A few days ago I decided to expand a bit my collection of Nintendo games and I’ve bought some cartridges I’ve found at a good price sold by a fistful of trusted eBay sellers. Since I’m lacking NES games, apart from the few I still have bought by my parents like 17-or-so years ago (and still perfectly working, I’d like to highlight) I’ve tried to win a few auctions.
The main problem with NES cartridges is that they’re very exprensive. NES is the console most of us associate with the definition of “gaming console” so the prices, even for loose cartridges are very high, since all of us want a slice of Nintendo’s cake. Plus, he CIB versions are over my budget limit, since the paper boxes of Ninento games tend to be rather worn so is even more difficult to find complete copies in good conditions.
For this reason I had to settle for loose copies, always checking for the correct version; I don’t want to spend money for a good PAL B version which will be unplayable on my italian NES.
In fact, for whoever among you who may not know, NES games for the PAL region are divided in two macro-areas: PAL A and PAL B. PAL A games run in the U.K., in Australia and in Italy, while PAL B in the rest of the PAL region. The main issue is that the hated 10NES control chip locks the games dependind on theis sub-region, and make impossible for a PAL A game to run on a PAL B designed console and viceversa. This could be a great pain in the ass, because a lot of people who sell games doesn’t even know about this difference so they put on sale their games without specifying the sub-region so you can end up in spending a lot of money for a perfect looking games that wouldn’t run on your console.
In the end I managed to buy only one game from a belgian seller.
The game is one that’s unlikely to pop up during NES games discussion and is actually quite a quirk among NES games. Designed by David Crane, famous for being one of the founder of Activision and the man behind the Atari 2600 success Pitfall!, the game in question is A Boy and his Blob: Trouble in Blobolonia.
You may think I’m crazy for having bought this game but I’m very curious and it doesn’t take that much to whet my curiosity. Even from the visuals you can tell is a Crane’s game since it remind a more polished version of Pitfall!, obviously with a different setting. I’ve read about this game and its odd plot somewhere on the internet months ago (and I’ve never found again the post in which I’ve read about it) and I wanted to try it even (let’s say it) because, since is not a so-common game, maybe it would have been a good idea to tell you my impressions about it. The plot is that of a boy…and his blob (a kind of snowman) who travel to the planet Blobolonia to find and defeat its emperor. The strange (you can also choose whatever adjective you want to describe it, seriously) thing about Blob, full name Blobert, is that he can change shape and therefore utilità, depending on which jelly bean the boy throws at him. He can transform for example into a ladder, into a hummingbird or into a completely useless brick. And when I say useless I mean it, you can’t to anything with a brick in this game.
P.S. this game now is mine for 9€ and is in such perfect condition that looks like has never been played before.
Nintendo is not only NES so we leave the crazy world of NES and Blobolonia to land on another platform, the N64, for which I’ve bought Hexen: Beyond Heretic for 10€. Again, this is not one of the “mainstream” games for the N64; Hehen was above all a rather good FPS for PC, sequel of Heretic, in turn an id Software shooter based on the immortal Doom engine. Since when I was a kid on my PC 386 I had a lot of FPS, growning up I reached the desire to “recollect” them even on platforms I’ve never played them on. So, even if I’ve realized that playing an FPS on N64 could be quite challenging (I had to sweat – and swear – to get used to Duke Nukem 64 controls), I wanted to get Hexen anyway. It looks like I’m a quite strange collector (even though I’m still not a proper collector, but rather a rookie) so I can only hope that someday even these “side” games will rise to popularity.
The last Ninendo game I’ve bought is Starwing, better known outside Europe as Star Fox (don’t ask me the reason for this useless name change), one of the most important SNES games out there mainly for having been the first video game to use the SuperFX co-processor, able to render 3D graphics on screen. I don’t want to go into a detailed description of this game since I know most of you know the adventures of Fox McCloud very well. The good thing was that I got this cartridge for only 8€.
For the moment that’s all folks, talk to you again soon for (I hope) other good picks and, as always, I’m open to your suggestions about games to try!