RF Generation.  The Classic and Modern Gaming Databases.RF Generation.  The Classic and Modern Gaming Databases.




Posted on Oct 11th 2012 at 09:43:26 AM by (Marriott_Guy)
Posted under Old as Dirt

While kicking back this past weekend, the unexpected befell this aged bachelor - emergency babysitting duty of my 6 year old niece.  With little time to prepare, it was decided that we would just hang out at my humble abode for the evening.  To my surprise, she was not disappointed at all but actually ecstatic.  This would be her very first visit to my home and entrance to my 'Room of Doom' was included in the evening's events (in addition to a Kung Fu Panda video).

Upon her arrival, she politely declined my offer of the Dora the Explorer juice box and simply looked up at me and cautiously asked "Can we go check out the video games Uncle Terry?"  So off we went, skipping the whole way (why do kids like to skip so much?) to the Man Cave.

She was initially awestruck by all of the mysterious goodies contained within my secret gaming domain.  She had experienced the Nintendo Wii and gaming apps on her iPod touch, but this was a completely different animal.  After receiving my A-OK, she immediately plopped down in front of one of the bookcases to pick out a game for us.

Within a few minutes, she began organizing games taken off the shelf into distinct, but as of yet unidentifiable, piles.  She then stated in a rather dubious manner "Uncle Terry, what are we going to play???"  It was only then that I recognized the pattern: titles were being sorted by their ESRB rating.  Her frustration was being fueled by the inability to quickly locate any "C" (children) or "E" (everyone) rated games.  This realization caused me to pause prior to answering her.  I took a moment to reflect upon my own early years, an era when ignoring similar cautionary flags could actually lead to incurring substantial physical harm ...

Handy Andy Toolbox

Complete with a steel hammer, finishing nails and a metal serrated saw, the Handy Andy Toolbox provided the urchin everything needed to impart destruction.  Family furnishings were primarily the target, but annoying little sisters could also become the recipient of 'Handy Andy Terror'.

Betty Crocker Easy Bake Oven

Looks pretty innocent at first glance, but this demon actually caused more house fires than anything else on this list.  In addition to being able to actually heat your morning biscuit to a fairly high temperature, the Easy Bake Oven excelled at exploding ball point pens, melting crayons and torturing the wayward insect.

Jarts

For those unfamiliar with Jarts (or lawn darts), the premise is the same as horseshoes but you use high-flying metal tipped darts in lieu of slow moving steel projectiles.  Participation required nimbleness to avoid the errant cast that could turn this seemingly harmless toy into a potential death missile.

Pen Knife

For whatever reason, this always seems to be an item gifted from one's Grandfather.  Receiving one of these multi-functional instruments is almost like a rite of passage for the youngster.  The possibilities this tool afforded were overwhelming, as were the  self-inflicted injuries this device could inflict.

Kaster Sets

Like the Play-Doh Fun Factory, the Kaster Kit enabled  the young buck the ability to craft their own toys.  But instead of using a malleable clay product, the material that was provided was solid lead.  The  manufacturer 'wisely' included an apparatus to heat the lead to its melting point (621 degrees F!!).

Wood Burning Kits

Before the age of electronic labeling devices, the wood burning kit was the inscribing king.  Within a matter of minutes, hooligans could apply their initials to virtually anything.  From baseball mitts to the coffee table, everything could be branded by the youth, including human flesh for the careless.

The Junior Chemist

Now if the Junior Chemistry Set isn't a recipe for disaster, I don't know what is.  With over 20 chemical  compounds, test tubes and its very own Bunsen burner, the adolescent was provided with everything they needed to create any number of mysterious, bubbling cocktails.  Without a doubt, this product had to be the Poison Control Center's biggest nightmare.

Atomic Energy Lab

This has got to be the most outrageous toy in the history of mankind.  This monstrosity came with four different types of uranium ore, a cloud chamber with its own short-lived alpha source and an electroscope.  An optional Geiger counter was also available for purchase, a popular add-on to ensure that radiated family members were appropriately quarantined.


I snapped back to reality to see my niece, still sitting there patiently awaiting my answer.  What game were we going to play?  If I could have survived the hazards detailed above, then she could certainly weather virtually any title within my collection.  A glance down at that young bug quickly dismissed that thought.  To her delight and my dismay, we ended up playing the following, a true horror that rivals any of the items listed above:

High School Musical 3: Senior Year DANCE!
What Hazardous Toys Do You Remember?




Posted on Jun 16th 2011 at 08:52:56 PM by (Marriott_Guy)
Posted under MGs Game Take, MGs Gaming Take

 Video Game Weaponry
Melee Based

  
Game developers provide us with a myriad of instruments to defend ourselves against their virtual  army of evil.   These can be classified into the following categories:

Melee          Ranged          Magic

This article will take a look at the first class, the Melee based method of assault/defense.   This writing is not meant to be all-inclusive, inventory type of document, but more of a general overview from this old school gamer.

For me, this type of attack is the preferred method during gaming.   The personal, upfront confrontation with some dark spawn is my cup of tea, especially when I am brandishing an instrument of mass destruction in my gloves.   I also like the aspect of not running out of ammo or manna like you can with the other two types.  Sure, I have to keep watch in some games with my stamina level, but overall this is usually a small price to pay. 

The following takes a look at some of these pain-bringers and my thoughts on them.
 

FisticuffsHammer
 

Executing the uppercut of the century is always satisfying.  Even back in the day, the sound effects were spot on and conveyed perfectly when delivering bare-handed punishment to your foes.  Range, on the other hand, is always its downfall.  Be prepared to take a few whacks to your grill when powering up your guns.
 

 

They don't call it "The Persuader" for nothing.  The Hammer is not what you would call a subtle instrument of destruction.  Known for dishing out massive damage, this tool is extremely slow to wield and maneuver, often leaving the Hero in a vulnerable position.  It worked pretty well for Mario though.  Overall not one of my favs.
 

Crowbar

Lead Pipe

 

In my humble opinion, the Crowbar is one of the most underrated melee weapons of all time.  Sure, Gordon showed off its true potential in Half Life, but very few others have taken his cue.  Its simple, elegant form contradicts the pure pain-inflicting nature of this device.  Another plus is that it always comes in handy when having to break some window or pry open that door to a secret room filled with loot and other goodies.
 

 

The Lead Pipe has been a favorite weapon of game developers for quite sometime due to its overall effectiveness and simplistic design.  One overhead whack to the coconut and you can say goodnight to any villain.  One of the constants throughout the gaming years has been that hollow, high pitched 'clunk' sound effect when connecting with the bad guy's melon.  Unfortunately this iron pain baton has lost its luster through the years.
 

Aluminum Baseball BatAxe \ Hatchet
 

What is there not to like about the Aluminum Baseball Bat?  The sound effects are awesome, you can wield it with one or two hands and the damage is usually staggering.  There is also something unnerving when you see one in real life stashed in the back of someone's car or next to your lady friend's bed.  Out of all the blunt weapon types, this is definitely one of my favorites.
  

 

For whatever reason, the Axe doesn't really do anything for me. I admit that I am not a big fan of slow, cumbersome armaments like this (see Hammer).  Most times it is a two-handed affair which limits my options (shield, secondary arm, etc.).  I still have no idea to this day why every single member of the Dwarvian nation absolutely loves the Axe.  Must be something in their genes.
 

Chainsaw Whip
 

Nothing more clearly communicates your intentions to the baddies when you lumber towards them with a churning chainsaw in your mitts.  As a gamer, that guttural 'wheee' noise truly gets my blood pumping.  One of the great things about the Chainsaw is that it never runs out of gas, but it can get 'stuck' in monsters.
 

 

These come in all varieties and have been a staple throughout the evolution of gaming.  From Simon Belmont (Castlevania) to Kratos (God of War), the Whip has always proven to be an effective instrument during combat.  Though it inflicts moderate damage to the evil minions, its range and usefulness (climbing) are excellent.
 

KatanaLight Saber
  
 

There are all sorts of swords that become available to the gamer during their progress through a title, but the Katana is usually the ultimate score.  Lightening quick and capable of felling a foe with a single swipe, this sleek blade exhibits unusually high precision.  Unfortunately most games require two hands to take advantage of this power.  The is definitely a drawback, but it is still cool!
 

 

The infamous Light Saber.  This is most definitely one of the most versatile melee weapons out there.  It will not only dole out unequalled pain, but it can cut threw sealed doors, be thrown like a boomerang amongst other activities.  The bad thing is that use is usually restricted to members of 'The Force'.  Luke was cool, but if Han could also wield this blade I would be a very happy camper.
 

   
What are Your Favorite Melee Weapons?
Which Ones Do You Absolutely Abhor?
 

  





Posted on Mar 1st 2011 at 08:41:33 PM by (Marriott_Guy)
Posted under MGs Game Take

The Demise of the Video Game Manual

 


The other evening I opened up NBA 2K11 and was presented with the following on page 1 of the miniscule documentation (4 pages in total):

Download the COMPLETE NBA 2K11 manual at
http://www.2kgames.com/manual/NBA2K11


Reading those dreaded words officially ended my naive hopes that my gaming partner would recover from the years of cropping and truncating.  Though I was aware that the end was nearing (Ubisoft), my old friend known as the Video Game Manual was at long last on its final legs.   

 
Back in the day, tearing open a new video game was pure exhilaration.  Not only did I finally acquire that cherished title, but I couldn't wait to check out its mandatory sidekick - the Video Game Manual.  As much as the software itself, I was stoked to check out those glossy, colorful pages that would detail the various ins and outs for my upcoming gaming adventure.  What surprises lay in store for me?  Would it give me some secret tips in addition to that somewhat-mandatory "Notes" page to scrawl my cheat codes. high scores and the like?

For those old-timers out there, this anticipation was akin to slipping the jacket out of a new vinyl purchase.  You did so in a very slow, calculated manner in hopes that this meticulous action would somehow ensure the ultimate payoff - song lyrics imprinted upon the album sleeve.  Ripping into a new video game purchase was much the same.  For my hard earned cash, I was eagerly expecting to be rewarded in some manner in addition to the game itself.  For the most part, the publisher did not disappoint.  They took great pride in the production and content of their game manuals. Screenshots were showcased in addition to providing 'survival tips', background story, team rosters and sometimes even a game map. You never knew what might be encompassed within, or accompany, the instructions.  It was like opening up a box of Cracker Jacks as a kid.

Sadly, those magical moments are nearing its end.


Final Fantasy III really gave gamers a bang for their buck!!

For the most part, budgetary and environmental initiatives have basically castrated the Video Game Manual. Don't get me wrong - I want to save a tree as much as the next guy.  I am all for utilizing technology to reduce manufacturing expense and the overall ecological footprint of production.  That being said, the instruction booklet is an integral part of the overall experience for this old school gamer and should not be the sacrificial lamb.  The joy of simply reading through that gaming goodness prepared me for the upcoming experience.  I can't quite put it into words, but I could feel myself getting completely immersed in the game after studying a well produced manual prior to actually playing it.

Yes, I grant you that I may just be feeling nostalgic at the moment.  I miss the days of finding those hidden gems within that game packaging.  I find myself being pleasantly surprised less and less as the years go by.  Of course, this is a sign of old age coupled with dawn of the digital era. Still, I will miss my cherished compadre. The glory days of the Video Game Manual have unfortunately come to an end.

Unless, of course, you decide to purchase the Limited Edition version.
   

Do you miss the Video Game Manual?
Which ones were among your favorites?




Posted on Feb 21st 2011 at 06:37:46 PM by (Marriott_Guy)
Posted under MGs Game Take, General Gaming

Most Hated Gaming Missions

This weekend I was blessed with the unthinkable - an absolutely blank calendar.

For the first time in nearly two months, the madness known as 'social obligations' had thankfully subsided for a couple of days.   My internal battery had been running on fumes for quite a while, so this break was more than welcomed.   I was not about to waste this momentary reprieve.   What better way to recharge than to bust out a new video game!

With my freedom firmly secured, I ripped open Two Worlds II with a passion that would rival even the best TV evangelist.  Within minutes, my Hero was once again dispatching the dark minions that foolishly chose to take up residence in the mythical world of Antaloor.  My melee warrior grew more powerful by the hour as he decimated the parasites that stood in his path.  Similar to his experience meter, I could actually feel myself being reenergized as my gaming night progressed; sort of like my soul 'leveling up'.  Life was once again in balance for me, or so it would seem until a ridiculous mission reared its ugly mug before my virtual GI - a stealth assignment!

Two Worlds II screenshot

This wasn't the part that stumped me in TW II, but it is completely applicable to my anguish.

Are you kidding me?  I had carefully crafted my Hero to be the super tank for all ages, but now he was obligated to complete some seemingly random, clandestine operation for the story to progress.  What's up with that nonsense?  The bliss enjoyed merely moments ago quickly vanished.  Necessitating this unnatural tactic upon my champion was the equivalent to a swift kick to my spiritual grill.  I love a good challenge and all, but sometimes jamming a square peg into a round hole just doesn't cut it.  

Frustrated to no end, I quickly hit the Save button and ended my gaming session.  I sat there thinking to myself how much I truly despised this type of Alter-Ego adventure.  If I were top dog overseeing this game project, after several failed attempts I would have allowed an "Annihilate All" gamer option of dealing with the problem at hand.  Sure, the rewards would not be as great as accomplishing the goal as originally instructed, but at least the player could proceed and continue to get their game on.

The following are other types of missions that truly tend to spike my blood pressure, and not in a good way.

Timed Missions
 
GTA III screenshot

The GTA series is known for their timed missions, and I respect that.  Too bad I suck at them.

Being a more casual gamer, I prefer to enjoy the gaming experience at a steady pace rather than always being in 5th gear. Timed Missions are my antithesis. Initially, I love the adrenaline flow that immediately occurs when that ticking clock unexpectedly pops up in the right hand corner of your display. But once the countdown begins in full earnest, I am singing a completely different tune - one of panic and stress. Don't get me wrong, I do like the pressure that accompanies missions of this sort. That being said, I don't want to put through the agony of attempting to complete a timed objective 30 consecutive times just to continue the story (I am looking at you GTA). Yeah, I know, this type may be targeted by me due to my gaming futility. But regardless if I stink, it wouldn't kill the developers to throw me a few outs, or workarounds, at the very least.

Bad Vehicle Missions
   
Mass Effect screenshot

Driving that Mako in the original Mass Effect was anything but enjoyable.

I love driving a rad car/boat/ship/etc. as much as the next guy, but it needs to be properly executed. There are very few things worse than sticking it to the man with a crappily controlled mode of transportation. It is frustrating as hell to maneuver a poorly engineered (programmed) POS, but on top of that to expect us to achieve any sort of objective is ludicrous. I don't care if it is a horse, hover craft, whatever, please triple the time you spend on QA testing in this area prior to incorporating into any game. Like my parents preached to me as an adolescent, just because you can do something son doesn't necessarily mean you should (a lesson Mass Effect 2 thankfully took to heart).

Escort Missions


Resident Evil 4 screenshot

Zombie killing machine one moment, protecting an innocent the next.  Shame on you RE 4.

You know the drill.  Deliver some random, computer controlled being/convoy from Point A to Point B, hoping they don't get massacred along the way.  I think developers want us to feel some type of emotional attachment to these NPC idiots.  First off, I really don’t give a rat's ass if they get butchered - I am just doing this quest for the loot and experience points.  Secondly, if you are going to burden me with this dolt, at least program them properly.  It's bad enough that I have to protect someone who only has a sliver of HP/protection to begin with compared to our foes, but then you saddle them with programming afflictions as well.  All of them are either slow of foot, unfocused, confused or too brave for their own good.  Give them (and me) a fighting chance for goodness sake! 

I realize that I may be somewhat venting due to the cruel twist of fate that befell my gaming session this weekend.  Regardless, every gamer out there has certain types of missions that they absolutely hate.  I'd love to hear about yours, but I just found out that my lady friend scheduled a dinner party for this evening (without my knowledge) and I have to run.  I guess the internal recharging for this INTJ is coming to an end.

In all honesty, that 'stealth assignment' for my Two Worlds II warrior is looking pretty good to me right about now.  Smiley

What Gaming Missions Do You Completely Hate?




Posted on Nov 27th 2010 at 11:05:54 PM by (Marriott_Guy)
Posted under Site News

The Perfect Storm

 
For nearly two generations, the console world has been dominated by the big three - Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft. All have produced fine systems in their own right, introducing new technology and innovations to our gaming universe. That being said, the availability of viable alternatives has been virtually nonexistent for the past decade. Outside of a few niche systems (XaviXPORT, et. al.), the Big Three have reaped the benefits of conducting business within a pseudo monopolistic environment. If history truly repeats itself, this technological bottleneck may be nearing the end of its cycle.
 

 
Throughout the video gaming era, console wars tend to erupt when a significant breakthrough occurs in a complimentary industry. Whether it is the development of a new microprocessor or the introduction of an enhanced media format, competition increases as manufacturers look to capitalize on emerging technologies. Many of these ventures have been less than successful, but every now and again a new face can rise to prominence. Microsoft and Sony are prime examples of this. Current advancements in autostereoscopy (3D display without use of peripherals) and motion/voice controlled interaction may provide the requisite window of opportunity for the next video gaming juggernaut.

For any company to take advantage of this potential opening, a perfect storm must occur with the convergence of the following attributes: Financial Wherewithal, Technological Expertise, Brand Recognition and Visionary Leadership.

Financial Wherewithal

 
Needless to say, entry into the video game hardware market is an extremely expensive endeavor. In addition to the assumed R&D, marketing, manufacturing, and associated overhead expense of producing a new system (which in and of itself is staggering), any prospective company must be able to withstand significant losses during the initial product launch and those incurred throughout its developmental phase. Such investment necessitates a long term fiscal commitment, coupled with the experience to successfully develop/execute the base economic model.
 

Technological Expertise

 
The ability to take advantage of existing in-house resources is almost a necessity. Companies able to redeploy andor repurpose established assets gain significant financial flexibility due to lowered expenses in those synergistic areas. The core competencies of an organization must not only be complimentary in nature, but be realized directly within the hardware of any prospective new system.
 

Brand Recognition

 
This past decade has been economically challenging to say the least. The general public is discerning as ever regarding discretionary purchases. Price will always play a significant role in these buying decisions, but trust in the brand has become equally, if not more, important. This would be especially true for a new product entry in a market not normally associated with said company. Consumers, along with shareholders, need to have confidence in a corporation prior to supporting any new venture, especially one that might be viewed as risky.
 

Visionary Leadership


Obviously, this is an absolute necessity for any entity to be successful. The ability to not only anticipate, but more importantly to meet, the long-term demand of the consumer is critical in maintaining/obtaining superiority over the competition. The leadership team must have excellent foresight, but also the mettle to follow through and effectively sell their vision to all vested parties.
 

The following lists a few companies, all of which have varied historical ties to the video game console industry, which fit this speculative profile.

 

 
This giant is no stranger to the video game market.  In addition to releasing their moderately successful CD-i line of consoles during the 1990s, Philips was the official distributor and manufacturer of the Magnavox Odyssey 2 video game system in Europe (VideoPac).  Philips has long been an innovator within the electronics industry, creating the Laser Disc format and then subsequently developing, in conjunction with Sony and others, the optical disc formats we enjoy today (CD, DVD, Blu-ray).  Their portfolio is extremely diversified, with almost 45% of total annual sales derived from their Healthcare division, which in fact specializes in Imaging Systems and Devices (potential 3D gaming applications).
 

 

 
Another industry behemoth, Toshiba has long been a leader in the manufacturing and development of electronic devices and systems.  They have been known to invest in emerging technologies, such as the NUON and their patented HD-DVD disc format.  Their purchase of Westinghouse Electric Company, one of the world’s largest producers of nuclear energy, in 2006 is a prime example of their visionary culture.  They are currently at the forefront of 3D-TV evolution, unveiling the first peripheral-free sets this past October, 2010.
 

 

 
If there is one company that truly excels in building, and maintaining, consumer loyalty, look no further than Apple, Inc.  Since their inception in 1976, Apple has continually introduced new products that challenge the traditional offerings of its competitors.  This sprit of change, coupled with excellent manufacturing, marketing and support, has garnered them an extremely devoted customer base.  Though their last venture into the video game market was disastrous (the Pippin, licensed to Bandai), this company is not afraid to step outside the proverbial box.
 

 

 
The entertainment world has changed considerably over the past decade.  Video games are no longer the red headed step child of their box office counterpart(s) - they are now partners.  Continued advancements in CGI (computer-generated imagery) and further integration within each medium provides excellent leveraging opportunities.  Time Warner’s diversified portfolio provides them the ability to maximize the productivity of existing, internal resources.  Let's not forget that Warner also has a little history in the video game hardware market - they owned Atari from 1976-1984.
 

 

 
Yes, this is the dark horse, sentimental entry in this company list.  After a successful run throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Sega bowed out of the console war after their release of the Dreamcast system in 1999 due to significant company debt.  They have since rebounded as a third party, multi-platform software distributor.  Rumors of a new, propriety handheld system have recently surfaced, resulting in a flurry of internet chatter as to the possibility of Sega reentering the hardware arena.
 

 

The above list is purely theoretical in nature. Research was conducted in compiling the prospective candidates, but by no means should this be viewed as anything but an educated conjecture. In all honesty, as market conditions change, successful companies have the ability to adapt and shift focus to meet consumer demand and maintain profitability. For all we know, the next juggernaut console may be named one of the following:


OK, I grant you that last entry (SX2) might be a bit of a stretch.  But the truth is, the next household name may come from a complete unknown, as has been demonstrated in the past.  At the end of the day, new competition only enhances our video gaming experience and advances technology.  In today's age, a true perfect storm must occur for this to happen.  Who will surprise us?
 

Outside of the Big Three, who do you think
could potentially be the next hardware giant?




Posted on Oct 31st 2010 at 07:21:57 PM by (Marriott_Guy)
Posted under The RFG Pulse, Modern Gaming

Favorite console of this current generation?

Getting poll results. Please wait...

Hello all.

I don't know about you, but it seems like time has flown by quickly during this current generation of consoles.  The Microsoft Xbox 360 is preparing to have its 5th birthday already, with the Nintendo Wii and Sony Playstation 3 not far behind.  It seems like just yesterday that I strolled into GameStop to purchase my first 'next-gen' system.  Time truly does fly by at times, which is not necessarily welcomed by this vintage gamer.
Smiley

With these anniversaries quickly approaching, I thought it might be fun to have our next installment of The RFG Pulse focus on a very simple question:  Which of the current generation consoles is your favorite?  Each system has its redeeming qualities as well as its faults - that is a given.  I imagine this will be a rather tight race.

Which console is your favorite?
Microsoft Xbox 360Nintendo WiiSony Playstation 3

Vote and Share your thoughts with the community!





Posted on Oct 27th 2010 at 07:27:40 PM by (Marriott_Guy)
Posted under MGs Game Take, MGs Gaming Take, PC Gaming

Gaming Flashback
Vintage PC Gaming & Memory Management

 
After enduring countless badgering sessions from my lady friend, I finally relented this past weekend and agreed to clean up her computer.  Mind you I am not a selfish person, but she is rather "download" happy and I was relatively sure this stint was not going to be a quick enema of the Startup menu.  Sad to say, I was not disappointed.

After adjusting her desk chair for normal human use (she is only 5' tall), I proceeded to fire up her PC and was greeted (after 5 minutes of boot time) with a plethora of system tray icons - 18 in total!  Her system was so crippled and memory starved that ToolTips displayed after a 20 second delay.  Needless to say I was disgusted by this mess, but at the same time rather invigorated by the challenge of freeing up precious RAM for this abused Compaq Presario.  The task at hand reminded me of the old days when memory management and PC gaming went hand-in-hand.
 

 
I bought my first personal computer back in 1989, an IBM PC compatible Packard Bell 386. This set me back $1,689 and truly had me living on white bread and generic peanut butter for the entire 12 month financing period. I didn't care - PC Gaming (at that time) blew away anything that was available on the consoles. I assumed that software for this new device would be basically like their console counterparts (plug-n-play), just with vastly superior graphics and game play.  I dove into this technological pool head first with eager anticipation.  My exuberance quickly changed to one of confusion after installing my first game, Quest for Glory I: So You Want To Be A Hero.  Upon typing in the executable command (there were no menus back then), I was greeted with the DOS text message: "Insufficient memory to perform requested operation", quickly followed by:

Just like a blank Word document is to an author with writer's block, this flashing prompt was intimidating to say the least.  To this computing nubile, this was the modern day equivalent of the Windows Blue Screen of Death.  I had no idea how to respond to that relentless blinking cursor.  A lesson was quickly learned while I blankly stared at the monochrome display: a certain proficiency in the abstruse DOS language would be required if I wanted to partake in PC Gaming.

You have to remember that Windows (or Mac/Linux/etc.) was not a standard in 1989 - it was basically DOS. There were no memory optimization programs at the time. You were left to your own devices to configure the allocation of this precious resource known as RAM.  There was but one method available to monitor this critical component - the beloved MEM command (sample shown below).

The key for early PC Gaming was to free as much Conventional Memory as possible, while ensuring that you still loaded your various device drivers (mouse, CD drive, sound card, etc.).  This was accomplished by the editing of two critical system files - Autoexec.bat and Config.sys.  Let me tell you, this was not an easy task and was basically a trial and error procedure.  I won't bore you with the details, but for nostalgic purposes and as a tribute to us old farts here is a sample screen shot.

Basically it became a game of Tetris while you juggled various commands/drivers into the High Memory Area to relieve the strain on the core resources of the system for applications.  This "Quest for Memory" became almost an obsession during the era of vintage PC gaming.  I vividly remember the first time I was able to get my Conventional Memory above the magical 600KB threshold - man was I stoked!!

Though it is true that managing RAM is just as important in today's modern age of PC Gaming, I can't really say that I received the same level of satisfaction once I got done lobotomizing my lady friend's computer.  Sure, I was happy with the end result but it did not resonate the pure joy that accompanied like accomplishments back in the day.

After this past weekend, I am glad that this mundane task is not as arduous as it once was.  That being said, the pure adrenaline rush that I experienced in finally being able to fire up Quest for Glory will always hold a special place in my heart. 

Thanks for taking a trip down the PC Gaming memory lane with me.


 
 

What are your fond memories of vintage PC Gaming?





Posted on Oct 9th 2010 at 06:28:44 PM by (Marriott_Guy)
Posted under Accessory Snapshot, Modern Gaming

Accessory Snapshot

Monoprice 8X1 Enhanced Powered HDMI Switcher
High Def Switching Station

 
I jumped on the HDTV bandwagon relatively early with the purchase of my Toshiba 52HM84 DLP television set back in 2004.  At that time, the war for a standardized digital input was still raging and HDMI was not yet an industry standard.  Not willing to sink a great deal of money into a fledgling format, my set came equipped with just one (1) HDMI port.  With today's gaming systems (and other HD devices) fully embracing High Definition technology, I am once again begging for more television inputs.   The Monoprice 8X1 Enhanced Powered HDMI Switcher (Monoprice 8X1) was the answer I was looking for.

This externally powered device features a robust eight HDMI 1.2 compliant inputs.  This easily accommodates my current set up (Xbox 360, PS3, Cable Box), but more importantly allows plenty of room for growth.  The unit is self-aware and will automatically switch to the active HDMI device (a definite plus).  I have not experienced any freezing of images when switching (manually or device driven) between connected systems, though there is around a 5 second delay for the Monoprice 8X1 to determine/display the correct source.  The performance is exceptional - the quality of picture and sound is unaffected by the use of this switcher.  A RS-232 serial interface is also provided for controlling this device from your computer.  I have not messed around at all with this feature (RS-232) so I can not comment at all on its ease of use or performance in this area.

The black matte, solid steel casing of the Monoprice 8X1 is exceptionally sturdy.  It is packaged with mounting brackets to easily place this switcher within your existing A/V cabinet.  The front facing is elegant and simple, but the red and green LED lights to indicate the active device are truly abrasive.  They are so bright that it is rather bothersome when you are in a gaming session.  When all HDMI devices are inactive, the LED board is fully alit (pictured below) and so luminous that I could actually read the manual in an otherwise completely dark room.  Now if this isn't overkill, I don't know what is.

The Monoprice 8X1 also is accompanied with a bank of various electrical convertors, which enhances this product's attractiveness to those outside North America.  The plug itself is mounted on a convenient swiveled pedestal allowing you to customize the electrical connection (a.k.a. squeezing it into your surge protector).  Installation and set up is a breeze - plug it in and you are all set to go.  This unit does come with a small remote, but I have yet had the need to use it due to the HDMI auto-sensing capabilities of this device.

Prior to purchasing this unit, I did a great deal of research on HDMI Switches.  The general consensus was that, as of today, all of these are basically toasters - the brand doesn't really matter for basic HDMI switching.  One has to be aware of potential compatibility issues, signal "freezes" and ease of RS-232 support, but price overall is the determining factor in one's purchasing decision.  Similar Monoprice products had been rated well by CNET and other independent review sources, especially when evaluating the value quotient.  I purchased this unit around four months ago (July, 2010) and have been very pleased thus far with its performance.

Pros

Significantly increased High Def ports on your TV by providing eight HDMI connections for your gaming systems

Auto-sensing capabilities basically eliminates the need for further interaction once you have all of your HD devices connected

Cons

The LED indicator lights are abnormally intense and somewhat distracting when gaming

Externally powered by an included AC adaptor, so you will need to free up a spot on that surge protector for this unit


 

What HDMI Switcher Do You Utilize? 
Share Your Thoughts & Suggestions with the RFG Community!!

Coming up next on the Accessory Snapshot:
The Logitech Cordless Action Controller





Posted on Oct 7th 2010 at 04:00:00 AM by (Marriott_Guy)
Posted under Accessory Snapshot, General Gaming

Accessory Snapshot

The Pelican System Selector Pro
Switching Station

 
If you are an old school gamer like myself, it goes without saying that there is a significant need for additional standard def television inputs due to the large library of systems requiring this type of A/V connection.  Typically I'll play games across a variety of consoles - the last thing I want to do is mess around behind a TV switching out cords and the like.  The Pelican System Selector Pro was/is my salvation.

This device features an impressive 8 A/V (Composite / S-Video) and 3 Component inputs.  Additionally, there are three Ethernet ports for sharing a broadband connection between systems that utilize this technology.  One of the best features is the convenient front A/V ports (hidden by a concealed door) which allows quick access to plug in and play those 'occasional' systems in your collection. 

The performance is exceptional with both CRT and HD television sets.  I have never experienced degradation of signal nor lag time regardless of the what system(s) I have hooked up. Newer models come with a remote, but in all honesty I think this is pretty useless.  I greatly prefer the simple push-button method of selecting a system on my older model rather than trying to fuddle around looking for a remote. 

The Pelican System Selector Pro is not a small unit.  Measuring in at a healthy 9.5" D x 17.0" W x 2.5" means that you will have to allow some space in your display.  The design does meet industry standards, so this is a stackable unit with other components in your A/V rack.  Contrary to what may be initially communicated by the feel of the rather light weight, hard plastic chassis, this switcher has been extremely durable over the nine years that I have had it.  A customizable, lit name plate is located directly above each console/device that is connected to the Pelican System Selector Pro

Overall this is highly recommended for any gamer that has multiple systems they want to have connected to their TV.  If you want to spend more time on gaming rather than jockeying cables, the Pelican System Selector Pro is for you. 

Pros

Significantly frees up those precious ports on your TV by providing  8 A/V connection for your gaming systems

Built-in mini 'router' is extremely convenient for those that do not have access to a wireless environment

Cons

Plastic construction feels a little fragile, but I have had no issue with it at all over the 9+ years that I have had it.

Externally powered by an included AC adaptor, so you will need to free up a spot on that surge protector for this unit


 

What Switcher Do You Utilize? 
Share Your Thoughts & Suggestions with the RFG Community!!

Coming up next on the Accessory Snapshot:
The Logitech Cordless Action Controller





Posted on Oct 3rd 2010 at 06:03:23 PM by (Marriott_Guy)
Posted under Accessory Snapshot, Sony Playstation 3, Modern Gaming

Accessory Snapshot

Energizer Power & Play Charging Station
For the Sony Playstation 3

 
Keeping your controllers fully charged is obviously important in today's age of wireless gaming.  Of equal importance is having an organized, spot-on display within my Room of Doom.  The Energizer Power & Play Charging Station was just what the doctor ordered for this gamer.

I have never been a big fan of the USB method utilized by Sony to charge standard issue controllers and certain peripherals.  Though thoroughly effective, it is not the most convenient process known to man.  The Energizer Power & Play Charging Station eases this process considerably.

This handy, compact device can simultaneously charge up to four (4) standard DualShock 3 or Sixaxis controllers in around 2.5 hours.  Two are easily docked directly into the station while two additional USB ports provide access to charge other peripheral accessories (i.e. microphone). The station alerts you to the charging status or each via the not so subtle lighting display (red = charging; green = complete).  The performance is outstanding - I have not experienced any decrease in game play time as compared to controllers charged through conventional means.  This excellence is also reflected in its overall design.

The oval, classic black chassis of the Energizer Power & Play Charging Station is nicely accented with a mirrored-silver front nameplate.  The lighting indicators are extremely vibrant but not to the point of being offensive.  The end result is an extremely clean, modern look that will not only compliment your Playstation 3 system, but will enhance your general display.

Overall the Energizer Power & Play Charging Station truly delivers on all accounts by providing exceptional functionality in a sleek, contemporary presentation. 

Pros

Reliably charges up to four (4) USB devices at once

Compact yet stylish design compliments any Room of Doom

Cleans up that mess of mini USB cables hanging off your PS3 like umbilical cords

Cons

Plastic construction feels a little fragile

The base could be a bit heavier to provide better stability when docking a controller

Externally powered by an included AC adaptor, so you will need to free up a spot on that surge protector for this unit


 

Coming up next on the Accessory Snapshot:
The Pelican System Selector Pro





Posted on Jul 14th 2010 at 06:59:49 PM by (Marriott_Guy)
Posted under MGs Game Take

The True Holy Grails
of Video Game Hardware

"The Majors"

 
We have already established that the term Holy Grail is a highly subjective adjective in the first part of this series, along with identifying systems 11-20 of those that 98PaceCar and I deem worthy of this lofty title.  We now move on to the Top 10 - those systems that truly are the center pieces in any hardware collection.

As in the past article, we limited ourselves to considering the standard release of a console (no crazy development units, clones, protos or LE/SE editions).

As in any collecting field, the more obscure and rare and item is directly impacts its price.  We did not list any suggested prices for any of these systems, but some descriptors will give you a pretty good idea of their value in terms of cold hard cash (along with availability).

Most of the following consoles are unknown to the standard gamer.  These are systems that basically should be targeted by only the most serious  hardware collector and require substantial investment.  Finding these at all will take considerable effort (for the most part).

OK, let's get to it - the Top 10 Holy Grails for the hardware collector.

The True Holy Grails of Video Game Hardware - The Majors.
 

    

 

10.  Bandai Pippin @WORLD

 
In 1995, Apple Computer Inc. joined the console foray by finishing the development of a system based on a scaled down version of their System 7 OS. Named the Pippin, Apple followed the 3DO Company's lead by licensing this technology to an outside manufacturer - Bandai Digital Entertainment.  The Bandai Pippin @WORLD is the North American release of this console.  It is estimated that only 5,000 of these were sold during its limited lifespan.
 

 

09.  Funtech Super A'Can

 
In 1995, Funtech Entertainment Corporation released the first original gaming system in Taiwan - the Super A'Can. Produced and sold exclusively in its native country, the console and controllers feel very fragile, constructed of thin plastics that belies its strong, dark grey outwardly appearance and extremely high price tag.  Very few of these systems were sold, and it has been reported that Funtech Entertainment Corporation lost $6 million USD in this venture. This is a hard one to acquire since it does have a pretty strong cult following due to the obscurity of this system.
  

 

08.  APF Imagination Machine

 
In late 1978, a company by the name of APF Technologies released a simple cartridge based system similar to other consoles on the market named the APF M1000.  The console itself could then be "docked" to the MPA-10 to create a hybrid computer. The combined unit became the APF Imagination Machine and provided the BASIC program language, keyboard, 9K of RAM and could be expanded to 17K RAM, color graphics and a built in cassette recorder.  Finding a complete system is extremely difficult due to the fact that these are cherished by collectors from the era (both video game and computer enthusiasts).
 

 

07.  Entex Adventure Vision

 
Released in 1982 to a lukewarm reception, the Adventure Vision had only about a year lifespan on the market before it was pulled. The consoles that were sold were fragile and troublesome, so few have survived to today. This makes it difficult to find a working example and nearly impossible to find one for a low price. It's estimated that only 10,000 of the consoles were made.  Few other consoles have the star power of the Adventure Vision. It's a well known grail item that any true collector will have at least heard of. The only downside to hunting for one is that you will often find yourself bidding against hand held collectors as well as console collectors, making the interested audience that much bigger. If you want to add an Adventure Vision to your collection, you had better be ready to break out the checkbook.
 

 

06.  Casio PV-1000

 
Casio of Japan, known for their line of calculators, decided to cash in on the console videogame craze. In 1983 Casio produced the PV-1000 console.  This Japanese exclusive was below average compared to the competition (Sega SG-1000 and the Nintendo Famicom) when it debuted and met its demise quickly. This is an extremely rare item and only recommended for the ultra-serious console collector.  This console lacks the fanfare of the some earlier entries, but is actually more difficult to find due to its limited run.
 

 

05.  Capcom CPS Changer

 
In 1994, Capcom decided to follow SNK's lead in the Neo Geo AES and released the CPS Changer.   Based entirely upon existing arcade hits, this system produced excellent quality and game play.  This system is a new addition to a very lucky member of the VGCL team - 98PaceCar.  Both of us have been hunting for this system for quite a long time and have only seen it available on Yahoo-Japan once or twice.  Only 11 titles were released for this Japanese system.  This system is extremely pricey - expect to be competing with arcade collectors as well when trying to acquire this treasure.
 

 

04.  Bandai SuperVision 8000

 
Notable game developer Bandai was very involved in hardware development and manufacturing beginning in 1977 with its popular line of TV-Jack pong based consoles (six total releases within two years). Building on their mild success in this arena, the Bandai Super Vision 8000 debuted in 1979 and was the very first programmable game cartridge system released in Japan (before Sega and Nintendo). This system is one of the least known amongst collectors, but its place in history is unquestioned and is truly a milestone in any collection.
 

 

03.  Daewoo Zemmix Turbo CPG-120

 
Korean based Daewoo produced the Zemmix CPG-120 console (Zemmix in Korean means "It's Fun") that was the pinnacle of its line of MSX based systems.  This console was basically a MSX computer in a console casing. It was an NTSC based machine capable of playing MSX cartridge games.  All Zemmix systems are expensive and rare, but this 'UFO' anomaly is a true grail for the hardware enthusiast.  Be prepared to dig out and sell any gold fillings you may have - this console is a serious investment.
 

 

02.  Katz Media Player KMP 2000

 
The Katz Media Player is the European release of the Bandai Pippin ATMARK (itself a rather obscure system).  98PaceCar and I have never seen one of these for sale in all of our combined years of collecting hardware.  This may be a questionable entry to this list since there is some speculation if this system was actually sold for retail.  I can not even guess what it would take to acquire one of these beasts.  If you were married to Jessica Biel, expect to pimp her for a good two years straight to pay for this peach. 
 

 

01.  RDI Halcyon

 
For the console collector, there are no systems that will match the rarity of the RDI Halcyon. If you are fortunate enough to locate one, it will be the centerpiece of any collection.  Little is known about the true production of the system and it is a non-confirmed rumor that the system was even available at retail. Current information tells us that no more than 10 units were built for the investors of the company, all of them by hand.  It doesn't get any better than this folks - welcome to the true holy grail of video game hardware!!
 

 
 Did We Miss Any Consoles from our Two Part Series?
 

   Happy Hunting!! 





Posted on Jun 21st 2010 at 08:27:53 PM by (Marriott_Guy)
Posted under MGs Game Take, MGs Gaming Take

No Soup For You!!!

 
As I grow more experienced in life (a.k.a. get old), I find myself becoming less patient and accommodating for daily idiocies that I once blew off without a moment's thought. I'm a pretty easy going guy, but there are quite a few things that are truly beginning to torque me off.

   o Clueless dolts talking on their cell phone in the check-out line at CVS
   o The Fire Sauce Gestapo at the Taco Bell drive through window
   o Two foot long receipt for my $0.99 Tic-Tacs purchase
   o Idiots taking up three spots because they don't know how to parallel park
   o My lady friend for making me sit through the Housewives of New York City

When it comes to video gaming, there is one specific pet peeve of mine that is really starting to get my BP fluctuating as of late - the "No Soup For You!!" attitude of game developers. Let me explain.
 

 
Like most gamers, I follow certain series and can't wait for the next release. I'd like to think of myself as an investor in these franchises - without forking down my hard-earned coin for their games there would never be any sequel.  So what do I get in return for my loyalty, financial backing and continued support? You guessed it - usually NOTTA.

There are some exceptions to the rule, but for the most part very few titles in the post 16-bit era allow you to import data from your previous adventure/season/etc. I am not necessarily looking to start off a new gaming venture with my super-human character from a last installment - that would basically ruin the new game experience/fun. But I admit I do want a little "sumthin-sumthin". Give me some bad-ass sword, first pick in the draft, a special mission, whatever. Recognize that I am a loyal follower of your series (as well as a suido-shareholder).

I am happy to see new game releases like Mass Effect 2 that will actually take notice and compensate me for beefing up my Shephard in ME1.  In my humble opinion, the employment of this "thanks for your loyalty" programming strategy should be the rule rather than the exception.

There is no excuse why developers can't show us some love for our continued patronage of their respective gaming series. With today's technology and expanded media formats, they can surely squeeze in a few 0's and 1's to at least recognize our past efforts. It's bad enough that my wallet is getting brutalized like a contestant on Hell's Kitchen for DLC and the like. Throw me a bone (extra lives, cool outfit, a retro car, etc.) - I have earned it!!!

Give me my soup!!


The Quest For Glory series allowed me to import and grow Gabriel, my Paladin who dished out more pain than a 24 hour dentist.


Suikoden II did it the best (regarding importing data), rewarding players by being able to welcome back old friends.
 

Is my point of view coming from left field?  What are your thoughts?




Posted on Jun 6th 2010 at 06:25:42 PM by (Marriott_Guy)
Posted under Site News, MGs Collecting Take

The True Holy Grails
of Video Game Hardware

"The Minors"

 
Everyone is very familiar with the term Holy Grail - we see it utilized in auctions and being bandied about in user forums like a birdie during a badminton match. At times we may not agree with the assessment as we deem the item 'not worthy' of this high compliment. In all honesty, this is truly a very subjective arena and really comes down to whatever your heart is fixated upon.  That being said, this collector posed the very simple question to myself:  How does a video game system truly merit the lofty title of being a Holy Grail?

When tackling this question, I conferred with my friend and fellow hardware collector 98PaceCar. We both agreed: it is all about rarity and availability (almost synonymous). That was the easy point of our discussion. We now we had to tackle the lineup of consoles that justify Holy Grail status. Let me tell you, this was no small feat.

When developing our list, we limited ourselves to considering the standard release of a console (no crazy development units, clones, protos or LE/SE editions). Even after this filtering, we still were left with 20 systems that warranted accolades - way too many for one article.

This initial entry of this two part series is entitled The Minors - those systems that just missed out being in the top ten Holy Grails of all time. Let's check out the consoles 11-20 on our list.
    

 

20.  Nintendo 64DD (Disk Drive)

 
Though system peripherals were not to be initially included in this countdown, the Nintendo 64DD will be an exception.  Released on December 1, 1999 as an add-on for the Nintendo 64, the 64DD was doomed from the start.  Technology had passed up the capabilities that it offered (see the PS2 and Xbox) and development for this system ground to a halt.  Only nine (9) titles were ever released for this Japanese exclusive.  Even the promising RANDnet online gaming service could not save this sinking ship.
 

 

19.  FM Towns Marty

 
The Fujitsu Company decided to make an attempt to penetrate the console games market by taking their popular FM TOWNS line of computers and adding in some special components to create a stand alone video game console. The result was the FM Towns Marty, the world's first 32-bit video game console.  This is a system that is not hard to find, but the cost to purchase one is steep.  Another rare bird is the FM Towns Car Marty - a portable gaming unit that you could plug into the cigarette lighter and enjoy gaming on the road.
 

 

18.  Sony PSX DESR-5100

 
The Sony PSX is a high priced multimedia device designed to be the center of your home entertainment experience. The Sony PSX is driven by the "heart and soul" of the Playstation 2 console.  This gives the Sony PSX all the features found in the Playstation 2 console (Progressive Scan DVD playback, Music CD playback, Playstation 2 and PlayStation games) combined with full DVR capabilities (and the XMB found in the PS3).  The DESR-5100 model was the only edition released in the cool Satin Silver finish (hence this is the desirable model).  This Japanese exclusive is not hard to find, but acquiring one is a very pricey proposition.
 

 

17.  Aiwa Mega-CD

Aiwa Mega-CD

 
The Aiwa Mega-CD (pictured to the right), was one of these such machines.  The system consists of two parts - the top CD player and the bottom docking station that provided the Sega Mega Drive/CD interface/capabilities (except sound).  This rare bird was a Japanese exclusive and will lighten your pocketbook quite a bit (if you can find one).

 

16.  Pioneer LaserActive with All PAC Units

 
Everyone is familiar with the Pioneer LaserActive, but to have one with all of the add-on PAC units is a true feat for any collector.  The Sega Pac is rather common, but the NEC unit is the exact opposite.  Add to the that the Karaoke and the Computer Interface PACs and you are looking at some serious cash.  The rare 3D goggles are another expected expenditure.  It was the second most expensive video game console ever released during its day - it retains that expensive distinction to this very day.
 

 

15.  Gakken Compact Vision

 
Gakken
was a popular manufacturer of arcade and handheld games throughout the 1980s. In 1983, Gakken decided to try their hand at the home console market with the Gakken Compact Vision.  This is definitely one strange bird - the controller is built into the system itself and is definitely one of the oddest designs ever created.  All games (only 6 were released) are single player affairs.  This system never saw the light of day outside of the Japanese market.
 

 

14.  Nichubitsu My Vision

 
Another console released only in Japan. Arcade game maker Nichibutsu wanted to take a chance on the console market. In 1983 they released the KH-1000 better known as "My Vision" (manufactured by Kanto Electronics). The My Vision carts were all based on board games. Its biggest focus was on the game Mahjong. The My Vision also provided an external port for Mahjong expansion cartridges.  This is another system that never took off and owes its inclusion on this list due to its obscurity.
 

 

13.  Sharp Famicom Titler AN-510

 
Having the distinction of being the only Nintendo Famicom system that delivered S-Video output, this console is truly a behemoth.  In addition to being a full gaming machine, the Titler incorporating video editing capabilities (subtitles, credits, etc.) complete with a writing pad and styles.  You could plug your video camera directly into the back of the system and edit to your heart's content.  To this day, I still can not fathom why this was done.  It any case, this oddity is definitely a prized possession in any collector's display.
 

 

12.  Commodore 64GS

 
In 1990, Commodore set their attentions on the videogame console market. They followed the same concept as other computer companies (Fujitsu with the FM Towns Marty and before that the Amstrad GX400). Their new system was called the Commodore 64GS (GS = Game System) and was released only in Europe. The unit was basically just a repackaged Commodore 64 computer.  It did not fair well as all since technology had already passed it by at the time of its release.
 

 

11.  Tomy Pyuuta Jr.

 
The Tomy Pyuuta Jr. was the dedicated console release of the Tomy Pyuuta, a hybrid computer released in Japan in 1983.  The original Pyuuta had a moderate amount of success, enough so to have models released in Europe (Grandstand Tutor) and in North America (Tomy Tutor).  This is another Japanese exclusive and is a tough find due to its limited release as well as its unpopularity.  Expect to import this if you are able to find one at all.
 

 
What Consoles Do You Think Will Make the Top 10??
 

  
Stay tuned for Part II in this series, The Majors!!
 





Posted on Apr 30th 2010 at 07:23:58 PM by (Marriott_Guy)
Posted under Site News, MGs Collecting Take


Loose Games
The Salvation of Lost Souls
 

 
Loose games are definitely the red-headed stepchildren of the video game collector. Regardless of how many hours of enjoyable game play they provide, I always find myself harboring a certain disdain for these orphans. I can organize till my heart's content and yet they don't even come close to presenting as well as their CIB counterparts in my Room of Doom. In all honesty, I find myself utilizing them as 'spacers' or 'props' for their CIB brethren rather than integrating them fully into my collection.

I love the game Halo and (believe it or not) the actual disc (pictured to the left) still plays great, even though my brother's dog got at it like it was a piece of fresh steak.  The only reason this would be displayed in my collection would be as a conversational piece.  Now that is just wrong.

As any CIB purist will tell you, the solution is to simply re-buy a game in its complete state. I wholeheartedly agree, but let's face reality - not many people (including me) have the unlimited discretionary funds at their disposal to do this. I just want to be able to proudly display these strays, while keeping my financial investment at a minimum. To accomplish this, there are basically two areas that we need to focus upon - the casing and the accompanying artworkcover. 

Let's provide some redemption for these lost souls - all for around $1 per game!!
 

Game Casing

 
The first step in our 'orphan makeover' is to get them a new holder. Seeking out some of the oddball packaging (Sega CD, CD-i, 3DO, etc.) is not really an option since we need to keep the total cost per game at about $1.  The table below shows what replacement case to use for a respective system, along with some popular web links on where to purchase (these will open in a new window).

 
Standard CD Jewel Case
Clear/Black 5.2mm CD Jewel Case (holds 1)
Approximate Cost
$0.24
 

 
You can use these for any of the CD based systems, including the TurboGrafx (Hue Card - with modification).  I am not a big fan of these, but they do save on space.  Systems that originally came in this packaging were the Sony Playstation (for the most part), Sega Dreamcast (various colors). TG-16CD, Philips CD-i (without the big box) and the Bandai Pippin (though deeper).  The Casio Loopy and Bandai Playdia also came in modified versions of this CD case.

Purchasing Quick Links:   eBay   Amazon   BlankDVDMedia.com
 

 
Standard DVD Case


Approximate Cost
$0.38
 

 
This is my preferred method of storage for loose disc-based games.  Tall, plenty of room for artwork, manuals, easy to display, etc. - I love DVD cases! This was the standard casing for the Sony Playstation 2, Nintendo GameCube and NUON titles.  In addition, this is the casing of choice for Sega CD, Panasonic 3DO, Philips CD-i, NEC PC-FX, Memorex VIS and the original longbox Sony Playstation games.

Purchasing Quick Links:   eBay   Amazon   MediaShelving.com
 

 
Wii DVD Case


Approximate Cost
$0.42
 

 
The standard casing for the Nintendo Wii is the white DVD case - nothing flashy but highly effective in it's presentation.  I haven't had the need to replace any of my Wii titles as of yet, but these will run you a few more cents.

Purchasing Quick Links:   eBay   Amazon   MediaShelving.com

 
Xbox  Xbox 360 DVD Case

Green (XBOX 360 color) 14mm DVD Case (holds 1)
Approximate Cost
$0.51
 

     
These translucent green cases are designed for Microsoft Xbox and Xbox 360 games.  These are a little bit trickier to find.  You will pay through the nose for them on the various auction sites - I definitely recommend getting a lot of these and split them up with you buds.  This will save you a boatload of cash.

Purchasing Quick Links:   eBay   Amazon   MediaShelving.com


PS3 BR Case

PS3 - Universal - Replacement Retail Game Case - Frosty Clea
Approximate Cost
$0.62
 


This frosty clear Sony PS3 case can be rather expensive. Sometimes you can score these pretty cheap on the mainstream sites, but don't expect them to have the signature Sony logo on them.  If you want that be prepared to shell out  another $3.50 or so per case.

Purchasing Quick Links:   eBay   Amazon   OpenTip.com

 
Universal Game Case


Approximate Cost
$0.57
 

 
The Universal Game Case - our orphan's true savior.  This marvel can hold nearly any cart that you have lying around.  It is the same height / width of a DVD case, but is twice as deep (1").  Definitely purchase them in bulk - you will end up three times as much if you don't.

Purchasing Quick Links:   eBay   Amazon   MediaShelving.com

Cover Art

 
Now that we have some new digs for our loose games, it is time to get them a little 'paint'.  There are a few websites out there that offer downloadable artwork, but the best by far is The Cover Project.

At this website, you can download very professional renditions of the original game's jacket, as well as some customized versions.  With all cover art organized by system, the site is very easy to navigate and downloading the artwork is a snap.  For each submission the author lets you know what game case the design was intended for.  Simply down, print and place in your previously purchased game case and you are ready to roll.  Here are some of their sample offerings (size scaled down for this article):

Samples for use with The Universal Game Case

Sample for use with a CD Jewel Case (FrontBack)

Samples for use with DVD Style Casing

To print the full-sized inlays at home costs around $0.20 (depending on your printer) per copy.  This is based on using regular paper - not the shiny high-gloss variety (which you really don't need for this project).  To send it over to your local Kinkos will run you around $0.53.  This is not a bad deal either to be honest, especially if you do not have the means at your home to produce quality color documents.
 

In Summary

 
My bro is never going to get a free pass for letting his dogs destroy my copy of Halo, but for around a buck I can once again fully integrate it proudly into my main collection.  Do not give up hope on those loose, misbegotten souls - new life is just $1 away.
 

NOTE: None of this is necessarily 'new' info, but I thought it would be helpful for all collectors, regardless of experience, to have this info all in one place.  And no, I am not getting any kickbacks from any of the sites listed/featured in this article.  I am listing them only as a possible resource for you.





Posted on Feb 23rd 2010 at 08:13:41 PM by (Marriott_Guy)
Posted under Site News, MGs Gaming Take

The Diversity of Gamer Breeds


 

   
The level of enjoyment of any multi-player gaming experience is heavily dependant upon your fellow gamers.  Whether it be teaming with a bud in a co-op couch game of Contra or joining an online bout with hundreds of unnamed souls in Worlds of Warcraft, it still boils down to the same  - are the people you are interacting with cool?

This was never so evident to me after the massacre I stomached during my recent online gaming experience (Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2).   Gamers come in all shapes and sizes as well as dispositions.  This mirrors the varied communal landscapes that we respectively reside within.  The diversity of the players truly make the gaming experience, but let's face it - they are those that we would be A-OK to never see or hear from again.

The following pokes a little fun at the each of these types by describing the pros/cons of playing with them.
   

The BFF-Wannabee
a.k.a. Overly Friendly Dude
The Gaming Posse / Clan
a.k.a. Brothers Fo' Eva'
Pros

o Pretty affable and easy to get along with
o They are always encouraging even if you suck

Pros

o Their good teamwork can really rock the score
o Sometimes their bantering can be humorous

Cons

o Tend to get on your nerves rather quickly
o Talks way too much during a gaming session

Cons

o Can have a self-driven, elitist mentality
o Slow to make a decision - no alpha wolf present

The Overly Charged
a.k.a. The Cry Baby

The Night of the Living Dead
a.k.a. Catatonics 'R Us

Pros

o They'll definitely keep the team objective focused
o No question as to what they are thinking/feeling

Pros

o Good team players and receives direction well
o Doesn't clutter the airwaves with useless musings

Cons

o Easy to throw off their game with a little goading
o Constant whining is akin to that of a 9 year old

Cons

o Hard to tell if they are even alive and breathing
o They are about as much fun as a 24-hour Dentist

The Serious Joe
a.k.a. Too Smart For My Own Good
The Big Easy
a.k.a. Laisser-faire United
Pros

o These achievement whores will carry your team
o Will take 'point' on difficult tasks/objectives

Pros

o Goes with the flow - never makes waves
o Open for any variation of the game, at any time

Cons

o I Am An Island (they don't really care about you)
o Most are basically egocentrically a-holes

Cons

o Sloooow player... this isn't chess holmes!
o Easily loses focus while admiring game scenery

The Flirt
a.k.a. Anonymity Rocks!!
The Drunk & Stoned
a.k.a. Pass The Cheetos Dude!
Pros

o Always nice hearing a sexy sounding female voice
o Gets imagination thinking it might be Jessica Alba

Pros

o This guy is a riot to play with when not puking
o Easy to send in as the sacrificial guinea pig

Cons

o Unnecessarily distracts your hard-up teammates
o Jessica Alba is NEVER on the other end of the mic

Cons

o Leaves the game every 5 minutes for munchies
o Asks many questions; forgets own name allot

The Unfocused Multi-Tasker
a.k.a. ADD Sufferers
The Hater
a.k.a. Mad At The World Guy
 
Pros

o Juggles multiple team assignments well
o Pretty OK when changing games

Pros

o Fun to rile them up - easy target for verbal abuse
o Hmmm... I honestly can't think of anything else

Cons

o Usually never knows what the heck is going on
o Spends time dicking around instead of playing

Cons

o Always making excuses and blaming others
o Basically they are a pain in the ass

The Legend
a.k.a. The Old Fart
The Child Prodigy
a.k.a. The Most Hated of All Gamer Types
 
Pros

None, unless you are are looking for...
o ...a history lesson on games like PONG
o ...a true Alpha Wolf to make decisions (j/k pups)

Pros

None, unless they are your kid and can have them...
o ...fetch your favorite beverage during a session
o ...set you up for life by winning game tourneys

Cons

o Leaves game every 5 minutes for the bathroom
o They ARE the 24-Hour dentist
o Basically sum of Cons above, just a bit different

Cons

o They don't even have to try to beat you
o You will never be as good as they are at age 10
o Trash talk, show-boating, etc.  Need I go on???

 
What Other Gaming Types Did I Miss??
Which One(s) Would You Consider Yourself?

 

   
Obviously this writing plays upon some common stereotypes and associated personality quirks.  We all have our unique peccadilloes and probably can honestly pick a few of the Pros / Cons from the various types depicted above. Special thanks to the anonymous pictured in the above public domain pictures featured in this article for allowing us to have a little fun.
 




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
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