Friday, November 29, 2013

Black Friday Video Game Memories

Over just the past few years the entire identity of Black Friday has been a bit muddled and lost. It use to be about getting up in the dark and fighting the cold out to some store to possible get a good deal. Now days Black Friday doesn’t even take place of Friday, as stores such as Walmart, Best Buy and others open their doors while most folks are still chowing down on Turkey. It’s weird to say this but it seems as if the concept of Black Friday is now retro too. Don’t worry this blog post isn’t about me bitching about the lost meaning of Black Friday, so don’t worry.

What I actually want to talk about is video game memories of Black Friday, you see I have many myself some of which aren’t that old. I hoping you have some memories about video games and Black Friday too.

So here goes. My favorite Black Friday memory is when I bought Command & Conquer: Red Alert on PC in 1996. I was a huge fan of the original Command & Conquer and had been waiting long for a sequel. Although Red Alert isn’t exactly a sequel the game play is extremely similar, and Red Alert offered some really cool new elements. I like this memory the most because it involved me going out with my Mom that morning and having breakfast with her before heading up to the Best Buy in a neighboring town. You see a year later my Mom would be dying of cancer, so I hold this memory close. To say the least I got to Best Buy got my game and I loved playing every minute of it.

My next memory placed my back in high school as a freshmen, it had to be about 1992. My Dad who I previously mentioned hated shopping stayed home and I went out with my Mom and newly wed sister. They got such a late start that most of the day was a bust and the best deals they where looking for where all gone, plus traffic was so bad we never made it to the mall. Luckily some how I made it to a Funcoland, and I got a ton of NES games I had been waiting a while to get. Afterburner, Top Gun, and Captain Skyhawk where just a few of the games I got. Like I said in previous post I was into flight sims (I will use that term loosely for NES). I was just great to get a bunch of games like that.

Black Friday 2011 is another favorite since this is the day I got my Xbox 360. It was a bundle with the 250 GB hard drive, Fabel III, Halo Reach, and Fruit Ninja. I got a semi-late start and headed into Best Buy (which had been open since Midnight) around 10AM, I expected all the systems to be gone. Instead I walked in found a huge display with a lot of them grabbed one, bought it and left, total time in store 5 minutes. Anyway, I plugged it in at home Fabel III was ok, but Halo Reach blew my mind, I was up till 4AM playing it.  I’ve loved the Halo games ever since.

I imagine I have other game memories of Black Friday as a matter of fact I think it might have been a Black Friday I got Berserk on Atari 5200, but I cant remember that clearly.

So what about you what memories do you have of Black Friday video games? 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Who Will Be Left Standing at the End of Gen 8: Part 2

We left off examining the potential downfall of the WiiU, and maybe even Nintendo in part one. We also established that in the in the less then 40 years of the video gaming industries history, that every decade had has its tribulations and victims knocked from the hill of success and into an oblivion of mediocrity. So as we sit here on the cusp of Gen 8 consoles who will be the victim(s) of the 10's?

We've covered WiiU's flaws, so let us look now at the XBOX ONE. The XBOX ONE has been stirring up controversy since we (and that includes Microsoft) knew the prototype as that XBox 720. Unlike the 360 the ONE comes with the Kinect as a standard feature, but unlike the 360 the Kinect on the ONE gets the creepiness factor of being on all the time. Meaning the f$&*ing robot is always watching you. Now if that isn't enough to potentially turn you off to the ONE, here are a few more WTF factors Mr. Gates and Microsoft want us to swallow. The ONE has to be connected to XBox Live at all times, and on top of that you have to have a valid possibly paid account to XBox live to do so. How are you feeling about the ONE so far? Well, I'm not done on top of that Microsoft is telling us once you put a game on your ONE, it can never be played anywhere else. So much for selling stinker games to Gamestop or playing XBox at a friends house with your own game.

To say the least a lot of XBox devotees are beginning to defect to the PS4 as soon as it comes out. The worst part is rather then listening to fans Microsoft seems to be taking a hard line and refusing to change its plans for the ONE. So you have to ask yourself if Microsoft is unaware the PS4 is a real competitor, if their completely arrogant, or both. 

What's even stranger is the new ONE will not be launching with one of XBox's most premier titles Halo. A Halo title will come out with the XBOX ONE, but it will be a simple and somewhat unspectacular reboot of the first Halo that came out with the original XBox. Doesn't that seem a little strange to you? 

So what's the deal here is Microsoft trying to get out of the video game market and doing it with a bomb? I mean let's be honest outside if Halo and a few other titles most of what comes out on XBox also comes out on Playstation. So Microsoft could abandon the market at the end of Gen 8 with very little impact to gamers and publishers. Microsoft could even just make all its in house games for PS4 or perhaps in this case we are talking PS5. 

Either way Microsoft seems to be taking the XBox to a direction most gamers and consumers are not crazy about. A failure in Gen 8 won't spell the end for Microsoft but it may end the XBox. So is the ONE another candidate for a victim of this decade? 

Now, don't get me wrong I like my XBox 360. I choose it in Gen 7, mainly because of Halo, and do to that fact that as far as online gameplay and downloadable content the 360 was or should I say is considered superior to the PS3. As a matter of fact when people with a PS3 come to my house the want to play Halo.  But, I'm not to sure about the ONE, or what direction I will go in Gen 8. What I do know is I went with Playstation 1 and 2 in Gen 5 and 6 respectively and I could make the move to PS4 easily. 

Until then I hope Microsoft will get smart about the ONE, but at the same time perhaps we are looking at a Gen 8 victim, but this one is by choice. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

No Respect for the Last Connection to Gamings Past

Video gaming whether modern or retro always has its 800 pound Gorilla in the room, usually multiple ones. There are the bad things we don't want to talk about like the whole Custers Revenge thing, and then there are the good things like educational gaming we don't want to talk about either. It's strange to think that in retro circles the unspeakable is a game like Math Grand Prix, or that Big Birds Egg Drop is on the same level of being shunned as Beat Em' & Eat Em'. 

But the fact of the matter is that we all have fond memories of educational games, whether we want to admit it or not. For instance I actually liked Math Grand Prix, and I have very fond memories of Oregon Trail, and Where in the World is Carmen San Diego, as I was wrapping up my 8th grade year. Of course lets be honest looking back the only thing educational about Oregon Trail may have been its title. 

Nowadays, educational games still exist and cover a wide range topics that extend far beyond the basic math, geography, and history questions of the games we knew as kids. As a matter of fact some educational games also have there own game systems, no doubt to assure parents that all the games for that system are educational and age appropriate, and avoid the mistakes of possibly putting the wrong game in on a standard system. Not to mention these educational systems have controllers that are easier to manage for small kids. But, there is one aspect of the modern educational game systems that I find to be very fascinating, and that is in an era of CD-ROMs and electronic formats, these systems use cartridges. 

To me nothing epitomizes the era of retro gaming more then cartridge based games. Every Atari from the 2600 to the Jaguar, Nintendo from the NES to N64, and other systems like the Sega Genesis, C64, and NEO GEO all used cartridges in that golden era. So in a way these educational game systems are the last descendants of the once great cartridge based gaming platforms. Yet, they hardly receive the recognition that one would expect. 

Having seen my sons Leapfrog and VSmile games in action I have to say they are not all that bad. For the most part they are 2D, which is very traditional and old school, but I think this is done more to come accross as more cartoon like so as to appeal to kids more. Yet in the grand scheme of things both system failed to garner his attention long enough for him to show a real interest. I don't know if this is because having to solve a math problem in order to get Superman to break down a door just wasn't any fun, or if it was that he just felt other systems where more impressive. I'm guessing it was the whole learning thing. 

Overall, though it doesn't seem as if these systems can get any respect. Go to any garage sale where the residents have pre-pubescent kids, or to many thrift stores and you will find these systems sitting out there totally ignored. In many ways as if the stigmatism of educational gaming we had as kids just seems to carry on. 

As a retro gamer and a father I have these systems in my house, although the VSmile wall adaptor doesn't work, and a few of the games went missing in a recent move. After I began to realize the signicance of the fact that the VSmile and Leapster both still use cartridges I decided to include these out of place systems into the fold of retro and modern video gaming, by hooking the VSmile up to the very same TV that now hosts my Atari 2600, Sega Genesis, NES, and PS 2 (and hopefully XBOX 360 and Wii if I replace them with an XBOX One and Wii U soon), and also give the games and portable game systems space in the same cabinet that now has games for these other systems, and holds my Gameboys, and DS. 

What are your thoughts? As retro gamers and collectors should we adopt or shun these educational systems? Let me know?

Friday, November 22, 2013

Sorting Out Your Game Collection

I have a pretty good memory, but there's games in my collection I don't always remember. This is particularly true in collecting Atari 2600 games, especially when you can pick up whole lots of 10+ each on e-bay fairly inexpensively. Having just revived my collection, remembering all the titles I had was a bit of a mystery. So looking through e-bay I held off on getting some lots out of fear of getting games I already have. 

To help me through this I decided I had to catalog my collection somehow. Luckily, there's an app for that and I want to share it with you.

Above are two examples of apps from Sort It Apps, the simply names Video Games, and Music are two examples. Each can be found on the iTunes Store for free and allow you to track your collections of video games, music, movies, apps and other items.

This is the sort screen here I can see all my games, on any platform. This video game app allows you to search you collection by platform too. 

This is the free version and allows you to search their database of games, or manually enter a UPC to find them. The full version is $5.99 and allows you to simply scan UPC's, and edit info on titles. Both versions have an eBay tool that will list your titles on eBay for you. Also there are areas that allow you to log if you loaned games out, rate them, and list the dates you completed them.

Overall, this is a really great app and worth looking into. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Who Will Be Left Standing at the End of Gen 8: Part 1

You know the video game industry as a self contained unit is a fascinating thing. It's an industry that is totally driven by consumerism and it's products are purely  the purchases of those with disposable income. Meaning consumers can abandon the game market with little impact to themselves. It's like this perfect little example of monopolistic competition.

With that being said though is definitely a place of economic Darwinism and once a decade some competitor gets knocked off the the top of the hill. In the giant video game industry crash of 82' for instance many of Atari's clone making competitors disappeared and Atari itself almost lost everything. But Atari would only be king of the hill for so long as the American market became open to the likes of Nintendo, and Sega to name a few. 

In the 90's Atari would finally be knocked from the hill after the failure of the Jaguar and Lynx. And in the 00' Sega would be knocked from the hill after the Dreamcasts failure and new competition from the Playstation and XBox. But whats interesting about the video game industry is even though Atari and Sega are no longer big time players, they and many other video game companies don't so much as go out of business, its more like the bow out into oblivion. To paraphrase General MacCarther "Old video game companies never day,....they just fade away!". 

But here we are its late 2013, and we have Gen 8's best a brightest either out or coming out soon. But if we follow video game console history, should we prepare ourselves to see Gen 8 claim victims? We have our competitors the WiiU, the XBox One, and PS4. Which ones will be left standing?

Let's take a look at the WiiU. Really it's not all that impressive and doesn't exactly seem like a step forward for Nintendo. When comparing the quantum leap in technology between the GameCube and the Wii, the move to the WiiU seems like a bit of a letdown. As a matter of fact that handheld screen controller seems more like backward progress, or an attempt at an inter-generational mezzanine level if technology. Of course we know from the Sega 32x, and Atari 5200 mezzanine level tech never does well. But, here is something even more interesting to consider about the WiiU, in an article titled "The Madden Theory" by video game expert and host of The Retro League Hugues Johnson, Johnson shows compelling evidence game consoles that don't get the newest titles from the Madden franchise have short lifespans. The WiiU has not received Madden 25, and won't. Does this mean the WiiU is fated to a short life? 

Check out Hugues article below:

I personally find the article compelling, and when combined with the lackluster tech of the WiiU in comparison to its predecessor, and the XBox 360's Kinect you have to ask yourself about the WiiU's future. You also have to ask yourself about the fate of Nintendo. Has Nintendo lost its golden touch after nearly 30 years? And is Nintendo the company or one of them to be knocked from the hill in
the 10's? 

Monday, November 18, 2013

I Emulate You Man, I Really Do: Introduction

If your new to retro gaming then you are probably not aware that there two ways of retro gaming. One way is the traditional way and what is considered the most lagitimate way, that is getting an old counsel of your choice, the games you want, and playing them as they where originally meant to be played. Like getting an NES, getting Super Mario Bros 3, hooking it up to your tv and just having fun. 

The other way is emulation. From NESticle in the mid-90's to the new Ouya game emulation has been around for a while, comes in a lot of varieties, and more of it is to come. Essentially emulation is using some other system by which to play games of another. I know that sounds vague but emulation opens to door to vague. For instance if you own a Wii, WiiU, or 3DS then you know about virtual counsel through the Nintendo store. Here you can buy titles from the NES, to NeoGeo, to N64 and then play them right there on your modern Nintendo system. This is emulation but this is also just one example. 

Here's how emulation works essentially it takes the ROMs (Read Only Memory) from games and saves them online. ROMs are the game programs as they are designed, the heart of the game. If it's a catridge based game it's everything on the chip inside the plastic case. ROM's by design aren't meant to be changed, meaning your not suppose to add or take anything away from the game let alone copy it, but ROM hacking of games is relatively simple. Also the ROMs of most old games occupy very little space 2KB for some old Atari games and up to 64MB for some N64 games. Meaning a simple at home PC with a 500GB hard drive can literally hold thousands of games and send them online easily. 

All of this does not come without controversy. In many instances these ROM hacks are no different then any other kind of hacking, and copying them online is considered piracy. In other instances game designers are ok with the hacks, and sometimes are even the ones to hack and place games online they designed. So in some respects there is a whole late 90's Napster feel to the ROM thing but since retro gaming is not as big as the music industry your not going to know about it outside the retro-gaming community. 

Keep in mind though that there are also legal emulations. For instance I mentioned Nintendo Virtual Consel before, here you can buy games to play on your system. The benefit is that the games are legal, and supported by the seller. The downside is that a game you bought for one systems virtual counsel may not transfer to another. In Nintendos case some gamers are complaining that games bought on Wii are not transfering over to WiiU. 

Besides Nintendo though there are other systems out there with legally bought emulations, mostly with top notch quality. The Playstation Network, XBox Live, Windows 8, iOS, Andriod, Steam, Gog, and Ouya all offer retro emulation experiences. Of course at a price but the high quality experience is worth it.

In additional parts of this series I will cover various emulators and let you know my experiences. There are a lot of good ones out there I would like to talk about. Just keep watching. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

"In the Beginning.....," Part 2

I left off part 1 with finding Sega Genesis systems trending for lower prices then normal on eBay, and finding a system with everything I wanted, for $1 plus shipping. As I mentioned this Genesis had 2 controllers, 6 sonic games, the RF adaptor, and of course the counsel.

I had to take a chance, I e-mailed the seller. "Does it work?" but to reply back. Two days passed someone else started bidding on it low bid was $1.25, I waited till the day of the auction and at last minute bid in. It closed at $5.25, I sent another e-mail to the seller "before I pay does it work?", no response. Finally 2 days later "yes it did work when I last plugged it in a year ago, I will check it again tonight!" the seller replied. That was good enough for me, I paid and with my eBay Bucks, it came out to $15 out of my pocket. But, was the seller telling me the truth? 

I paid for the system on a Friday and got it by the Wednesday following. Pretty impressive considering the seller was near Seattle and I'm near Chicago. As usual though with my hectic life it was a few days till I could hook the system up, and also as usual it was a Friday night. So I got it hooked up, and guess what? I had a 100% fully operational system. No repeat of the Atari thing.

What happen next though I wasn't expecting. You see I know 8-bit, and I vaguely remember SNES 16-bit, but when I plugged Sonic into that Genesis.......WOW! I had a whole new respect for 16-bit, and Sega. I don't remember SNES looking that good. To say the least I am hooked and even though I have 6 Sonic games to get through, I want to see what else Genesis can do. 

Overall $15, for what was probably $300-$500 worth of stuff new is a hell of a deal. And considering I paid a 1/3'd for 16-bit magic that I did for my Atari, I think its worth it. 

So is my next step the 32x add on? I don't know well see what happens. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Podcasts of Retro Gaming: The Atari 2600 Game by Game Podcast

I have to admit in the short time I have been involved in the retro gaming community I have been impressed. There is a lot of love out there for old games, and a lot of really passionate people who pass the bug of collecting on so easily.

I'm writting this series of blogs about podcasts, because podcasts for me are how I came into the fold. There are a lot of really great retro gaming podcasts out there too, and I want to pass a few of them on to you to give a listen to. 

This first show I am reviewing is not the first one I started listening to initially, I'll cover that one later. But this podcast to me is true embodiment of the retro-gaming community, the shows how that love of this hobby shines from those who are into it.

The Atari Game by Game podcast was started back in February by the host Ferg. In each podcast he usually covers to Atari games, giving a brief synapsis of both games. For each games he provides a brief history of its development, the names of the designers, and technical data on each game. If the games are from a third party company Ferg will often give a brief summary of that particular company, or in some cases the division of it that produced video games. Ferg has also gone as far as tracking down and contacting game designers to ask them about games and has had a few successes doing that. 

Ferg's overall goal of his podcast is to present each Atari 2600 game in order by part (CX) number, squeezing in third party games here and there. In a recent interview I heard Ferg mention that even staying with his weekly format, there may be as many as two to three more years of material for him to cover in Atari 2600 games. 

As far as Ferg himself keep in mind he is not a professional podcaster, or a former radio personality, and that he is the only one on his podcast. So he's not mister booming radio voice, and you can tell he is a little nervous in his first few podcasts. But, his love for retro gaming has come shining through the whole time, and he has always put together a great podcast. 

What I like most about the podcast is the way Ferg describes gameplay, rather then critiquing it. He does share his opinion on games, but he concentrates more on detail. As a new collector and player of 2600 games learning about a new title and gameplay gives me a far better idea as to whether or not it's the type of game I want to add to my collection, and play. Also his part number basis for collecting has also inspired me to make my eBay purchase of games to follow along, I have to say after hearing his first podcast Combat was one of my first buys.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Super Jipped N 64 Degrees of Mad with Recent eBay Transactions.

If you have read any of my past articles you will know that I buy most of my systems off eBay. Yeah I know, when it comes to retro gaming I should save a little dough and hit garage sales, resale shops and rummage sales. But I work out of town and by the time I get home from work each day you can be assured all those places are picked over, if they are open at all.

I think you all also know that I have been trying to add consoles to my collection, and two of the prime targets on my list where an SNES, and an N64.  You see I managed to get a hold of a Super NES and N64 the week before last on eBay from two different sellers. And I have been anxiously awaiting the SNES, since I have so many fond memories of playing it. I even bought an extra controller, as well as some of my favorite SNES games like Starfox, Pilotwings, and F-zero, as well as a Super Gameboy adaptor. 

So let me put this next part to you this way you see I was one for one with eBay, my Genesis was in A+ condition, but my Atari needed a little help with a busted power cord, which luckily the seller was cool about. So I guess you could say that I was pleased in the end with that transaction. But let's just say my batting average just went down. 

The Super Nintendo arrived early last week and let's just say I'm not happy. For a few different reasons like:

Problem #1 - The RF adaptor is broken I mean the copper center post is gone among other issues. 

No big right the NES RF adaptor is the same, it's not an ideal set up but it would do for now.

Problem #2 - The on/off button sticks I barely got it into the on position, of course that doesn't matter since.....

Problem #3 - The F*cking this doesn't work.....AT ALL! 

Looking on the back of the unit where the power and RF adaptor enter the system there is a brown substance resembling rust coming out. Trust me that wasn't in the pictures. Was the thing under water at some point?

I bet your saying "That sucks", and you'd be right, but I bet your also asking about the N64. Well, let me tell you that story too. I find the N64, I buy it and then, nothing! That's right the communications from the seller, no package, nothing at all. So let's just say I'm batting 1 for 4 with eBay when it comes to consoles. 

Anyway, eBay may be the best place to find Retro game systems but so far I'm not impressed with what I have gotten. Hopefully the sellers will do something but they don't seem to eager too, even with a eBay and PayPal complaint out there. 

In the meantime though my money is tied up with Paypal until this is rectified, that also means that I won't have an SNES to play for a while even though I have a bunch of games for it. I'm glad I didn't make a grab for any N64 games, or I'd have that to contend with too. 

Oh, well guess I have to wait. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

Going Retro in More then One Way

Do you have more then one hobby? I do, I have several, and sometimes I wish I didn't so I could just be really awesome at one in particular. But, sometimes I'm glad I do have more then one, because sometimes your hobbies teach you something about yourself especially when you have a few of them.

What I find most interesting though is that two of my hobbies interconnect in a way I never thought they could. In a way dabbling in both of them is about reaching the same end, and appreciating what once was. And what are these two hobbies that can do this? Vinyl record collecting and retro gaming.

I know its odd to connect the two but you will see what I mean in a bit. See I got into vinyl record collecting back in late spring, but I had an interest in it for a long time. For me Vinyl record collecting is about really listening to the music. It's about the analog sound, the sound that represents analog music made by musicians going to my analog ears. Not perfect and corrected by clear digitilazation, but true and imperfect with a real sound. 

You see that's what the vinyl movement is all about. I mean sure in theory digital sounds better and is clear and crisp, but it lacks that connection of the artist at work. Even the record itself seems so much truer and realer then a CD, and that tangibility is definitely much more satisfying then electronically downloaded music. A record and it's cover just seem to be so much more. There is this whole unexplianable experience and nostalgia about it that you have to go through to truely understand and appreciate it. 

In a way though that same thinking isn't all that different from that of the retro video gaming movement. As matter of fact there are many parallels between the two. For retro gaming its about experiencing games as they once where, about the nostalgia, and about the feeling. The catridge or disc, and the feel of the controller of whatever type it is, all produce an experience new games can't give you. Retro games like vinyl are about the experience, and what memories those experiences can produce. 

There are even those times when the annoying things bring you joy. Like when a record skips, or a needle gets stuck, or when you have to blow into an NES catridge to get a game to work the right way, or keep taking out and putting back in an Atari cartridge. 

That is the thing about these two hobbies the memories, the nostalgia, and the wholeness that the real deal of the sights and/or sounds can put before you. The sensation of the controller in your hands or the vibration of those imperfect analog beats hitting you body, produce a sense of reality that is almost like a time machine. 

In a way that's what a record player or an old video game console are, time machines. Mechanical devices that have the ability to transport you back to someplace you use to be, even if it is just figuratively and for a moment or two. 

That's the other thing, for me it's not just about collecting, it's about actually playing and enjoying both games and records. I couldn't just gaze at a video game in its original box, or a record in its cover sealed up. I believe those things need to be enjoyed, and there would be no way I could just leave them alone on a shelf. 

I'm posting this on both my vinyl record collecting, and Retro video gaming blog and I would encourage you to visit this blogs counterpart. 

Diary of an Amateur Vinyl Record Collector

The Retro Video Gaming Blog for the Mid-Core Gamer


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

PS1 Retro or the Start of the New Era

If your like me and your digging deeper and deeper into the retro gaming community you will eventually come accross one particular ongoing argument, "Whats a Retro system? And what isn't?".

I know for instance that you should never suggest the PS2 is retro, yet. The PS2 and first XBOX are seen as the start of the modern gaming era. Even though the first XBOX no longer has games made for it, and the PS2 is just barely hanging on with 1 or 2 games per year still made for it. But are they the cut off?

In some circles retro gaming is seen as anything cartridge based. The logic is somewhat flawed though since the N64 was a cartridge based system yet, the N64 is a fifth generation system and shared the market with its CD-ROM based contemporarys and competitors the Playstation (1), and the Sega Saturn. That then sparks other debates on retro being a particular generation, or being a certain amount of bits. 

The most convincing argument is that the fifth generation, the last generation to have at least one mainstream catridge base system in it was the last generation of retro counsels. Retro video game expert and host of YouTubes "Angry Video Game Nerd", James Rolfe was even qouted as saying that the "Playstation (1) is the last of the retro systems". Which is a fair argument since the PS1 is a fifth gen system. 

But, as far as a retro system there are a few arguments out there that the PS1's contemporarys the Saturn and N64 are retro but not the PS1. Many point to the fact that the PS1 isn't retro but the very start of the modern era as it's decedents would be the PS2, PS3, and Gen 8's PS4. Also many point out that in the first few years of the PS2 some companies made games new for both the PS1 and PS2, on the road to phasing out the PS1.

Either way the argument is convincing, but as the Gen 8 systems of PS4, XBOX One, and Wii U gain more of a hold how could we not see the PS1 as retro no matter what way you look at it. Time will tell and how one feels about where the line begins and ends with retro is ultimately up to the feelings of the individual enthusiast as he or she chooses to collect and play. 

What are you thoughts? Is the PS1 retro of that start of the new era?

Monday, November 4, 2013

What is a Mid-Core Gamer?

You know in the short time that I have had this blog up I have been asked by a few folks, what is a mid-core gamer? Mostly the question is asked by those who don't know that there are different types of gamers, or those who know about the types but have a totally different definition for mid-core gaming. A friend of mine who asked me this question thought mid-core gamers where folks who only played really well known games. His thought was gaming was like music there are folks who only listen to Pop Music, and hard core people who like the lesser known stuff. So to him mid-core was Pop Gaming. 

Actually here is how to explain it. The video game industry, and various publications on video gaming are always trying to figure out who players are, how much they play, and what games fit them the best. Basically, by doing this they could more clearly define thier customers, and ways of marketing to them. In the last few years especially with the proliferation of smart phone gaming they have narrowed it down to three basic categories: Casual Gamers, Mid-Core Gamers, and Hard Core Gamers. 

A few years back it was initially just Casual and Hard Core gamers. 

Casual Gamers are defined as: Those who play games of convienence (smart phone games) that can be picked up and put down quickly and are played to occupy small periods of time. Think of games like Bejeweled, or Candy Crush. Most casual gamers are women who have very little time and/or interest in investing time in regular video games. 

Hard Core Gamers are: Those who live to game, it's not just to occupy time it's a lifestyle. These are gamers who have hours to spend playing, play competitivly online, and spend a lot of money on gaming. Minecraft players are the best current examples, they play for hours, wear Minecraft apparel, attend Minecraft conventions, and have a huge online community. 

Initially the two categories above where the only two. The industry felt anybody who didn't play regularly was just a casual player, but there where a lot of people how felt these two categories overlooked a group in the middle who loved gaming but couldn't make it a habit for one reason or another. So Mid-core gamers began to be recognized. 

Mid-Core Gamers are defined as: Gen X males in their mid to late 30's, who have been gaming as far back as NES or Atari, and who may have been hard core gamers in the past. These players have an interest in playing lagitimate video games, but due to work and at home commitments do not have the ability to play regularly.  

I can tell you I fit this category, well. I don't have the ability to spend all my time playing, but I do want to play real games. Many feel the industries placing more save states, and/or shorter levels or sub-levels in modern games is a way of the video game industry recognizing mid-core gamers. I can tell you the only got away with playing and finishing Assasins Creed 3 over 10 months was thanks to the constant save states and sub-levels. 

There are also sub category's of gamers too. Like Newbs (newbies), Retro Gamers (Hmm I wonder what that's about?), and Girl Gamers.  
As my blog name indicates I am a mid-core retro gamer. 

I kind of think of us mid-core gamers as the veterans. We watch the younger gamers throw themselves in full force, and just kind of remember what that was like. We miss being able to do it, but we realize there are more important things going on. 

Friday, November 1, 2013

"In the Beginning.....," Part 1

When it comes to counsel gaming I pretty much dropped out of that world between 1994 and 1999. I outgrew my NES and got into the wonderful world of PC gaming. Of course had I known the pitfalls of constenly having to cut open the PC to upgrade this that or that next thing, I might have stuck with counsel gaming.

So basically I was around when the SNES arrived on the scene. My brother in law had one and I spent hours playing F-Zero, Super Mario, Pilot Wings, some sort of Football game, and Star Fox on it. But I wanted flight sims and strategy games and the only way to get then was on PC. 

I was always aware of the whole Sega vs Nintendo thing going on. I didn't really care though, I was a PC gamers I was above it all. But, at the same time I had to admit there where some pretty cool games coming out on both platforms, and 16-bit had a lot going for it. 

Flash forward to 2013, and I get into retro gaming. I want to get an SNES but as significantly cheaper then they where when they came out, they are still a little more then I want to spend on eBay and frankly I can't find one with what I want. So I decide what the heck, I'll look into a Sega Genesis. 

In the US the retro community loves its Nintendo, but does at times give Sega done props, especially the Genesis. Now keep on mind I'm not to familiar with Sega. I know games like Sonic, Altered Beast, and a few more, but as for the system nothing. But, I decide to take a chance, and look up a Genesis on eBay. 

Luck was on my side that week since Sega Genesis where for whatever reason trending fairly low price wise. That week there where averaging $30 plus shipping, not bad considering SNES's where trending at twice as much. But then I found a diamond in the rough. A new to eBay seller with a Genesis of a $1 starting bid, 4 days into the auction, and $15 shipping. Plus, it came with 2 controllers, the RF adaptor, and 6 Sonic games. 

Is this a deal to good to be true? Find out in part 2.