Real Saturn Chronicles Episode 3 - the 3D Era

As you can probably tell, I skipped the Mega Drive and the 16bi age in general. Unfortunately, I missed one of the greatest gaming generations... I managed to play several games at my friends' homes but I didn't have my own console. Some of the games I loved the most were Road Rash, The Simpsons Bart VS the Space Mutants (I know this one's not that good), Sonic, Sonic and Knuckles, Donald Duck in Maui Mallard, Street Fighter II Championship Edition, Virtua Racing, Lion King, Shinobi, Golden Axe, Mortal Kombat 1 and Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, Streets of Rage 2, Comix Zone and several others.

It was 1996 when I then got my Sega Saturn.

I used to be a member of the Sega Club over here, and as such I would receive the leaflets at home, announcing new products. One of those products was the Sega Saturn. As you would expect, seeing those images of a brand new Sega console was something amazing and I instantly wanted to get one. Well, at least until I heard about the price. I didn't even ask my parents to buy me that. They wouldn't buy me a Mega Drive, it had to be my Grandmother to offer me the Master System II, let alone a Sega Saturn that was so expensive when it came out... So there I was. My master System was gathering dust because I didn't have more games for it and I had finished everything several times, not missing a single thing on any of the games I owned. I was almost 13 by that time.

Some time after Saturn's release, when the model 2 was about to come out, the day finally came when I managed to get it. That console came to my hands out of nothing. I used to visit a music store that also sold videogames. It was called Strauss. Unfortunately, that store went bankrupt many years ago but it was one of the places I loved to visit and where I'd buy some of my games. As I was walking by the showcase, I noticed the Saturn console. Suddenly I checked the price. It had dropped to less than half and that dau June 1st, Children's day (I didn't even know what that day meant, but as much as it meant gifts, I didn't even care!). I immediately called my parents and made a huge fuss about the price drop and everything. My mother was reluctant to buy the console and we went away from the store. She then left me and my father waiting for a couple of minutes to make a phone call and when she came back she said something like "okay you won't be receiving anything on your next birthday if we buy you that console now, if you really want us to buy it". Needless to say I was speechless. Out of NOTHING they bought me the Sega Saturn. WOAH!

However, my awesome mother bought the console, but forgot about the games. That cheaper console didn't come with a single game. It was just the console alone. I actually had to suffer for weeks, just watching the airship from the audio player because I had no games. Even to this day, I still tell my mother how bad that was. Eventually, she gave me the money to buy one game before my birthday - THANK GOD.  I decided to get BUG! The game was awesome. Then, on my birthday, a friend of mine lent me a copy of Virtua Fighter 1. I've had that game for a couple of weeks before returning it and had GREAT FUN playing.

The next Christmas something completely changed my mother - well, not completely, but substantially. She was actually a videogaming fan but she didn't want me to play games all the time and that's the main reason why she tried to keep me away from them. She used to play Prince of Persia when I was younger on the PC at her work with her mates during breaks. She would come home telling stories about how good that game was. On that Xmas - 1996 I believe - Dragonball Z The Legend came out. At that point I didn't care about how good or bad that game was - it was BDZ, 'nuff said! Grandma got it for me. Then, when I was walking on yet another shopping center, I had the chance to play a game that had just come out very recently. It was called Tomb Raider. Nobody was playing in on the kiosk, so I gave it a shot. I was wowed. My mother came while I was playing and even she was amazed by the game as it reminded her of a much better version of Prince of Persia. She bought me the game several days later and she liked that game so much that she only allowed me to play while she could be watching, mostly during rainy weekends. Over the years that has to be the game I finished the most number of times: 21 times only in my Saturn. Later on I also played the PS1 version.

Several months later, I managed to save enough money to buy another game. I saw some awesome videos about Guardian Heroes, Shining Force III, Shining The Holy Ark and Dragon Force on a TV show. Guardian Heroes was the one I wanted the most. I was also so close to enter the RPG world, a world I never tried before... I wanted to buy one of those games, so the next time I went to a shopping center I searched for them. But... unfortunately, none of those games were there because they were kind of scarce. As you can probably guess, an  impatient kid like me with enough money for a new game after several months without anything new to play had to get SOMETHING and couldn't wait. It's been a while but I can remember that I was quite disappointed to see none of those titles I've wanted the most were available. So I had to pick something else instead of looking elsewhere. And I got Nights. I loved the game, but honestly I'd rather have played one of the other games instead of paying good cash for a second hand copy many years later...

And finally, the last two games I bought for the Saturn were thanks to João Hugo, one of my best childhood friends. I wanted to buy Bug Too! because I loved the first game, but at that time classic games like Virtua Cop 2 and Daytona USA CCE had already dropped to half their original price. As a result, he convinced me to get those two games for the price of one instead of getting Bug Too! Best decision ever! I played those two to exhaustion.

In the end, my collection was limited to seven games, again, like the Sega Master System:
Tomb Raider
Dragon Ball Z The Legend
Nights into Dreams
Virtua Cop 2
Daytona USA CCE
Sonic 3D (I remember buying this one, I just don't remember when and I didn't like it that much, unfortunately...)

I still have the console with everything including the box (it's the one pictured in the first post of this blog) and all the seven games, but over the years I replaced Dragon Ball Z with a better copy because mine had a few scratches.

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Real Saturn Chronicles Episode 2 - Let me play at home! - Part 2

I must start by telling that these posts should be in a different blog, and not this one. A while back when I mentioned I've lost my job, I also said I would be creating a new blog just to write these things. In the end, I decided to write my messages here. It would be a little pointless to create a new blog nobody would visit.

Okay, so in the previous message I told about my Timex, a computer I still wish to find someday for collection purposes.

This time I'll be telling you about my Sega Master System II

For the next years, there were no videogames for me. I wanted a Game Boy and Dark Wing Duck game, or a NES with the Turtles game - I was such a huge Turtles fan... But my parents just wouldn't buy one. The only way I could play videogames was when we went to the shopping center and they had those kyosks with Gameboy, Game Gear, even SNES. I managed to play many games like that: Super Mario, Tetris, Final Fight (not sure which one), Power Rangers, Sonic 1 to 3 and Knuckles, Street Fighter II and several other titles I hardly remember.

One day, my parents and I were invited to dinner at a friendly neighbour's house who had a daughter my age. I was 7 or 8 I believe. I knew the girl since I was a baby as we were born in the same year and my parents were close friends to her parents - we lived in the same building until I was 2, before my parents moved back to my grandma's home not too far.

As I was there, I realized she had a Sega Master System which was offered to her very recently, and she also had one of the most fantastic games I've ever played: Land of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse. I remember I went back to her home a couple of days straight just to play because, to me, it was so amazing she actually had a videogaming system. I wanted to have one as well but no matter how much I asked my parents, they wouldn't get it. It wasn't because they didn't have the money... It was mostly because my mother didn't want to see me playing video games. See, the trauma... Had she given me the console back then, would I be this crazy for videogames?

I kept playing in shopping malls because those were the only places where I could actually play. I even knew the bullies and gipsies who would go there just to play. They were kids like me. After a few times I got used to them and we would switch turns in the consoles every time one of us lost. Obviously, I couldn't spend the entire day playing, I only had maybe a couple hours at best before my parents decided to go away. My parents always visited shopping malls and I learned how to be alone in those from a very young age. I am not exaggerating when I say that I used to go to the toys section alone by the age of 3 while my parents would be shopping other things. 
I was too young and I had to search for them when I wanted to go back of if they didn't return after I got bored. If I couldn't find them after a few minutes searching I would probably start crying.

One day, my life partially changed. I was about to turn 8 or 9. I'm not really sure any more. My birthday was close, and just a couple of days before it, I received my first gift. It was a rather large box. Yup, my Grandma's gift was... a Sega Master System II, the Alex Kidd Box set with a bonus Sonic I game. By that tim,e Mega Drive was already well established in the market and most kids were getting one. Master System received a significant price drop. When I received that Master System, I could hardly believe. Having my own console was amazing.

I've had my bunch of games for it. The first game I bought was Flintstones. Oh boy, how bad was that game? It was fairly bad, honestly, but I still played it 'till the very end (it was only 4 levels, and that bowling game was tough). Some time later I borrowed two awesome games from my friend: Streets of Rage 2 and Psycho Fox. I was amazed by those two games. Later on I also bought Aliens 3 because I loved the movie, and for some reason I also asked my parents to get me of the games I enjoyed to play the most: Daffy Duck in Hollywood. I loved that game! It was far different from the Mega Drive or Game Gear versions. I just loved it! I don't know why I chose that game in particular, but I'm glad I did. Then I also had The Lion King and managed to play a bit of Jungle Book and Desert Speedtrap. Later on, I managed to get Land of Illusion as well, when the price dropped to less than half.

This was the list of games I had: Alex Kidd in Miracle World (console memory), Sonic I,  Flintstones, Aliens 3, Land of Illusion, The Lion King and Daffy Duck in Hollywood. And I'm not sure if I am missing another one but I have this impression there were 7 games total. I don't know which one's the last game I'm missing from the list...

Unfortunately, I no longer have that Master System. It was complete with everything it came with. Even the games were in perfect condition with instructions and all, but my parents decided to give it to another kid not too long after I got my Saturn. Another thing I agreed on and I'm regretting, especially because later on I found out the other kid didn't deserve it at all.

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Real Saturn Chronicles Episode 1 - Let me play at home!

As I've said before, I decided to tell my story and my best moments as a video gamer and collector. Today I am kinda annoyed. Since I've lost my job I've had a few things to take care and I really don't feel like searching for another job. I'd rather try to do something by myself, making a video game, I don't know. I need to think for a while, maybe find a part time and develop my skills so I am able to work by myself and eventually open my own business/company... who knows... but the economy over here is crap and it makes me want to get out of here. Unfortunately I can't do that for several reasons and I don't really want to leave the country, unless of course is to spend some nice holidays somewhere else for a short period of time :).

Anyway, this is the first episode, where everything started.

So let's start!

The first time I was able to play video games at home was by the time I was 5 or 6. My mother used to work as an office worker to a store/company that sold truck parts. My father used to shift work in a large gas factory. Every now and then we would pick my mother from her job by the time she came out. I used to love the ride.

One of those days, she came out of the store with a bag. That bag was something one of her mates brought to her. I was still young back then, but I knew about video games - don't ask me how. The thing that was in the bag was nothing less than a Sinclair Timex 2048, an official licensed "Spectrum" made in Portugal, also sold in the US. The spectrum had an internal memory problem it seemed, that's why it was given to my mother. It was still playable but most games wouldn't even start. It came with plenty of pirate games.Here in Portugal most stores would copy the games and sell pirate copies instead of the original version. It was such a common practice that nowadays it's actually hard to find original copies for sale.

My father managed to make the thing work. It was a little complicated and it required a tape player, something I fortunately had. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to play that many games. I remember Indiana Jones would start running but froze right before the game start. What a shame... I know I managed to play Pac Man and a few other games, but the one that I played the most and remember well was a shooter. It took me years to find out which game it was. Actually, I only figured it a few months ago and it wasn't that hard to figure out to be hones. The game was Xenon. As soon as I saw gameplay videos and the cover, I immediately remembered that was the game. I already ordered a factory sealed copy off eBay, which now lies in my collection. It's the only Spectrum game I have besides Turtles.

I remember I made it to the first boss, a large round ship. I only managed to beat it once but died right after the start of the second level, where the difficulty was greatly increased.

For some particular reason, I stopped playing that Timex. Maybe because it wasn't working properly and couldn't run the games very well... It ended up stored in the attic until my mother decided to clean the attic and threw it away, several years ago... I told her it was okay to do that. How stupid was that!!!

And that was my first video gaming experience. The second experience only came about 4 years later. My mother was against children playing video games for many hours and she didn't want to buy me a console.

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That epic moment when you find something that you've been looking for years!

Yup, after a very long time I finally managed to grab this rare Transport Tycoon + Mouse & Mat set for the Playstation 1. I can imagine why this is so hard to get: it was probably very expensive and not that many people wanted to buy the game. The condition isn't perfect, but it's better than T could expect and the seller was really friendly! I couldn't be happier :)

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Take me to the better side of the dark side!

Here we go again... another country exclusive, this time unexpectedly from France. Yup, they received a better version of Darksiders 2 Premium Edition. The mask is hand-painted and made from a far better material. The difference in weight between that one and the regular European CE is astonishing. The package is also bigger and WAY better. The regular European package is quite fragile, very small, and has a window from which you can partially see the mask. The French CE has no window and the mask has a much better protection. The French CE is also individually numbered, which is a good thing. There are, however, too many of them: over 13000 I believe. It's not that limited. The only thing the regular European CE has compared to the French CE is the artbook: the French CE doesn't come with a hardcover book. Still, the French CE is definitely the best one, no doubt about that!
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How many of these are there?

I've mentioned before about the Dreamcast controller packs released in Portugal. So far I have 4 in my collection and a couple of weeks ago I found another one. This time is the Sega Rally one. Now I'm missing at least another of these packs and who knows if there are more?

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And you though Assassin's Creed had too many CEs....

... Well, this game nearly beats the crap of any wallet if you are going to get every edition released. When I thought I was only missing a couple of the most important editions, I suddenly come across what it seemed to be yet another country exclusive, only available in Switzerland and Austria this time: the real Dead Island Game of the Year Collector's Edition (for the Xbox 360). I admit I wasn't expecting to find something like this. I assumed everything that existed was just those two headset bundles, but I guess I was wrong. As soon as I learned about its existence, I wanted to get it. It wasn't that easy to find though. At least not as easy as I expected! It comes with a very cool box with a sticker that indicates which platform the game belongs to, and a really big book. It's no big deal, but at the same time is costs only about 50 euros, which is an acceptable price. And I bet this one's going to be tough to find in the future!
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Plastic loot

The long awaited sequel to a post apocalýptic action game called Bordewrlands finally came out and with it two very special editions were announced. As you can probably tell, I had to get the Ultimate Loot Chest Limited Edition.

Exactly how special is this loot edition?

The box is quite big. Its design is very nice. The outer box is actually just a sleeve holding two bulky boxes. Bad idea... The sleeve alone isn't good enough to keep the two boxes in its place. The two boxes were glued together with a small round sticker, which isn't enough to hold them on place because they are too heavy for the sticker. One of the boxes, the bigger one, actual is placed on top of the smaller one... It contains the empty loot chest, made of plastic, and comes with the bubble head inside. The thinner box at the bottom holds everything else: Artbook, guide, cloth map, steelbook, game with a really cool slipcase, authentication paper numbered individually etc. There's something funny about this edition though. Some of these were sold with several problems: the map wasn't made of cloth but paper instead. Others were missing some items. Finally, some editions had print errors on the outer cover. I heard some pictures or text were printed upside down. I'm not sure though because I never saw that personally. Mine doesn't have any of those problems though. The authentication paper for the European version is numbered individually but has an empty space and doesn't mention how many really exist (mine is over 4000 imagine that...) and I think this is the only common issue for every european edition. Overall, the edition is still quite nice. Not perfect, but far from bad. I don't know why this sold out so quickly if so many were made...
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This is yet another game I had to wait until it received a major price drop to be able to buy: The Lord of the Rings War in the North. I'm not quite sure how this fits the actual TLotR series but yet again I haven't played the game. The statue looks cool. It's ugly, but Trolls are supposed to be ugly (assuming that really is a troll? Or is it another creature from the movies?).
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Once upon a time there was this great action game!

Yup, Ninja Gaiden was once an amazing game. I played the first game on PS3 and oh boy that was tough! I realized that game was one of its kind. There are many action games out there, but very few match the quality of this one.

This is the sort of game that won't let you get through regular enemies or bosses unless you know exactly what you are doing. It is amazing. Every time I would reach a new boss, I would think: "No way! It's impossible to beat this thing!". But after you know exactly what to do, not only it becomes possible to beat it, but also becomes fairly easy after you get used to. I have not seen a game like this before. Usually, even when you are not doing very well against a particular boss, you can still manage to beat it after a while. But this game has very precise tactics and incredible action like I haven't seen before. But that is the first game. The second game... I haven't actually played it. But I have a funny story about it and I will tell it later! This one? I only hear bad stuff about it, honestly. I didn't have much money when the Collector's Edition came out, so I had to wait for a price drop and eventually got it for about half the original price. Unlike the crappy Mortal Kombat figures from the Kollector's Edition, this one has a prettier statue.
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