September 13, 2005

I got in from work at a little after 3:00 am. I was a lot more tired that usual. On the way home I stopped by the hotel for about forty-five minutes to visit with Dominica before coming home. So it ended up being almost 4:30 by the time that I hopped into bed.

Dominica was exhausted when she got home from work. She has been having a really hard time dealing with her current work and school schedules that keep moving around. So she layed down and got a two hour nap in before having to head off to class. She had to be out the door at 10:00.

Eric and I were talking about video game consoles this morning and it occurred to me that I have owed many during my life. Many more than I would have guessed. I started off with a ColecoVision that my parents bought for me back in 1982, I believe. It would have been Christmas. It could have been 1983, I will have to check with my dad. I ended up having seventeen games for that system. That was a huge number in those days. The ColecoVision was a direct competitor for the Atari 2600. It was in that first generation of video game consoles and the games, while better than the Atari’s, were still what I refer to as “novelty” games. That means that the games only enjoyment factor was derived from the novelty of there being blinking lights on the television that you controlled and not because the games had any inherent game play value. There were a few exceptions. Defender was a genuinely enjoyable game. But most all games for the system were so basic and uninvolved and the joysticks were so awkward and uncomfortable that the system was really shallow and, really, useless.

The ColecoVision was such a bad experience that my family decided against ever getting a game console again. We stuck with computers and I am very glad that we did. I missed out a lot on the Nintendo era. That was sad. There was a really amazing community that sprung up around that system that never existed again and I wish that I could have been more a part of it. The games were not good. In fact, for the first several years the games were only glorified editions of “novelty” games. But the NES was more powerful than previous game consoles and people started to figure out that they could start to make involved games on the system and things started to change. So later on there started to be some really inovative and interesting games coming out on the NES. Many of them were just low quality ports of games that had been on the PCs for years. But it was a start. The NES did have a number of ground breaking games of its own and it will go down in history as the platform that hosted the very first platformer and the very first Japanese RPG (jRPG.)

Around 1990 I finally decided to try the handheld market and got myself a Game Boy. I thought that it would be neat but didn’t expect to fall in love with a tiny, black and green two button bulky silly thing like that but I did. I amassed tons of games and took it with me everywhere. I absolutely adored that platform. I played Tetris all of the time. I got really into the Final Fantasy games on the Game Boy and completed several of them. I had a couple of adventure games and some Mario platformers as well as one or two action games. Unfortunately the system was stolen sometime when I was in late high school and I not only lost the console itself but all of the games and accessories that I had at that point as well. That really sucked. My parents bought me a Sega Game Gear to replace it which was kind of a neat backlit, colour handheld system but it never took off and the games for it were awful. I ended up giving it to my cousin Jeremy sometime years late. I just was never able to get into it. It wasn’t nice and small and portable like the GB had been.

I didn’t have a regular console again until I was in high school around 1992 and bought myself the Super Nintendo. The SNES was awesome and I was so glad that I had decided to buy one. Personally I feel that the SNES was the highlight of the history of console games. The moment when the console industry had completely surpassed the PC industry in cost, usability, game quality, etc. It wouldn’t last. But for that brief moment, Nintendo had done everything right and great gaming had a focal point for several years. The PC gaming industry was really seeming to be foundering during this time frame. They couldn’t figure out how to compete with the ease and integration of the consoles and they didn’t have the power to beat them on straight features. It was a really dark age for anything but the SNES crowd. I got a lot of SNES games considering how expensive they were at the time. Often games would be $40-$50 which was crazy considering that most new games only cost around that now and with inflation, games are probably actually for cheaper today. But boy did that platform have a ton of great stuff. I loved it. It lasted me for several years too. I bought it when I was sixteen and I took it to college with me and it was my main system until, I think 1998 or so when I finally got a Sony Playstation. I can’t even figure out how I ended up with a Playstation. I hated the system and I think that I have gotten rid of it by now but I am not sure. I have no memory of buying the system and I have a hunch that I got saddled with it from someone who borrowed money to buy it and then gave me the system instead of paying for it. I only ever had four or five games for it and didn’t really enjoy those very much except for Suikoden which was awesome. There were one or two really good games for it but they came out so late that they had missed their chance with me and I wasn’t playing the system anymore.

In 1996 I bought a Nintendo 64. At the time, the system was amazing. It was the first platform to carry off any type of serious three dimensional games. Mario 64 was really ground breaking if not incredibly silly. I played the system a bit but it turned out to lack the types of games that I liked to play (pure adventure and RPG/jRPG games were totally missing from the lineup and almost everything available was just mindless action games) and so the system ended up being useless to me. And on top of that the controllers were ridiculous. Towards the end of the system we ended up discovering the genre of games known as First Person Shooters (FPS) from games like South Park and Perfect Dark where 3 or 4 players repectively could play at the same time hunting each other down. South Park was hilarious but awful. Perfect Dark was incredibly impressive for the platform and was quite enjoyable. That game and Mario 64 must be the games played most on that system.

In the late 90’s I went to Toys-R-Us one night with Eric and bought a Game Boy Color. I had missed my old black and green Game Boy so much that I finally decided that I needed to have one again. It was tough, though, as all of my old games were gone. I was always depressed when I used it because I would want to play one of my old games but I couldn’t. I never ended up getting very many games for the GBC. I really should not have bought it. It was far too late in the handheld game by 1998 or whenever I decided to get one. There just wasn’t enough happening with the GBC to make it a good investment for someone who didn’t already own a giant arsenal of back GB games.

Dominica bought me a Game Boy Advance as a present when we were dating and that remains my only semi-current system today. I still occassionally buy games for it and I play it from time to time. I like it because it can play the few old GB and GBC games that I have (I have subsequently gone on eBay and replaced almost anything that I ever had that I cared about so it is much better now) and its similarity to the SNES means that tons of really great jRPGs have been released for it and that it mainly what I use it for. Min also has a GBA that her parents bought her for Christmas one year and she has a number of games as well so that works out really well for us.

I did buy a New Geo Pocket Color at one point for $10 just so that I would have one. I have yet to get a single game for it though. So I can’t tell you how it is. And just last week Andy bequeathed to me a first generation Sega Dreamcast which I am very interested to try out. I have been shopping around on eBay to find two or three of the famously awesome games for the system as recommended by John “The Surfing IT Wizard” Stephens. The Dreamcast is a significantly newer and more powerful system than anything else that I own.

Eric wanted me to see if I still had some Playstation games and so I did a little hunting and, to my surprise, I discovered the Playstation. So I guess that I do still have one. What do I know? But what I don’t appear to have is the N64. Maybe I gave that away instead. I have no idea. I did some searching to find some Playstation games for Eric to borrow and discovered that I have more games than I have ever seen. Weird. The only good stuff is four jRPGs that were pretty rocking on the Playstation: Suikoden, Chrono Cross (the sequel to the SNES’ amazing Chrono Trigger), Final Fantasy VII and Parasite Eve. There are a handful of other games but I find that only adventure and RPG/jRPG games with good story lines manage to keep any value on older systems. In fact, many RPGs from the Playstation era even are selling on eBay for near their original value today!

Today while cleaning I threw out my old Vetta Corsalite soft shell bicycling helmet. My parents bought me that helmet when we were Bar Harbor, Maine when I was just getting into cycling. It must have been the summer of 1990 just before I went to public school. It is the helmet that I wore for all of my early years of cycling. That was my big thing back before I could drive and even shortly thereafter. I biked and biked from age 13 to 17. It is sad now to get rid of that helmet. I spent so many hours with it but never ended up “needing” it. It was a present from my parents on a vacation where I got to bike all over Mount Desert Island on my own. But I have a new helmet now and I would never wear it again. It seems to be a poor momento to keep. So I will take a picture and through it out. Getting old is tough.

Oreo went out today and I guess he is sick of the air conditioning because he went deep into the weeds behind the house and layed down out there far enough out that I couldn’t see him from the house. I went out to look for him and found him relaxing in the tall grass in a spot of sunlight. Then, just to be ornary, he decided that it would be fun to roll around in his own poop. So he did. Oh boy did he smell when he got back to the house. I had to give him a bath immediately before he got poo everywhere. He had it all over him. Ewww. At least he had been due for a bath anyway. So the timing wasn’t all that bad. And Dominica will be happy that she was away for the whole incident.

Going through a bunch of older, stored stuff today Min convinced me that it was time to unload a bunch of my old console video games. So I am selling off a raft of SNES games and one or two N64 games. I am keeping the stuff that I really liked just in case. But so many of the older games are things that I will never, ever play again (and in some cases that I never played before) and so it is best if they aren’t sitting around the house anymore. We store more than enough stuff as it is. I don’t need to store Troy Aiken Football, NBA Showdown and NBA Live 95 for the Super Nintendo on top of everything else.

So our futon broke today. Apparently the old metal frame has seen better days and it just wasn’t built to last. The metal frame snapped on a weld joint. So we are considering the welding options to have it repaired but the reality is that we will probably just need to get rid of it. Just another thing that we don’t have budgetted to deal with right now. So, if anyone is interested here is a list of what is being sold (I really just wanted this list for myself so that I could look it up someday and see what I used to have back in the day), if anyone is interested I am just looking for about $2 each or like $10 for all of them: SNES Eye of the Beholder, SNES Troy Aikman Football, SNES Drakken, SNES NBA Showdown, SNES Super Star Wars, SNES NBA Live 95, SNES Madden NFL 95, SNES Ys III Wanderers from Ys, SNES Sim Earth, Game Boy Harvest Moon and N64 Mischief Makers.

While cleaning today I also came across a small plastic koala bear that was free with some drink from Outback Steakhouse. Eric, Mark and I all got them many years ago in the late 90’s when we used to go there all of the time. I kept that koala bear on the shifter of my old Buick Regal until I sold it to get the 2002 Mazda Protege 5. It was in that car for three or four years, I think. I don’t want to get rid of it but it is a pretty dumb thing to hold on to. Maybe Michael will want it.

Tonight I am working up on Latta Road in Greece. It is nice to be so close to home. I am really tired today having only gotten five hours of sleep or so last night. So I am glad to not be driving very far. It is the driving where I really feel the fatigue the most. Tomorrow night is East Avenue in the city.

Okay, once again I am going to post before going to work so that I don’t have to worry about it later. Doing that really seems to help with keeping the udpates flowing day after day.

I looked at Google’s cached pages today and noticed that SGL was crawled on Labor Day. Isn’t that exciting.

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