The Origin of Species of GamersThe Origin of Species of Gamers

Posted on Apr 16th 2017 at 08:00:00 AM by (bickman2k)
Posted under People of RF Generation, MetalFRO, Game Boy, Bad Puns

Name(First only):



Nebraska, USA

Where does your screen name come from?

ďFROĒ was a high school nickname, so when I first went online, I used that as my handle.  As forums and online communities became more popular, I suddenly wasnít able to keep using that, because others snapped it up, so I added ďMetalĒ to the front, because of my love of heavy metal music, and it just kind of stuck.  Iím still ďFROĒ on the forums, however.

How did you find RFG?

I was looking for gaming-related podcasts, specifically retro or collecting, and came upon the RFG Playcast.  After listening to an episode or two, and enjoying the discussion, I checked out the site.

What made you stay and become part of RFG?

The community.  Specifically, I participated in a play-through of Super Metroid, and the great encouragement and support I got, as a first time player of the game, was a big deal.  Shortly thereafter, I began posting blogs, and after I got my first blog post promoted to the front page, I knew I had found a good online home.

Have you ever met or personally know anyone at RFG?

I havenít met anyone yet, though I hope to remedy that this year.  Iíd like to attend Retro World Expo, and possibly one other con.  I have developed a camaraderie with a couple RFGen members, however, and talk with some of them via chat or text on a regular basis.

Number of Games Owned(at time of printing):

A little over 2,000

Number of Games on Wishlist(at time of printing):

My ďofficialĒ RFGen wishlist has 10 items in it, but in reality, I want all the games and all the systems!

Number of Systems:

Iím going to say 25, not including variants or iterative hardware revisions.

When did you start collecting?

Technically in Jr. High when I bought my Genesis, as I still have nearly all of the games I had back then, but I really started collecting as an adult when I got my Game Boy Color, PlayStation, and Sega Saturn.  I ramped up my collection efforts the most in the last 4 or 5 years, however.

What was your first system you owned?

The Nintendo Game Boy.

What was your first game?

First game I played was either Pac-Man or Combat, on my uncleís Atari 2600.

What was your first game you bought yourself? 

That would probably be a PC version of Double Dragon II.

What made you decide to buy that particular game? 

I was big into Double Dragon because of friends, and the cover art for the game was awesome - almost post-apocalyptic, and very ďmetalĒ in the general aesthetic.

First game you ever beat?

I donít remember specifically, but thatís probably either Super Mario Bros. or Kingís Quest on PC.

Have you ever broken anything due to frustration from a game? Be honest, we won't tellÖ

Sadly, yes.  Iíve recounted the story a couple times elsewhere, but in early adulthood, when I first got my PlayStation, I had a lousy MadCatz PS1 pad, and decided to use it to play Coreís ďNinja: Shadow of DarknessĒ, a 3D action game with platforming elements.  The game was super difficult for me, and the platforming was maddening.  I got so mad one night I threw the controller on the ground.  It landed face down on the carpet, and one of the analog stick nubs popped off.  After that, I traded in the game.

Are you collecting now, if so what anything specific?

Yes, Iím collecting somewhat indiscriminately, in the sense that Iím just buying up everything decent that I find at Goodwill and the local pawn shops.  More specifically, however, Iím working on a full, non-variant licensed US set of Game Boy games, and a full, CIB PSP set, including Greatest Hits and Favorites releases, as well as all limited/special/collectors editions, and all DualPack releases.  That will take me a few years to assemble, Iím assuming.  Iím also casually collecting CIB Genesis games, though far less fervently.

When did you feel a tipping point from gamer to both gamer and game collector?

Probably when I decided that I wanted to collect, play, and review every licensed US game boy game.  I had begun to collect more in the months leading up to that, but once I decided to go that route, it became a pursuit, and I began looking much more closely for used games anywhere I could find them.

What are your goals as a game collector, how have you developed them, and how do you feel about your progress toward them?

As mentioned, Iím working toward a non-variant licensed US set of Game Boy games, and a full/complete PSP set.  The Game Boy idea developed because I want to play and review all games.  The PSP collection is just more of a thing I want to do for fun.  I quite like the PSP, and because of its large library (with loads of variety!), I felt like that would be a good system to collect for.  I had begun to buy PSP games to play a few years earlier, and as the system was being phased out, I thought maybe I could get in on some good deals for picking up games as they were being liquidated.  As of this writing, Iím 5 games away from 300 US GB games, so nearly ⅗ of the US library.  Iím also 1 game away from having 250 US PSP titles, which is astounding, considering that 3 years ago, I had maybe 20 or 25 games.
How many games, systems, etc. are "enough"?

Itís never enough!  All joking aside, I would say itís enough when you either donít have enough storage space to keep it all, are spending more money than what you can actually allocate to your collecting habit (i.e. going into debt), or both.  I have more games now than I could ever realistically play, but the hunt for games is part of the enjoyment of it, so for me, that fuels the fire.

What's your proudest moment as a game collector?

In 2001, at a pawn shop, I snagged a complete in box Atari Jaguar, as well as a deck-only JVC XíEye.  I paid a little more for the XíEye than I wanted to, but Iíve never seen one in the wild since, and I still use that as my primary Genesis console today.

What's your least proud moment as a game collector?

Probably a handful of times over the last 2 years where Iíve thrown caution to the wind and used my credit card to buy games, instead of only spending cash I had on hand.  I try to be frugal as much as possible, but occasionally I get carried away.

If you had to give part of your collection away for a worthy cause what part would it be, and why?

Probably either my Wii games or my Xbox 360 games.  Partially because I could easily get them both back, but also because I have a LOT of great titles for both systems, and one assumes that the games would go to folks to be played, so a good library of accessible games would make sense.

Where/how do you store it all?

Most of it I now have on shelving in my game room, though my PSP and PS1 collections are still boxed, because my shelving isnít sufficient enough to house everything.
What's your favorite part of your collection?

Hard to say, though besides my GB and PSP stuff, that might be my small Saturn collection.  I have a handful of great titles, and while I donít have very many, I have a lot of nostalgia for the Saturn, since I got into it right at the time of its demise, when I was rekindling my love for the hobby.

What about a favorite series?

Depends on the genre.  Iím a sucker for the Super Mario Bros. series, both from nostalgia and good game design, but Iím also really into shmups, so I quite like the R-Type series, the Gradius series, the Thunder Force games, etc.  I got REALLY into the God of War games a few years back, and played through all of them in rapid succession.

What is your guilty pleasure when it comes to gaming?

I donít really have any.  The obvious answer would be ďfilthy casualĒ games on mobile, but mostly I enjoy quick match-3 puzzle games and stuff like that on my phone.  Otherwise, if itís a game I enjoy, I shouldnít feel ashamed for enjoying it.  Unless that game is something like a hentai game - then Iíd probably have some shame in playing or enjoying it.

What is the most valuable part of your collection(Value or sentimental)?

In terms of sheer value, I donít have anything thatís crazy expensive or rare, so probably a handful of games I own would be worth more than original retail, but not by a large margin.  In terms of nostalgia, Iíd say my copy of Lightening Force for the Sega Genesis.  I still have my original copy from Jr. High, and have probably a dozen or so high scores written in the back of the manual from those days.  I absolutely poured over that game as a teen, and itís still a favorite.

What game do you have the most nostalgia for?

Probably Kingís Quest, specifically the IBM PCjr version.  That game opened my eyes to what was beyond the Atari 2600, and because we could hook the PCjr up to the TV for 16-color graphics and 3-channel sound, I was just awestruck by how amazing the game looked and sounded for its time.  I spent countless hours playing that game, and ever after I had completed it, I played through it multiple times.

What would you like to improve in your collection?

For sure my storage and game room setup.  I want to get better shelving thatís more space-saving and helps me display stuff better, but also helps me organize better so I donít have stacks of games on top of one another, and can instead have single-layer shelves where I can pull a game off the shelf without having to lift up 10 or 15 carts or cases on top.

What do you think was your best deal while game buying?

Probably my copy of the original Lunar for Sega CD.  I picked it up, sans map, a few years back for $20 in very minty condition.

What item in your collection do you feel you overpaid for?

The JVC XíEye I mentioned before.  It was console only, it was in rough shape, and sold ďas isĒ, so I had no idea if it even worked, because the pawn shop owner had no way to test it.  I spent $100 on it with no idea if I would be throwing my money away.  Thankfully, it worked out, but at the time, that was way more money than I had to spend on something like that.

Good spending is crucial in collecting. What do you feel is the strangest or weirdest item in your collection?

I donít have much that would be considered strange, though I do have a handful of random foreign releases that Iíve picked up in the wild at various game stores.  Outside of that, maybe my custom RF Generation wrestling belt I won for the December 2014 shmups competition? Wink

Is there any way you'd ever stop collecting?

If things ever changed to where, financially speaking, I couldnít keep going, or would have to sell games off because of financial hardship, then possibly.  Or if I ever ran out of space for it all Smiley

Do you have a funny story about your collection?

Not really, other than the usual horror stories of moving games, hoping cases donít crack (Iím looking at you, Sega Saturn), and tales of having passed up games when they were cheap, like a $20 Saturn Bomberman or $30 Saturn version Mega Man 8, back when they were closeouts.  So funny, but also kinda sad Sad

Have you ever had to move your collection to another house? What was it like?

Not at the size it is now.  The biggest move I had to make was when I moved from Nebraska to North Carolina, and then back again a few months later.  Packing up all my consoles and games (maybe 250-300) at that time was a pain.  I canít imagine what it would be like to move all my stuff now that Iíve amassed 8-10 times that!

If your significant other told you no more games, what would you do?

Try and negotiate for a slower pace of acquisition or something.  Ultimately, if it was a hard ďnoĒ, I have enough to keep me playing for years to come, so Iíd be okay, but the collector in me would still hunger for more chances to find stuff in the wild.

What percentage of your games are still sealed?

Iím not a sealed collector, so the only games I have sealed are either ones I picked up that way and just havenít opened to play yet, so probably only 4-5 games at this point.
What percentage of your games have you actually played?

20% - 25% maybe?


Probably closer to 5% or 10%

Do you own any complete collections? 

Sadly, no, not yet.

Time to bring out the fanboys! What is your favorite game of all time?

Probably a tie between Kingís Quest and Lightening Force.  The original PC version of Starflight is a close second.

Least Favorite?

Glover for the PlayStation comes to mind.  That game frustrated me to no end when I played it years ago.

Do you collect anything else besides games?

Music CDs (somewhere in the 3,500 to 4,000 range) and vinyl albums (probably somewhere between 250-350 records)

What do you outside of games?

Iím an IT Systems Administrator by day, and as mentioned, I collect music, so Iím a major music lover.  I also play drums, and occasionally sing, though just in church.  I used to sing in a metal band, many years ago.

crabmaster2000, the previous interviewee, asked, ďWhat's your favorite gaming controller of all time?Ē

Good question!  Itís a toss up between the Saturn 3D control pad (so comfortable!), the original PlayStation DualShock pad, and the Xbox 360 pads (again, comfy!).

Thanks for your time!

Permalink | Comments [16] | Digg This Article |

Recent Entries
Spooky Plays: Haunting Ground (10/24/2020)
A Brief Look At: Bandai Scale Sony Playstation Model Kit (10/22/2020)
My eBay account is twenty years old! (10/20/2020)
Door Kickers: Action Squad (10/18/2020)
The Brilliance of Super Mario Bros 35 (10/21/2020)

Another King's Quest fan!! How have we never talked about that series before? It's so good!!

You were so close to the correct answer on best controller. The 6 button Saturn Pad is incredible, not the 3D pad!!
Great to learn more about you, MetalFRO.  I've always enjoyed your writing and perspective here.
Finally someone that's broken a controller! I thought they were a myth!  Cheesy

That is an impressive music collection. I like it!
@Crabmaster2000: Yay for King's Quest!  I played the original a TON as a kid, then later, played a ton of KQ4, and many years later, spent a bunch of time on KQ6.  I got flummoxed by 2 quickly, 3 just upset me, with the whole randomly being abducted and returned back to the starting point by the wizard, and for some reason I never got into 5.  I don't have a Model 2 Saturn pad, so the only 6-button pad I have is the TERRIBLE Model 1 version, with the janky shoulder buttons.  NO THANK YOU!!! Tongue

@slackur: Thank you for the kind words Smiley

@nupoile: Yeah, technically I've been collecting music longer than video games, since I started buying CDs in Jr. High, and started collecting pretty hardcore once I reached adulthood and had more disposable income.  I went into a CD buying bonanza from about 2007 to 2011 or 2012, buying up all kinds of stuff from smaller bands, from small labels that were run by people I knew, buying closeouts of older releases, getting good deals on stuff for half price or less, buying directly from bands at shows, etc.  I've reached a point where it gets hard to listen to them all, so I slowed way down out of necessity, both financial and in terms of the ability to consume them.  Game collecting is different, because the collection aspect is different, there's far greater overall value in game collecting, and with some stuff, complete copies are far harder to find.  With collecting music CDs, MOST of the time you find them complete, and most used CD stores won't even take them in for trade unless they have the tray card and booklet, so unless you're scoring from thrift stores or pawn shops, who are sometimes less discriminatory with such things, it's harder to find something incomplete than it is complete.

Also, not to sound like a hipster, but I started collecting vinyl in high school, around '94.  I was out on a date, and for a laugh, we went to Goodwill.  While there, I saw a bunch of great records that interested me, and they had a 1960's era clamshell portable turntable for $10.  I bought it, along with Asia's debut, Yes "Fragile", ELP "Tarkus" and a couple obscure records from bands I'd never heard of.  That set me off on my vinyl collecting journey.  Once I figured out how to hook the player up to my shelf system, instead of the lousy detachable speakers that came with it, that opened things up even more.  These days, I mostly buy new vinyl, as used stuff is getting more expensive, and harder to find the stuff I want, which is mostly classic hard rock and metal, unless you spend more money and buy online.  I've also started to buy video game soundtracks on vinyl, which I'm really enjoying.
Nice! We owned 1-4 so I've played those ones quite a bit. I agree that 3 was frustrating for the same reason you stated. Never beat that one.

V all my friends had so I played it a lot when visiting. Beat it a few times as a kid and then again on the NES version later. It's really fantastic. Possibly the best in the series.  You should definitely check it out.

Since 6 came packed in with a lot of computers back in the day I played a tone of 6 also. Always got stuck on the hieroglyphics puzzle while scaling the mountain. Friend eventually told me the key I needed to beat the puzzle was in the manual....duh. beat it after that.

Had one friend who owned 7 and it is gorgeous. We never did finish it though. I need to revisit this series soon!
And I was referring to the model 2 6 button pad. I agree model 1 is garbage Smiley
Impressive music collection! I'm a huge music lover myself, but it's strange, I've gotten to the point where I'm totally ok going all digital with my music collection, and am on my way to doing the same with my movie collection. But with games I prefer to always have the physical copies over digital.
@Crabmaster2000: Yeah, I figured you were talking about the Model 2 Saturn pad.  I've unfortunately never even held one in my hand, and since the bulk of my time has been spent using either the 3D pad, or an off-brand arcade stick, I've not had the opportunity to experience the legendary pad.  Someday...

Also, awesome to hear about the KQ experience!  I actually still have a 2-CD KQ set that included 1-6, and an early demo of 7, as well as a boxed copy of KQ2 that I bought many years ago, but I didn't fall in love with the later games like I did the first one.

@zophar53: I still want physical for my music collection, but I've taken to buying more vinyl in recent years, because it's a more intimate listening experience, especially for me, since I have a manual turntable that doesn't shut off at the end of a side.  It means I have to stay close by, and be there to experience the music.  I appreciate that aspect of the medium, and the fact that, if you want it to sound good, you have to take care of the records, so it forces me to be really good about my collection.  With CDs, as long as you store them properly and don't scratch them, you're fine until disc rot eventually takes over.  But with vinyl, the care you have to take is much more a day by day thing, so that more interactive element is a nice touch for me.  I do appreciate the convenience of digital, though, and have 3 cell phones full of music that I use frequently!
I love the King's Quest series. I also own the 2CD set and I've beaten ever games in the series sans 7 and 8. I played the IBM PC Jr KQ1 at a friend's house and saved up enough to buy the KQ 2, 3 and 4 bundle at Software Etc. I asked for a Sound Blaster card and CD-ROM for Christmas to play KQ6. I have the first episode of the new series on Steam but I haven't found time to play it yet.

250 is a lot of PSP games! Have you played the Legend of Heroes series on the PSP?

Crabby is right that the model 2 Saturn pad is the best.

Thanks for the interview and I'm looking forward to the next GB review and the next interview.

@MetalFRO: That's an interesting argument for keeping the physical records. It's not one I've heard before actually, but it makes total sense to me. I'm a little too lazy personally to clean them regularly like you do, but I definitely understand the tactile qualities you describe. For me, the convenience of digital and being able to stream nearly any song I want at any time to any cell phone or PC that I have with me takes the cake with music. However, in recent years I've started collecting physical books for many of the same reasons you mention. I do a lot of reading on Kindle for the convenience, but I still love the feel and smell of a physical book, and treat them with a level of care similar to you with records.
These are always fun to read, even when I chat with FRO often. Lightening Force FTW.
A fellow IT person!  That's good to know!
I absolutely love reading these! I already feel like a part of the community but it's always refreshing to learn even more. I'm not as active as I used to be and this helps pull me back in. Maybe one day I'll get one! HA!
FRO!  I feel a little bit late to the party here, but it is really great reading about you.  I've read pretty all of your articles (big fan of the GB ones) and always look forward to your next one.  Of course, I get to "cheat" at bit  and read them early (perks of editing, I guess).  Personally speaking (though I imagine there are others here) I would love to hear more about your experiences with King's Quest on PCjr and maybe something with one of the three or four main remakes (VGA, console, modern, or whatever).  Also, big nod to the PSP set.  I love that system, and it is truly a crime that piracy pretty much killed it.  I've not warmed up to the Vita yet, but maybe soon.  Who knows.  Ditto on the Legend of Heroes games.  The fourth is simply one of the best JRPGs, period.

Nice to see that RFGen is again well stocked with IT personnel.  While I am simply a humble "break/fix" guy, I do work closely a systems admin.  I love asking this question, but are you an "admin," "root," or a little bit of both?

Finally, kudos on the controller.  While I consider the 360 my favorite 3D controller (less dead zones means more analog goodness), I feel the Saturn (model 2 and 3D), are simply the best overall controllers for feel and longevity.  It was also the biggest crime when Sega "improved" the Saturn controller with the Dreamcast controller (in my opinion, the weakest link in the system).
@Addicted: I have not yet played any of the Legends of Heroes series on PSP yet - in fact, in my 250+ games, I don't believe I have any yet!  I'll have to be on the lookout...

@Duke.Togo: Lightening Force!  Solidarity, brother! Cheesy

@Gamer4Lyfe: Yes, IT is in my blood!  From the early days of puttering around with the family's IBM PCjr and attempting to program in BASIC, to bypassing classroom PC security so I could play games during my Computer Aided Drafting course in high school, I've always had a fascination with technology, and a propensity for figuring stuff out.

@monkees19: Thanks for reading, and you never know when you'll be called upon to answer the questions Wink

@bombatomba: Thanks for the kind words - glad to know someone's reading my GB reviews, and appreciating the work that goes into them!  You have a great idea there, in that, I would love to do a bit of a retrospective about my experiences with King's Quest, because the PCjr version was the original, and most people I've talked to have never experienced it the "proper" way on a PCjr or compatible Tandy, with the full 16-color graphics AND 3 channel sound, which I really felt enhanced the experience.  I'm planning on a more full write-up about Breath of the Wild for my May article, but if I get the gumption, I might have to pull the PCjr out of the basement, boot it up and see if my KQ floppy disk still works, and fire it up again so I can have it pull me in again!

Agree on the PSP, though the piracy aspect is part of what pulled me in - not that I wanted to pirate things, but more, the potential in custom firmware.  I love that I can buy the UMDs, use ISO_TOOL to rip them to my memory stick, and then play that way so I can save my UMD drive from total failure.  But yeah, I understand that not many people were very honorable in the way they used their PSPs, and it did eventually lead to the system's demise, though it was successful during its run, so thankfully, there are lots of them in the wild, and loads of great games to play.  As to your IT question, I guess I'm a little of both, though I lean more "admin" than "root", because I'm a "Wintel" guy, and have very little Linux experience.  I know enough to be dangerous!  And yes, the Dreamcast controller design was inexplicable.  They took the comfortable shape and size from the 3D Saturn pad and did the goofy thing with the cord coming out of the bottom, a less than ideal analog stick, a single analog stick, and fewer buttons, since the face only had 4, instead of the Saturn's 6.  It was a definite step backward, and was likely a contributing factor to the system's downfall.
@MetalFRO: The second and third games in the series are the ones to really keep an eye out. I'll keep a look out for you as well. (Legend of Heroes III, The: Song of the Ocean & Legend of Heroes II: Prophecy of the Moonlight Witch, The)

 Login or register to comment
It appears as though you are not a member of our site, or are not logged in.
It appears as though you can not comment currently. Becoming able to comment though is easy! All you need to do is register for the site! Not only will you be able to access any other site features including the forum and collection tools. If you are a registered user and just need to login then you can do so here.

Comment! It's easy, thoughtful, and who knows you might just enjoy it!
This is bickman2k's Blog.
View Profile | RSS
As much as the world has changed, our still somewhat niche spot as gamers has adapted to the times as well as the games. We have created our online museum of our past. We share our experiences about the present. And we will evolve together as the gaming community continues to change. I hope to write about some of my experiences with gaming, as well as on some topics that were not directly relevant to me, but to the community or you personally.
Blog Navigation
Browse Bloggers | My Blog
Hot Entries
Hot Community Entries
Site content Copyright © unless otherwise noted. Oh, and keep it on channel three.