Thursday, April 9, 2009

Catch-up, and Gaming on a Budget

So, I haven't posted in a month. :( I feel bad about it, but at least it gives me quite a bit to catch up on.

The cover band I was in in High School has gotten back together, and I had spent a lot of time preparing material and acclimating to a new piece of gear - the Zoom B2 bass multi-effects pedal.

I still have other audio work to do unrelated to that band, hopefully I can get that knocked out soon. It mostly involves rescuing audio from cassette tapes - things people recorded for themselves from things they no longer have, some improv humor from their childhood, some stuff from vinyl that ended up on tape, and so on.

I picked up a great $10 PS2 game, which was the Williams Pinball collection. It's worth it for Funhouse and Pinbot alone. I'm looking forward to seeing that on a progressive scan TV soon, I've only played it on my old-school TV so far. It also has Gorgar, Space Shuttle, Black Knight, Whirlwind, and Firepower? I'm not 100% sure of the name of the last one, but I do remember that the game audio for that one sounds suspiciously like Defender. The controls are simple - flippers on L and R, plunger on the right analog, and nudge on the left analog.

Also in the 'gaming on a budget' vein, I obtained an original XBox from a co-worker who had long since abandoned it for a newer, more family-friendly console. The only problem with it that I had discovered is that I occasionally have to open the drive door with a paper clip. Dissasembly of the drive is not as easy as the PS2's drive, so I wasn't able to re-seat the little white pin back into the groove on the underside of the disk tray - which would be all it would need. It's working now, so I won't fuss about it too much. I used a PS2 power cord to power it, and it didn't even come with a controller. I didn't even know if it would boot until a bought a controller. (Pelican, Wal-Mart, $14.97) Once I was able to get it to come up and play an audio CD, I figured it was worth taking the chance on some game purchases. Thinking about what I wanted for XBox that was never made for PS2 was easy. I didn't know if I would want to play any of the Halo games, as I had no intention of hooking this up to the internet. However, the Tecmo games were worth checking out to me. So, I went to Gamestop and dug through the used section.
  • Ninja Gaiden Black, $19.99
  • Dead or Alive 3, $4.99
  • Dead or Alive Extreme Beach Volleyball, $3.99
  • SNK vs Capcom - SvC Chaos, $7.99
SvC Chaos came out for PS2 but only in Japan. In the US, XBox was the only way. Ninja Gaiden did come out for PS3 as Ninja Gaiden Sigma - but that definitely would break our budget here. I also picked up a Udon Akuma controller for $4.99. So, for around the price of a new game for a new system, I was able to get several decent games and two controllers for an old-school machine. Several weeks later, on a trip to our local Kmart, I found the game section that time forgot. I picked up the Gottlieb pinball collection and Big Strike Bowling for XBox for $2.50 each. The pinball game controls the same as the PS2 one I mentioned above - the only down side is that the included tables were ones I was unfamiliar with except for Black Hole. The bowling game seems a bit lame with Wii bowling as a comparison, but it's still worth the $2.50.
Of the other games, I'm playing Ninja Gaiden the most. Since I'm not an aw3sum l337 gamerz, I'm playing on Ninja Dog difficulty after getting decimated on the first boss battle several times in a row. Now that I'm most of the way through the game, perhaps I would consider replaying it on the regular difficulty. If the boss battles turn out to be too tedious, perhaps one time is enough. The other thing I can't help but notice is the extreme similarity, down to the menu screens, with Capcom's Devil May Cry. The controls are actually better than DMC's, but the basic formula of the game is eerily similar. We'll see if I say the same thing when Bayonetta comes out.

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