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Gamester81 Appreciation Day and The Community

Posted on March 2, 2016 at 11:55 PM Comments comments (0)

What can I say about John "Gamester81" Lester that has not already been said? The guy is a man after my won heart. A man who loves video games and shares his passion for them with the world. Whether it be in his contribution via his YouTube channel, his work at CollectorVision Games or even his genuine participation in the community, John is an amazing guy. He is the personification of what the gaming community should be. Honest. Passionate. Open. Sincere. Very few people have these qualities today. John does.


It is sad the way people use their anger to attack anyone even faintly attached to a project that doesn't turn out as planned or the way they hoped it would. We all feel like fools for falling for the hype of the Retro VGS and later rebranded Coleco Chameleon. The team got us excited and let us all down. And I understand the frustration cause I feel it too. But burning people at the stake for things there were just as clueless about as the rest of us is totally unacceptable. John is one of the kindest people in this community. He would give up the cloths off his own back if you needed them. And he shares his hobby with us all because he seriously loves this community. The last thing he would want to do is divide or harm this community in any way. And he simply cannot and should not he held accountable for the actions of a few guys who were clearly in over their heads.


So in short, I stand behind John AND CollectorVision Games. I appreciate what they do for this community and I really hope the mob gives up the chase. At the very least, I hope they direct their anger in the right direction. But John does not deserve this. He is in support of this community and he has done everything in his power to cultivate this community. Contribute to this community. And help make it what it is today. The retro gaming community is bigger than it has ever been. And we have people like John to thank for that. So please, I implore you. Drop your stones. Stop the witch-hunt. We all said our peace about the Coleco Chameleon and those involved can't ignore us anymore. But please keep those who were in the dark just like us out of it. Don't make John or anyone else loosely connected to the project an example for the decisions made that they had no involvement with. John is a representative of this community who genuinely loves this community. And I support him whole-heartedly. You should too...

Video Game Collecting Tips to New Collectors

Posted on December 11, 2014 at 12:05 AM Comments comments (2)

The hobby of collecting video games, more specifically retro video games is growing at an alarming rate. More and more people are drawn to the hobby everyday due to the fact that it is not only a hobby involving collecting and preserving of a collectable, but also experiencing it. Video games are an interactive medium and therefore collectors do not simply display them, but also play and enjoy them. The hobby is also driven largely by nostalgia, becoming one of the largest collectible communities of them all.


With that in mind, many are out there to take advantage of new collectors and overcharge them in exchange for allowing them to "relive their childhood". Even worse, this is a hobby that can quickly become an out of control addiction. So here are some simple tips I'd like to share with new collectors to help keep your collection manageable and to keep you from overpaying to build your dream collection.


Tip #1: Reacquiring Your Childhood.


For this tip, I'd like to suggest that new collectors start small. As I stated earlier, many people are driven to this hobby though nostalgia. They have fond memories of games they played as a child. So the first goal of any collector should be to reacquire the games and consoles they played as a kid. Not all of them of course...just the ones you have fond memories of. This will give you a decent starting point. For me, I had fond memories of the original Nintendo Entertainment System, Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis. So I started there. With each system, there were about 10 games I had fond memories of as a child. So that in addition to the modern games I had at the time, a Playstation and Sega Dreamcast with approximately 10 games each was the starting point of my game collection.


Tip #2: Seek out great titles you may have missed as a child.


When you're a kid, you can only play what your parents buy you. Sure...you may be able to burrow games off of friends or family members, but even that limits you to what you can play. So it's impossible to play all the great games there are available. Heck, it wasn't even possible to know all the great games that existed. We knew about the big titles. The Mario's, Sonic's and Street Fighters. But what about hidden gems like Bonk's Adventure and Zombies Ate My Neighbors? Today we have the Internet. We can easily look up reviews for great games...new and old. My favorite source is YouTube. Look up reviews of games for the consoles you wish to collect for. Watch a few and make a list of the games that catch your attention. Seek those out. Not only is it a great way to build your collection, but it's also a great way to create new memories for your new hobby.


Tip #3: Online shopping should only be a last resort.


Looking for a particular game? It can be tempting to hop online and just buy it. Sure...it's easy to find what you want on eBay or Amazon. But you will pay for that convenience. Many times, people on these sites will overcharge you or for rare and valuable games, you miss the opportunity to get a potential deal on them. Online you can't haggle over price or negotiate. The price is what you pay and that's final. Not only that, but there is also the added expense of shipping costs. Part of collecting is the thrill of the hunt. Going to pawn shops, flea markets, swap meets and trade shows to try and get your hands on that long sought after game. Not to mention the fact that you're more like to find a deal if you keep up with the hunt. I rarely buy games online. If I do, it's a game I have spent years searching for with no luck. So I highly encourage new collectors to stay away from the Internet and only use it as a last ditch effort to find that long sought addition to your collection.


Tip #4: Barter for those high-priced games.


Like any hobby, there are Crown Jewels that many collectors seek out. And with supply and demand not on your side, it can get expensive real quick. Games like Earthbound that fetch $250 for a loose cartridge or Little Samson that can go for as high as $500 depending on condition are the games we collectors dream of owning but can probably never afford. So how does one get these games without breaking the bank? Aside from getting lucky and finding someone who doesn't know what they have, trading unwanted games is a good technique. Say you buy a game that you thought you would like but didn't. Why keep it around? Trade it for something you might enjoy more! Ever on a hunt and find a valuable game at an extremely low price? Even if you already have it, buy it. This can be used to trade for games you might actually want. Utilizing trading is a great way to get the games you want but can't afford cheaply. So it is a tip that should not be ignored.


Tip #5: Keep your collection manageable by only collecting games you want to play.


With so many games having been created, a game collection can quickly get out of hand and become an unhealthy obsession. I've seen many collectors with boxes of unwanted games and rooms full of those boxes. Why? Simply because they are games! Do they play them? No! Do they even like those games? No! So why keep them? That's not collecting....that's hoarding!!! So my advice, and probably the best advice I can offer is only collect games you want to play. Not only will your collection be more manageable, but you will also be able to grab any game off the shelf to play and know you will have a good time doing it. Games were meant to be fun. So keeping bad games around defeats the purpose. It may look awesome to have dozens of book cases full of games. But why does that matter if you only play a small portion of them? Short answer? It doesn't...


So those are just a handful of tips I think will help new collectors both build their collections and have fun doing it in the process. These tips can also be applied to other hobbies as well. So if retro video game collecting isn't your thing, I hope this still helps you in other collecting as well. I have to admit...I had to learn most of the above mentioned tips the hard way. But at least you can take my early collecting mistakes, learn from them and avoid all the bad moves that I made early on. So good luck in your journeys and happy collecting!

Modern Games Just Don't Do It For Me...

Posted on October 5, 2014 at 10:30 PM Comments comments (0)
I don't know what it is...but modern games just don't do it for me the way retro games do.

I used to be the kind of gamer that was equally entertained by modern and retro games. But lately, I can't get into modern games. It seems like since the launch of the lastest consoles, the Playstation 4, Xbox One and Wii U, I just can't seem to find any games that grab my attention. Big releases like Destiny, Watch Dogs, Dead Rising 3 and so many more were just...meh! Thats it! Meh!!! Nothing more!!! And sadly, the upcoming crop of games doesn't appeal to me either. Its pretty sad when the game you are most excited about is a sports entertainment title...WWE2K15. Thats right...I am more excited about a wrestling game than most other upcoming titles.

Last year, I bought a Wii U, PS4 and Xbox One. And sadly, other than that initial WOW factor for the first week or two, I haven't played them much at all in the entire year. The only exception to that is the Wii U. That console gets tons of play time. Fun releases like Mario Kart 8, Super Mario 3D World, Hyrule Warriors and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze have kept me coming back for more. And aside from WWE2K15, the few upcoming titles I am excited about are Wii U exclusives. But the PS4 and Xbox One are essentially dust collectors.

Its sad cause I can't put my finger on why these "next-gen" machines aren't keeping me interested. What is it about previous gen machines that do it for me that the latest and greatest can't seem to accomplish? Maybe its the constant push for titles that immitate eachother, the abundance of unnessecary DLC or the quick-fix re-hashes that have only minor improvements over last years game. Or maybe it is this stupid need to "HD Remake" everything under the sun. Either way, this "next-gen" push has soured me so bad that I have even considered selling my next-gen machines.

What about you guys? Is the "next-gen" doing it for you? Or are you tired of the re-hashes, DLC madness and hd upgrade bull crap?

The Ups and Downs of Game Console Clones

Posted on April 18, 2013 at 2:55 AM Comments comments (0)

Over the years, especially in recent years with the rise in popularity in Retro Gaming, many companies have come along to capitalize on the gaming craze by releasing alternatives to many popular game consoles. These alternatives, commonly known as "clones", are systems that are capable of playing games on popular platforms. Most of these do so while adding additional functionality or offering their alternative at a more affordable price than the original. And while most of these clones are alternatives to the NES and it's Japanese counterpart, the Famicom, many newer ones have been released cloning the Super NES, Sega Genesis and many more. But are these consoles a good idea? Are they ethical to use or are they harmful to your games? What are the advantages and disadvantages to using them?

While most collectors will completely avoid using clones, I am one of a rare few who actually enjoy collecting as well as using clone systems. I started collecting clones by purchasing the Generation NEX produced by Messiah Entertainment and have since purchased several more. I even use these regularly to play games...sometimes more than my original systems they are clones of. Now don't get me wrong...nothing is better than playing on the original consoles. But in my opinion, there is nothing wrong with playing games using a clone.

Now that you know my personal experience with clones, I would like to tackle one of the most common questions I hear about clones...are they ethical to use. Most of the people who ask this are concerned with piracy or not giving a console manufacturer the money they deserve for their creation. In the early days of gaming, some clones would launch side-by-side with the original system. While some of these clones were endorsed or licensed by the original console manufacturer, many were not. This was a common practice for platforms like the NES/Famicom, Atari VCS/2600 as well as the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive. In these cases, purchasing an unauthorized console clone would definitely be considered unethical. They would steal potential profits from the original hardware manufacturer and in many cases, be unreliable compared to the real-deal.

These days, things are different though. Many of the consoles being cloned are no longer available in traditional retailers and the sale of these consoles no longer benefits the original manufacturers like Sega, Atari, Nintendo and so many more. So when you consider that, they aren't really unethical per-say. Some collectors will tell you otherwise, but I would disagree personally. There are many reasons to choose an original over a clone, but that doesn't necessarily make it unethical. So if this is a concern of yours, don't worry about it.

Another common question is why one would choose a clone over an original? In many cases, there is no good way to answer this. As a collector, I do prefer using the original machines over a clone. That said, some clones add new functionality, giving you a definite incentive to purchase them. As I mentioned earlier, my first clone was the Generation NEX. The reasons I chose to purchase it were because I didn't have a working NES at the time and liked some of the features it had. First off, it had a design similar to the original while being smaller and improving upon the design in many ways. One improvement for example were pins that were more secure, allowing games to run more reliably than the original. Also, I loved the fact that it had a cartridge slot on the top for use with Famicom import games. This allows me to play games previously unavailable to me as I really could not afford to get an original Famicom. Also, it added support for Stereo sound as well as wireless controllers which in my eyes was a plus. This clone and more offer features similar to the ones above to give them added value.

Also, some of the newer clones are multi-clones, giving you 2 or more consoles in one box. A couple examples of this would be the FC Twin which has a Super NES and NES clone in one machines as well as the Retron 3 which features an NES, SNES and Genesis all in one devices. These are an added value since they usually cost less than purchasing all 3 machines as well as the fact that they take up less space. Other great innovations in clones is the ability to play popular home console games on the go with portable systems like the FC Mobile and the SupaBoy. All in all, these are great additions that make purchasing a clone a viable and great option for retro gamers.

Lastly, I want to address another common question I get regarding clones. Are they legal. This is kind of a grey area and is not an easy Yes or No answer as it depends on the console being cloned. The short answer is, for some clones it is while others it is not. Allow me to explain. When you create a clone of the NES or Famicom, it is legal to clone these systems. The reason for this is the patents which pertain to these platforms have expired. Therefore, anyone can reverse engineer these machines and make a clone. Other clones of slightly newer platforms like the Super NES and Genesis however still have active patents which would prevent them from being cloned legally. So why is it that these clones exist? To be honest, the answer is actually quite simple. Manufacturers like Nintendo and Sega no longer make a profit on these machines, and therefore there is no need to pursue lawsuits against clone makers. That, and in some rare cases, the original manufacturers actually provide a license to companies to make clones. This is evident with clones like the Atari Flashback series and the Sega Genesis clone by At Games.

All in all, I would say there is nothing wrong with using a clone, nor is there any ethical reason why you shouldn't. Again, there is nothing better than playing on an original, but using a clone will in no way diminish your experience. It is true that not all games are compatible with clones and that there are subtle differences in the sound and colors produced by clones, but in most cases only diehard collectors will notice these issues. So to sum it up, I see nothing wrong with clones and I personally use them regularly. So don't worry about whether you should use an original system or a clone! Just purchase whatever you like and enjoy playing some awesome retro games...

My First Experience with the "Ys" Games

Posted on March 12, 2013 at 1:45 AM Comments comments (0)

So about a few months back, I watched a video from one of my fav YouTuber's, Johnny Millenium AKA The Happy Console Gamer, where he mentioned a game franchise called "Ys". I had never heard of it, but after hearing him talk about it on several occasions and seeing his passion for the franchise, I had to try these games for myself. So I picked up a couple of the games and unfortunately never got around to actually trying them.


As of yesterday, I kind of had a rush after finally completing FInal Fantasy VII this past weekend after years of trying and failing to do so. That said, I wanted to try and tackle other RPG's that I had never played or finished. After all, I have several RPG's that I never took the time to play, let alone complete. Not knowing where to start, I started watching some of Johnny's older videos as I know he is a huge RPG fan. In the process of watching those old videos, I again was reminded of Ys. remembering I had just bought a couple games in the series, I scoured my collection and found the ones I own..."Ys III: Wanderers from Ys" for the Super NES and "Ys: Oath of Felghana" for the PSP.


Not wanting to take the time to pull out my Super NES, I decided to start with "Oath of Felghana" for the PSP. I have already logged over 2 hours on this game and I have to say...I'm hooked!!! The environments to explore are amazing, the combat is solid, the story is compelling and best of all...the soundtrack is major ear-candy. I'm still early into the game, but so far I love it!


Thank you so much Johnny for introducing me to such an awesome game. It is definitely a fantastic game and I am looking forward to seeing more of it as well as the rest of this franchise. You have opened my eyes to the fact that not only Squaresoft (Square-Enix) can make a damn good RPG.