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Shenmue_Jehuty Blog

It finally happened!

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Over the past week I have been edging dangerously close to a milestone in my video game collection that once seemed very far off, but at the rate I buy games was something that became a reality way faster than I could imagine. Last summer, a day before my birthday I found MUSHA on the Sega Genesis at a now defunct indi-game store for a very reasonable $40, bringing my collection to 500 games strong. Now, a little over a year since that happened I have now hit 1000 games in my ever growing game collection.

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While my 1000th game was not as memorable as #500, it was no slouch either. I went to the flea market this morning, not knowing if Id find the final five games needed to hit 1000. I started my day off not too bad by finding a seller getting rid of some decent PS1 and PS2 titles, among them Galerians, Siren and Clock Tower 2, all purchased for a very low $2 a piece. Then later that day I found a reseller selling a complete copy of Evolution Worlds on the Gamecube for a pretty reasonable $5. And then, the final game that brought my collection to 1000 was another reseller who sold me Space Station Silicon Valley for a whole $3. At that point I had made it, I officially had 1000 games in my collection! While I now officially have 1000 games, truth be told I probably hit 1000 games at least 2-weeks ago since many of the import games I own are not in Gamespots catelog of games. However, I was willing to write off this issue and wait until the number of games on my collection counter hit 1000.

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Having met this milestone in my video game collection, I then thought of what Id do next in terms of collecting. I have actually pondered on this well before hitting this four digit mark in my collection, and have come to a pretty solid plan for the next year or so. One thing my collecting sadly lacks is a proper place to display them and have them organized in a way where they can all be appreciated and enjoyed. Currently my collection is split up into three seperate rooms inside my condo, with my living room housing the majority of my collection. Problem is that many of my games are double stacked on my TV stands, stuffed into storage bins, and arranged haphazardly in several closets. This is something I wish to fix; I want all my video games displayed in the same room, every game visible to anyone who enters to see them. Obviously to accomplish this I have been scoping some media shelves on Amazon that I plan on buying sometimes towards the end of this summer or in the early fall. Also, I plan on placing all my loose cart-based games in plastic rental cases and using game covers printed from the Cover Project to give them proper diplay cases. I thought about hunting down the original boxes for all my games, however I refuse to pay the same amount, if not way more, for a game box and/or manual that the game it belongs to is worth. Doing this I can neatly display all my cartridge games on a shelf without destroying my wallet.

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Dont get me wrong, just because I plan on working on this game room and boxing my cartridge games, my money will still go towards games too, just not to the degree it has been over the past 2-years. Besides, most of the games I am currently after are pretty hard to to find so I will unfortunately have to utllize the internet a lot more to obtain them, meaning more moeny going to single games rather then picking up more common titles at the flea market for a few of bucks. Im sure I will still find the occassional gem at the bottom of a storage tub at the flea market, or thrown on the shelf at several of the untapped resources I visit around town, but until my games have a propert place to be displayed, I will not begin collecting to the degree I have been. I am looking forward to starting my game room and will definitely be sharing it with you all once it is complete :D!

Dreamcast games released 12-years after console discontinued = WIN

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Yesterday I had an incredible birthday filled with the things I love most in life; my girlfriend, good food and of course, video games. Aside from my amazing trip to 1UP Games in Denver, which is the best arcade/bar in the western half of the USA, I got some incredible gaming gifts, including the recently released Sturmwind on the Dreamcast. For those of you who arent familiair with Sturmwind, it was in development for several years at RedSpot Games and just finally saw release back in late April. I have known about this game for quite some time, but hearing that it would join the ranks of Last Hope, Gunlord, Fast Striker and other independent Dreamcast releases that have come out in the past few years, I was more than excited! 

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Because of other financial obligations, both gaming and non-gaming related, I held off on getting Sturmwind until my birthday. Dont get me wrong, the wait was pure torture, seeing official gameplay footage on Youtube and reading reviewers from Destructoid and Giant Bomb praising this game to the heavens. But alas, my birthday rolled around and my amazing girlfriend was sweet enough to buy me my very own copy, along with a plethora of other awesome games. Last night after returning home from eating dinner, I popped Sturmwind into my Dreamcast and the rest was pure bliss; this game is f***ing amazing! In terms of almost every possible way a game can be awesome, Sturmwind succeeds in copious amounts! The amazing techno soundtrack and stunning visuals aside, Sturmwind is already shaping up to be a top 10 Dreamcast game for me. The only other SHMUP on the Dreamcast that I can still say is better is Ikaruga, however this game is good enough to even touch Ikaruga on its pedestal of greatness, an achievement barely any other SHMUP can claim.

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Perhaps one of the greatest things about Sturmwind has nothing to do with the fact that it is one of the most well crafted SHMUPS to be released in years, but rather it is a symbol of the immortal enthusiasm and love for the Sega Dreamcast. Between NG:DEV.team and RedSpot, they have kept the fires of this console lit over a decade since Sega officially pulled the plug on the console. Companies like Watermelon games are also keeping the legacy of this amazing system alive through highly anticipate ports of Pier Solar as well, a game that I wil be preordering very, very soon. With time and continued interest I cannot wait to hear more announcement of new games and projects for the Dreamcast, a system I will support forever no matter what.

Next-Generation: The best thing to happen to Retro Gaming (well sort of)

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I have been a pretty avid retro gamer for several years now, often re-enjoying games like Super Mario 64, TMNT: Turtles in Time, and Lunar: The Silver Star Story at the expense of not playing games like Gears of War or Uncharted. Don't get me wrong, I still enjoy and play modern video games, however the time I spend on retro gaming outmatches my time on my PS3 or Wii, 3 to 1. Aside from my addiction to nostalgia of games and consoles that I grew up with during the 90s, much of the reason I've gravitated towards retro gaming has to do with my disgust with modern gaming and what video games have become. If you read my last blog post you are well aware of my grievances towards the modern gaming industry and the games it has birthed, but in case you haven't the shorted version of my gripes have to do with the proliferation and abuse of digital distribution, anti-used game measures installed in games, and over emphesis of online features at the expense of offline, single player elements. My love of video games will probably never die so instread of quiting video games just because I think the current industry behind them sucks, I have devoted a significant amount of time and money towards playing games of old. And from being a pretty active user on the site and also speaking to friends and people I meet at game stores, conventions and other venues populated with gamers, it has become clear to me that these issues with the modern gaming industry are a big reason why retro gaming has been on the rise in terms of popularity during the past 3 or 4 years; a trend that I see multiplying with the advent of the next video game generation.

Every vice that has personified the modern industry has been amplified in the next generation of hardware and software, making gaming even more unappealing for droves of people who are already turned off by current video games. I for one have decided to completely neglect the next generation of consoles and games because of their dramatic utilization of microtransactions, anti-used game technology, over-emphesis on casual and non-gamers, and abuse of digital distribution. It follows that many gamers that have not already quit gaming or switched 100% to retro games will do so next generation, rufusing to be apart of and support the issues they see litered in the modern consoles and games available. As a result of gamers flocking back in times to consoles like the PS2, SNES or Atari 2600, I believe retro gaming will benefit greatly, and the already growing retro homebrew and reproduction scene will balloon way beyond its current size. However, with the increased interest in retro gaming will no doubt result in another issues that many retro gamers are painfully aware of; price inflation. As retro gaming has trended since about 2007, prices on many games have skyrocketed, making once affordable games become expensive pieces of gaming history that only the hardcore collector or Mr/Ms Moneybags will buy; games like Earthbound, Panzer Dragoon Saga, Mega Man Legends 2, Conkers Bad Fur Day and .Hack Quarentine have become famous for thier ridiculous prices on Ebay and in stores, much of which has happened only since retro gaming has become more popular. Given that retro games are no longer in production, the rising demand will surely bring up the value of these games as well as the values of thousands of other older titles that will struggle to meet the demand of the growing retro gaming base. So while the hobby of retro gaming will no doubt increase next gen, it will also make it harder for people to join and maintain the hobby given the further price increase of many classic games. 

As a final thought, one potential consiquence of gamers leaving next gen for previous gens is if retro gaming became popular enough and grew out of its niche classification, perhaps big publishers who own the rights to these games will issue official re-releases of their older consoles and games for the population of gamers to purchase. It would be far cheaper than throwing money into developing new projects for next gen consoles, that's for sure. Even better, however more improbable, it would be nice to see huge gaming corporations like Konami, Nintendo or Sega develop new software for their old hardware. I know this will likely never happen, but as Nintendo showed us with Mega Man 9 and 10, older series' can still be popular and financially viable to produce. Despite potential price inflation of older games, I see a brighter future for retro gaming as a result of the modern gaming industry's continued deterioration. 

My farewell to modern gaming

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At this point you'd have to be living under a rock if you are a gamer and have not caught wind of the enormous backlash against Microsoft's new XBOX One, a system that has been confirmed to require a constant online connection, no backwards compatibility, over emphesis on non-gaming features, and probably worst of all, fees for playing used games. While I am furious over Microsoft's decision to make such poor decisions when designing their next-gen console, I am not at all surprised they made these implementations in their newest console. Anti-used games sentiment, focus on casuals gaming and non-gamer markets, severely abused digital distribution, and the overall decrease in video game quality are all staples of the modern gaming industry and the new XBOX seeks to embody these pillars of current video game decay. After hearing about the XBOX One's plethora of horrible features and focus on exploiting their customer, it took all but a couple of seconds for me to decide that I will never buy this machine of greed. More importantly however, I revisited the idea of no longer buying or playing any modern video games after this current generation's console cycle is over. 

Since midway through this generation I have heavily considered no longer supporting current gaming, not because there aren't any good games being made today, because there certainly are. My feelings of dropping out of the modern gaming scene rather stems from my disgust over how the industry has put itself in a position to screw over gamers and non-gamers alike, a position, I might add, that we placed these unscrupulous companies in by buying their games and digital content. I have shown my protest to the modern video game industry's greed by not supporting companies or games that implement such vices as day-1 DLC, disc locked DLC, DRM protection, deliberately withheld content that was later released as DLC, and any company that arrogantly tries to charge you $10 for a few costumes or a car. In summary, 90% of my disdain for the modern gaming industry comes from the proliferation of digital distribution and its abuse. As I said before, Microsoft's new console seems to embody this abuse more then any of it's next-gen competition, however the competition is looking equally unappealing for some of the same and other reasons as well. In addition to that, many of the games I might have any interest in getting on the Wii U or PS4 don't look all that different from games that I have been playing for years. With these thoughts in mind, I have been serious considering where I stand in terms of purchasing or even wanting to play any of the next generation's consoles or games.

After thinking about it for several years now, I have officially decided that this generation will be the very last generation of video games I support or play. I began playing video games back in 1992 with the Sega Genesis and have thoroughly enjoyed this hobby since then. However most of the things I loved so much about video games are being taken away from the overall gaming experience as each year of more DLC, more microtransactions, more anti-used game sentiment rolls by. I feel like vidoe games have essentially lost their innocence, charm and most of all integrity, mostly because the people who are making video games today typically lack these qualities. Aside from that, I have found myself gravitating toward older games for several years now, turning towards the past probably because I can't stand where the future of gaming is going. I am both content and saddened by this decision, seeing how the gaming industry no longer appeals to me and no longer has my interest's in mind when producing new games, however the thought of no longer being a part of a new gaming generation as it is happening does leave a bad taste in my mouth as well. I do not regret my decision to no longer play new games, but I will always feel some remorse over how this once wonderful, flourishing industry has become nothing but a cesspool of corruption and avarice. 

As a final thought, I would like to add that just because I will no longer be buying or playing new games this next gen, I will still be as passionate and involved in gaming as ever. I have over three decades of video games behind me to enjoy and a personal collection of games that is nearing at the 1000 mark. Even if I never bought another game for the rest of my life, I would happily have enough games to occupy my interests until the day I die. I guess you can say I am officially going 100% "retro" from now on. 

When Dreams become a Reality (Operation Rainfall)

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Over a year ago, I was one of the many people who remember hearing about and seeing gameplay footage of Xenoblade Chronicles and thinking, "holy crap, this game needs to be brought to North America!" I hung on every bit of info having to do with Xenoblade Chronicles, during which I found a movement that seemed to want this game brought to North America just as bad as I did, and that was the folks at Operation Rainfall. Beyond filling me in on the latest localization news regarding Xenoblade, they also opened my eyes to two other fantastic looking games that were being released, The Last Story and Pandaora's Tower. Combined with Xenoblade, these games made up the original Operation Rainfall mission of having the three games localized in the United States and Canada. 

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I remember many ups and downs leading up to the localization announcement of each game, particularly Xenoblade since it was the title out of the original three games that I wanted the most. After various false starts and announcements from Nintendo that there was no interest in this game, as well as the other two games in North America, Xenoblade and soon after that, The Last Story were announced for release in the NTSC region. I was estatic and bought my copies of Xenoblade and The Last Story the day they came out. However, there was one very important piece missing; of course, I am referring to Pandora's Tower.

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Similar to my anticipation, doubts of it ever being localized, and severe desire to play Xenoblade and The Last Story, I wanted nothing more than to have Panora's Tower sitting next to the other two games that Operation Rainfall brought to North America through their commitment and efforts. Myself and everyone else who felt this way, finally got their wish last Tuesday with the official North American release of Pandora's Tower on the Wii. Unlike Xenoblade and The Last Story, I was unable to pick up Pandora's Tower on day one, but tonight my dreams became a reality when I finally bought the last of the original three games that Project Rainfall worked so hard to have localized. I purchased Pandora's Tower from a local video game store tonight (along with some Sega Genesis shmups) and could not wait to bring it home. As soon as I did, I grabbed my copy of Xenoblade Chronicles and The Last Story and placed them right next to Pandora's Tower, together in North American region for the first time. Staring at them together brought me great joy and it made me think how long waited for this moment, thinking about how awesome it would be. Well, the reality is better than the dream and now the only thing left to do is to pop Pandora's Tower in the ol'Wii and play this phenominal vidoe game :)

You can never have enough Resident Evil 2

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Like any obsessive video game collector would, I decided to go game hunting on my lunch break at work and hope to get lucky in my searches. I hit up a local "hotspot" of video game deals that I have been going to for about two-years now; among my many exploits from this place include $2 Ogre Battle 64, $5 Conker's Bad Fur Day, and $5 Fire Emblem Path of Radiance. If you are aware of what these games typically sell for, you are now completely aware why this place is so desirable for video game hunting. But anyhow, I was blessed with extreme fortune today when I stumbled upon a bunch of recently acquired Gamecube games, of them was the fairly uncommon Resident Evil 2 port for the system. 

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My eyes shot wide open and I snatched the copy up on almost pure instinct. Even compared to the probably more rare Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine for the N64 that I found on that same trip, the Gamecube RE2 seemed way more special and I was far more excited about it. When my brain started easing off giddy mode I remembered that while I was holding a version of RE2 I didn't own, I did in fact already own the game, three other versions of it to be exact. Yes, I already owned the PS1, N64 and Dreamcast releases of RE2, and having played all of these ports at least once I have come to the conclusion that RE2 kicks complete and total ass! 

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The Gamecube version's value and rarity aside, I debated a little as to whether I needed a fourth port of RE2, a game essentially the same as the other three versions I already had. However paying $5 on an otherwise $30 game I essentially couldn't go wrong. I bought RE2 along with the Indiana Jones game and a very cheap copy of Metroid Prime 3 on the Wii, and once I returned home that evening I popped my newly acquired gem of survival horror into my Gamecube and could not stop playing. I was instantly reminded why I got so excited when I saw RE2 stuffed in with those other Gamecube games and why I didn't mind buying a fourth copy of the game; RE2 is one of those timeless masterpieces of video game achievement that cannot be enjoyed enough. I am proud to own four different versions of RE2, and while I won't be hunting down the PC or games.com ports anytime soon or . . . ever (not saying the PC port is bad, PC gaming just hasn't been my thing since about 2001, but yeah, the games.com port is just awful) I am very happy and very content with having my four different ports of RE2 :)

Are you F***ING kidding me!?!?!

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Today I received my Ni No Kuni player's guide off Amazon which I was very happy about. My girlfriend has already started the game and is probably 20-hours in already. With the guide came a free DLC code for the Gold Hurly familiar. While Gold Hurly is pretty cool, I thought I'd much rather see how much the DLC codes for him are selling on Ebay, possibly sell the code, and redeem the money I make for a DLC familiar I want more, Griffy.

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I first started by seeing how much people were selling the Gold Hurly code for and to my utter surprise, people were actually selling it, a DLC code for ONE familair, for $15 to $20! I was like, "Good God, what is wrong with people?!" Despite my objections to paying for DLC all together, I could somewhat understand a pack of 5+ familiars selling for that much, but just one. People in this world have truly lost their minds. However, I had absolutely no clue how insane people have become until I looked up how much the Griffy DLC code was going for.

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I typed in "Ni No Kuni Griffy" into the Ebay search bar, clicked on the completed listings button and HOLY F#$&ING SH!T, the f***ing code is selling for around $50 consistently; $50. . . FVCKING. . .DOLLARS . . . for one, just one, DLC character. This is digital insanity at its worst and just shows that people can be outragiously stupid when swept up in the hype of a new popular game. Whether it was going for $5 or $50, DLC and any form of digital distribution is legal theft on the devs part seeing how you are paying them real money and getting nothing of value in return, however just the shear insanity of how much people are willing to waste for a single character absolutely astounds me beyond belief. I've just decided to keep my Gold Hurly DLC code, I'm not going to contribute to this utter BS on Ebay.

The one that got away

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Tonight after a fairly busy day at home, my girlfriend and I decided to go out for a little bit and do some shopping. One of our stops was a local Target store where he had to pick up some drinks, food, and browse their clearance toy section (my girlfriend is an action figure and toy nut lol). Of course, one necessary stop is the video game section where I look carefully for any good deals on clearance games or games that have good sales on them. While I didn't find either, I did find something better, way better.

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Two days prior to its official US release, the Target store I found myself at had copies of Level 5's new JRPG Ni No Kuni already on the self. This game is currently on the top of my "To Get" list, and I have been looking forward to finally being able to play this game since I heard about it almost a year ago. Of course I grabbed the nearest sales person and asked to get a copy. As the Target employee was opening the locked display case and walking me up to the register, I was so, so excited that I was finally going to be able to sink my teeth into this amazing, beatiful RPG. I also couldn't help but think of a similar situation that happened to me years ago, funny enough at a Target store.

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Back during the fall of 2001, I was browsing the electronics section at another local Target when I nearly crapped my pants after seeing several copies of Final Fantasy X behind the glass video game display, two weeks before its official release. Although I didn't have any spending money, I begged and pleaded with my mom who was with me to buy it (I was 14 at the time, give me a break). She eventually caved to my begging and bought it for me. It was an incredible feeling being able to play one of the greatest RPGs released weeks before my friends and just about every one else was able to play it. With the impending purchase of Ni No Kuni, I was about to relive that amazing, unique feeling that I hadn't felt in over a decade.

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My girlfriend and I were standing at the register in the electronics section as the employee rang our purchase up. As he scanned it, a look of concern and confusion appeared on his face. That's when my excitement died. "Sorry, but I can't sell this game to you, it's now supposed to be out yet." He said to my girlfriend and I. I felt anger and frustration build in me and didn't know how to direct it. My better nature took over and decided that the employee nor Target deserved to get their asses chewed out, especially over a video game, regardless of how much I wanted it. I decided to express my unhappiness to the employee simply by saying "that sucks" or something like that, making a point not to get mad at him.

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As I walked through the store and grabbed my groceries, I calmed down and tried putting things into perspective. It was only a video game after all, and I'd only have to wait pretty much one more day before I could buy it without issue. I do feel better about the situation now, but I still cannot believe how close I was to being able to play what I believe will be one of the best RPGs to be released in years, two days early. Ni No Kuni, I will see you this Tuesday!

So-long my good friend. . .

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Tonight marked an important event in my life as a gamer; while running running around this evening, I decided to stop by a local Barnes and Noble to find this month's Nintendo Power issue. Hunting down NP issues is not something I normally do, however, like many of you know, this was the final issue of Nintendo Power that the world will ever see.

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Nintendo Power holds a very special place in my heart. Being on off and on subscriber over the years (subscribed from 1995 - 1996, and again from 1998 - 2004) I used to greatly look forward to getting each issue in the mail, and reading them from front to cover, sometimes several times over again. I also used to go back to them all the time to look at pictures, guides, cheats, reviews, and the countless other bits of great info this magazine provided during its lifespan. NP was also a huge benefit to own during my second subscription period because it shared my excitement, enthusiasm and addiction to games like Ocarina of Time, Pokemon Red and Blue, and Banjoe Kazooie, to name a few. In a way, they made these games even better than they would be, I think because it was like sharing the excitment with a friend. *below was my first issue of NP ever*

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While I will admit that part of the reason why I discontinued my sibscription to NP was in part because I wasn't happy with the directon the magazine was going around 2005, I still thought the magazine enjoyable and entertaining mostly, and have picked up about a dozen issues since discontinuing my subscription in 04. Sadly, I no longer have any of the original NP magazines I used to receive as part of my subscription, but had the extreme fortune of finding nearly every NP issue from late 1996 to early 2001 for free at a local game store that was giving them as a donation. It has definitely spured my interest in collecting every issue at some point, but that will have to wait considering how expensive some of the older issues can be.Luckily the Barnes and Noble I decided to go to had many issues left of NP's final issue. Without thinking, I decided to buy two sealed copies, one to read and admire for the rest of my life, and one to put away, forever preserved in new, mint condition. I bought both and returned home with my beloved magazine. After eating diner, I opened one of the copies up and upon opening just the first page, was flooded with excitment as I was about to read the final issue of Nintendo Power, but I was also filled with feelings of sadness from knowing this would be the final new issue of NP I'd ever be able to buy new. As I read each letter, each review, each commentary on NP's rich history, I was overwhelmed with feelings of nostalgia and fond memories of each issue I had read as well as the great Nintendo games I was playing at the time of reading those issues. It was an incredible experience. But anyhow, back to me getting the final issue and reading it.

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Now this is where things get really sappy; there were two points when I almost started crying while reading tonight. The first was NP's pick for the greatest Nintendo game of all time. I wont spoil what they decided it was, but I could not thnk of a more deserving game to earn such an honor. It filled me with pride and the sense of extreme fortune that I own that game and have played it many times, each time loving it more than the last. The other part that almost made me cry was the Nester and Maxwell(Max) comic on the very last page. It was so heartfelt and definitely personified my feeling about NP, as well as how badly I'll miss this incredible magazine. Thank you Nintendo Power for years of excellent video gae journalism, and more than that, thank you for countless fond memories and experiences that will forever be priceless to me :)

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Being Responsible Stinks

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Having the weekends off, I typically use that time to go game hunting at various places around town and today was no different, well kind of. One pleace on my route of places to look for great deals on video games led me to one of my favorite video game store, Gameforce in Boulder. In addition to having probably the best video game selection in Colorado, they are pretty reasoanably priced on most of their stuff with a few exception. However today, they had several excellent deals including $30 on Paper Mario and $25 on it's sequel for the Gamecube; I would have picked one or both of them up however at the moment even $25 for one game is a bit out of my price range. The game deal that stole the show for me was not Paper Mario, but rather Castlevania Dracula X for the SNES for $75.

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While $75 is a great deal of money for one game, especially a retro title, it is an excellent deal compared to what it typically goes for on Ebay ($90 to $120 on average). I have wanted this game for a very long time, and it took me about 20-minutes of pacing around the store and debating internally before I decided that if I can't drop $25 for Paper Mario and the Thousand Year Door, there is no way in hell it would be possible or practical to drop $75 on another game, regardless of how great a deal that is. I walked out of Gameforce a little discouraged, knowing that by the time I did have enough money to buy it, it would surely be gone. My only comfort was knowing that I made the right choice financially, and that there have been many valuable games I've passed on and later found them at an even better deal (I'm looking at you MUSHA).

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Although I didn't get anything for Gameforce, about 2 hours later I found myself at another location that has been good to me many times in terms of finding great gaming deals. Low and behold I found the XBOX ports of Silent Hill 2 and Silent Hill 4 for $5 each. While neither were spectacular deals, I've wanted both for a while and was very happy to get my hands on them. I also picked up Resident Evil 4 on the Gamecube for my little brother who recently started getting back into retro games. I paid $3 for that so that was a way better deal. I'll be heading back out on the hunt tomorrow and hopefully I end up finding something that would even outshine a $75 Dracula X; it's happened before ;)

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