Saturday, September 13, 2008

Finally - Sega Saturn, NES, SNES, GBA Gamecube player


A few weeks ago, Dave came into the city for his birthday and we went out to this African place around the corner from me, Bolat, over on Clark, just North of Belmont. On our way there we happened upon the most improbable store in the best of locations - a vintage video game store called People Play Games right up the street from me.

Our jaws dropped and we went in, stunned that such a place could exist a scant few blocks from my apartment. It's not like there is any lack of video game stores in the area as I have five Gamestops within walking distance of my apartment, but one that carries anything older than Gamecube titles is certainly a rarity as I know of no other such place.

I walked in, stunned at the amount of titles from systems as old as the Odyssey, Channel F and 2600 to some hard to find PS1, Sega Saturn and SNES titles such as Persona, Mega Man 8 Anniversary Edition and Chrono Trigger. I left shortly there after for dinner, but went back the next morning and dropped a small bundle of cash and got a whole bunch of games and consoles.

One of the big bonuses is that they clean their systems, games and peripherals with a religious like devotion, as if they were curators in a museum and not just a retail sales store. That first day, I bought a GBA Gamecube player, something I wanted for quite some time, a boxed copy of Metroid Fusion for the GBA and two games for the SNES, SMB RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars and Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island (which is what's playing of the SNES in the above pic).

A few days later I stopped back in and could help but to buy a Sega Saturn and later bought Batsugun, DoDonpachi and Cotton 2 from a member on shmups, which I am waiting for with bated breath. I also picked up Metroid Zero Mission for the GBA, a fantastic remake of the NES Metroid with an Epilogue chapter at the end that is pretty difficult, even for a Metroid fanatic such as myself.

And a day or so after that I saw a posting on Craigslist for a top loading NES and six games for $50. Needless to say, I called up the poster of the ad and ran out to Joliet to get it from a slightly shady trailer park, greeted by a camoflauge-clad, knit cap wearing kid who had even wrapped everything in bubble wrap, which was a nice touch. What wasn't a nice touch was that the NES smelled like it had been living inside of an ashtray for the better part of its life and I had to drive back to Chicago with the windows open.

Then it was back to People Play Games to pick up Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse and a new NES controller.

I have been glued to the TV ever since.

PCB collecting can be a pretty expensive hobby as kits will run upwards of $2,000, but vintage gaming is exceedingly cheap and there are no lack of great titles to go back to and a bevy of new ones to discover, such as Castlevania III, which I had never played before, but I cannot put it down at the moment.

Not only is it relatively inexpensive, but the wealth of Sega Saturn titles alone should be enough to convince and shmup fan that they need to own one. Granted, most are imports, but all can be played with a cheap cart that opens the Saturn up to all regions. I'm really looking forward to playing Batsugun and Cotton 2 and maybe even getting a clear in DDP, but that may take some time.

For now, I'm stoked to have so many good games to play and such a great place to go to get them. I just need to make sure that I leave some money in the account to pay for boring stuff like rent, food, etc...

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