Video Game Appreciation 101: System Shock! Into The Bins And Crates of Doom (Part 1)…

After a bit of survey-taking earlier Saturday, I decided on a whim to do a bit of cleaning as well as move some stuff around mostly to see just how many systems and such I have packed into the home office. All I’ll say is it’s definitely not a small amount. Anyway, below the jump are a few items from the collection. Nothing super-rare or anything like that, but a random selection of consoles, controllers and other gaming-related ephemera I’ve stocked up over the ages.

To the left, by the way, is my current “Systems Precarious” setup (code name: “Jenga!”): an Xbox (which plays imports and debug code), A Sanyo TRY-1 3DO (well, OK, it’s a bit rare in the US), A boring US PS2 with a HDD that’s faulty), a now non-working Xbox 360 (it died not too long after my Dragon’s Dogma review and I need to get another one) and a Japanese PS2. OK, usually it’s four consoles and not five, but I was playing The Earth Defense Forces 2 the other day just to get prepared for the copy of EDF 3 Portable I have coming in about two weeks. The PS3 and games for it in the living room, by the way (and thanks for asking). You can’t stack anything on top of it, as it’s an “ancient” launch model that’s still kicking. I think I need one of those “extreme” makeovers, gaming edition, as it’s a pretty dopey way to set stuff up.

OK, enough stalling from me – onto the downloading of blurry images and light descriptions…

Some Game Genies and other enhancement devices. Amusingly enough, I never really used these at all other than to try to play import game carts/CDs or to mess about with games I finished. I have a few other converter carts in another bin (I know I have a Genesis Game Genie or two around here somewhere), but I’ll need to move some heavy stuff to get to those…

Some controllers, caged so they don’t roam free. Yeah, it’s that bad. You should see what else is in there, plus in the other bin I just spent the better part of this afternoon re-organizing. Oh yeah, those familiar-looking systems on top? Keep reading – they’re in this article at some point. Now, let’s move on…

OK, some of those stupid controllers actually got out and had to be rounded up. Let’s see now. That’s a Konami branded Super Famicom controller (with a LOT of buttons), a Capcom Soldier Pad for the Super Famicom, A Sega Genesis Turbo Touch 360, Ascii’s Grip RPG controller and a not at all common prototype Airplay pad for the original PlayStation that still works and has some pretty unique design elements. The triggers on the top of that controller look silly the way they stick out from the pad, but are nicely placed and feel quite nice (at least I thought so). Trying to get the single AA battery out of the controller once it’s set into that slot is pretty tricky, though.

More escapees, 3DO block! Four different controllers for Panasonic’s (or Goldstar’s or Sanyo’s) system, including that kooky “batarang” shaped pad. I think I have three or four more pads here from different manufacturers in another bin, which is pretty funny considering the system wasn’t quite as popular as it should have been, but there seemed to be new controllers coming out semi-regularly. I still get in some game time with my 3DO every so often, as I have quite a few US and Japanese titles for the console.

More 3DO controllers plus a few others for good measure. To the left of those are an Avenue Pad 6 and a standard Turbo Duo controller.  Below those are the Ultra Racer controller for the PlayStation and the rather awkward Glove controller for the PlayStation that I never quite got comfortable using.  I think they tried too hard to bring the whole “tactile” and “virtual reality” think into gaming (once again, before its time) and didn’t do so well with this particular product.  Kind of like the Nintendo Power Glove.
Anyway, the Avenue 6 Pad was made specifically for the PC-Engine port of Street Fighter 2, but it definitely works with other games for the console.  Note that 6-button 3DO pad on the bottom left, as that was also created with fighting games in mind.  That said, I think I was more impressed with the 8-bit version of Capcom’s classic fighter than I was with the one on the 3DO just for the sheer technical challenge of getting the game running on NEC’s less powerful (but still impressive) hardware.

Speaking of 3DO, here’s my Panasonic FZ-10 (I had two FZ-1’s here, but sold them a while ago), plus (not speaking of 3DO) a Casio MSX and two Sega Dreamcasts.  Wait, two? TWO?!?  I thought I had THREE here when I started stacking stuff on the bed.  What the what? Damn gremlins (again!). Seriously!  I did see three systems.  Eh, maybe it was the dust in the air affecting my vision or something.  By the way, you can never have too many Dreamcasts, kids – remember that.

Amazing how a few years can make a difference department:  Here’s the rather massive Sega Master System below a slightly larger (and more powerful) Sega Genesis 2/Mega-CD combo.  Clearly, Sega didn’t need to make the SMS so damn huge, but they did and I crack up every time I see the thing.  But, hey – I do love the games I have for it, so it’s all good.  Note: I do indeed have a smaller (and cuter) Master System 2 here, but it’s in a bin under the TV and five system setup and I don’t want to move all that stuff around (yet).

Two Sega Saturns (US and Japanese) plus my Japanese Mega Drive with a copy of Treasure’s truly spectacular fighting game, Yu Yu Hakusho: Makyo Toitsusen resting comfortably in the cart slot. For some reason (probably no one knowing about the manga or anime in the US back in 1994), this game was never released here, but Tec Toy in Brazil managed to get it out down there (along with some other interesting Mega Drive rarities).  I wasn’t going to put the MD in the photo, as it’s already been in a pic on the blog (type Star Odyssey into the search box, please), but it was right next to me and plugged in, so… two seconds of unplugging and here you go.   I should have at least one more Genesis around here, possibly two and maybe three, but that mystery will need to wait a bit to be solved…

One big Sega 6-button Arcade Stick, a Super Wide Gear and Master Gear converter for the Sega Game Gear along with a Sega Saturn Netlink.  I think Sega was another pioneer in online gaming on a few fronts that some out there who’ve been around long enough think the company deserves much more credit for.  The Netlink allowed for a handful of Sega Saturn titles to be played against others person to person in the creaky days of dial-up connections. All of that was a learning process for Sega, and by the time the Dreamcast was announced, it was clear that they had a pretty solid online strategy… well, at least in Japan (slower connections be damned).  From what I understand, since the Netlink uses dial-up, there are still people who use it to play against other Netlink users, but I’ll leave that for you to Google up at your leisure.  As for the Super Wide Gear and Master Gear, one was a much better peripheral than the other.  The Super Wide Gear is a screen magnifier that adds a big bulky lean to the front of your GG, looks silly, but yeah, it works as you’d expect.  The Master Gear allowed you to play Master System cartridges on your Game Gear, something far more desirable, especially if you wanted to take a big RPG like Phantasy Star (and a bag full of batteries, given the GG’s power consumption)  on the road or any other game that wasn’t part of the handheld’s normal lineup.

Game Boy Camera, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Camera Link for PC. Two of these are well-used, one isn’t. That silly Camera Link I never could get to run on my computer, as I think I was using Windows XP back when I first tried it out (I bought the thing on a whim a few years before that). I had a Game Boy Printer and a few boxes of that thermal printer paper, but I recall boxing those up as an emergency gift to a someone I heard was looking for them. Boy, I’m a good friend to have sometimes…

More Nintendo systems: SNES, N64, GameCube (with GameBoy Adapter underneath) and Wii. I have a couple of NES systems as well, but yup, they’re under the TV and nope, I’m not going to tackle that lifting project just yet. I actually thought I had a NES here that was easier to get to, but that was the last time I moved stuff around. For some reason, I put them away (probably because I was ogling one of those all-in-one systems that are popular amongst the crazy retro hipsters out there. Coming soon: a Wii U to update the family photo.

My Turbo Express with a now dead screen (like my Game Gear and slowly dying Atari Lynx, I think solder has come off the circuit board or something, as I get sound but no picture). The US Turbo Duo and Japanese PC-Engine Core Grafx run just fine, though. Amusing trivia: That big ol’ arcade stick on the lower right won’t fit the Duo or Core Grafx at all, but it will fit a TG-16 system.  I had one here that I bought new from KayBee Toys here in NYC when they were run out of business (damn you, Bain Capital!), but I sold it off a few years later because I’d gotten that Duo you’re looking at in the photo. Ah well…

Some PlayStations.  One model1001 and two 5501’s to be more precise. I think they still work, but it’s been a while since I fired them up. After boycotting the console for a few years (despite enjoying playing games for it when I went to visit friends who owned the system), I finally bought my first PS when Final Fantasy VII was released. A guy at I worked with sold me his copy around 24 hours after he bought it. He’d never played any type of RPG before, fell for those lovely CG-packed TV ads Squaresoft ran, and like many people, bought the game the day it came out. From what i recall, he hated it because it was “too slow and boring” and didn’t look anything like the ads once the pretty CG movies stopped playing.  Oh yeah, you should have seen him do his impression of the battle system and what he thought about it.  I think he was expecting a more action-based type of game. A much more action-based type of game.  Still, once I unlocked it a few weeks later, I just had to tell him about Knights of the Round and the hilariously long time it took for that spell to cast.  And nope, he wasn’t impressed in the least.

Two more Xboxes and like a lot of you out there, I never filled up that hard drive either before Microsoft killed off the console and rushed out the Xbox 360 to market.  Does anyone even remember all the games from that launch lineup? Some were OK, some weren’t, but most were better than what showed up when the original Xbox launched.  I went back and tried to replay Azurik the other day and I actually fell asleep within about twenty minutes.  It’s absolutely soporific, kids!  Thankfully, there are a lot more (and better) games on the old black box that were (and still are) worth a replay. Too bad we never got Metal Wolf Chaos, Shin Megami Tensei NINE,  Magatama or few other gems that only ended up in Japan. On the other hand, we could have ended up with lousy crap like Muzzle Flash or Conspiracy: Weapons of Mass Destruction, two action shooters that border on unplayable.

And that, as they say… is that (for now, at least). Back with more from the vaults when I get up the gumption to shove the furniture around again.

7 thoughts on “Video Game Appreciation 101: System Shock! Into The Bins And Crates of Doom (Part 1)…

  1. Extreme Makeovers, Gaming Edition, no fooling 🙂 You have a lot of awesome gear! You do need to display it better someday! You’ve done all the hard work by getting this excellent retro stuff. Now you just need an extra/available room in your home! Ok, that might be a tough part too.
    But really if you find room for one nice looking and tall bookshelf you’re on your way. Setup one bookshelf, empty two large bins into new bookshelf and your net space remains very similar but now you have stuff neatly sorted and on display 🙂
    I know it’s taken me several years to do what I just said in two sentences but I found it very rewarding to watch it develop. Each addition really made the good feeling snowball!
    A close friend of mine just got me a Turbo Duo (Turbo Grafx with CD, right?) from a swap thing… He describe it like a garage sale but people only trade stuff, no money. So I’m thrilled that he thought of me and I’m eager to pick it up.
    Seeing your Game Cube also peeked my interest. I feel like I’ve missed a lot of good stuff there. I’ll have to look into that some more. And that GBA adapter is an awesome idea. I love my GBA and DS Lite. Those are my two favorite (by far) handheld systems…
    You’re a bad influence on my geelw! I’m just TheSegaDude, I just TheSegaDude… Damn it, I’m going to have to re-brand myself.


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