Sunday Roundup: 4/24/16

A visit to Los Angeles for family and friends is great, and being able to hit up a couple used game shops along the way is even better! I haven’t been to LA in six years, so it was nice to get back there and see that some places were still the same, but others were totally revamped! Par for the course for a major city I suppose. Anyway, after a visit to a shop that wasn’t all too thrilling, my brother and I hit up a place that was literally, and I mean this in ever sense of the phrase, packed floor to ceiling with games from every console. It was a little piece of heaven that I can’t seem to find in my neck of the woods. Anyway, let’s get to it!

Bravely Second End Layer CoverBravely Second: End Layer
Release Date: April 15th, 2016
Purchased at: Amazon (Online – $34)

The sequel to what was arguably the best RPG of 2014? You know I’m buying that! The gameplay changes the original Bravely Default brought to the genre were equally refreshing and nostalgic! Classic turn based combat with expedited controls, a serious but still fun narrative, and characters I actually care about are just some of the welcome features that have returned in the sequel Bravely Second. So far I’ve been enjoying the game. It’s like seeing an old friend you haven’t spoken with in awhile: you take a short while catching up, then you’re right back in the swing of things wondering how you ever got by before without one another. Maybe it’s not that serious, but it’s still good. More of the same if you’re a fan of the first game!

Homie Rollerz _Packaging.aiHomie Rollerz
Release Date: February 27th, 2008
Purchased at: Game Play (Los Angeles, CA – $1)

One of the most blatantly racist games I’ve heard of is Homie Rollerz, a kart racing game featuring those little plastic people you could find in grocery stores in the 25 cent machine. Apparently they were popular enough to warrant a video game. Most cite the game’s awful control and horrible representation of several stereotypes as the game’s biggest flaws. In no way do I condone this type of game or exploitation of persons, but the game has notoriety and for that reason I wanted it. Also, it was only a dollar complete!

Tamagotchi Connection Corner Shop 3 CoverTamagotchi Connection: Corner Shop 3
Release Date: June 17th, 2008
Purchased at: Game Play (Los Angeles, CA – $3)

After picking up the first two games and the subsequent Wii version way back when, the third and final DS game in the series has finally fallen into my possession. The series has you interacting with a variety of shops like bakeries and flower shops to get their reputation higher in order to make more money and allure higher Tamagotchi themed clientele to the location. For a game series based on those little creatures living in side eggs I am surprised how well the game series has done. And honestly it sounds kind of interesting!

Technicbeat CoverTechnicbeat
Release Date: November 2nd, 2004
Purchased at: Game Play (Los Angeles, CA – $3)

How can I pass on a rhythm game featuring songs from Namco games like Dig-Dug and Pac-Man, and even a song from Street Fighter EX? Well, I can’t, and that’s why I picked up this game I’ve never even heard of before. Gameplay seems to be in line with other rhythm games: tap the buttons when the timing is just right. I think for these types of games though it’s not so much dependent on the quality of the game, but on the quality and variety of the music. I’m already interested in the game, who here’s hoping it’s worth it!

Monster_Lab_DS_covershtMonster Lab
Release Date: November 4th, 2008
Purchased at: A&J Games (Los Angeles, CA – $1)

When I picked up the Wii version of Mosnter Lab (also for just a dollar!) I wasn’t expecting much. Having played the game a few hours, I was pleasantly surprised by how well done the monster creation and battle mechanics were handled. This isn’t some trash Wii game with a gimmick, but rather a thought out and fun experience. I’m hoping this DS version is more of the same quality, but in a different space: being on the DS there are some creative approaches the game can take with creation, minigames, and even combat. Now I just need to pick up the PS2 version and I’ll likely the be the first person to have secured all three versions!

Top Shop Board Game CoverTop Shop Board Game
Release Date: December 4th, 2001
Purchased at: A&J Games (Los Angeles, CA – $5)

There’s an entire series of these budget looking PS1 games brought over from Japan late into the PS1s life (and really, early in the PS2s life). I can remember a local supermarket carrying several of these games, and I was attracted to them by their chibi-style characters and unity among the covers. For as strange as it sounds, Top Shop Board Game is supposed to be a good game. Not unlike the Wii’s Fortune StreetTop Shop Board Game has you investing in a stock market, driving up the value of your shops, and trying to come out on top as the wealthiest player. There are items you can buy, items you can stock in your store, and even some random minigames and events. What’s not to like?!

Jersey Devil CoverJersey Devil
Release Date: June 1st, 1998
Purchased at: A&J Games (Los Angeles, CA – $18)

One of the PS1s more memorable games despite being just an average game overall, Jersey Devil was a hard buy for me. The owner wanted near $25 for it, but seeing as that was kind of a regular old price for the game, I almost passed. Thankfully he decided to do an overall discount for the stack of games I was getting, and I think he actually just rang up Jersey Devil at the wrong price, which was then discounted even further! Or he could have told me the wrong price initially, I don’t know. Either way, it’s nice to finally have a non-bootleg version of this game in the collection!

Killing Zone CoverKilling Zone
Release Date: July 1996
Purchased at: A&J Games (Los Angeles, CA – $4)

There must have been strong marketing for this game, because when I saw the cover I recognized it almost immediately. Or maybe I saw it once and just recalled a giant minotaur fighting a skeleton while a strange green man watches in the background (blackground?). Killing Zone is an early PS1 fighting game, and reviews from back then seem to justify this: it apparently has some of the worst controls of any fighting game. Some even tout it as the worst fighting game on the PS1. I’ve played some pretty shitty fighting games, so let’s put this to the test! Why do these games excite me? What’s wrong with me? Haha

Bug Riders CoverBug Riders
Release Date: November 30th, 1997
Purchased at: A&J Games (Los Angeles, CA – $4)

What better way to pass on the crown of the King than a giant bug race? I can think of many, but in the world of Bug Riders, the only possible way to determine this is by bug riding. Hopping on the back of insects and having them race through hazards and other enemy bug riders does seem like a cool idea, but in execution the game apparently didn’t hold up. Are there any other bug racing games out there? I feel like this is actually a concept that could work. Kind of like Diddy Kong Racing with land, air, and sea vehicles, but in this case with a variety of insects instead of carts and hovercrafts. Hmm…

Blasto CoverBlasto
Release Date: March 31st, 1998
Purchased at: A&J Games (Los Angeles, CA – $18)

I distinctly remember the commercial for this game. It featured the late Phil Hartman, who voices the titular Blasto, doing in-game voice over for the action, and ended with a burly “I’m Blasto!” as the cover came on screen. Sadly the game didn’t pan out as well as Sony had hoped, mainly because it was crazy hard! One of my friends had the game (or it may have just been a demo, I’m not sure) and I remember having a hard time just getting through a couple of enemies with my gun! Blasto is still an awesome title to have in the collection, and it’ll look good on the shelf.

Fatal Fury First Contact CoverFatal Fury: First Contact
Neo Geo Pocket
Release Date: April 30th 1999
Purchased at: A&J Games (Los Angeles, CA – $4)

Woohoo! More games for the Neo Geo Pocket I still don’t own! Here we have Fatal Fury: First Contact, the only Fatal Fury game on the Neo Geo Pocket, despite many of SNK’s other fighting IPs like Samurai Shodown and King of Fighters getting multiple releases. Fatal Fury: First Contact is a port, though scaled down, of Real Bout: Fatal Fury 2: The Newcomers, which saw release on the Neo Geo proper as well as ports on the PS2. This version features chibi-sized fighters and supposedly decent handheld fighting mechanics. If only I could test that myself…

Pac-Man (Neo Geo Pocket) CoverPac-Man
Neo Geo Pocket
Release Date: August 1999
Purchased at: A&J Games (Los Angeles, CA – $4)

What more to say: it’s Pac-Man on Neo Geo’s handheld. Apparently this version really is just the arcade version of Pac-Man fit to the screen size of the Neo Geo Pocket, and nothing more. Even by 1999 standards I’d say that’s kind of a letdown. There are so many variations of Pac-Man out there now, I only wonder if there were other versions or options for the game they could have added to this one to make it more noteworthy.

Metal Slug 1st Mission CoverMetal Slug: 1st Mission
Neo Geo Pocket
Release Date: 1999
Purchased at: A&J Games (Los Angeles, CA – $8)

One of SNK’s games that I have enjoyed for years has been Metal Slug, and the Neo Geo Pocket has two versions unique to the handheld. This first one is kind of bare bones, stripping out a lot of quality from the standard arcade games to make them fit into the portable, but it still retains the core mechanics that made the run and gun action of the series so damn fun! The second game, aptly titled 2nd Mission, is the better of the two, but I’m happy to claim just one of them as my own!


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