Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The List of Rare and Hard to Find Video Games!

This is the list of rare and hard to find games that I know about.  Of course I didn't list any PSP or GBA games because I STILL don't own a PSP  (I need to get one though) or keep up with either PSP or GBA really.  I didn't note games that are really far back because most of those games can be found on digital services usually also because that would take too long.  Of course, I'm sure I'll come across some rare, expensive, hard to find game not too long after making this list or remember one I may have missed but as for now, here's the list that I have come up with.

Tactics Ogre (PSP version is cheap)
Breath of Fire III
Tales of Destiny
Lunar Silver Star Story Complete
LUNAR 2: Eternal Blue
Star Ocean: The Second Story (PSP version is cheap)
Legend Of Legaia
Saga Frontier
Saga Frontier 2
Rival Schools
Strider 2
Suikoden II
Brave Fencer Musashi
Mega Man Legends
Mega Man Legends 2
The Misadventures of Tron Bonne

Xenosaga Episode II: Jenseits von Gut und Böse
Xenosaga Episode III
Suikoden 3
Suikoden IV
Suikoden V
Rogue Galaxy
.hack, Part 1: Infection
.hack, Part 2: Mutation
.hack, Part 3: Outbreak
.hack, Part 4: Quarantine
.hack: G.U., Vol. 1: Rebirth
.hack: G.U., Vol. 2 - Reminisce
.hack: G.U., Vol.3: Redemption
Champions Return to Arms
Shining Force Neo
Dark Cloud 2
Legaia 2: Duel Saga
Unlimited Saga
Romancing SaGa
Radiata Stories

Tales of Graces f
Trinity Universe
Hyperdimension Neptunia Mk2
Arcana Heart 3
Cross Edge

Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem
Luigi's Mansion
Tales of Symphonia
Sonic Adventure DX Director's Cut
Phantasy Star Online, Episode I & II Plus (original version is cheaper and the xbox version is extremely cheap)
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Wii version is drastically cheaper)
Naruto Gekitou Ninja Taisen 4 (I traded this with Jose T.T)

Zero: Tsukihami no Kamen [Japan Import] (aka fatal frame 4)
Metroid Prime Trilogy
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (music CD version and the gold remote cost more)
Xenoblade Chronicles
A Boy and His Blob
Toshinden [Japan Import]
Naruto Shippuden: Gekitou Ninja Taisen Special [Japan Import]
One Piece: Unlimited Adventure
One Piece Unlimited Cruise: Episode 1 - Nami ni Yureru Hihou [Japan Import]
One Piece Unlimited Cruise: Episode 2 - Mezameru Yuusha [Japan Import]
Bleach: Shattered Blade
Agatha Christie: Evil Under the Sun
Animal Crossing: City Folk
Kirby's Return to Dream Land
Super Mario All-Stars: Limited Edition
Super Mario Galaxy 2
Mario Party 8
Mario Sports Mix
WarioWare: Smooth Moves
PokePark Wii: Pikachu's Adventure
PokéPark 2: Wonders Beyond
Pokemon Battle Revolution
Star Trek: Conquest
Pikmin for Wii with new play control
Donkey Kong Country Returns
Godzilla Unleashed
Dokapon Kingdom
Kororinpa: Marble Mania
Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn
Arc Rise Fantasia
Skylanders Spyro's Adventure Starter Pack

Disgaea DS
Super Princess Peach
Yoshi's Island DS
Yoshi Touch and Go
Advance Wars: Dual Strike
Advance Wars: Days of Ruin
Super Robot Taisen OG Saga: Endless Frontier
Luminous Arc
Luminous Arc 2
Knights in the Nightmare
Front Mission
Age of Empires: Mythologies
Age of Empires: The Age of Kings
One Piece : Gigant Battle 2 New World (Japan Import)
Infinite Space
Sands of Destruction
Pokemon Ranger: Shadows of Almia
Pokemon Ranger
Pokemon - Diamond Version
Pokemon SoulSilver Version
Pokemon Pearl Version
Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky
Pokemon HeartGold Version
Pokemon Platinum
Avalon Code
Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey

BlazBlue Continuum Shift II
Cave Story 3D
One Piece Unlimited Cruise SP [Japan Import]

Shin Megami Tensei Nine [Japan Import]
Panzer Dragoon Orta
Phantom Dust
Otogi: Myth of Demons
JSRF- Jet Set Radio Future
Shenmue 2

Spectral Force 3
Magna Carta 2
The Lord Of The Rings: Conquest (cheaper on PS3 and PC)
The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-Earth II

Dead or Alive 2 (PS2 and Xbox versions are cheaper)
Project Justice
Tech Romancer
Cannon Spike
Power Stone (Powerstone Collection on PSP is cheap)
Power Stone 2 (Powerstone Collection on PSP is cheap)
Gundam Side Story 0079: Rise from the Ashes
Plasma Sword: Nightmare Of Bilstein
Grandia II (cheaper on PS2)
Shenmue II [PAL] (cheaper on Xbox)

Friday, June 28, 2013

The State of Gaming

I guess I should start by saying, I love video games, I've been playing them since I was 3 and I grew up with them as the main staple of my entertainment.  I gained my appreciation for music from them, pursued art as a profession because of them, started scripting and learning programing when I was 12 by messing around with them, and ultimately learned to type and structure sentences in a coherent manner because of them.  For me, it's more then just a passed time or hobby, it's my inspiration, it's what taught me, and it's part of my culture.  It's who I am, kind of like the kids who grew up watching movies in the theaters back in the 30's only to move on to become actors, directors, writers, and producers.

With all of that said, many people have the horrible misconception that follows a dumb stereotype from the 90's that gamers are lazy people who's brains are turning to mush and eyes are frying from playing games.  Of course, this is all bollox and couldn't be further from the truth but this blog entry isn't about arguing the merits and legitimacy of such claims, rather I'm going to take such a claim and run with it as I move into the point of this blog.

The thing is, I'm a gamer, I enjoy gaming, but I'm tired... and feel drained.  Gaming in general has become increasingly political to the point where as a gamer, I've spent more time in the past few years involving myself in the politics of gaming then I have been actually playing games.  I'm not talking about this console company vs this console company type of stuff that we've had since there was more then 1 system on the market (Genesis vs Super Nintendo anybody?), heck I'm not even referring to the constant political groups targeting gaming referring to games as the ultimate evil and the reason the (insert evil thing) exists....  No, I'm talking about the constant struggles we have from the game companies themselves, the constant dumb decisions that are made by the companies that are extremely anti consumer and the campaigns the gamers and fans have to do to not get screwed over.

Operation Rainfall anybody?

It seems like every month there's something new.  Like the above video is a reminder of, not too long ago we had the whole Operation Rainfall campaign because Nintendo of America refused to localize major Japanese games that Nintendo of Europe already did the translation and legwork for.  This of course happened during a huge drought of quality games for Wii and DS, a drought of JRPG's in general on all systems, the 3DS stumbling after launch with not everything ready for launch and much of the quality games a ways off, and Nintendo's business in general reporting their first losses in decades.  Of course Nintendo IS NOT the only culprits here and this is only 1 of the major events in recent times.  Earlier that year you had the whole Playstation Network Outage mess that was caused by a downwards spiral of drama from hackers upset by Sony taking away features from the PS3.  In the process of the outage, a "rumor" with an extreme amount of evidence and truth behind it from many sources came out saying Sony's security wasn't up to snuff and that Sony even knew about it.

Of course both of these scenarios were "amended" by the companies giving away free games and getting their business models back on track but in reality, they shouldn't of happened in the first place and as gamers we shouldn't have to constantly tell the companies to get their acts together.  Why is it though, we're still having to face similar problems and stupidity?  The whole No DRM Campaign that was being aimed at both Microsoft and Sony after Sony's rumored bought DRM rights and lack of straight forward confirmation about the subject when pressed saying it will be up to publishers and Microsoft's rumored DRM/always online which was later confirmed in the form of requiring once a day connections and DRM that binds physical games to an account basically cutting out used games.  In my personal and honest opinion as well as in the opinion of many people in the industry, DRM isn't entirely a bad idea, as companies, such as gamestop, have been leeching off of the success of the industry and exploiting loopholes that were there to give convenience to gamers through their used games strategy.  In example, its rare to find used DS games that have cases and booklets even at places other then gamestop because Gamestop gets rid of the cases and booklets for DS games which is evidence to the monopoly they have on used games.  With all of that said, the way the Microsoft and Sony went about this though and the apathetic, nonchalant, and sometimes even cocky attitudes they had on this situation and even the lack of backwards compatibility rubbed me and other like minded gamers the wrong way.  Messaging couldn't be any worse.... the whole issue shouldn't be happening in the first place and shows just how far greed will take companies, even at the risk of destroying their own image, destroying their industry, and alienating consumers in the process.

The gamer point of view about DRM.

Again, these are just a few of the problems and issues.  Currently there's a campaign going on by gamers and Nintendo fans to End Region Locking that not only has been taken up on social networking but also on Nintendo's own social network aka Miiverse.  For reasons shown above, this is also a huge issue because region locking is effectively segregating gamers who are more then willing to buy games if given the chance.  In the case of Operation Rainfall, it made the success of the games it was gunning to get localized go up by knowledge and word of mouth but a huge majority of the people who would of potentially bought the NA versions of the games modded their systems to import the European versions of the games or even worse, were one of the nearly 1 million people to download the game illegally in 2011 alone.

As a gamer all of this frustrates me greatly and at times it feels like only Valve understands how to do proper business with gamers.  Of course this isn't true but it does get old always having to deal with all of these problems.  The lack of backwards compatibility, the region locking problem, localization issues (Monster Hunter Frontier and Monster Hunter Portable 3rd HD anybody?), stupid hardware designs (lack of a second slider pad built in on 3DS, proprietary memory memory on Vita, low internal storage on Wii U, 360's crappy d-pad, PS3's wrong turned triggers, Wii plug in attachments on the Wiimotes, crappy battery life on the Wii U pad 3DS AND Vita), faulty hardware problems (PS3 and 360's failure rates were unbelievably high), wondering why publishers won't bring their older games out (lets talk Capcom - Breath of Fire 2 is on the Wii VC and Breath of Fire 4 is on PSN but BoF 1 and BoF 3 are nowhere to be seen, no Rival Schools or RS Project Justice to be seen, still waiting on Powerstone and Onimusha on PSN and XBLA), the segregation of hardware in order to undercut others, lack of care for making new entries in older IP from 3rd party publishers and the spam of dark mature gritty violent games that turn women into objects rather then attempting to create unique experiences at the retail level that stand out as original ideas.

Thing is, I'm getting fed up with all of this and I'm pretty sure other gamers are as well.  This could be one of the major reasons why the Ouya kickstarter was so successful as the Ouya is offering methods that are going against what the industry is trying to do.  The platform is completely open, it allows anybody to make games on it, because it's games are completely digital it won't have to worry about the used game market, it's open ended nature will kill any region locking through user mods, it will offer the same upgrading and user mod experience that you get out of PC gaming and Valve, and because it allows anybody to make games on it, companies can easily support the system with software if they so choose.  While there are some aspects of its open nature I'm not the biggest fan of, such as the emulation, the PC already offers this, anybody who mods a system can already do this, and quite frankly, like Valve said about piracy, the biggest factor and reason for people to get games illegally is because of a lack of availability which again goes back to failures on the 3 major console companies parts.  I don't support emulation or piracy, but I'm definitely ready for change at a console level and hope that the success of the Ouya and other like platforms as well as the entry of Google and Steam in the console race could help move a young and somewhat hurting industry forward.

Either way, I'll still be gaming, hopefully I'll be doing more gaming and less campaigning, and I'll continue to support the developers that make the games that I want.  In the meantime, my Ouya just came in, time to go unpack it.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Games, Violence, Politics, finger pointing

 I'm sure by now everybody who even remotely listens to the news has heard of the horrible event that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary.  It's saddening and sickening and I really don't want to go over it.  With that said, after the events that took place, many people who found the killers brother on Facebook and mistook him for the psycho, not only gave him a ton of grief, disregarding his own personal feelings for his family and of what transpired, but also saw that he liked Mass Effect, a rated M scifi role-playing video game that's more or less a science fiction soap opera about saving the galaxy and started blasting the developers and the video game industry as a whole.  Things appeared to die down once people understood they had the wrong person but since then, the ever so smart decision makers who play this rather annoying game called politics that rarely get anything of worth accomplished, have decided to continue the attack on video games, in particular games that they deem "extremely violent" and disgusting, completely disregarding the obvious ratings system that ESRB has in place and the fact these games are made for adults the same way that shows like Game of Thrones and CSI, movies like Punisher and The Last Samurai, music from artists like Limp Bizkit and Eminem, and books like 50 Shades of Grey all are.  It's almost like we've come full circle back to the keep the violent games out of the hands of kids argument, even though this has little to do with anything that happened.

Thing is, gaming is a very expensive hobby and its not easy for adults to keep up with stuff that's going on, much less kids.  When I was a kid, I had easier access to explicit music, rated R movies, TV MA television shows, alcohol, porn.... I even had easier access to drugs if I wanted them.

Video games are expensive and require a huge investment to even get started.  These days the cheapest console on the market that games are still being made for is what, Nintendo 3DS?  If you want a new one you're looking at $170, not including any extra things that you normally buy with most new hardware (screen protectors, stands, etc).  For most adults, that's not exactly cheap but for kids, that's a life time of savings or even worse, an impossible purchase on your own.  New games on 3DS are $40 which for many kids, my previous description applies to this too.  This is the cheapest system too, there's no way they can purchase this on their own.  Even if they somehow made the money on their own, which is doubtful, getting to the store on their own is a huge hurdle not to mention once they get to the store and find out the clerk won't check them out because they need an ID, another barrier is added.

As I said earlier, it's easier for a kid to sneak in a Rated R movie, sneak in watching a TV MA show, sneak out of a store with porn or alcohol, or even find access to drugs then it is for them to get a rated M game from a store legally or even illegally as most games are behind glass and/or the clerks shelves and if they aren't, they're wrapped up, taped up with bar codes, have bar code on the back, and sometimes even have the computer chips in the box (the same way clothing do).  This doesn't take into account, some of stores that don't have the games behind glass or with the clerk check have somebody standing at the entrance and exit, many times ready to look through your bags and make sure you purchased your items, such as Fry's and Best Buy.  Getting the game under age or shop lifting it just isn't going to happen.

Of course these days, there's the prospect of getting games illegally online which most people don't realize the amount of effort that goes into this for games in comparison to other things.  You need a decent computer for any and all computer games, which again, costs money (a lot more money to be quite honest) and if you're a kid trying to hide this from your parents, you need your own computer or if you're lucky (or rather unlucky), parents that pay attention to their kids less then the parents from Rugrats.  Second you need some decent computer knowledge, which is something most kids don't have.  Again, like shoplifting or walking in a store and buying a product, to get a game illegally online is even harder then music, TV shows, movies, and porn.  You can't just search and download, you have to convert files, burn to a disc, do command line, etc.  Most kids don't have the skills it takes to do this, nor do they have enough time alone in front of the computer to do this IF their parents are paying attention.

Lastly the prospect of buying a game online for a kid just doesn't work as they need a credit card and all the info in order to do this.  Playing free to play games on the computer is the only option that's left available but do realize there is another barrier again.  You need to register an account, remember the info, have an email, confirm the account, download and install the game, etc.  This all takes the basic computer skills which most kids, even in our society, don't have.  This isn't to say they can't or won't, I know I did when I was a kid, though F2P games were few and far between back in the 90's.  Furthermore, these games are again PC games, which most kids don't have their own PC's because of the price and again, if the parent isn't paying attention to what their kid is doing on the computer.... well.... be a parent?

Ultimately this comes down to the parents not paying attention to their kids or not caring about what they're doing.  If a parent says "But my little Johny plays it at his friends house" then you should be concerned about what else your kid is doing behind your back as well.  Step up, be a parent, get involved, take responsibility.  For game systems, there's parental controls and even more options for computers.  Before you buy your kid something, do some research.  It's not that hard.

This is something I wish politicians would understand and address.  Parental controls are there, the ratings system is there, many hurdles for buying a game under age are there, many hurdles for playing a game illegally are there.  This complaint ultimately makes me question how closely congress or the accusers have taken a look at games and how well people who are this misinformed about a topic such as this can make decisions of much greater importance.