26/12/2015

Real Saturn Chronicles Episode 12: Still studying...

First of all, I'd like to wish you happy holidays, regardless if you celebrate Christmas and the New Year or not. Lately, I've been quite busy trying to turn my life around and this will last for the next months. At least I'm felling happier than I was last year and hopefully these recent changes will bring something good throughout 2016. I've made a rather big decision and I've been working on it for the last few months. Once I'm done with this, another stage on my life will probably begin.

I obviously didn't stop buying games, although I must say that the number of stuff I have been buying recently has greatly decreased. For instance, my retro purchases are totally stopped right now and I don't know when I'll be able to resume getting older games. There are no longer good deals lying around and I'm just focusing on newer editions. I'm already missing the old stuff anyway, so I'd rather not miss the newer stuff still coming out as well. When there's no money, there is no serious collecting. Sadly, this means I've missed some important items but at least I was still able to afford the editions I wanted the most. Lately, I didn't have much patience to update the blog with my latest purchases but I just felt like writing something, so it's time to resume the story of my life (as a collector' at least). So, here we go again...

So, the end of my 2nd year at the uni was pretty rough. I was facing a lot of problems at home and still taking driving lessons while doing the finals. I don't have many good memories of those times because I was literally exhausted. I was obsessed with the university, afraid of failing, working my butt as much as I could. I still think that was the most stupid thing I did,

One good thing that actually happened that year was me getting my drivers' license. That happened a few days just before my birthday. Despite all the problems at home, my parents still prepared something that I certainly didn't see coming. One day, I came back from one of the finals in the middle of the afternoon and I was so tired that I immediately fell asleep on my bed as soon as I arrived home. Shortly after, my parents came into my room and and tried to wake me up to take to a used car seller. At that exact moment, I was so deep asleep in a completely different state of mind that I briefly woke up complaining before resuming my sleep. It's only natural you don't want to be disturbed after spending so many days with little to no sleep...

I woke up later that evening and I vaguely remember my parents entering my room but I was not sure if it was me dreaming or if it really happened - I was that confused. But it did happen. The following day they took me to a used car seller so I could try the used car they were planning on buying me for my birthday a few days later. It was a really green '98 Toyota Starlet. I just couldn't believe what was happening. It was a small car that belonged to an old guy who barely drove it, so it was as new as a used car could be. At first I wasn't fascinated by the colour but I eventually became fond of it. And who was I to refuse such an offer... I had just received my driver's license  a couple of days before and I had never driven a car by myself without the support of a teacher or someone by my side. I wasn't even expecting that my parents would allow me to drive alone at the beginning, let alone actually own a car. However, as we were about to leave the car dealer, my restrictive and overprotective mother gave me the keys at me and told me: "you're on your own now, see you at home". Just what the heck was happening? I admit I was a little scared to drive alone. In a very short period of time I realized I was feeling too confident with my brand new driving skills but I knew it was a fake overconfidence. I was still an unskilled driver.

It took me some time to get used to the fact that I had a car. But this gave me a sort of freedom I never had before and that was important for me. Shortly after I successfully finished my last exam and cleared the second year, I spent the summer break still working for uni in order to improve some of my marks at some classes instead of spending a month resting and preparing for the next year. That was the dumbest, most stupid thing I could possibly do at that time...

I eventually started the 3rd year and that was the moment I finally began collecting videogames more seriously... Sort of. It was definitely the early beginning of my collection before it became what it is now, and all because I finally found out about this amazing website called eBay.co.uk. That was in April 2003. Well, it was amazng at that time but I really can't say the same right now...

I really didn't know what to think about eBay when I originally created my account. Back then, eBay was something completely different than it is today. It was that place where most people were selling their unwanted goods for a small profit. Right now, eBay is basically where the scalper scum spend most of their time.

Back then, I was only focused on buying most of the PS1 games that I wanted to play a few years before but never really had the chance to get them (no money...). Those second hand games would sell for ridiculously low values. Most of the common games that I wanted would go for as low as 0.99 to 3 pounds. I thought that was just BS. How could a 30 euro game (second hand price) be available on eBay for 0.99 and nobody placed a bid? And there was this feedback system where everyone was talking wonders about  sellers and buyers. To me, that all seemed very fishy but I was very tempted to give it a try. I wasn't very fond of buying second hand games but for such prices I couldn't say "no". After a short time I decided to place a bid on one game that I wanted very much but never had the chanced to get: Dino Crisis 2. It took me a while to find someone who would be willing to post internationally. At that timed the pound sterling currency was much more valuable than the euro currency. One pound was almost two euros. However, international postage costs by registered mail were a hell lot more cheaper than the insane prices that are practiced today by Royal Mail. About three times cheaper for a regular videogame or dvd... Nowadays, even with a smaller difference between euros and pounds, the postage costs from the UK are truly atrocious.

I still lost a few auctions but the day came when I won my first game for 0.99 pounds plus postage. I had absolutely no idea what Paypal was or how it worked but thankfully the seller understood I was still a n00b and gave me some time to pay. I eventually managed to have a fully active Paypal account with a provisional credit card and I paid for the game using Paypal for the first time ever. Back then, there was only an american version of the Paypal website. After about two weeks later the game arrived at my home and it was as good as if it had never been played. I immediately thought: "holy crap this is real". I couldn't believe it. I had just found a gold mine and it was time to finally buy all those favourite PS1 titles that I left behind years before!

At the same time, I started visiting second hand stores to see what I could find in there. I know I've said before that I always avoided to buy second hand games, but if I wanted to get some of the older ones I had no other choice but to buy them in used condition.
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16/11/2015

People at home can do a better job than huge companies sometimes.

I'm pretty sure I've talked about this before. One of the many factors killing this awesome hobby of collecting videogames is the fact that many great games are coming out as digital versions only. Even big games come to our markets unfinished and you have to pay for the missing pieces that most people call DLC. I'm also pretty sure I've stated the cons and pros of digital games in a previous text.

Companies, mostly the BIG ones, are not that interested in anything else but profit. There are several exceptions to this rule, but most just want to fill in more money. They don't really care about collectors who do not appreciate digital goods. They don't care if half the civilized world doesn't get their awesome exclusive editions due to country exclusivities. Not too long ago, even Square Enix and Ubisoft would release certain limited editions exclusive to EMEA territories in their websites but they wouldn't ship to Portugal and they still don't ship to a ton of areas located in EMEA territory, which is just ridiculous: "hey, we have this exclusive edition in our website available to your country, but you cannot buy it because we don't ship to you." Yes, it's just as dumb as it sounds, but they don't care. Business, business, business, that's all that matters. Let's not forget there are always exceptions to this rule, but I'm generalizing and I don't mind if it sounds bad.

Thankfully, there are some people out there who completely understand the perspective of those like me who still like to collect physical games. Not only they understand but they also have the balls to start their own project of actually releasing region free, limited retail copies of games that otherwise would just be available in digital format. This time, I'm particularly referring to Limited Run Games. Multimillionaire companies never have the same concerns as these guys who already started doing their awesome job. 

I was lucky enough to hear about them shortly before the first game was produced and released. I usually miss these things, but I was just lucky this time. Ladies and gentlemen, I present you the very first game called Breach & Clear, by Mighty Rabbit Studios, Inc, released in a limited number of region free physical copies by Limited Run Games. This first successful launch was obviously targeted by some scalpers but this is an indie team we're talking about and I know they'll take all necessary measures to prevent this cancerous behaviour from spreading across their games. I will get all their physical releases while I can. It's my duty as a collector to support a company that's doing something as awesome as these guys.


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15/11/2015

Before the 3rd one comes out...

I spend a long time searching for deals and looking for information on upcoming editions just to make sure I do not miss any of the really special stuff. Suddenly, sh!t happens and, as a result, I only get there too late.

It's been a long time since I've heard of those exclusive HMV covers and slipcases. They had quite a few of these some years ago. And there I was, randomly searching the internet when I suddenly come across this limited, numbered cover for Dark Souls II. Sometimes I'm not in a rush to get one limited item and there are several reasons for that: price, quality of the game, unpopular series, whatsoever. But... damn, this was Dark Souls II. I hardly collect NTSC versions but I even bought the deluxe edition of the first title because I thought it would never be released in Europe. As soon as I learned that HMV released this limited edition cover, I had an urge to get it. At first, I thought that it was already too late and most were gone to collector's hands who would either not sell it at all or ask a ton of money for it. Thankfully, I was wrong.

It seems that not too many people know about the existence of this cover. This even includes those casual buyers who bought it back at release date, which means they appear for sale every now and then without ridiculous prices. After knowing this existed, it took me a few minutes to find one copy on auction and a couple of days to finally win the bid. Unfortunately, it's not factory sealed. Still, I'm more than glad to have it. I know I mentioned above how special and important the Demon's Souls or Dark Souls series is but, to be honest, I never really bothered playing it. I know how hard it is. Since this limited edition was not sealed, I decided to give it a try. After one hour I gave up. I gave up playing it even before knowing how hard it is. The first enemies were easy but I forgot how many times I died by falling off ledges because I couldn't figure out the way or the camera got messed up. What a noob! *spit*. 


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14/11/2015

Some people have nothing better to do...

I'm feeling a little depressed right now. Last Thursday I was engaged in a street fight because one stupid guy decided to punch me instead of sorting the problem with dialogue. I thought I had a bad day, until I heard about the incidents in Paris (France), Baga (Nigeria) and Beirut (Lebanon). Just what the hell is going...

So in order to cheer things up here's a little something. Mario Maker amiibo bundle with the classic coloured, pixelated Mario. Great concept, nice amiibo. That's enough of amiibo, Nintendo. 

There's another ton of them coming soon though...


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08/11/2015

Time flies...

Several years ago, when I originally started to become a fan of Japanese games, anime and all that stuff that produces weebos all over the world, I had all sorts of reasons to complain about the treatment Europe and specially this country received with most releases. Europe was and still is a complicated place for international companies to deal with. Unlike the US, Europe is divided in many different countries that greatly vary in sizes, cultures, languages, rules and markets. This obviously makes it harder to localize media in general. To make things worse, some of those countries don't really accept foreign languages very well in their products and almost require them to be translated. As a result, the hassle of localizing videogames in so many languages was a big enough problem that pushed them away from being released here. At that time, even some of the most popular and successful titles from big companies never saw a PAL release in their original format. Other titles that eventually made it here would arrive several months (sometimes years...) later. I believe I have been complaining about these things since I was about 13 or 14 years old.

Nowadays, things are completely different. So different that it's hard to think they were so bad in the past. In just a few years, the videogaming market in Europe suffered some drastic changes. At the moment there is an insane number of  Japanese titles being released for several platforms to the point that it's almost impossible to keep up with them all. The number of limited editions for both western and Japanese games is also insanely high, with certain countries receiving their own exclusive PAL versions. Even small, independent companies are opening stores and releasing limited editions and other exclusive Japanese stuff in their PAL format.

Senran Kagura Burst 2 Shinobi Edition is one of the greatest examples of Europe's current status when it comes to limited editions and exclusive items. 15 years ago, it was absolutely unthinkable to see such an "odd" title being released in PAL format, let alone a limited edition of this caliber. It's quite amazing and it makes me happy to see that the gap between Europe and Japan/US is much, much shorter.

I really don't have anything against NTSC versions. I prefer PAL versons simply because I grew up with them and became attached to them. I didn't have access to NTSC exclusive titles and my tiny childhood collection was made of PAL games only. At a certain point, when buying things online started to become a trend and I finally had access to an enormous amount of items that were previously near impossible to get, I would still be focused on just getting PAL stuff. My monetary limitations wouldn't allow me to collect everything from every region as you can imagine, so focusing on PAL games was a way to narrow down my already extensive whishlists. Sadly, this basically meant that I was leaving many masterpieces out of my collection. I just couldn't buy everything from every region as you can imagine. 

As my collection started to grow over the years, I slowly started to buy a few NTSC exclusive titles and there are still many others I expect to buy in the future. However, with so much stuff being released in Europe like I never imagined before, I have some very strong, brand new reasons to continue to focus my attention on PAL releases. 


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07/11/2015

Jones must be jealous

Now that this series needs to be coming to its end with the release of the 4th title next year, Sony brought us back yet another HD compilation. I obviously had to buy it...

For those who already played the games on the PS3, this really isn't anything new. It might be the HD version but I'm sure the gaming experience with those gorgeous PS3 graphics can't be improved by much. However, if you have not played the games before, this is a complete MUST. Seriously, go buy it. I really want to play the 4th title and that will be a nuisance because I don't want to open my CE box. Thankfully I might have some friends who wont mind to lend me their used copies shortly after the game is released :P

In case you're wandering what the box on the right is, it's just a preorder box for the regular game. Yep. Still a good collectible though. Even  though I preordered the game, nobody gave me this box so I had to buy it separately.


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Drop the Bomb!

Now that the hype is at its maximum level just a few days before Fallout 4 finally gets released, I thought it would be a cool idea to pick up this edition even knowing it's only for the PC. It's big, looks pretty damn good and comes with lots of goodies inside. For about 50 euros, nothing could go wrong.


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06/11/2015

Krillin dies

I don't know how many times I tried to buy this game in the past. I always considered these DBZ games on the SNES to be a little overpriced. Now that the newest Butoden game came out for the 3DS (and I still don't have that one yet...) and the new series started not too long ago, I had this urge to get the SNES games I was still missing. Hyper Dimension was my priority and I'm glad it was the first I scored. Getting the other 3 however till be a different story. I can't keep up with everything coming out recently so retro games also need to wait. 


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20/07/2015

Only one word: Masterpiece.

This was one of the most anticipated games since E3's conference last year and oh boy it's pretty damn good. I am not a big fan of The Witcher games but this one looks way too good and I really want to play it but I still can't :(. I am glad to own this edition of the game but I do have to complain (as usual...) because its size is enormous. There are too many huge editions coming out at once and this is becoming unbearable for any regular collector with a normal house. It's very hard to manage all the space available in a regular house to store so many big editions but companies simply keep'em coming because they know they sell like hot cakes. This will have to stop one day (I hope...)

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Everything is Amiibo

Now that I've lost even more readers by bashing Splatoon a tiny bit (but I still bought the game... -_-), it's time to talk about the newly released Yoshi game. I like this game, even though it's not exactly top stuff like Tropical Freeze. And the Amiibo that comes with it is pretty cute. So cute even my mother bought one for herself and took it out of its box. Taking an Amiibo out if its box is something so ordinary that I almost feel like a weirdo for keeping them all sealed. I am tempted to open them all though, who knows what's going to happen in the future... They certainly look nicer out of their boxes.

My only complaint is that Nintendo is taking this Amiibo business too far... way too far. It's enough of Amiibo already. In a little over half a year, there's about 60 or more already on sale or soon to be available. Most of them were a nightmare to get, not to mention those Skylanders Superchargers pack that are getting ready to hit stores soon enough. Damn Nintendo, please just take a break!

Fortunately, now there's enough stock for almost every Amiibo released so far - except Yarn Yoshis and Inkling Squids. ON YOUR FACE, SCALPERS! But on my face too because I've bought some doubles to trade in the future and now I don't need any -_-

Poor Yoshi was so badly framed in this picture that I will probably update it some time later...


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13/07/2015

Real Saturn Chronicles Episode 11: No time to play...

Unfortunately, there isn't much talk about videogames or my collection in this "episode", mostly because nothing special about that happened.

As I've mention before, I was quite scared of starting the second year in uni, in October 2002. Too many things happened that year. I worked even harder than before to the point my work rhythm started to decrease due to fatigue, meaning I would take more time to accomplish tasks that I could do in shorter periods without dragging them if I was well rested. It felt like a snowball... Instead of putting all the work aside once in a while just to get more sleep and rest when it was really needed, I would just keep working. Sleep privation and lack of rest can have some really nasty side effects on an individual's performance and psychology, but I was stupid enough to ignore that and I really felt the consequences a couple of years later. Working as hard as I could seemed the right thing to do at that time, but now I tremendously regret it. Some of my friends warned me about it but I was so stranded in my way of doing things that I didn't even consider other options, such as sacrificing a couple of classes or leaving some work unfinished. Today, I'm not even sure if all the work I've done was really necessary. I now consider that I spent too much time doing unnecessary things in order to guarantee I wouldn't fail any class. I even pushed my social life to second place. That is probably one of the biggest mistakes a person can do.

I think I was a coward in many ways. In fact, I still am a coward. I am a very stressed person. I'm usually afraid to fail when I have something new to do in my profession, even if it's something relatively simple.  I always start by worrying and asking my inner self: "Can I do this properly? Will it go okay? Am I up to this?". In the end, looking at all my past experience, there's usually not much to worry about, or at least not as much as I usually do. I start exploring my new tasks, I eventually become familiarized with them and that's when my confidence finally starts to grow. I usually finish the tasks just fine, even those that seemed harder or complex. Once they're done, I end up looking back and thinking: "After all, there was no need for so much worry and stress. Why was I so concerned about this?". But I still react the same way whenever something new pops up... I'm not the kind of proactive guy that knows immediately what to do when a new problem or situation appears. I first need to familiarize with the situation and slowly build my confidence until I can finally say "I can do this" or "I can fix this". Unlike many people who immediately have the confidence to do whatever they have to...

This major lack of confidence and low self esteem is the opposite of what companies usually look for when hiring new workers. When I am looking for current job requests, it really upsets me to see all those ads from companies searching for "confident, determined people with a high degree of commitment, preferably the best employee in the world with many outstanding characteristics and experience". Especially if the payment they offer is far bellow all those requirements...  I call all that stuff a major BS. I'm not the type of person to impress a boss by acting like a smart ass and only telling wonderful things about myself. I'm the type of modest person that would go to a job interview saying all my faults and problems in the first place, because that's what I feel more important to confess to someone expecting to hire me. However, that's exactly the type of person that no company would like to hire. Honesty and humility seems to mean zero in a job interview. All it counts is to impress the interviewer by convincing them that you are the perfect person to take the job, regardless of any other factor. It's funny, because I've met several confident people writing wonders about themselves in their CVs as if they were experts. However, after knowing some of them better or seeing how they work, I realize they're nothing that special and I don't consider myself to be inferior to them, professionally speaking. The only thing they have that I don't is self confidence, even if theirs is just a fake confidence or complete BS. Anyway, enough of this subject. I have a hard time explaining all these things in English...

While I was in the second year at the university, I still played a couple of games now and then, but I really can't remember which ones... There really isn't much I can tell about videogames or about my collection because I don't remember anything important that happened during that period. I know that I was just buying newly released PS2 games. Maybe Devil May Cry 2, Onimusha 2, GTA Vice City... I don't even know for sure. I guess I could just look at their release dates to find out exactly which ones I bought and played at that time, but I guess it's not worth the hassle. All I know is that I almost didn't play anything-

2002 was also the year when something happened between my parents. As if suffering from depression and having my mind all messed up thanks to the uni wasn't enough, things at home became pretty, pretty rough. They started to argue all the time. Sometimes, as I was finally trying to get some sleep after spending many hours awake, they decided to argue again. This happened many times and it was quite horrible. This sh!tty scenario lasted for about two years, by the time I was already a 4th year student, when my parents finally broke up and my father left home. Sometimes I would spend some nights at my friends' homes just so I could stay away from all that mess at home.

I started taking driving lessons on the summer break between 12th grade and the 1st year at the uni, in August 2000. I completely stopped taking those lessons for one entire year because I was too busy studying. I resumed those lessons on the following summer break between 1st and 2nd years (August 2001) and I was nearly ready to take the final driving test. However, classes restarted and I stopped taking driving lessons once again for almost an entire year. My 2 year apprentice license expire date was August 2002, so I didn't have another choice but to take additional driving lessons in order to pass the final test, otherwise I would have to restart everything. I retook driving lessons in May 2002 I believe, just before the 2nd year finals. With so much stuff to do and to study, I still had to skip classes to take more driving lessons... In June 2002 I took the final driving test and I failed. I am very confident I deserved to pass but the examiner was a complete a**hole. I retook the exam in the first days of July and that's when I finally obtained my driving license. Eventually, I passed every class from the 2nd year with good marks. I'm not exactly proud of it now.

Not everything was as horrible as I'm describing during the second year, though. For instance, I started to socialize with some of my classmates that I never sticked close to during the 1st year. We obviously had a lot of individual work to do in every class, but some of the tasks were so exhaustive and overwhelming that we were required to team up in working groups raging between 3 to 5 people. In order to make things work out more more effectively, we would usually use the same team in the required group tasks for different classes. If all the people in the group worked well together, things would just go smooth, despite the insane amount of stuff we all had to do both individually and as a group. However, if there was something wrong with the group, things could easily go wrong and affect a student's performance at most classes...

My first year's working group didn't go very well. Rui was a great classmate that seemed to admire my devotion to the university. However, he was older and he had his life quite filled already, with a wife, several kids to support and a part-time job at night. Even though he still did the best he could, unfortunately he didn't have much spare time to work in group, so I had to compensate for this part. Micaela was the only other person in my group that worked harder as well, but only two people trying to do the work of 4 or 5 can't end up well. As a result, half the people from my 1st year's working group failed to clear a few important classes and they stayed behind... I somehow managed to pass every class. So, in this 2nd year, I found a new working group with very interesting people: Pedro, Vanessa, Tania and Sidel, just to name a few. They were all dedicated people who were really interested in working together. And those people in particular, as well as several other classmates from separate groups worth mentioning, were those who stayed together until the very end of this journey that was the university - or college, like you guys from the US call it. 
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R.I.P. Satoru Iwata

Here I was complaining about my life a few hours ago when I suddenly learn that Nintendo's CEO just passed away. I guess that, no matter how bad life seems to be, it can always be worse... R.I.P. Satoru Iwata :(
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12/07/2015

Boring...

I don't know why this became so popular. I assume it's because it's made by Nintendo, the most annoying videogame company since 2014. 

Saying I dislike this game is just me being nice. The truth is... this game means nothing to me. And it has an exclusive amiibo with it, which makes me hate it even more because that basically made me buy it. I'm not a fan of shooters in general but, for some reason, every now and then I have this urge to play them once in a while. This, however is not an ordinary shooter.

I really don't understand what's so funny about shooting everything with paint. That's basically what this game is about: a lousy attempt at making a shooter that can be played by everyone without the slightest hint of realistic violence involved. I guess that's a Nintendo trademark: "it's not just for kids, it's for everyone". In fact, almost everything suitable for kids is suitable for everyone. Ah, I guess that as much as people have fun with it, that's ok. To me, that's just boring. But I still bought it anyway, so screw logic...


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Sucks...

When I expected to see things going a little better and my life returning to normal, nah... everything had to remain the same. This sucks, and it's causing me permanent psychological damage... I could say most things will be fixed within a couple of weeks, but now I believe Half Life 3 will become reality before anything changes for the best. Anyway, it's now time to resume with a few updates but... unfortunately, nothing major. Just a bunch of regular stuff that everyone knows about, but still worth showing off.
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16/06/2015

Mind blown...

It's been a while since I last posted anything but useless crap in this blog, but I'm still waiting to solve all my problems before anything. Within two weeks or so I should be returning to my normal life after an almost entire year lost.

Today, my mind was blown by Sony's E3 press conference. The Last Guardian's demo was pretty impressive, but my jaw dropped as soon as I realized they were announcing Final Fantasy VII's remake. I didn't even had the time to recover from that shock when Sony decided to give me another one when they announced the Shenmue III's Kickstarter. I was able to hold my manly tears during the FFVII announcement, but Shenmue III just a couple of minutes later was just too many emotions to handle at once.

Best. E3 Conference. Ever.

I'll be back soon.
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12/04/2015

Real Saturn Chronicles Episode 10: The PS2 at the wrong time

That's right, I finally had my PS2 console. Just the console, zero games as usual. That seemed to be a tradition. But this time I didn't even care about not having a single PS2 game to play in it. Having the console alone made me more than happy. Plus it could run PS1 games with enhancements and DVDs. This was just beautiful. I had to see how some of the games looked like with the enhancements turned on and that was enough to keep me busy!

The first PS2 game I've bought was Zone of the Enders. The second game arriving at my collection was one game I was waiting for a while since I first heard about it. It was Onimusha. I bought that game while I was sick and spending most of the time in bed. My parents decided to go on another trip to the shopping mall. I was pretty weak and feeling terrible but I always enjoyed going there so I decided to get off bed and go with them. My head was a mess. I visited the same electronics store where I bought the PS2 and checked the games. I had no clue that the game was already out. Once I saw it shitting on a shelve, the hype was so big that I instantly felt better. I totally forgot I was sick. I finished the game in only three days.

I bought a few other games but I no longer remember exactly which ones in which order. I know Resident Evil Code Veronica X was one of them. It came with a Devil May Cry demo that I tried and loved it but I though I would be unable to have enough money to buy it, so I decided not to get it. The truth is... the game came out and I bought it. At some point I also played demo versions of Final Fantasy X and Metal Gear Solid 2, both of which were mandatory purchases,and I ended up buying both some time later, when I was already studying at the university.

One year later, my life completely changed. Too many things changed to be honest. I've always wanted to be an architect since I was in primary school. It may sound cliche but I loved to draw and that's why I chose architecture at a very young age. I was obviously not too sure if that desire would last until the time I'd finish the 12th grade because I started to become more interested in computers and stuff like that.

There were only two moments in my life when I nearly stopped buying and playing videogames. The first moment was when I was between 11 and 13. That's when I stopped playing Master System and before I got the Sega Saturn. The other moment was when I entered the university. Instead of selecting Architecture as the main option, I've selected Architecture of Urban and Territorial Planning instead. One of the main reasons why I eventually decided to keep with my younger desire of becoming an architect over something else related to computers was the fact that, since I was a child, I've watched constructors ruining my town with horrible buildings and new hoods. The second reason was because I was no good at math to be honest. My father knew a guy that was almost graduating at that course and he greatly recommended it. I even visited my future uni one particular weekend before finishing the 12th grade and I saw the classrooms with models lying around. I was fascinated with most of the things I saw. I made up my mind that same day. I wanted to become an urban planner. I did whatever I had to do for the admission and enrollment and some time later I received positive news. I made it in. That was a great moment. Too bad it was short lived, because the smile on my face was about to fade way the following years... 

I always worked hard in order to achieve good grades at school and I wanted to continue to work hard on my way through the university. However, I believe I took the university too seriously and as a result I've put my social life and a few other things in second place. At that time I thought I was doing the right thing but now I realize the big mistake it was. Many people assume that students go to the university and have a great time with parties, find their partners, meet new people and all that. It's true that I've met many people, some of which probably became my friends for the rest of my lifetime. I also had a couple of crushes but I was too coward to talk to them. However, I didn't really hang out that much. I don't smoke and I don't really enjoy drinking. That doesn't help much if you want to hang out with most people. Anyway, the first year was quite tough. It wasn't necessarily hard, but there was too much work to do at once. I was used to work hard but that was a complete exaggeration.  Before uni, I was used to go to bed early, sleep enough hours and have some time for myself. Most of those things ended. I started to sacrifice my spare time to work for the university. Then I started to sacrifice sleeping hours. Eventually my life basically became class-work-sleep. I could sleep longer during weekends but I would spend most of the time working on projects and essays and crap. Stress and fear of failing at a single class were taking over me and things were not going okay because my grades started pretty low - positive, but low. Little by little I started to become depressed. I've had some bad luck during the first year as well and that didn't help.

As a result, I nearly stopped playing videogames (and everything else...) but I was still targeting some of the most important releases. One of them was GTA III. I knew GTA for a while but I've always ignored that game because it was too violent. I wasn't the violent type and I also wasn't affected by violence in videogames or movies in general, but even to me there were limits and the first two GTA titles were a little off those limits. It may sound stupid, but it's true. I was reluctant to buy GTA III thanks to that, but the game seemed pretty impressive. On another random visit to the store, I saw the game already available for sale and I simply couldn't resist it and I bought it. I obviously didn't have the immediate time to play, so I had to wait for the first two week Xmas break. I've spent those two weeks doing not much more than sleeping and playing GTA III. I wanted to completely finish the game before going back to the uni, but something unfortunate happened just a couple of missions before I beat the game, with dozens of gameplay hours. My cousin Liliana came to visit us some day just before Xmas. As she came in the room to say goodbye, she accidentally stepped on the power cord and the console went off while the game was saving. The save file became corrupt. I guess I was still recovering from all the pressure I was facing at the uni, so I nearly flipped. I was so pissed off that I made a big scene and she left the home in a hurry. That was pretty bad... I'm sorry for my behaviour that day, cousin :(. I had to restart all over but in a matter of days I finally managed to completely beat the game.

A few months later, Final Fantasy X came out. I knew I didn't have the time to play that game, not even remotely close. But I still wanted to get it on release date. At this time, the videogame market over here was so grown that the games finally started being released on their official European dates! I asked my father if he could go out and get the game for me because I had work to do. He didn't want to do it for some reason and I became a little upset, but my mother convinced me to go. Some time later that evening, he came to the room with a copy of the game on his hand, complaining a lot about the trouble I gave him to find a copy of the game and how expensive it was. My head was so messed up with all the work from uni that I basically did not give a sh!t about his complaints. I was just happy to have the game to play. And I stopped working right at that moment just to play the game for a little bit. I still played the game for the next few days, but I eventually stopped because I didn't have the time. I was only able to play the game a few months later during the summer break, after clearing all classes from the first year with mostly low to average marks. But at least I cleared them all. I've spent the entire August playing that game. In one month, I played well over 200 hours and completed the game. The only things left undone were beating Penance and maximizing most stats on all characters.

The 1st year in uni was quite a tough experience. I suffered from depression, sleep privation, had a few break downs, was tired, at some point I thought of giving up almost on a daily basis. When the 1st year ended, me and my classmates went out to play football in grass for one afternoon. The truth is that we were completely out of shape and the game ended prematurely because almost everyone became tired too soon. I guess most of us didn't have the time to exercise... As we were taking the bus to return home, all I could think of was the next year in uni. If the first year was that tough, I was pretty afraid of starting next year. Thanks to Final Fantasy X, I was able to forget that for a while. But as the summer vacation was coming to an end and me and my parents were spending some days in Algarve, I started to feel a little worried again... I didn't want to go back, I thought I wouldn't be able to handle another year of so much hard work.
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06/04/2015

Real Saturn Chronicles Episode 9: PlayStation 2 is coming!

Over 5 years, I've had great fun with my PS1 and at that time I was able to amass a collection of almost 30 different titles. However, sooner or later the first news and images about new consoles started to pop up. First, it was the Nintendo 64. It was an interesting console, but unfortunately it was way, way expensive. Games were really expensive over here. I enjoyed Super Mario 64 quite a bit, as well as one of the Zelda games (I don't remember which one) but I always considered the N64 as a console I just couldn't buy.

Eventually, Dreamcast was also announced and that console slightly caught my attention, mostly thanks to Shenmue because, to be honest, the rest of the games such as Crazy Taxi, Sonic Adventure and Metropolis Street Racer were not interesting enough for me. However, I was so disappointed with Sega that I really didn't trust the Dreamcast. I was originally a big Sega fan. I never considered buying any other home console but the Sega Saturn. At first, I didn't care about the PS1 at all and I choose Saturn over it. The Master System and Mega Drive consoles lasted quite a lot of time in our market as they were both very successful over here. The main reason why I trusted Sega was because I've always seen it as a company that doesn't abandon its consoles, even when they are surpassed by newer technologies. At that time I obviously couldn't talk about Mega CD or the 32X because my knowledge about those things was very, very limited. As a kid, buying a new console was something big. I couldn't consider getting a console that would suddenly stop receiving games. I wanted to own something that would last a long time.

Unfortunately, I felt betrayed by Sega when they abandoned Sega Saturn to focus on the Dreamcast. Suddenly, Saturn stopped getting games, whereas PlayStation was receiving lots of new and amazing titles. I wanted to buy something for the Sega Saturn, but there wasn't anything interesting coming out. Even though I was only 14, I really noticed they were ignoring Saturn to focus on newer technologies. Sega wanted to be ahead in the competition by releasing the most advanced hardware but by doing that they started to ignore their current console. To me, that was a huge mistake that totally broke my trust on them and that made me stay away from the Dreamcast until a much, much later time.

After a while, information about the PS2 started to show up. First the rumours, then the pictures and finally a few videos. That was a long time before the actual release date announcement. I definitely wanted to buy a PS2 and I knew that I had to start taking action if I was going to buy that console on release date. So I started saving my cash at a very early stage. I had nearly one year and half to get enough money for it. I sacrificed a few PS1 games in order to save money for the PS2. Its price was tagged at around 90.000$, something like 450 euros and I was unsure if I was able to save so much money in the meantime, but I still decided to give it a shot. Eventually, I sacrificed some of the money I've saved to buy a few PS1 games, otherwise I would not have anything to play for a while. Two of those titles were classics: Resident Evil 1, the last title I was missing from the original trilogy and, of course, Tomb Raider 1, one of my favourite games. My mother also told me she would help me to buy the console if I was missing some cash by the time of its release date, as much as it wasn't a big amount.

One year and half later, the console finally came out. I was 17 at that time. I had a little more than enough cash to buy the console but I wasn't really concerned about preordering or going to the stores early in the morning just to secure one for myself. I never really believed that videogames were a big thing over here like it happened in foreign countries. Looking at every other family I knew, parents didn't care much about games. They would eventually pick up the controller once in a while, but videogames in general were seen as expensive kids' stuff. When I was around 15 or 16, my father told me once that I would not care about the games when I turned 18, and I would consider all those games I had bought as a total waste of money. I replied back saying that would probably never happen and he didn't know what he was talking about. I now look at my collection and... I guess he was wrong...

I didn't preorder any PS2 and I didn't even bother going to the store earlier to get the console. To me, that was just one regular day. It was a brand new, expensive system that most people wouldn't be buying, so I had plenty of chances to get it.

However, some things did not go as I expected. This was the first time I actually saw some radical changes about the impact of videogames in this country. The truth is, most kids who actually enjoyed playing on the previous gen consoles were now adults. Some had jobs already. For the first time ever, I saw on the news a report about the PS2 craze. People actually lined up in front of the stores before the opening hour just to secure one model. It was no longer parents buying an expensive system for their kids. These kids became self-sufficient adults and they were buying the console for themselves. I believe that Sony also thought the same way I did and they released a very limited number of models on release day. The number of models available was very low compared to the demand and the first batch of the console easily became sold out. I was truly impressed.

Basically, I lost my chance to buy the console on release day, but I didn't regret. Having almost 500€ in my pocket and seeing them go just like that was something I definitely wasn't used to. Two weeks later, I had the chance to buy one of two consoles available at a local store, but I couldn't. I really didn't feel like spending the highest amount of cash I ever had on a single thing. I just thought of how many things I could buy instead.

I only bought the console another couple of weeks later (basically, one month after the release date). The second or third batch of the console was finally available. I was randomly visiting a large electronics store and they had a couple of PS2 available. I realized this as soon as I saw a woman pulling a baby pushchair inside the store, but instead of a baby she was carrying a PS2. I picked one of the consoles and took it to my parents. I was still very reluctant about spending all my money. I had been saving for over one year and half with the sole purpose of buying the console, but in the end I couldn't do it. I asked my parent's opinion while carrying the console and they weren't very helpful. They told me to do what I thought it was best. 

I picked up my phone and sent a text message to my friend Rui to hear his opinion. I told him I had a PS2 on my hands and asked him if I should spend so much money on it. His answer was exactly what I needed to hear, as it gave me all the motivation I was lacking. He replied saying: - "Of course you should buy it, are you still standing there?". At that point, I told myself: -"F*** this, I'm taking this home." and went to the checkout line. As soon as I finished the checkout, I received a phone call from my friend Rui asking if I was serious about buying the PS2. I said yes, and thanks to his reply I had already bought it. He seemed very impressed and said he was going to camp on my backyard.

I finally had a PS2.
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05/04/2015

Real Saturn Chronicles Episode 8: A completionist, not just because I wanted to be one

Being a completionist was something I already was long before Final Fantasy VII. The main reason why I've become a completionist was the fact that I didn't have much money to spend on videogames, like most kids around me those days. I would play the same game countless times until there was nothing left undone. On top of that, I had a mother that was also against kids playing videogames at an early age and she didn't support that hobby. My mother was and still is very concerned about health, so she is always well informed by reading news and themed magazines. She considered videogames as an unhealthy addiction to kids because it had many bad side effects. Her biggest concern was the decline of the eyesight by spending too many hours playing. I have to admit that she was kind of right, but I just wish she wasn't so prohibitive when I was younger. With time, she eventually softenen and when I was around 14 years old she was no longer so prohibitive anymore. She wasn't at home all the time to control how long I would play anyway ;). After buying Final Fantasy VII, I've spent the next summer break waking up early in the morning as soon as she left home in order to play. I would wait to hear her footsteps outside, meaning she was walking away to work, meaning it was fine to come off my bed and play :D.

I'm pretty sure I've mentioned before, but I could only buy around 4 to 7 games per year, which basically meant that a single game had to last at least two months. I was privileged to own a PlayStation, a Saturn and still have so many games per year. As a kid, that didn't seem be enough but now I understand that not having a massive amount of games was a pretty good thing. It helped me to value all the games I had. It's what made me the type of player I was and (later) the type of collector that I've become. Even at that young age, I've kept all my games in a very good condition. I wouldn't accept to lose a leaflet or an instructions booklet from the case, unlike the majority of the other kids I knew. I wouldn't accept a badly handled disc with scratches or marks, so I've kept all my games in a condition that even by my current standards they are still worthy of being part of my collection, not just by their sentimental value. I was always a careful kid with the things that I really cared about, especially if they were tough to get. I was also totally against piracy. I wasn't really bothered to pay so much for an original copy of the game simply because I thought it was worth it.

As a result, finishing a game just once was not an option - I had to finish it many times. After beating the game once, I would take the time to find secrets, unlock bonuses, try cheat codes, find all the items and collectibles, do things faster, whatever came to my mind as much as I was having fun. As a result, almost nothing was left undone in any of the games I owned.

Final Fantasy VII took the completionism to a whole different level. I liked the game so much that I played it 6 or 7 times and tried to achieve a near perfect save file. That took not months, but years. The second time I went through the game, I already had some magazines that revealed the majority of secrets, sidequests and collectibles. I did everything I possibly could but I still missed a few items. I spent a few hundreds of hours getting everything, but there was always something missing for some reason. Access to the internet was limited (not to mention non existent for me), so getting information about the hardest things to find in the game was not an easy task. On my 3rd near perfect file, I realized I missed one tricky item called Vagirysk Claw. That was basically the last thing I was missing. I restarted all over again just to get that item. That was troublesome. I'm pretty sure I did everything from scratch another time after that, and a few years later I replayed the game just for fun. 

Final Fantasy VII was a great experience, but thankfully many others followed. Over the 5 years I owned a Playstation, my collection of games for that system alone grew up to almost 30 original titles. It's hard to tell one by one all the amazing experiences I had with all the games I bought. 

I obviously suffered while waiting for the release of Final Fantasy VIII one year after its announcement, but I had many games to keep me busy. It's pretty hard to tell the order of purchase, but I bought Tekken 3, Dino Crisis, Ace Combat 3, Ridge Racer Type 4, Resident Evil 2, Gran Turismo 1 and 2, all the Tomb Raider games, Metal Gear Solid, Street Fighter Alpha 3, Hard Edge, Cool Boarders 4...  I played all those games to exhaustion and did everything I possibly could. I even wrote some small walkthroughs/FAQs that still should be available in several websites.

There's a funny story behind Dino Crisis and Ace Combat 3. Those games were bought shortly after their release dates. In fact, at that time I was mostly buying brand new releases because I was well informed about the PS1 games thanks to a UK magazine called Playstation Power. I think I bought that magazine for nearly two years, even when it changed its name to just Power. Anyway, I asked my parents for Dino Crisis as a birthday gift. The game of course was not released on date so I had to check the same store over and over until it was finally available, on a particular Saturday. Next Monday, I had enough money to buy another game. Since I played Air Combat and Ace Combat 2 quite a lot in those PS Kiosks at the shopping mall, I've decided to pick Ace Combat 3. As my parents and I were driving home, I asked them to stop at one of my usual stores. I went in and came back with Ace Combat 3. This was a complete record for me, two games in just three days. My mother realized I was bringing home another game in such a short time and she nearly flipped. She was seriously upset, using arguments in an angry tone like: - "Go ahead, spend all your money on videogames, don't you dare to ask for anything else if you need!". I stood quiet and still on the backseat of the car, lowering my head between my shoulders...

I was also very lucky to buy two other JRPGs that I loved to play a lot. Unfortunately, the majority of the best Squaresoft RPGs never came out in Europe, so I missed theose. After the great experience I had with Final Fantasy VII, I wanted to try out other RPGs. Playstation Power made an article about this game called Vagrant Story, which was made by Square and was coming to Europe. I immediately wanted to get that game. When the release date finally arrived, history repeated itself and I had to go to the store several times and come back empty handed until they finally had the game available. 

Some time later, I went to my friend Rui's home. He hated Final Fantasy and RPGs in general. Visiting his home was great. He had a Game Boy, a Game Gear and a Mega Drive. Later he also owned a PS1 console, chipped of course. Even though he hated RPGs, there was this game called The Legend of Dragoon that caught his attention. He was playing it and he was quite far already. He kept an older save file at a certain ghost ship and he loaded that file just to show me some FMV sequence about a Dragoon Campaign. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the quality of the animation. This was another game I had to hunt down. On a random visit to a store named Fnac, I saw the game and I instantly bought it. Another awesome decision was made!

As for Final Fantasy VIII and IX, well, those were easy purchases, to my surprise. The same story repeats with both. I could hardly wait for any of those two games, but at that point I was not paying much attention to the release dates anymore, since they were very inaccurate over here. I went to the usual shopping mall with my parents and they were visiting a large clothes store. I was bored, so I told them I was going to visit that music store named Strauss where I previously bought my Tomb Raider II copy. As I approached the store, I immediately noticed the big pyramid made of Final Fantasy VIII copies at the front display, including limited editions. At that time I didn't even care about the limited edition. I was lucky enough if I could afford the regular game but I had no money at that time. I rushed back to my parents, I almost begged my mother to get me that game, saying stupid things like "my life depends on this"... and she did buy the game! This was the first time something like this actually happened! Me asking my mother to buy a game and she saying "yes" at first attempt. Wow! Things were slowly changing. I'm guessing having good grades at school kinda helped as well. Getting Final Fantasy IX  many months later was not much different from this story.
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Another press kit arrived!

Dropship Press Kit for the PS2. It's not one of those impressive press kits for the most recent games such as The Order or Bloodborne, but it's something I've lost twice many years ago and never really had the chance to get it. Until now. It's one of those tough finds that took me many years to get but I finally managed to find one for sale and it ended for a reasonable price. I'm glad I was finally able to scratch this one off my wishlist :D.


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Let me hate on Nintendo a little more.

No, I'm not collecting faceplates and I hate Nintendo for doing this. I've been hating Nintendo a lot lately. They are more concerned about making money in microtransactions with Pokemon Shuffle and Pokémon Rumble, selling 3DS wallpapers for 2 euros, making useless but addicting cool figurines called Amiibo and releasing a ton of faceplates. Now they announced a ton of new Amiibos and they will keep doing the same sh!t again of releasing them in very low quantities. The nightmare for Amiibo collectors will resume shortly. Thanks for being an ass, Nintendo. 

But I'm definitely not collecting these faceplates. Overall, they're annoyingly expensive, tagged at 14.99 euros each, not counting that wooden-like cover that goes for... 24.99 for no particular reason. Not to mention scubag stores that sell these for a higher price, such as Fnac. And I truly hate that store for charging more cash than things are worth and for being the only place where you can actually preorder these over here. The rest of the stores seem to be absolutely clueless about these things until they finally arrive, if they ever arrive.

I only buy a couple that I like the most, such as the Pokemon ORAS, Xenoblade, the two Zelda ones and that's all for the moment. Most of them are ugly as well and almost none goes well with the white New 3DS console, which is exactly the one I have because it's the only colour available for the Ambassador Edition. I wanted a black one and life sucks because I don't have a black one. It's already stupid enough to own a New 3DS because that thing is basically the same sh!t as before with a few extras nobody cares about. And the only game available is Xenoblade, which happens to be one of my favourite games ever created... And I still didn't buy it because the only store where I found it for sale is Fnac, which is asking 5 euros more than in most other places, as usual...



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04/04/2015

Real Saturn Chronicles Episode 7: Final Fantasy VII

Last time, I've mentioned how I randomly decided to buy Final Fantasy VII, even after being unimpressed with the gameplay videos I had seen on TV a few months before. I also told the reasons why I took the game home with me. This next post might be filled with spoilers about Final Fantasy VII. I assume most people who wanted to play the game have already done that, so read at your own risk.


Shortly after arriving home with the game, I've decided to try it for a little bit. I was fairly impressed with the intro sequence and its powerful soundtrack, which kinda revealed that the game was something big. The battles were a little boring because I wasn't used to the turned based system with an active time bar. I was completely inexperienced in the RPG field because it was the first I was playing one by myself. I knew Phantasy Star for the SMS and Shining Force 3 for the Saturn but I never had the chancre to own those games, so my experience with them was very limited. As expected, I did a lot of mistakes while playing this game and got stuck on several bosses. Even regular enemies would give me tough times. At the beginning I also didn't know how to save the game, so I missed the first checkpoint several times.

The first obstacle I faced was the scorpion guard boss at the first reactor's core. I obviously took a beat, mostly because there was a message saying something like "it's going to counter" followed by "attack while the tail is up". These were two different lines displayed individually and I honestly didn't understand what they truly meant. I assumed that the scorpion was going to counter my moves, so I had to attack while its tail was up. I was supposed to do the exact opposite. What a big mistake that was, but it was also Square's fault. I died and had to restart the game. Then I had to stop playing because my parents sent me to bed. The next day I came back early from school and started playing again. I was killed by the scorpion boss a few more times, doing the same stupid mistake. I eventually managed to beat it just a little before dinner, by attacking all the way and surviving its counter attacks. I paused the game and resumed playing after dinner. This is when the game became boring as sh!t. Just talk, talk, talk and no action. I started to complain about how bad the game was and my mistake on spending all my money on a stupid game with silly combat. I still didn't know how to save and I was already on my way to the next reactor when my mother walked in and asked me to shut down the console and go to bed. - "But mom, I've been playing this for so long, I finally beat that boss, everything I did in the last hour was just listen to these stupid characters talking forever and I still don't know how to save the game... If I have to do this all over again I will never play this game again!". Since my mother was a very comprehensive person about videogames, all she said is: - "I don't care. Shut that thing down and go to bed. You have a long time to play the game."

Next day, I didn't have school during the afternoon but I was kinda reluctant to play the game again. Well, I didn't have anything else to do that afternoon anyway... Thankfully this time, things went better. I've finally learned how to save the game. I never realized that the shiny thing that sparkles when you get close was a save spot. I didn't know you actually had to stand right next to that and the save option was already selectable. I managed to save the game before the scorpion boss fight, I literally wiped his ass and I just bashed the X button in order to skip all the conversation that follows shortly after. I managed to get past the spot where I turned the console off the day before and arrived at the second reactor. I beat the boss on first try and as soon as Cloud is separated from the party and meets Aeris I finally started to like the game a little bit. 

I kept playing the game for the next few days without too many difficulties. I still didn't fully understand the limit break system nor how the characters leveled up... I knew how to equip items and materia, but some of the most basic stuff was still unknown ground for me. I eventually arrived at that point of the game where I've become very interested in paying more attention to the story. That moment was when Biggs, Wedge and Jessie finally die and Aeris gets kidnapped by the Turks. From this point onward, my interest in the game kept rising and rising. I climbed to the ShinRa tower, I've had problems with some of the bosses along the way, I eventually met more characters and things became rough when I finally left Midgar. I was so confused with the World Map. I didn't understand where I was or why the graphics were so different. I was a complete noob at RPGs...

Everything about the game and its plot started to become more and more interesting. Cloud's past, Barret's story, the visit to North Corel, the Gold Sauccer, the Desert Prision, Cosmo Canyon... everything was pretty interesting.

The first boss that gave me a lot of trouble was the Materia Keeper in Nibelheim mountains. I was completely underleveled and with a terrible setup with most of my characters. It took me one entire week to beat that thing. I did not even consider grinding before fighting it again. Whenever it used Trine, only Cloud was left alive. The only reason why I was finally able to kill it was because Cloud reached its limit break and Cross Slash left the enemy paralyzed. It was the first time it ever happened and I had absolutely no idea why. This gave me enough time to heal all characters and keep attacking. It finally died after a long time. The next boss that gave me nightmares was the Demon Gate at the Temple of the Ancient's exit. This was hell on earth. I was absolutely underleveled and there was no way I could beat it. At this point I finally started to learn the importance of grinding. I spent a few days fighting regular enemies in the room before, where you fight the red dragon boss. Materia started to grow a lot, my characters started to gain levels and I finally started to get a hang of the battle system. 

I eventually managed to beat the Demon's Gate and shortly after I finally witnessed Aeris' death. I just couldn't believe it. I seriously thought it was a joke and she hadn't died. She remained in my party for a long time due to her powerful healing spells and she was gone. At that point I was completely hooked on the game. 

I kept playing the game with lots of problems beating some bosses. Hojo gave me a terrible time to beat. It took me many tries. The only reason why I was able to defeat his last form was because I only had one character alive and I randomly used Phoenix summon on him. I just couldn't believe this summon had a side effect that would bring the other two characters to life! I took that random chance I was given to finally wipe out his ass. I also had a terrible time breeding chocobos and even beating the final bosses. I arrived at the final bosses so underleveled that I had to come back to the world map and do some serious grinding. Meanwhile, I also found some of the 3rd dis sidequests and spent some time doing random things. One month later, I went back to that final boss and ended up defeating it in just a few tries.

After I finished that game, I didn't know what to do anymore. I left the console playing those stars at the end for more than 10 minutes, expecting something to happen. It seemed there was nothing else interesting enough that could match the amazing experience it was to play that game.
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28/03/2015

Nightmare is here

It's finally here, one of the most sought after games from recent times, and it's called Bloodborne. This is not another Dark Souls but pretty much combines all the good things from that game series into a brand new one and it looks pretty impressive. 

Unfortunately, I'm not in a position to buy popular press kits right now and I'm very sad to see that I'll be missing this game's press kit as well. But at least I managed to get the Nightmare Edition which quite heavy and packed with some cool items. My only concern with this edition is it abusive price.

Unfortunately there isn't much I can tell about the game itself. I usually don't like to spoil surprises by watching too many videos and trailers. On the other hand, I've got quite a few games to play on the list and not much of an opportunity to play them. It's been months since I played any of the consoles but thankfully within the next couple of months my biggest problem should be sorted and I'll finally have some time to rest my mind and to play a few videogames.


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Final Fantasy Type Irony.

I don't quite understand why some games from popular series never come out of Japan. Final Fantasy Type 0 is one of that kind of games. In my opinion, it should have been originally available in all world regions, especially because it's part of the spin off series based in Final Fantasy XIII. Instead, we had to wait for an HD version for the latest consoles. No, not even for PS3 or 360. It had to be for PS4 and XBone, with PSP-based HD graphics... You need a 400€ new gen home console to play a graphically outdated portable game that came out several years ago in Japan. That makes absolutely perfect sense! Nobody is going to pay full price for an outdated game for a portable console that the general public no longer plays. So they decided to release a new version for the latest systems because... well... it's more enticing to consumers, maybe? Even if the game looks more "outfashioned" and pixelated than a Minecraft version for Windows 95? Yeah, the game doesn't look like anything remotely close to a new gen game. I was excited at first but after seeing a demo of it, I became more reluctant because it doesn't look that good...

Yeah, I've bought the regular Collector's Edition from a local website. I say "regular" because the Square Enix Store featured a different edition with a much better looking package. But (there is always a but...) of course, it was impossible for me to buy it because I live in Portugal and Square Europe doesn't send items to Portugal without even explaining why. The usual 1st world problems, video game collectors version. We have tiny little companies making awesome games and sending them to the Moon if it's necessary, such as WaterMelon Games and Super Fighter Team. But then, Square Enix, a pretty damn big corporation with this website designed specifically for European consumers, decides to sell exclusive items only to a couple of selected destinations? Okay. I can live with that. Some people can live without a kidney, so I can live without that edition too.

Overall, I'm quite happy that I missed the special cover. I mean, it's not like I collect videogames at all, you see. Especially Final Fantasy games with exclusive editions and slipcases, I never buy those... It makes perfect sense that half Europe cannot order exclusive games from Square Enix Europe. (/irony).


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It's Mario Party time!

Yay, Mario Party 10 just came out and thanks to the Amiibo I already hate the game. You know that really hard to get figurine called Rosalina, right? Then you probably heard by now that the figurine unlocks an entire board in this game, right? So, you weren't expecting to see Nintendo pull a nasty trick on costumers by not producing more stock of Rosalinas, right?

Wrong. It was just leaked not too long ago that Rosalina will have its own wave release for the Super Mario series. So if you were actually thinking of finally completing the 3 first Smash Bros. waves with that character you're missing, Nintendo says "no". At least for now. In fact, Nintendo has a lot of trouble to comunicate. Mr. Iwata is trying hard to speak English in order to provide you with the latest information on Nintendo Directs, but he's unable to tell us the future of the Amiibo...

A difference of only 5 euros in price is reason enough for me to get the Amiibo Box Set instead of the regular game. In fact, I'm not even sure if I've seen any regular game available for sale separately in stores. 5 euros is as much as those figurines should be worth in the first place, let alone 30 or 50 euros like the annoying scalpers are asking...

If anyone wants to get rid of a boxed Gold Mario, I'm accepting gifts. Half the people who bought it want to get rid of it anyway (for cash...).


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Crappy edition is crappy

Here it is, another Polish exclusive, this time for Dying Light. In fact this edition is quite interesting, except for a few major problems. First, my statue came with a broken arm and two broken fingers. Most statues arrived like this, unfortunately. Thankfully, I'm pretty confident I can fix that. The package is horrible as well. Inner supports are very fragile and arrived all dented and even ripped. 

Why can't they make decent packages? These are collector's items and there are some really serious and picky collectors out there reaching out for these. Why does almost no one cares about the way items are designed? It really troubles my mind to think that some people out there are making money producing really expensive editions with the crappiest packages ever. People buy online all the time and many editions are online exclusives as well, so why don't producers even consider making hard packages that can survive all the torture they go through during shipping process or at least ensure that the contents will survive the journey?

Other than that, the game is pretty cool and so is this edition, filled with some fine extras and a steelbook, like I usually hate. Being a country exclusive also rises my interested in it. I'm just disappointed with the outer package but I can live with that. Now I'll proceed to fix the statue and replace the inserts.


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21/03/2015

Videogame Collecting is doomed.

Yes, collecting videogames is becoming a big pain in the ass. Sooner or later, within the next 10 or 15 years or so, it will perish.Unfortunately, that's what I see happening right now. If you just like to collect merchandise, figurines, statues and all those things that don't really include a physical copy of the game they come from, then the future is bright to you as a collector. You also need to have lots of money to spend on those because there are many "OMG SUPER UBBER RARE LIMITED RESSELLER EDITION WITH JUST 2 UNITS WORLDWIDE THAT ARE SOLD OUT IN 10 SECONDS". If you like to collect digital games and all the stuff that fits that denomination, the world is at your service now. But if you're like me and you just like to own physical copies of games, then I don't see a bright future ahead.

What is a collector anyway? If you search the internet, you'll find a ton of definitions and theories behind the meaning of that word. If you ask me what a collector is, my most direct response would be: a collector is a selfish, materialist person who likes to own lots of stuff related to a family of items. That's basically what a collector is and that's what I am. I can obviously come up with a more poetic or scientific definition to justify this kind of behavior but, in the end, those are just different and more complex ways of saying the same thing. Since the word "collector" involves all sorts of people with different purposes and objectives, from the guys that turn around garbage bins to the intellectual multimillionaire elite who collect paintings and wine, you can't go around spreading my definition of a collector because some people will get butt hurt. This doesn't make a collector a fool or an idiot, of course. It just makes him human. Anyway, there are collectors of all sorts. If something exists, no matter what it is, someone is out there collecting it.

Being materialist means digital, intangible contents that replace a physical item are a big Nope. I hate DLC, I hate F2P, I hate DMR, I hate all that crap. Because that's what it is: crap. DLC was supposed to be something good, something that extends the gameplay of a game a while after being released, pretty much like the good old expansion packs. But no. Thanks to the big companies, it sucks. You have to pay for stuff that's already available even before the game comes out, and most of it sucks. Most of these DLC are fully planned and prepared during the development stage. You basically buy an incomplete game when it comes out and you'll have to pay more for some of the missing bits. F2P is a great concept! People get the game for free and only pay to unlock things faster if they wish. This would be great if most games could be played normally instead of making you deal with all kinds of sh!t that ruin the gameplay experience, such as being unable to further play the game unless you waste your real life money on the items you need to progress or, alternatively, waste countless hours of your lifetime doing the most annoying things ever just to get them. Since I'm about to trash Nintendo again, here's an example: Pokémon Shuffle. Addicting game, fun to play... but then they make you wait at least half an hour just to have a single heart you need to play a single time, and you can't have more than 5 hearts at once unless you use a crystal. You can either win a crystal by doing some things such as beating a Mega Evolution or buy it for 0.99 cents. Seriously, who supports this? 

Then there's also another extremely annoying thing... the updates. Updates that take ages to download and install all the time. Updates that make you wait up to half an hour (if not more) just to play the damn game! Sometimes half an hour is all I got to get a little taste of the game I've just bought but nooooo, instead of instantly playing the game I have to sit there, depressed, looking at loading bar getting stuck on the last 1% for a longer time than it took to fill the previous 99%. Well done.

And here I am writing all this gibberish just because I recently heard that Nintendo announced it will start producing games for mobile phones, tablets and similar devices. It's a fact that portable gaming on these devices is extremely popular in Japan. I don't have a crystal ball to guess the future, otherwise I wouldn't be missing some of the preorders that I'd really like to get before they become sold out, but this kind of attitude coming from a company that dominates the handheld consoles' market seems like an attempt to shoot its own foot. In fact, these news just came out very shortly after Nintendo released the New 3DS models, which don't really add anything relevant to the previous 3DS consoles available. But, oh, wait, "we're working on a new console", they said. I won't even comment on this one. I hope it does better than the WiiU.

Now, if you consider Nintendo is leaving their fans very upset with the extremely limited availability of its most recent releases such as the WiiU GC controller adapter, most of the Amiibo figurines, console editions, plates, preorder items and all of those things, these announcements just seem to add horribly wrong. Now we have a solid gold Mario available exclusively on Walmart in the US. This is how Nintendo gives the middle finger to the rest of the Amiibo collectors around the World, and fools like me will continue to support these companies.

The digital era is not just about negative things. It actually has more pros than cons. No more rare or exclusive games produced in limited numbers, no more wasted resources in producing millions of discs, cheaper games... Sometimes the disc alone is far more worth it than the game recorded inside... So many good things about the digital market! Unless they release digital games with physical Amiibo or Skylanders. Those are awesome to own but horrible to collect. On the other hand, the digital market totally ruins the fun of collecting physical games and it will certainly value retro games and physical copies a lot. Many awesome games will never make it to my collection because they are digital only and I still wasn't able to adapt to the idea of paying for something that you can't "own", unless it's ultra cheap (but I guess that's what happens most of the times, according to Steam). Considering how well I see steam cards and similar stuff selling in regular videogames' stores, I'm pretty sure this will not ruin the business for most of them, as much as they know how to adapt. 

The amazing success of physical goods and collector's editions seems to be a contradiction in the recent tendencies of the digital markets. What kind of strategy comes from companies whose physical games, limited editions and toys sell out like hot cakes but decide to release digital games? The answer is quite simple: it's all about the money.

General gamers just want to play a game for the cheapest price they can get. If that means not owning a physical version, that's not a problem at all. Collectors are a minority in the general videogaming market and companies are not making videogames for charity purposes. Companies just want profit. One day they make collectors happy and the following day they make them sad. One day they make most gamers happy and the next day they make them sad. It doesn't matter to them. All their strategies have a single goal in mind: profit. Their decisions are only based on how much money they can get from something at a certain moment. The consumer's satisfaction is a consequence and an objective at the same time, because there's no profit without that (at least, not legally...). That's basically how the current world works. There's no routine.
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13/03/2015

The Enemiibo...

Good thing to know a friend of mine called Ivan just posted some weird study on Facebook saying that bad humour is a sign of intelligence. Looking at all the rants I've been writing in this blog, I must be a f***ing genius.

One thing is certain: I'm stupid. Another thing is certain: so is Nintendo. This has to be the worst collector's nightmare in recent times, seriously. What the heck, Nintendo? I originally bought a couple of these figurines called the Amiibo, but I promised myself that I would not buy all of them. GG Nintendo, I fell for your trap and I'm pretty sure plenty of other people out there can relate... Now what?

I started with Link, Marth and Pikachu because they were cool. I didn't have plans to buy the rest of the 1st wave because I thought I would be able to buy them later after a price drop or something. I certainly am not a genius, but at the time I didn't realize that expecting a price drop for most of these figurines was something even those guys from Criminal Minds would miss. 

Things became more serious when they officially announced that three figurines from the first wave would be discontinued, confirming those rumours that were lurking around in doubtful articles on the internet. I already had Marth, but I still needed to get the two retarded ones: Wii Fit Trainer and the Villager. Well, honestly, sorry if I offended you guys who are fans of any of these two, but even still you have to recognize they are the most random characters to ever make it to the Smash Bros roost. Seriously, what the heck are those characters? It makes more sense to release a "Mii version of Mr. Potato" Amiibo than those two characters. They could even call it Miister Potato as far as I'm concerned. Then they would allow you to customize your own Amiibo with accessories that were sold separately. Oh no, don't give them more ideas... Anyway, I only bought the weird couple to avoid regrets later.

So, by the time I had 5 figurines, I noticed I was missing the interesting ones, such as Kirby (cute and gay), Samus and Fox. Obviously, by the time I bought those, I was only missing two to complete the first wave. I was determined to buy them all at this point. Thank you Nintendo, for ruining my sanity.

Second wave comes out, and brought us plenty of cool characters. I visited one store that had them all, but there was only a single figurine of my favourite character from that wave: Little Mac. I didn't buy any because I didn't feel like wasting money at that moment. I waited a few days before deciding to get some of them but then I noticed I could no longer find Little Mac at the local stores. I travelled a few km to different stores and I eventually realized that Little Mac was only available in extremely low quantities. I started to worry at first, but I eventually found a few here and there, so I bought one. I warned a couple of friends of how limited that figurine seemed to be but they didn't seem to care until it was too late. I was completely unaware of what was happening in the rest of the world.

Third wave comes out and this was by far the easiest to get. Stores over here don't give a crap about figurines. If they have too many on the shelves, they don't put up more for sale, even if they are new ones just released. They don't care about release dates either. Several days before 3rd wave came out, I randomly entered a local store that had all the new figurines available. Plenty of them actually, not less than about ten of each, including Rosalinas. I bought Rosalina, Ike, Toon Link, Lucario... At this point I thought that getting the full collection was not a problem. I heard Rosalinas were rare, so I checked eBay, saw their values and a couple of weeks later I returned to the same store that still had about 7 left and I decided to buy a couple to make some spare money. Yeah I know, I was such a scalper and I kinda feel bad for that.

So I bought a couple of Rosalinas and placed them on eBay with the lowest buy it now and free postage. In a matter of minutes I received a message from another guy in this country asking how much I would sell that figurine for... I thought to myself "hummm this is weird, this must be super common as that store alone had about 10 of them for almost 3 weeks... This guy will probably find it easily if he visits a few stores". I told him that and I never heard from him again. I hope he didn't die or something... 

The Rosalinas I placed on eBay sold ridiculously fast. Some time later I realized Rosalina was nowhere to be found in any other store around this area (and, believe me, there are plenty of stores in a 20km radius...). I even got a few just to help other people who needed it, without making any profit. That's when I understood how scarce these were, and I have a few close friends who wanted one but couldn't get it. Damn, the feels...

Okay, so I was still expecting to easily collect all the figurines... until the 2nd set of the 4th wave comes out. You know, the one that includes Shulk, Meta Knight, King Dedede, Mega Man and Sonic... I didn't even bother looking at release dates, since all I had to do up to this point was walk into that store and get them. Or so I thought.... Shulk was by far my most wanted character and for a second I thought I had missed it for good. Nintendo had the absolutely brilliant idea of releasing just two figurines per store, and only a bunch of stores got them and they were already reserved for scalpers, one guy in particular. Yeah, I know who you are, I know you've been to three different Worten stores reserving almost the entire stock. Oh, but you're such a nice guy, because you left one Sonic and one Megaman for another guy!!! Now die alone.

And now the 4th wave is sold out everywhere, except in the local stores who don't even know what they are selling. I don't know if I will be able to get the 4th wave figurines. Stores over here know nothing until they receive it. Last time I made a phone call asking for the Nintendo figurines called Amiibo and the guy on the phone said "hum I've no idea what they are". So I told him about the Skylanders, and he didn't know what Skylanders are. Seriously???? You work in a Multimedia store and you don't know what Skylanders are? Damn, I hope that guy has some short term plans for your future...

I'm done with the Amiibo as soon as the Smash Bros. Series ends. I don't even care about the new ones from Super Mario. Nintendo is making fans give all the money to scalpers just because they had the stupid idea of not releasing enough figurines. There's a billion of super marios from wave 1, then there are like 39 Shulks all over the world. What's the point??? Is Nintendo dumb? Don't they want more money? Do they prefer to piss their costumers and drive them insane looking for these stupid figurines? I like to walk in a store and get the ones I like when I feel like buying them. I don't want to look like a crazy guy constantly refreshing the amiibo page on websites that still didn't put them for sale, FFS...

Well done Nintendo, I hope you enjoy burying your unsold 1st wave Super Mario Amiibo in the Nevada Desert while you watch the rest of the World killing each other just to get a Ness figurine.

Here it is, the full collection of Smash Bros. Amiibo up to number 29, in risk of never going beyond that number now that I've lost the preorders for the next wave. Even the background is a nightmare to edit on this one, so please just enjoy a regular, crappy, unedited picture showing all my Amiibo in their current habitat. This collection is driving me nuts to the point I've considered selling the whole thing and make a profit just to buy other editions coming out soon.

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