figured I'd show what my room looks like so far and detail a few of the things I've already collected. Props to my girlfriend for both donating the TV and letting me get away with this <3

The entertainment center was a score from a local yard sale site for $45. Obviously wasn't big enough to hold everything I wanted hooked up, so I repurposed one of my bookshelves.

The retro setup is in the middle of the computer room. We both have our computer desks against each wall. At a later point when my desk is cleaner, I may post some of the interesting stuff there.

When we play, whoever isn't lucky enough to get dibs on the recliner ends up rolling up one of the computer chairs. Unless a cat is there.Snowball never slept in this chair until I moved it here <_<

There's not really any preference in the order of the consoles on this shelf, though it has the glass door offers a bit of protection from dust and UV.  It's basically whatever fit best or I acquired first.
  • The Xbox is one I bought from a friend shortly after it was released. 
  • The NES I got through a trade from a local game store (traded an extra SNES system I had)
  • The SNES is a goodwill score, though I had to track down all it's cables.
  •  The Playstation 2 I bought on release.

 The auxillary shelf is just a cheap Walmart bookshelf with some holes punched in the back. Works out well, though I'd ideally like to have a protective cabinet for these too, someday.

  • You may recognize the Black Beast from my previous post: The Sega Genesis Model 1 / Sega CD combo. I actually wanted to put this on the other shelf and swap it with the XBOX, but it was too massive to fit in it.
  • Next to it is an NES Advantage joystick. I've got to admit, this thing is one of the most sturdy accessories I've ever held for any game system. It plays really well with arcade style games, but it's a bit hard for me to use for games I'm used to playing with the game pad. Got this from the local game store.
  • N64 and Playstation are goodwill finds. Both were not working at all and extremely dirty, but after taking them apart and cleaning, they both work great now.
  • The Wii I originally bought on release. It's not really retro, aside from some of the virtual console games, but it will probably remain as the newest console in the room.
  • The Atari Flashback 2 is a goodwill find, though it's basically in brand new condition. I am debating getting rid of it since I'm not that big a fan of the Atari 2600.
  • The PS One I found in storage at my parents' place. I completely forgot I ever owned one until I found it. I'll probably get rid of the other Playstation.
  • The Gamecube was also a goodwill find, since my brother sold my original Gamecube after letting him borrow it. Luckilly, they are extremely cheap. Unfortunately some of the games I'd like to get for it are pretty pricy. I do still have The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker for it, though, which is one of my favorite Zelda games.
There's not much room left, but honestly there's not much left I'd like to get as far as consoles. Maybe a Sega Saturn System and Sega Dreamcast, but definitely no rush on those. The main focus on my collecting is stuff that I played at some point in my past. are probably wondering  how all of this is hooked up. I'd like to think it's pretty organized, myself...

 It's honestly a nightmare of wires behind there now, but it works. I have three of these video switch box daisy chained together. Most of the consoles connect with composite RCA jacks, and the TV only has a RF input, so an RF Modulator has to be used. It's easy enough: the lady of the house can just press the button of whatever console she wants to play when she's alone, so I consider it a successful setup.

I keep some CD binders of XBOX, Playstation, and Playstation 2 games in the storage beneath the entertainment center.

Controllers and accessories are in this storage bin, though it's starting to get pretty full.

Most of the controllers' cords are long enough for our use, but for some reason the Genesis controller is like 2 feet long. I don't remember them being that short, but I definitely need to either get an extension or find controllers with longer cables.

Here's the most of the collection of games I have so far. I have a bit of room left, but I'll probably grab another shelf like this eventually if the collection grows beyond this shelf.

N64 has by far the most annoying game cartridges ever, by the way. There's no end labels on them at all, so it's pretty annoying going through all the carts trying to find the one you are looking for. Some of the carts do have cool colors to identify them, such as The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Donkey Kong 64, and Tony Hawk's Pro Skater. I'm still looking for a solution to organizing these games though.

Most of the cart collection I've built off of the local game shop or goodwill finds though I had a friend give me one of my favorite SNES games ever: Secret of Mana. I was pretty blown away. Be sure to check with your friends and family if you ever get into collecting stuff like this. You never know what they have tucked away.

 Well that's a general overview of my retro room! Hope you enjoyed checking it out!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Black Beast

I got this in an online goodwill auction a few weeks ago and it finally arrived. I was not really expecting it to be in good shape or work well for the price. My first surprise on opening the package was that it was packed inside an original Sega CD box.

I have to admit, I was always impressed with Sega's ability to make things to
plug into every orifice the Genesis had available. (Yes, I want a 32X, someday, too.)

I remember seeing these on the electronics shelf in Walmart and imagining how futuristic and cool CDs were as a kid. CD based games must be absolutely mind blowing, I thought. It would be a few years before I'd even get a music CD player. Memories of playing Sega always have the background music of Aerosmith's "Get a Grip" since it was the only CD I had for the longest time. Anyways, here's the beast after unpacking.

Sorry, Sega. I think that's
Goodwill's entire business model...

I don't think I've ever seen this combination. I used to rent the Sega Model 1 Genesis system every now and then as a kid and thought it was one of the coolest looking consoles ever. I actually owned a Model 2 system, which is usually what you'd see hooked up to the Sega CD unit.  So this is a pretty odd setup but looks pretty awesome.  Not only is it in excellent cosmetic shape, it's also in perfect working order. It came with a few Sonic cartridge games and one terribad Sega CD game called Sewer Shark ( bad.). All of them played flawlessly, though.

I had to try out a decent Sega CD game though and figured I'd try this...just to see.

I guess it wasn't a worry back then since CD Writers either didn't exist or were insanely expensive, but the burned Sonic CD game plays perfectly. Though I may grab some of the original games if I can find them cheap, it's nice to know I'll be able to play them without having to pay an exorbitant price to an eBay scalper. There's no way Sega could make money off these games anymore, anyways, so not too big a deal.

Though I ultimately loved the Super Nintendo more, there were some great games on the Genesis. The rivalry of the two systems was just as silly as the political candidate race we decide today: full of catchphrases, generalizations, and cheap shots in the advertising, but the world would really not have been the same without them both. And unlike the political process we have to watch today, the competition actually made the games from both consoles better.

Long live the 16-Bit war. We all won, in the end <3.