Wednesday, 23 September 2009

SJY CONTEST - Win Free Stuff!


As many of you may not know, I kicked off a SJY Contest in my second NiGHTS into Comics article. Since the amazing NebachadnezzaR was the only person to participate, I thought I'd throw the contest at you all again in a attempt to gain more entries. You don't want NebachadnezzaR to win, do you?!

The contest will take place in the comments section of this article and will require those who comment to answer this question:

Were you to enter an Ideya Palace and fuse with NiGHTS, what would be the first thing you do?

One answer per Blogger and only those with an account may enter. So those posting anonymously, sign-up for an account to submit an answer. The best answer will be selected by Miss Universe 2009! In the event that she cannot be reached, I will choose it. Here's a hint for potential winners: don't say "I'd fly about", be more creative.The winner will be announced in Part 3 of my article series.

Wait! but what will you be winning? Why the "1st High Flying Issue" of NiGHTS into Dreams! The comic is in pretty great condition, and it's free so don't complain about it not being mint. I might even include some mystery items if I feel like it. This contest is open to all regions and members of the SJY team. If it turns out the winner is in some godforsaken part of the world where shipping costs are insane, we'll talk.

I am ALSO throwing in two more items, making it a prize package. The winner will also receive the 2009 Free Comic Book Day issue of Sonic the Hedgehog from Archie Comics AND The Observatory from Panta of ihaveadreamcast.com. The Observatory is a unique album from I Have Read Other Books Besides Catcher In The Rye (performers of To Beat, From Gum on the Dreamcast EP). The album is packed in a very unique secret government file package, complete with secret documents and maps. Cool stuff!

Enter now! Oh, and you can see a larger version of my drawing of a pissed off NiGHTS here.


Friday, 18 September 2009

Saturn Pad EXPLOSION!

Long time no see, etc. etc. Let's get right down to business, shall we? Recently, there's been an explosion of Saturn replica controllers on eBay. These aren't specifically for the Saturn, mind you, but have a USB jack on the end so you can use them with a personal computer, or even a Playstation 3 if you're so inclined. (Sorry, Xbox 360 owners are out in the cold due to that system's proprietary controller design.)

This opens up a lot of possibilities for the classic gaming fan... if you've got a suitably powerful machine, you could run Saturn games through the magic of emulation, using the controller that was designed to play them. If you'd prefer to kick it really old-school, you could just use the controller with KEGA Fusion and play a few games of Sonic the Hedgehog, or dig way back into Sega's past and play Zaxxon and Congo Bongo on MAME. Maybe you just need a rock-solid reliable controller for your Street Fighter IV sessions... well, a Saturn joypad beats the crap out of anything MadCatz released for the game earlier this year!

Right now there are over a hundred of these controllers available on eBay, for prices ranging from ten to thirty dollars. This is a substantial drop from the forty dollars you would have paid for a Saturn replica controller just three years ago. On the downside, many of these auctions originate from Hong Kong or China, so you'll probably be waiting a while before you can wrap your hands around these pads. Fortunately, word on the street is that the controllers are every bit as good as the originals sold by Sega Technical Services in 2006. Azar from the GameSpite message board (and if you haven't been there yet, I strongly suggest you go) had this to say:

"I think these things pop up in waves on ebay every few months. I see posts on GAF about them from time to time, and I don't recall ever having seen anyone complain about the quality."

Another member, Aleanil, offered these encouraging words:

"The one I got a few months ago is A-OK! My understanding is that they came out of nowhere, but are identical down to the PCB to the old original ones. So yeah... *really* good bootlegs or an incredible amount of new old stock, I don't know, but I know mine's awesome and I've heard nothing but good."

So hop on eBay, buy with confidence, and get back to playing video games the way they were meant to be played, no matter what the system!

(except the Xbox 360. Ahem.)

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Absolutely Stunning!

Being in the Saturn mood that I am, I decided to make a trip over to the local Play 'N Trade to see what was in stock. I was particularly looking for a Saturn s-video cable as Sonic 3D Blast, the only Saturn game at my apartment at the moment, wasn't the same with standard a/v cables. While I left Play 'N Trade without an s-video cable in hand, I did leave with something much MUCH better:


Well, more like two somethings. Two mint Saturn Stunners in minty fresh boxes! While the Stunners have been covered quite a bit here at the SJY, and they sell for $9.99 new at a few online retailers, it's always a special moment when you find fifteen year old mint gaming equipment. To make the moment even better, the employee rang the Stunners up for $4.99 each. Considering this is the store that also gave me Last Blade 2 for free, I'll have to hit this place up much more often!


The back of the box made me chuckle, as a selection of lightgun games turned out to be three Virtua Cop screengrabs, each with their own "Virtua Cop" label. I guess lightgun games were in short supply back in 1995.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Game Core 2009 - Saturn Edition

Yesterday I attended Game Core 2009, a current and classic gaming convention in Pennsylvania which had a Dreamcast oriented day of contests and competitions. My report of the event can be found at SEGA Nerds, but it's not the FULL report. Consider this the "Saturn Edition" of my day.

When I entered the dealer section of the convention, I had Dreamcast on the brain. However, after flicking through row after row of so-so Dreamcast games that I wouldn't mind owning but would be better off NOT owning, I found myself shifting to the Saturn sections. Maybe it's the fact that the past year has been so Dreamcast heavy, or that I've bought a good fifty Dreamcast games over the past eight months. In any case, the Saturn was a much more exciting library for me to browse and so a good portion of my convention budget went towards SEGA's big white, gray or black box that could.


Three dealers in particular had a HUGE selection of Saturn games, one of which had an excellent import selection. The photo above was of the dealer with the best deals, many games going for $4 to $15 dollars. I picked up Sonic 3D Blast for $8 after a bit of haggling.


That same dealer also had the holy grail of Saturn games, Panzer Dragoon Saga for $190. This is actually a fair price for the game. Another dealer across the hall had been asking $300!


The bin with the hand browsing through it was full of mint Japanese Saturn games and the bin to the right was full of mint Japanese Dreamcast games. Before I spotted my final purchase, I was very close to buying Napple Tale for $50.


As you see, my final purchase was a white Japanese Saturn (joy!), Sonic 3D Blast, an Action Replay Plus, MSR and a Dreamcast vinyl sticker (a prize for those who competed in one of the Dreamcast tournaments). Now that I think of it, both Sonic 3D Blast and MSR were composed by Richard Jacques. UK:RESISTANCE would be proud.


And here she is unboxed. As the Dreamcast anniversary has passed, I think it's time for me to focus much more on feeding games to this white beauty. For those curious, the console and Action Replay Plus came out to $90. Goddamn am I happy to finally have one of these!

Friday, 4 September 2009

Panzer Dragoon Awesome!!!



By the title alone you probably already guessed what happened. I beat Panzer Dragoon Saga! Me, the guy with the short attention span, jRPG hater, just spent 15 hours with this game. And I loved it! It was a blast to the very end, although at some points near the end of the 3rd cd/beginning of the 4th it can get somewhat...I wouldn't say boring, but the pace slows down a bit and it can get a bit confusing at times, with the player not knowing what to do. I admit it, I had to use a guide from time to time, and throughout most of the 4th disc where things really get complicated. There's a whole area (won't say exactly what it is to prevent spoilers) that's just like a giant maze, and the boss fights can be somewhat unforgiving. After you understand the enemy patterns and realize what attacks to use, it's easy, but once you figure that out your life bar is probably already so low that you can't turn the tide of battle and have to do it all over again.


Still, this game is an experience like no other, which I guess makes the Saturn ├╝ber relevant even in this era of HD and online gaming, achievements, and gamerscores, and casual shit. So, yeah, I guess what I'm trying to say is simply that I can't recommend this game enough, to any kind of player. No matter what are your favourite genres, if you like the Saturn you gotta play this game. It instantly became my favourite Saturn game of all time, even surpassing my childhood favourites, and is probably also one of, if not the, best jRPG I've ever played. That is, if you even consider it a jRPG, because its style of progression and combat system are so far ahead, so wildly different from everything else I've seen, so much better than even those in current, recent games, that I'm not sure you can, or you should, put it next to such boring, stagnated, repetitious games.



By the way, while browsing the interwebs I found some interesting articles about this game in particular or the whole series. Check them out:

A look back to PDS by Game Informer - here

Retrospective of the series by Gamasutra - here

Retrospective by 1UP - here

IGN's top 100 games of all time (44th place) - here

1UP's top ten cult classics (1st place!) - here

EGM review

Game Informer review

GamePro review

*Kudos to Panzer Dragoon Saga Oasis (link) for most of the links.