Tuesday, November 27, 2007


yeah so some dude at work put his Turbografx-16 console and collection up on the for sale spam-list. I shelled out $75 and got a console, CDrom, (broken-ended) joystick, and @40 games. FORTY GAMES! Only like 3 or 4 CDroms but hell, 40 game cards!! That's rad.. he threw in a sega 32X (with Star Wars) to even it out. But.. hell!! I always have wanted to get my hands on a genuine Turbografx-16.. I know, the emulation is pretty well covered at this stage (and of course they support a lot of the good games on the Wii Virtual Console) but there's always something about getting your hands on "the real deal" that's just a little more special. I have always admired the system, I borrowed one from a friend sooo many years ago (sigh.. like.. 20 years ago. You do not know how much it pains me to type things like that...) and would have bought one if the Sega Genesis didn't edge it out in the Race of Awesome Things, at the time. Hey, the Genesis was TRUE 16-Bit, what's a kid to do? I remember those days, the early 16-Bit wars.. the TG-16 (PC-Engine in Jamaica, errr, Japan) was actually 8-Bit with a custom 16-Bit processor. Sega's device was actual full-on 16-Bit hardware, with the promise of games "direct from the arcade to your living room," and they had the machines out at the arcade (and translations coming home) to prove it. Obviously Turbo was no slouch either, with some very nice-looking titles to pick up - though they were more colorful, they still lacked that certain je' ne' se quois that Sega had. It was a tough choice but one that I never regretted.

This stack is worth it for the $$$ alone. Blazing Lazers. R-Type. Star Soldier. Legendary Axe. Galaga '90. Ninja Spirit. Fantasy Zone. Klax. Splatterhouse. Sinistron. DUngeon Explorer. Neutopia. Victory Run. Bonk. Drgaon's Curse. Where the hell is Devil's Crush? Oh well, can't have them all. There's a bunch of other 2nd and third rate crap in there also... but hey. Close enough. Xmas came early! To top it off I scored a NES Bubble Bobble (though I will rather prefer to play Parasol Stars on the TG-16.. I am covered!) Man, old games rock. Now I need to find a dude who will sell me a Turbopad for under $25.. (and yet.. I would still prefer that my $X*@ 360 would just get freakin' fixed.. maybe next week!) I take it back, these games are still more fun!

I have a little list going of retro stuff I'd love to get my hands on.. a Turboduo (still, though not for what they ask for it.. bah!) A Colecovision would be rad, with a load of games.. I would never say no to a 2600 (though honestly, the whole setup would be quite an eyesore and surely end up in the back of my closet).. A Virtual Boy would still be cool (though i DO have a busted on in the back of my closet!) And I guess above all else, I'd like a Vectrex setup. Most coveted, however, would be a Mame Cab.. done right. One day I will shell out the necessary cash, but I can wait 'till I am able to afford such things. Mame's not going anywhere.. right?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

party on!!

whew, yah, time to fill into my neglectef video-gameo-lame-o blog once again. man. i just don't have TIIIIIME to write in this thing anymore. which is a shame since there's lots and lots to say, especially lately.

anyway, first order of business:

My officemates picked this $170 monstrosity up early last week and I would hear them wailing it down the hall while i was trying to work (hence why I have come in to put in some weekend hours, since it's nice and calm and peacefully quite at the moment). But yeah we all knew this would be interesting, for sure. My buddy in Hollywood picked it up as well and we gave it the once-over on Friday night - this game is fun! Not much for Guitar Heroics, I screamed and shrieked into the microphone till my voice was getting hoarse. Our band "Slutty Balls" kicked all kinds of ass. I can't wait to play some more! Drums looks fun also, I tried for a moment but thrown in mid-game with no warm-up and I completely fell apart. I can think fo some design choices (Simon Says-inspired) which might make that a little easier to swallow. Rock Band - party game of the year!

We went to some Neversoft friends' place for Turkey Day and powered up with the Wii. I have to say I have not really touched/seen a Wii (hold those jokes please.. aww) for just about a year. We were messing around with Mario Galaxy, a good looking, likeable-seeming game. It struck me how simple, easy the graphics are. They come across as solid, but that stuff is like .. BABY solid. I could whip out some levels for a product like that in no time flat. They are pretty long on details. It works though. I will always speak in favor of style. Also played some Wario's Woods (NES Flavor) on the Virtual Console. Never played it before, though the game (SNES version) has sat on my shelf for at least a year and change. Weird game.. it's got much praise. I can't say I enjoy it yet, but I will give it some time to grow on me (it's got a notable pedigree).

My Xbox 360 is sitting boxed up in a pile beside me. This sucks!! I had the thing running for barely 3 weeks with nearly no play on it.. all demos, really. I have to say, the demos have been great, for the most part - completely worth the investment. I could just kick back and play Geometry Wars, Lumines, Pacman CE, etc. At least! Hell the Skate demo was terrific, even the new Tony Hawk demo (in spite of popular opinion) is well worth it, I would say. Now.. ASIDE from demos.. I took home the office copy of the much-lauded Bioshock, and checked that thing out for a couple of hours. 1st time since I have had a 360 that I have truly played a game from a disc that wasn't a demo or a.. Yaris (don't get me started. GOTYaris!). But yeah. I got a little ways in. I was looking for Telekenesis.. however you spell it. Then BLAM the thing just froze up.. what.. whatever. Reboot. Play again and five minutes in FREEZE-UP AGAIN!!! This is bullshit now. Okay, reboot. Uhm. Reboot? Please? Where is the picture? Is my switchbox f'd? I plug directly into the side of the TV. I am hearing the normal boot audio for the system.. but no video. NO SIGNAL. NO SIGNAL. You wasted your money, lame-ass. Screw you, TV, I say. I pakced up the system and brought to the office with me on Monday. Tried different cables. Nothing. So it's dead. I got a 1-year warranty through the reseller. I come in and wait in line "we ain't got any replacements, too bad it's almost XMastime! Come back tomorrow" Yeah so I come back tomorrow "Come back next week, we got nuthin' for ya" So I come back (well, call) "We got nuthin' till middle of NEXT WEEK." Screw you guys. No, really.. Actually, screw me. I should have known better. You get what you pay for, and M$ already has their reputation stable-360-wise. That was ridiculous. Anyway, hopefully I will have a new working one beofre the New Year. Hopefully they will let me transfer over my Live account without any more migraines. Yes, now I am just bitching endlessly, but why shouldn't I? They charge hundreds of dollars for this stuff, and then I gotta run all over the place for it to just do what it is supposed to anyway? Well. like I said.. not a huge surprise. Yeah, well, I look forward to someday seeing more of Bioshock, that much I will say. For now.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

return to the garden of your nightmares

well, got my xbox live account activated, the router didn't die (am-aaaaa-zing) and better yet, as of this writing, my apartment hasn't caught fire due to the hazardous layout of cables smershed behind my television (could have happened, since I am not home yet I don't know about it). Seriously. I have my doubts about this whole "power brick" thing, and to say it was perniciously placed would be putting it♦ modestly. I am having flashbacks to being 10 years old and watching that episode of "Webster" where their apartment burns down. That one did a number on my soft innocent little mind..

but i digress..

anyway if you want to add me, or some such, to your (appropriately-named) "friend list" for Xbox live, go for it, my handle is ralp99. I can't say that i expect to be a good videogame-friend, since i will likely only pick up cheap/obscure/older games (as is my wont), but hey, maybe we can chat or cyber or something. that'd be hot.

Knowing the potential of Xbox live, and then seeing it with one's own eyes, it is something to behold. Sure I have seen the layout of all that crap before, and I am no stranger to the internet of course (da-da-DUMMMmmm) but knowing it and actually HAVING IT hooked up to your own television where the business takes place is a little bit of a jolt. I must say it's a kick to look at all the insta-available movie titles I could oh-so-readily download at a button's press to view on my Deluxe Entertainment Home Media Centre Theater, mind you DLing and watching crap is nothing new to me (hey i ain't no noob) but with the PS2 Media Thingie it's usually a bit of a song and dance involved, and it is all oh-so-dubious to say the least - that is if the damned DIVX file is encoded properly and doesn't skip all over the place (or just crash out). I am being a little heavy handed, the PS2 solution was super rad for the years I have had it (and yes, it's fun to nerd-out with that stuff) but i will happily move into the future with the rest of you for a less accident-prone solution. In the meantime, I haven't exactly unhooked the PS2 device from my setup ('cause we all know that it's a matter of time until the damned 360 RROD's anyway. So much for accident-proofing). Yeah I am not kidding. I have no faith in that piece 'a crap. It's nice and I hope it lasts me (at least) a year, if I am lucky. But damn those things get hot, as mentioned in the previous entry. I fully expect it nothing short of China Syndrome with this baby. You'll see. You'll ALL SEE.

Xbox demos, the reason I bought this damn thing really, this is definitely sizing up to feeling worth my investment. I don't have time/inclination/attention span to play through whole games as it is, and shelling out a paltry couple bucks for live to get virtually unlimited access to 2 zillion demos is a Hog's Dream Come True. I knew it would be pretty good but this is even more impressive than I would've expected (pessimist that I am). Most likely all who read this are jaded, by now, but I for one am very appreciative of this service they've provided. Free shit. FREE. Did you hear that? It's FREE. Yeah "late to the party" and all of that, but the fact is it's remarkable how (relatively) well-organized all the game demos are, and the fact that they all stay up there! It's like this crazy virtual library, and all you have to do is shuffle some space, and be patient for stuff to come down the pipe. Suddenly I am realizing that 20 GB is just not enough space.. but then, they have it all up on their servers permanently (-enough) that it's inconvenient but not anywhere near awful. That's great. I'll probably tool around with most of these demos the same amount as I have with whole games I have actually bought in the past few years.

Mind you, I am definitely far from "the typical player" for a good few reasons.. but this all fits the bill rather nicely. So long as my house doesn't burn down.

Anyway I DLd about 7-10 demos today and fooled around with a couple so far (Superman Returns, Stranglehold). When work lays off a little I'll put in a little time for some lovin'. More ot come...

Saturday, November 3, 2007

so.. i have Jumped In

sigh, that's right, i finally sold out and bought a &*^#@*(&$^ 360. it only took me two years to catch up with the rest of the Modern World of Gaming. I picked it up last night at the Microcenter up the street from my office, forked over my $230 (it's a refurbished unit) and they handed me a deck with 20GB HD, headset (won't be using that one too much), wireless controller (nice touch) and all the necessary cables and doodads to plug the thing into the Internowhere. All wrapped up nice and tight in a mostly-unmarked, unassuming brown box-shaped box. Fresh from a coffin, I am sure. I fought (valiantly) with the jungle of wires and dead crickets behind my Low Defiition Television and Entertainment Unit to hook the thing into the tangly nightmare, turned it on and stuck in a copy of Tony Hawk 2007 Ex-travaganza to make sure it ran. Sure enough, she lit up and ran like a charm, and sure enough there was a problem (the "wireless connect" button on the faceplate was busted). I got in there with a pen and finagled it. Haven't got on Live yet (I won an auction for a membership, waiting patiently for them to email it over to me.. tap, tap, tap) so until then I will leave the thing resting idly in the "off" position 'neath my TV. Sadly, I tried to put the unit into one of the close-able areas of the cabinet, though I noted that the thing gets HOTTTTT when it's on for more than 14 seconds... and so it must sit out front, proudly displaying it's ugly, ugly design for all who enter my living room to gawk at in disgust. Have I mentioned how unattractive I think the unit is?

Anyway, it detected the network connection through my router (and my internet connection from my PC seems to be working at the moment, obviously) so I am happy to report that stuff is all set up. I am sure the unit will fail (crappy odds) sometime in the next 3-6 months.. hopefully before my 1-Yr warranty expires. Let's see.

After I get on Live I will start plodding through to see what demos I can get my hands on.. the main point of my purchasing this thing. Stay tuned.