New Arrivals: Speaking of Godzilla (and Other Big Things)…

new arrivals 2_20 
Yeah, yeah, I know that luscious Criterion Collection version is THE one to have, but I couldn’t pass this older set up at under seven bucks. That Blade Runner set was a gift from a friend who knows I have mixed reactions to this “classic” even to this day and he’s trying to get me to be in the rah-rah camp on this. I don’t “hate” the film at all, mind you. It just has never floored me as much as some and I’ve seen three of the four versions in this set. I’ve never seen the making of features, so those will get viewed first because I just LOVE all that behind the scenes stuff. That Superman cartoon collection was four bucks and ESSENTIAL for anyone who thinks that Batman animated series from the 90’s was amazing. If it weren’t for the Fleisher brothers and their skilled handful of animators, that series and any others that swipe its lovely art style and still powerful animation wouldn’t even exist.

The Sword of Doom is one of my favorite movies, period. But this isn’t that Criterion Collection edition that commands top dollar, but a fine restoration print for under five bucks. On the game front, Tales of Symphonia Chronicles was also in the mail today (Thanks, Namco Bandai Games!) so there goes my weekend. Well, thee goes next weekend, as I’m just starting a few reviews I need to get done and I’m not even going to crack open the shrink wrap on this or else I’ll just see a week vanish in no time flat with nothing to show for it but a lack of sleep. Okay, back to work for me – I’m poking together a few Toy Fair articles for next week, so updates will me minimal while I get those together. My brain is ready – my fingers just need to be able to keep up (typety type type type)

VGA 101: New DS Aquisitions: Soma Bringer & ATV Wild Ride

new DS stuff

One is an awesome Japanese import action/RPG that’s very much Diablo inspired with an anime edge (and sadly was never localized into English – thanks, Nintendo for missing out on what would have been yet another a surefire hit new IP!).

The other is an amazing technical wonder in the form of a 60 frames per second racing game featuring those four-wheeled death machines some folks seem to love a wee bit too much. Thanks to Anthony Bourdain nearly killing himself when he fell off one that proceeded to roll over him as he tumbled down a sandy slope on an old episode of No Reservations, every time I see or think ATV, I get a good laugh going that takes a minute or two to subside… Continue reading

VGA 101: Drakan: Order of the Flame – The Old Girl’s Still Got It…

Drakan 15

Well, it runs like a dream and while not exactly sporting current generation visuals, I still like the look of this old classic from Surreal Software. Of course, I’m still using Windows XP, so I can’t vouch for more a current OS and nope, that 10th anniversary mod really doesn’t help the visuals at all because it’s still a bit wonky and makes the cut scenes look quite hideous (well, more so than they did in the original game). I guess if someone came up with new HD character models for Rynn, Arokh and the different enemies in the game plus a new texture pack for the levels, I’d try that out just for kicks. But for now, running this with all the effects up works just fine for me…

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Video Game Appreciation 101: Drakan: Order of the Flame (Or: The Return of the Odd Couple!)

Drakan PC 1Yeah, yeah, Microsoft is revealing its fancy new Xbox in less than an hour (*yawn!*)… I’m MORE excited that I managed to score a boxed new/sealed copy of Drakan: Order of the Flame, a game I’ve been wanting to play since it was released back in 1999. Amusingly enough, I worked in a game shop that had a copy, but I didn’t pick it up back then because I wasn’t into PC gaming as much back then. I’d played the demo on a friend’s beefy gaming rig and liked it, but didn’t want to dive into something that would require me buying an expensive 3D card (well, a better PC, because mine was a crappy model that could only run a bunch of DOS and early Windows 95/98 games).

Anyway, yes indeed, it installs and runs perfectly on the laptop (so far), but I hear from the grapevine that I need to grab a patch or two because the game has at least two major bugs from what I’ve read. The late Surreal Software whipped up a solid action game with light RPG elements starring two unique characters in Rynn, a young woman who finds out she’s bonded to an ancient dragon named Arokh after her tiny village is destroyed by an army controlled by an evil sorcerer…
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New Addition: Pandora’s Tower Arrives!

rainfall trio

So, I ended up getting all three of these seemingly final US version Wii RPGs and I’m very pleased that I did this when they were their normal prices and not overinflated eBay purchases. I fired up Pandora’s Tower for just over an hour today and it’s pretty interesting so far. It’s a mix of elements from Shadow of the Colossus, God of War, Castlevania and a few other games with a nice JRPG look (some pretty visuals and an appropriately unique color palette). On the audio front, the UK dub is solid and the soundtrack so far is excellent with its bombastic classical and choral elements driving the action and some cinemas. So far, it’s not really “innovative” in any major ways, but developer Ganbarion has done a solid job in taking the hack & slash and having a bit of fun with it. OK, now I need to get a few more posts done so I can get back to playing this one…

VGA 101: MD/Genesis Library (Too Early in the Morning Version)…


OK, back by not so popular demand: another awful video of the library! I woke up a wee bit too early after not enough sleep, grabbed the camera and here you go: a longer look at some of the MN/Genesis stuff to go with the photos I took a while ago HERE. Sega CD stuff is HERE with the US Saturn games I have left and Mega-CD games? Well, poke around HERE if you’re that curious… Back with more shaky movies in a bit.

VGA 101: More Collection Madness, Badly Shot (For Now)…

Nope, I’m not QUITE taking today off, folks. I was just catching up on some games I need to review (the results of which you’ll read shortly). Anyway, to keep you “entertained”, I thought I’d grab my crappy camera and quickly zoom through some stuff in the library (which NEEDS a big reorganization and/or a makeover I can’t afford yet, boo!). Er, you may want to take some Dramamine before viewing this, as it’s probably really fuzzy and moving faster than a caterpillar who’s had a pot of strong coffee. Or like a rat. Made out of a LOT of video games. Squeak, squeak! Eek, eek!

VGA 101: What Do You Get The Guy Who Has Everything? A Bigger Closet And Some Shelves, Perhaps.


OK, I have TOO much stuff. Actually, it would look a GREAT deal less cluttered here if I could afford the room/office design I have in my head but not enough in the wallet to even think of. The obvious running joke here is “sell your games so you can afford to get more space!”… which (ha ha) would leave me with money to buy some nice shelves and such but nothing to put on them.



Ah well… I guess it could be worse. I could be keeping rabbits here in the apartment. Or running a mushroom farm from the closets here. Hmmm… that might work for some good cash after all. Where can I find good truffles around here to raise? And a dog that hates expensive fungus?

(Note: pigs are allegedly illegal to keep here in NYC as pets despite some people owning them in a few spots)…

Video Game Appreciation 101: Wii Library Update (New Additions)

A few new (and used) titles for the collection, mostly thanks to some trades and a few others snapped up at really cheap prices. of course, I haven’t even finished all of these (my time machine is still busted), but have played enough of each to offer buy or bust recommendations. Then again, something I don’t like might be something you may fall over backwards over – that’s one of the more interesting things about gaming for you, right?
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Gallery: Wii Library (A Work Back In Progress!)

I’ve actually owned and played a LOT more than I’ve kept in this photo, but I’m in the process of adding a few more games through trades and tracking down some dirt cheap titles in a few clearance bins. I actually have a few more games on the way thanks to a small trade I made recently, but I wanted to post this picture up now. I guess, I’ll update a few months from now when I have more interesting games to show.

That said, sometimes, it makes me want to (gently) sling an untethered Wii Remote at the heads of those who say the system ONLY has “kiddie” or family games or worse, slam the console without having played a single game on it because they just don’t see how motion control would work on a favorite genre. While, yes, there are a lot of not so hot games on the system, you can absolutely say that about any console from any generation. As far as the Wii (or any other system) goes, when you have a developer who gets what can be done, it works – when you have one that doesn’t quite get it right, it doesn’t. Of course, even a “bad” game can be enjoyable if you’re in the right frame of mind…